Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What it Means to be a Doula. Happy World Doula Week!

I want to take this opportunity to wish all the doulas on the planet a Happy World Doula Week!

When I began this work over 21 years ago, I was a pioneer in my town, forging connections and laying foundations.  When I look at the thriving doula communities we have now, knowing there are countless families who have experienced more satisfying births because of the work we doulas do, I am so very proud of us all.

When I grab the Metro home in the early morning after an all night birth, I still look at all the people going to their nine to five jobs and just want to hug them so they can get get a hit of all the yummy, oxytocin laden vibes I've just been exposed to.  How healing to be allowed to bathe in that energy for a while!   I want to thank the Powers That Be for this life....for this path...for this opportunity to serve in such a humble, intimate, yet glorious way!

As I continue to grow and settle into this work, I continue to hold the space for surprise.  This keeps me humble.  Whenever I think I might just have figured this birth thing out, Birth changes to show me it prefers to be an unsolved Mystery.  Every single birth reveals to me a new layer, a subtle nuance of learning.  Nothing has taught me more about life than attending Birth (and Death).

While being a doula is an ancient role, it is a reasonably new profession. Like many newer professions, kinks are still being worked out.  Do we strive for national standardization?  How do we find ways to make our crazy on-call work sustainable for ourselves and our families physically, emotionally, and financially?  How do we finally demonstrate to wary medical communities that we are not to be feared and mistrusted, but valued... as we value them?  What does certification really mean?  How do we honour each approach to this work while ensuring we provide the best service to our clients?  There is much to explore.  And I am excited about that!

Having the honour and privilege of training doulas around the country, I get to witness them grow into the work and forge their own communities in their unique, beautiful ways.  My heart soars, because I know the future of doula work is in good hands.  I know we will figure it out.  I know our profession will grow, be more accessible to all families who want our services, and more sustainable to those who want to make this work a career.  I know doula work will thrive.

How do I know?  Because so very many magnificent doula hearts continue to love fiercely, and continue to have hope for a world in which new life can unfurl (whenever possible) in the sweetness of awe....in honour of birth's sacredness...in a way that quivers with the power of miracle.  When beautiful hearts come together with love as the intention, mountains are moved.  As Hazrat Inayant Khan said, "With love, even the rocks will open."  And so it is.

I want to shout out to all my doula colleagues, doula sisters, doula students, and the primary health care providers who care for our clients.  Thank you.  With hands clasped to my heart and head bowed, I thank you.

Most of all, I want to thank the families who have invited me to bear witness to and support your births.  I carry you all in my hearts, and am indelibly changed and honed by your precious work. I have grown because of you.  I have found healing because of you.  I know who I am because of you.