It’s been a week with two births. As a doula I have seen a wide range of labor experiences. I see differences in empathy. I have seen the mental overcoming the clinical, doubtful, and even the impossible. Unfortunately I have also been witness to harsh comments, unnecessary hostility, and negative thoughts and environments. Birth can be empowering or traumatic. Either way the moment of birth lives with a mother. You can forget pain, you can foster strength and resilience, but that moment is there for a lifetime.
I became a doula when I helped deliver my nephew in my sister’s bathroom while the midwife talked me through the steps via telephone. That moment changed me. I saw my sister, my nephew, birth, life, and challenges in a whole new light. For the first time in my life everything stopped and I knew what I needed to do, support my sister. I wasn’t thinking about anything else in those minutes. That bond to little Griffin, to my sister and brother-in-law, is a depth I cannot put to words. As I said it changed me.
Since that time I have been part of births that either make me compelled to be a mother one day or scared shitless. As much as one can say it’s beautiful, unfortunately no, no it is not. It’s real. It’s messy, it’s tough, it’s intense. It will forever change a mother’s body and life. It’s the most authentic, selfless, and rawest event I see. And for those reasons one may call it beautiful. Regardless of the terms that describe labor, being witness to it makes me appreciate and love my own mother even more. Bringing life into this world is no small task.
To my mother, and to all mothers, thank you.