This post was birthed, pun intended, from a Facebook status of mine I posted after assisting a long labor and having been up for about 40 hours on an hour of cumulative sleep. It went like this:
Yael is a doula. That explains how she can, after working with her campers yesterday, go straightaway to assist a new mommy in birth and not come home until today. Live on about 20 minutes sleep, fight her own self doubts and demons, and realize once again the strength, beauty and amazing power of a birthing mommy and the child being born. I have no idea anymore what I am typing so I am going to bed friends. Peace!
The next morning I woke up to 17 notifications, most of which said "so and so likes your status" and a lot of "You are awesome!" responses. Although I loved reading everyone of them, I wanted to explain what I meant by the post. I was really trying to express what drives me to be able to work those hours. But of course, I cannot be limited to a 425 character status. Oh no, if you know me at all, you know I hardly have the simple answer. So here for all of you, was my response because after writing it, I thought to myself, hey, this would be a good blog post. °Ü°
Thanks folks, you are all super kind. But mostly, I was speaking of the motivation that drives me to be able to do that. Being a doula, assisting a mommy birth is a devotion of pure love. This love seems to be what empowers me to empower them. Honestly, any one who knows me know I am pretty worthless after about 8 pm. I am tired most days and lack drive. But somehow, when I am with a birthing mother, the world seems to change. Nothing matters but that moment. My thoughts seldom drift, although this birth I hit such a wall within myself. I had this tremendous wall of self doubt and exhaustion. I actually had thoughts that went along the lines of, "I can't do this anymore. This will be my last birth. I am too old."
Finally, after a while that things were not moving along at all, I asked the mommy if she minded if I went home to get some rest (the hospital is like 10 minutes from my home). I assured her she could call me at any point and I would be right back. She and the father agreed it was a good idea and so I left. I got home, oh so tired and full of doubt, changed into my pajamas and got a 20 minute nap when the phone rang. It was mommy and labor, the oh so unpredictable mistress of birth, had kicked in and so I got dressed and left.
But something happened in the moments of answering the phone call and getting dressed. Something clicked so deeply and I was in my 'role'. This is who I am. I wake up at ungodly hours and attend women in birth and I do it quite joyfully. When I arrived mommy was indeed in labor and so I got down to the business of what I do. I am realizing a deep peace, and it isn't about how wonderful I am, although it is awful nice to hear and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. It is about what motivates and drives me. It is about conquering those self doubts and not feeling badly about them, for they are who I am too. How else will I grow? If I never sink deeply into the darkness of the earth, how will I ever germinate and grow roots. If i never come face to face with my own darkness how will I ever appreciate my own light? Although, when I am at a birth it is all about attending to the needs of the mommy, I have to be honest and say it also very much about me. If I do not believe I can do this, how will I? If I do not believe I have the strength and the wisdom to guide and support this mother through uncharted waters how will we both not drown? If I do not trust my intuition how will I know what herbs or tricks of the trade to use.
I prayed so hard, as I always do before every birth, for wisdom to know what to do. This time though, I asked to believe and trust my intuition and my instincts. B"H!!! I knew what was needed for this birth and into my bag of tricks I went. I pulled out herbs to calm her body and mind when needed, herbs to energize her when she was tired of pushing. Even daddy appreciated the herbs and felt revived! I knew when she really needed a cold wash cloth, a light touch, some ho-ku acupressure and I didn't need to think about it. As a doula, a healer, a medicine woman, herbalist and a teacher I am changed with each person I walk with. It is all about the mommy, the child, the client at that moment, but it is also about me growing and seeing and trusting. It is what drives me, motivates me. Those dark nights of the soul, so many of them I have endured, but they are what I believe King David speaks of when he says, "Weeping lasts but a night (or two or three) but joy comes in the morning!" It is at that moment, I can see clearly who I am and what I am to do.