Doula Breakdown

Last week was a week full of difficulties and ruptures - it wasn't a rapture, silly, to quote my dear friend Syd...

All sorts of very difficult things happened to a lot of people I know, and by the end of the week I was just wondering what was going to happen next. And then, after a rather difficult labor and birth, a proud new grandmother hugged me and said, "This is the happiest day of my life"!

It was the same day a very gentle and wonderful woman in our family passed away, so it was especially poignant to me to see the paradox of being alive with such clarity.

A couple of months ago I called one of my apprentices to let her know that our client was in early labor. She said she just couldn't come with me - literally that minute she had broken up with her boyfriend. I let her know that this is something that happens - the doula's life goes on, and even if something disturbing is taking place in your life, you can still put that something in a box and go to take part in another woman's joy without reserve, clean, fresh, and open.

How do we do this? I have spent many taxi rides doing just that - letting go of my worries about one of my sons, or the fact that my husband and I had planned a much-needed evening together, or what that strange phone call was about from my dear friend. I let it go, and I try to concentrate on the woman I will be attending, and her needs.

Sometimes the doula does have to take a break from doula work in order to concentrate on sorting out her personal issues. I remember several years ago when a doula called me in tears because her husband was not happy with her being away at nights. She chose to move to a different area of maternity care and is happy doing childbirth education and staying home nights. I personally take a break every summer and turn my energies to creating a different sort of life in a very different environment. That life may include birth one day, I don't know right now, but I do know that I am happy without my pager when I am working the cement mixer up on our mountain.

Just fixing everything up here with a little love, some words, and a dab of cement!


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