Did you know that today, March 22, marks the start of World Doula Week? The Spring equinox, symbolizing the return to fertility, seems like a perfect time to celebrate and bring empowerment to my powerful sisters who hold space as new souls enter the world. I’m thrilled to get to celebrate with you this year!
To celebrate, I’ve got some fun things planned this week, so make sure you check back! The theme of this year is #doulasbenefiteveryone, which is so so true. Your doula is truly there to support whichever birth experience you desire- YOU are the boss of your birth experience, and us doulas are just here to help navigate.
I’ve been blessed to support births that were at hospital, and at home. Parents who chose no intervention, and parents who chose belly births. Mamas who were alone, and those surrounded by family. Each of these people benefited from having an experienced, judgment free doula by their side. And I benefited by knowing them. It sounds cliche, but I truly am blessed to be able to call this work my “job”. Doulas benefit everyone- even the doula!
Before I leave you for today, I wanted to share this perfect graphic I found. Doulas are for #thatkindofmom
Five weeks post birth with our third baby and I have yet to even open a document to start recording his magical birth story. But this thank you letter to my doula has been on my mind constantly, writing and editing inside my mind, trying to think how to do justice to the gratitude my husband and I have for her.
As a doula myself, I knew as soon as we started planning our birth that I wanted a doula and a photographer there. To me, your birth days are just as important as your wedding day, and the people you surround yourself with, and the memories you take from that day, will stay with you forever. Which is why I felt extremely blessed to know right away who it was that I wanted at my birth, and even more blessed when she agreed.
I’ve known Catherine for several years as parents, and was lucky enough to take a doula training course with her last fall. Since then we have acted as backups for each other, and it has meant the world to me to have her as a doula sister, knowing that she held the same trust and awe in birth that I did, Catherine truly understands not just the basic mechanics of birth, but the holistic reality that birth is a spiritual and deeply emotional event as well.
With this being my third baby, I didn’t have many questions or concerns about the physical side of pregnancy or birth. I knew my body could and would birth a baby successfully, and I felt confident in the team my husband and I had surrounded ourselves with. But I was surprised in the last weeks by how much I still leaned on Catherine, and took comfort in her wisdom and encouragement. And when the time came to make calls for the birth, it was the one to her that I was most excited about.
We were able to have a wonderful waterbirth at home, and Catherine’s sure, calming presence throughout kept both my husband and I centered. And the photos she took of the occasion will be treasured and revisited countless times over the years, of this I am sure. Catherine was able to switch seamlessly between acting as my photographer, and holding space for me as my doula when she could see that I needed the extra reassurance. I absolutely cannot imagine my birth experience without her.
I urge you, if you are on the fence and considering a doula and/or a photographer. Get one. Take the plunge. Do what it takes to ensure you are supported as well as I was on one of the most important days of your life.
“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” – John Kennell, M.D.
Found this on Facebook today, and all of a sudden I was sniffling and smiling. Shoutout to all the amazing humans lucky enough to call themselves a Winnipeg Midwife.
My first birth was with a new-ish OB in Winnipeg who was friendly, and acknowledged my requests, but was not empowering, was not understanding. She was there for medical reasons, and I never felt anything else from her. At the end of my pregnancy, even after countless visits, I still felt no connection to her.
My second birth, my magical homebirth, was completely different. Right from our first meeting, I could tell I’d been blessed with a Winnipeg Midwife who got birth. She understood the emotional, the spiritual component of it. She knew there was more than mechanics at play. Every step of the way she nurtured us, both my husband and I. And we felt supported and listened to. We felt equal in making decisions about the birth of our son. During my first pregnancy, I was a patient who was a consumer of the medical profession. This time around, I was able to form a relationship with the amazing midwife who stood by my side through everything.
Our little E decided to be born really unexpectedly unassisted, and a bit more ‘exciting’ than we would have preferred. But from the moment our midwife D walked in the door, we knew we were ok. We were in control again, and she was there to hold us up and remind us that we were capable. We were enough. The courage and normalcy she lent to those first hours cannot be given a price. We are forever grateful to her.
And so I want to share this article, this letter. Hopefully you too have been lucky enough to be supported like this by a caregiver, maybe even a Winnipeg midwife, or maybe you will be in the future. One day I hope everyone has this experience.
I don’t know if midwives like you are rare or if all share the same grace and understanding. But here is what I am truly thankful for, as a mother, as a woman and as a human being.
Thank you for speaking to me throughout the whole experience of giving birth with compassion, kindness and love. You made me feel at ease. You enabled me to feel strong and powerful. You reminded me how capable I was, how amazing my body was… how I could keep going, even though the pain was great and I was tired.