Birth Doula Blog
Why Exploring Your Unwanted Birth Matters
When it comes to labor prep you know to get your body ready for the big day. You will practice yoga, find a breathing technique that works for you, fuel your body with the right food, and become mindful of your body's mechanics. But did you know the most important labor work is mental?
The deepest work you will do in labor is emotional, mental, and spiritual. You will need to surrender to the great mystery that is childbirth. You will not know how or when baby will come. You will need to give up any time limits, expectations, and control to go deep within yourself and labor peacefully. Labor is not a time for holding back our primal instincts or allowing fear to hold us back. It's a time of surrender and acceptance.
A few weeks ago I was invited to be a guest on Julie Jacobs's wonderful podcast Goddesses Gather Here. And like the name implies, this is a podcast for amazing women to lift each other up, share their journeys, and offer advice so you too can become a goddess.
I met Julie at a meeting for military spouse entrepreneurs. I was seated quietly at the end of the table (as I had arrived late) and Julie was actively taking part in the conversation. I knew she was a force of a woman by the look of her bold red lips and when she mentioned the name of her podcast, I just knew I had to meet her! There is something so special about women recognizing, creating, and supporting other strong women.
And that's what I do as a doula...I get to witness strength being born. I help women find confidence during their pregnancy so that they can have an empowered birth.
Listen here to learn more about why I got into doula work, what my favorite part is, and what lies ahead for me.
Happy listening, friends!
Not one book could ever truly prepare me for breastfeeding. Yes, I had understood the physiology behind it and knew of the benefits, but the actual feeling and experience could never be accurately described in the books. And it wasn't just the feel of a small mouth on my nipple that was never explained, it was the emotional toll it would take.
Thirteen years ago, I was the first in my family to breastfeed, so I wasn't able to get any insight and words of wisdom from my sisters or mother. It was somehow easier for me to envision being a first-time mom than it was to have a baby latched at my breast. That first feeding in the hospital was so awkward. How could something so natural feel so unnatural? I thought that first latch would be the end of the uncomfortableness of nursing, but so many more challenges faced me.
The Five Mistakes I Made Giving Birth
Almost fourteen years ago, my husband and I carefully crafted the birth plan for our first child. We attended the 12-week Bradley Method course, read What to Expect When You're Expecting, and Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth. In my last trimester, I began attending La Leche League meetings and my baby's nursery was stocked and ready for her. On paper, we were prepared, informed, and diligent. We deserved a good birth experience. We were sorely mistaken and looking back at the plan I had saved on my Google Drive only reminds me of how poorly prepared we were. Sure, my plan detailed what I wanted to avoid, how I would labor, and the newborn procedures we preferred. It all checked out...it was easy to read and even buttered up the hospital staff. The goal: healthy mom and baby. Who doesn't want that?
Me. I wanted more.
How I Turned My Fascination Into a Paying Passion
Fourteen years ago, I was in my second trimester with my first child. I had the usual mix of excitement and worry that most new moms felt, but I decided to silence those fears by educating myself...and I wasn't going to do it alone. With my husband by my side, we decided to take a Bradley Method of Childbirth course which consisted of weekly 3-hour classes with other pregnant couples. What unexpectedly happened was that I developed a fascination for childbirth. Labor was not what I expected. My birth plan was just silly wishing and I was left feeling a bit regretful about how things played out. But in the newness of being a mom and having a perfectly healthy baby girl, I had no time to dwell or revel in what had happened. My sister had made the five-hour drive to be at the hospital with us. She brought peace and love with her and I vividly remember her picking up my hair as if she could read my mind.
One year later, I was living with that same sister and her husband who were expecting their first child. They had also taken the Bradley Method and understood the importance of having support. I was happy to fill that role. She began to labor late in the evening and, after packing last-minute items into the hospital bag, we transitioned to the hospital. I was in disbelief that I was about to witness a child be born. I did what I could to keep her comfortable. I had no training and no experience, but I loved her so much and knew that love would show. During the hours I was there, I felt no hunger, thirst, or exhaustion. I stayed the whole night. I came home the following morning after the birth, in somewhat of a shock, and went back to being the mom of a toddler. I looked at my sweet girl's face and realized that I had also gone through such a life-changing experience. I remembered that I had once roared with power like my sister.