I recall when I was first welcomed to the tribe of motherhood.
I was quite young, by today's standards. And it was such a delight when another mother reached out to me while I was expecting, giving me the wisdom I didn't yet understand, but somehow already knew deep in my bones. It was the excitement of a lifelong journey, with hints of what's to come that would resonate without ceasing, still. It's funny, I repeat the very words that were spoken to me, time and time again, when I encounter expecting parents. Naturally, my curiosity compels me to pick the brain of a woman holding her future legacy in her womb. I cannot help but incite that intuition which will be her driving force throughout her stewardship of this precious gift. When I see this path unfold, I am encouraged that the next generation will be able to access the wisdom of their ancestors, receive the strength of their roots, grow with nourishment from their present community support and take the best of these to guide them in their journey.
Throughout the history of humankind, women have provided support to one another in times of transition, initiation into adulthood, childbearing, motherhood, childrearing and companionship. Over the past century, the culture surrounding childbirth has changed drastically, to the point where we will most likely enter childbirth without ever having been in the company of a birthing woman, neither as an observer nor support person. I've often compared it to being placed at the wheel of a vehicle without being informed of the functions of machinery, without ever seeing another person drive, yet we must navigate ourselves to the optimal destination. Here's the flaw with that comparison: Our bodies and babies know exactly what needs to happen and will do the work involuntarily in almost every instance. Our ignorance to the happenings surrounding childbirth may be completely irrelevant, if our minds did not have so much power. There is great hope in that the role of the timeless support person has resurfaced in a professional way, the Doula.
The presence of a trained professional childbirth support person is invaluable to the birthing mother at various levels. When I begin a relationship with clients, I am heavily invested in the goals of this particular family. Birth is not one-size-fits-all, and we all come into it with our unique backgrounds, expectations and preferences. It is my delight to get to know a family during this time. What an honor to accompany any individual(s) in these precious months, so short, yet powerful in the making of new family bonds. I think about the family non-stop for weeks, soaking up the relationship the mother has with her primary support person (often a partner), gaining a deep understanding of her priorities for this particular situation, providing relevant and fact-based information, facilitating time-tested comfort measures according to the needs of her body and baby, and affirming the choices of parents as they do what is best for their growing families. This is the formula for building a foundation to parent with confidence, as it is the most challenging and fulfilling experience an individual may undergo in their lifetime.
With gratitude and reverence, I am humbled by the many families who have invited me into their intimate space. It is awe inspiring to see the intuitive decisiveness with which women trust their bodies, accepting every turn on their path with grace, and embracing their new responsibilities in a most gentle way, knowing this gift was meant for them.