Monday, August 27, 2012
A few weeks back, one of my dear MotherWittie colleagues injured herself, and was unable to attend the many births she had scheduled. As doulas, we spend a lot of our energy on volunteering for births for women in need. We have liaisons with organizations which call us up asking for volunteer doula services for teens, refugees, women in shelters, etc., and we will provide that. When my colleague got hurt, pretty much all of us at once decided we would just each take over one of her births for the month. Charity begins at home, and we figured if we can volunteer for other people in the community, it's no stretch to do a birth for a sister in need. We planned to attend the birth, and transfer the payment to her. I just received an email from my dear colleague and I am full of tearful gratitude. I feel loved, cared for, and understood. People out there don't realize that as unregulated, "freelance" workers, if a doula becomes ill or injured, she is out of luck. A sick doula is a broke doula, and many of us depend upon our work intensely to support our families. While we do it for the deep love of birth and families, it is also our bread and butter. I have no words to express my gratitude without being reduced to an embarrassing mess, so I thought I would just show her email to shout out to the world the quality of human beings I have the honour of having in my life. These are the heights of what a doula sisterhood can reach, and I invite you all who do this job to take a look at the healing potential you have not just for the birthing women you serve, but for the women you back up. "Hey Lesley, On Saturday night we talked about a lot of stuff, and one of the things we discussed was you, and how we are worried for you. How difficult it must be to live with chronic pain, how difficult it is for us to see you go through this and know that what we see is only scratching the surface of what you're going through. We see FB posts (5 hours in the tub today? Holy crap), we hear about "the latest" from you when we see you, and we see that you're struggling, and have been for a while, because it's just not getting better. I mentioned how you all came together for me this past month when I needed you, and how much it meant to me. We talked about it and we can do no less for you. We are, every one of us, as happy as can be to take on your client load on a volunteer basis--some of it, all of it, whatever you need right now and until this is resolved. We could each take one a month, for example--even come with you to a prenatal or two so the client knows who we are and that we may well be at their birth. And we are very happy to do it without compensation. You are not well, and it would be an enormous financial hit to bow out of these births, so we can take them on for you. We don't have insurance, but we have each other, and that's even better, if you ask me. You need to get better, and we will help you in any way you need. Love you, Megan My dear friends, I cannot express my thanks enough. I hope I will be well enough to attend my births, but knowing that if I can't, my clients are in wonderful hands is SO reassuring. I put you out there as a shining example of compassion and goodness. Love right back at you.