The Volunteer Spirit

I know so many young women who are eager to spend their time volunteering. They want to gain experience working with women and babies, so they donate hours and bundles of energy to women who perhaps don't have money to pay a doula, or to women who are in a difficult situation postpartum.
This is the core of being a doula, that desire to accompany women on their path toward motherhood, whether we are paid in money or not. I am sure all of us fantasize about an old great grandmother that we have, who traveled from her village to assist women in childbirth, and accepted just a bag of lentils or some corn as payment. This did happen, although I don't think all of our grannies were midwives.
But we have inherited that peaceful, nourishing spirit, and we try our best to assist women, even though lentils cannot pay the rent.
Of course, a midwife has a much greater responsibility than the modern doula. She was responsible for the life of the mother and baby. Often, she was the only one who could save the baby's life - there wasn't an intensive care unit down the road. But she did her job, and she did it well, and the best midwives were the ones who worked in the background of the mother's labor, who assisted only when necessary, who left the honour and joy to the birthing woman.
Just so a doula peaceably attends birth. Not interfering, humble, almost invisible, not a "Professional" or an "Expert", but a friend, a companion. The volunteer doulas who work for Montreal Birth Companions, and other volunteer organizations around the world, are just that - companions. They attend, accompany, and honor the birthing woman. And all for lentils!!


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