We often say being a doula is a calling, not a job or career. I think what we mean is that we are honored to be able to comfort a new mother during her labor. We are joyful when parents get to welcome a new baby into their family. We are excited to be able to offer our experience with breastfeeding and postpartum travails, if we can help a mother ease into her new life that way.
Because we are fascinated by this process of birth and new mothering, we study it and become more knowledgeable about it. We try to be a useful resource for mothers and new families. Yet, that isn’t the most important thing we do. We offer our support and comfort because people matter. New babies are people who matter. New mothers are people who matter. New fathers are people who matter. We do our best to help ease the way. We enjoy helping and being a resource. That’s what matters.
Ellen Huffmyer and I are the newly appointed co-coordinators of “Heart & Hands” Doula Service. We are very excited and happy about this new promotion. We hope to do more to help new mothers with births and breastfeeding and other doula support. We are starting a Beechview Breastfeeding Cafe and a special interest mothering group.
Save the Date! March 24th, 2012 the 12th Annual Family Centered Maternity Care Conference will be at the Doubletree Hotel in Monroeville. Featuring renowned homebirth midwife, Tonya Brooks of The Natural Birth and Women’s Center in southern California. She has caught over 5000 babies, and has devoted her career to making homebirth a safe option for mothers and babies, as well as researching risks and benefits of modern obstetric practice. It should be an amazing, and informative conference.
Yesterday I joined some friends in the birthing community in learning techniques for spinning babies from Gail Tulley. We were shown many techniques to help a pregnant mom get her baby into an optimal position for birth. One of my favorites was the forward leaning inversion. Gail said, one inversion a day for 30 seconds each, is good for the round ligaments and helping position the baby.
Pregnant mother showing us a forward leaning inversion.
After the mother inverts herself, she gently crawls down and then sits up fairly quickly. This helps her balance the round ligaments holding her uterus in place. If her uterus is in balance, her baby will find the optimal position for his birth! It was a fascinating class. I’m going to practice these elements so that I can offer them to the mothers that I help with birth.
The mother is the sunshine of her home. When she cries, the clouds appear on her family’s horizon. Yet, she who steps on her misery, stands higher. (This is a paraphrase from the German poet Friedrich Holderlin.) What causes a mother to cry the most? She worries about her children. If her children are fine, she worries about the suffering of other mothers. That is the point of the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. It is not just your own children who are the future, it is everyone in your community’s children. We need to support those mothers who are struggling in their families. That is one of the things that doulas do. We also point out where help may be needed, so that other friends and family of a struggling mom can bring help. What is help? Maybe it is a listening ear. Maybe it is joining in with prayers. Maybe a hot meal for her family. Sometimes, the deepest worries can be lessened by a helpful community of mothers who care.