Feel the Love


Blackberries are my favorite fruit. I made four jars of blackberry jam this morning. I made a blackberry pie the other night. They are in season around my birthday, so they are a yearly treat for me. They taste of the end of summer, the sugary heat of June and July is stored in their black bubbly taste. They have a rich taste that lends itself well to jam. So I'm jamming.

Jamming and reading my emails. And I read a beautiful account of a birth attended by one of "our" volunteers doulas. She assisted a mother who labored for many hours, and finally the decision was made to go to surgery. The baby was born, and the mother is recovering well from surgery and is mothering, as we do, to the best of her ability. Her doula was fully present for mother and baby from the beginning of labor, in the labor room, in the operating room, and at home.

If I look at the details of the story, I could probably find places where decisions were made that were not optimum, that may have led to further interventions, where this woman could have avoided surgery. But that's what I love about "my" volunteers and apprentice doulas. They are not working from information, experience, or an agenda. They are the best doulas I know, because they are working from a sense of companionship. They are loving the birthing woman.

I know several artists and musicians. A familiar refrain in the world of creativity is "Ah, if I could draw/see/play as a child does! If I could regain that way of looking at the world, where everything is new and interesting." In the birth world, as well, that sense of innocence, of wonder at birth, is something that we all strive to keep. I remember when I was looking forward to going to my first birth - I would have done anything just to be at that woman's side and accompany her through labor and birth. Not to say that I am not as dedicated to birthing women as I used to be. But I know them better - I've seen more - I don't have that freshness of vision that a "new" doula or a child has.

As doulas, we need to remember to forget ourselves and our knowledge when we are accompanying a woman in labor. Just as I greet the first wild blackberries with joy and appreciation, we should greet every birthing woman with respect and with a sense of her "newness" in the world.Forget about how much or what you know, and remember that it is her journey and you are a guest. Be happy.




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