Posts Tagged ‘birth work’

5 Things Midwives, Doulas, and Postpartum Moms Love

Monday, July 6th, 2015

5 Things Midwives, Doulas, & Postpartum

As I was in the shower today, after two births in 24 hours–one in the hospital as a doula, the other at home as a student midwife–I was appreciating the perfect temperature of the water, the smell of my shampoo, and the utterly clean feeling I had when I stepped out onto the mat. I was positively luxuriating in my shower! I couldn’t help but compare it to the first shower I took after my babies were born. That first shower post-birth is simply divine.

This got me on a train of thought I hadn’t really contemplated before.

Midwives, doulas, and postpartum mothers share a sisterhood in more than just birth. There are five things we all love after a birth, whether it was our own or one we attended.

    1: Taking off the sweaty/goopy bra.
    Taking off the bra at the end of the day is magnificent enough. Imagine peeling off a sweaty, potentially goopy and wet bra! Birthing a baby is hard work, and so is attending a birth. (Not on the same level, obviously, but we often get very physical, sweaty, and wet too) Oh, the glorious freedom of a bra slipped off and tossed aside!

    2: That first shower.
    Letting all the mess of birth wash down the drain. The sweat of hard work. The fluids, vernix, and blood of the birth. Even some of the heightened emotions are shared. They are on different scales but are sourced in the same hormones. And yes, birth professionals tend to get a little baptized with the birth fluids too. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to get into that warm shower and just feel clean again!

    3: The first meal.
    Whether it’s steak and eggs, sushi, fried chicken, gyros, cheese and crackers, bananas and peanut butter, smoothies, or a fistful of Cheetos, it doesn’t matter. No food tastes as good as post-birth food.

    4: The first nap.
    Most births happen in the wee hours before dawn, so everyone involved loses some sleep. Combine that with a hit of high-inducing oxytocin, endorphins, and adrenaline, and you have a perfectly natural sleeping potion circulating in your blood. The first nap post-birth is the best! Even if it’s interrupted by a hungry baby, or a text from a client (we’re usually still on call), it’s still lovely to sleep. Mostly because we are in bed. It’s all about the bed. And the cool side of the pillow.

    5: Seeing your kids again.
    There’s something about a family coming together again after the birth of a new baby. After you’ve come home from the hospital, or your kids were brought back home from Grandma’s, being together as a family with a new member to induct is just plain special. Some of my favorite post-birth memories, when my kids were born, were introducing them to their new tiny sibling. Now, walking in the door from the latest birth, and being greeted by four sets of arms hugging me, and four voices saying “Yay! Mommy!!!” is such a blessing.

What is your favorite thing after having a baby and/or attending a birth?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

Life Lessons Found As A Doula

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Being a doula has taught me…

  • I have to disappoint people I love sometimes. At any moment, I may have to leave people I care about high and dry while I bolt to the side of a mother in labor. Babies don’t care about the date on the calendar.
  • I will be growing and learning forever. I will never “arrive” at a place where I cannot possibly learn any more.
  • It is not only okay to ask for help, it is imperative.
  • It is also imperative to walk in gratitude for all the help I receive.
  • Self-care is really important, and I am not very good at it most of the time.
  • To value the friends who stick around, even though they can never really depend on me as if I were a normal person.
  • To take myself and my work seriously. This isn’t just a feel-good hobby. It’s hard work, and it is worth it to invest time and resources into growing professionally.
  • Never to take anything for granted. There are no guarantees of good outcomes in any decision I make.
  • There are risks and consequences to everything in life. All we have to do is decide which ones we are willing to live with.
  • Having a mentor is critical.
  • Growing to become a mentor is a privilege.
  • Peer review in the safest context possible is essential to avoiding burnout.
  • I can never care more about a birth, and its outcome, than the mother. Ever.
  • Humility is the first pillar of solid bridge-building between the staff, care providers, my clients, and myself.
  • When I walk into a birthing space, I walk in with the reputation of all doulas in my hands.
  • To be flexible.
  • I don’t have to know everything. I just need to know where to find good information.
  • Scope of Practice is one of my most valuable assets.
  • How and when to say “No.” The rubber has met the road, where my family is concerned, and saying “No” is becoming a little less difficult.
  • While I will never check my faith at the door, my hands, my heart, and my love are far better tools than my tongue.
  • How to actually listen, though I think I will always be working at this.
  • There is no such thing as perfect balance in a person’s life. I can only do the best I can with what I have.
  • I cannot be all things to all people in all situations. However, I can love all people in all situations, and I can be fully myself in whatever moment I am living in.
  • My best is enough.

Above all, being a doula has helped me grow in love–for my God, my husband, my children, and all who come across my path.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” ~1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

As a doula, I finally understand what it looks like when love wins. It doesn’t always mean that everyone is happy, or that everything works out perfectly. It means that choices are made that encompass what is truly best for the other person. It means laying down my desires, opinions, passions, hopes, and putting the best interest of the other person at the top of my priority list. In all situations, love of God, and love for my neighbor (beginning with those in my home) is the answer, and is the deep water my roots drink from.

I am so grateful for the growth I have experienced as a doula, and I pray that I never stop growing. That I always stay teachable. That I always walk in what I know to be true.

What life lessons have you learned from your work, either as a mother, wife, birth professional, flapjack flapper, or whatever it is that you do?

I have to give a shout-out to my mentor and friend, Desirre Andrews. More than anyone, she has challenged me to take risks, get up after I fall, and to widen my view while staying within the bounds of a very narrow path.

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany

This Is Hard.

Friday, May 31st, 2013

I can no longer describe myself as a stay-at-home-mom. Of course, I am still home the majority of the time, but I am definitely working more now.

Slowly, my business is building and increasing. I have at least one client a month through July, and a few births a month with Desirre as her assistant. Also, I am still teaching as the only educator at Preparing for Birth. That work will have some relief soon, as one of our other doulas is pursuing her childbirth education certification too. She’s student teaching under me right now.

Needless to say, I’m officially a Really Busy Mom. Adding work hours has been tough. Tougher than we thought it would be as a family, but we’re working out the logistics pretty well. I am so grateful that my husband is not just grudgingly supportive, but encouragingly so. He has really stepped up to help on the days I have to go in to work, or get called to a birth.

In addition, with my mom living here for now, we have had some welcome relief. She cannot help but pitch in and do things that need doing around here. She is a beautiful gift. She would make a great postpartum doula.

I know that I am called to this work. When doubts creep in, someone always comes along to remind me of the truth of my calling in birth work. They usually don’t know that’s what they’re doing, but it is.

God is faithful, and is holding me up in this journey.

This is hard, but I am glad I am here.

What has been worth it in your life, in spite of difficulty? Why?

Grace & Peace,
Tiffany