I often have people say to me, "Wow, what rewarding work you do! I can't imagine being there to see a baby born!" And you know what? They're right! It is very rewarding work. Rewarding because a family has chosen me to be by their side through one of the most vulnerable and momentous times in their life. I am a witness to the miracle of birth....and it truly is a miracle! It is truly amazing work. But, it can also be exhausting.
Don't get me wrong I do LOVE my job, but as much as this work can bring you great joy it also take it's toll both emotionally and physically.
You see, doula's are a special breed. We didn't chose this path but rather it chose us. We are a compassionate, empathetic bunch that feel very deeply. And I mean deeply. We invest so much in our clients, caring for them sometimes for 48 hours straight with little sleep. Holding their hand through the trials of labour, assuring them the whole way through, building them up when the going gets tough, shedding tears with them when they're feeling weak and vulnerable and advocating for them when they feel they have no voice.
After a busy month of births, some of them very long and back to back, I was contemplating my line of work. Asking myself how much longer I could do this. I was feeling run down and had finished up with a couple of births that hadn't gone as planned. I was disheartened by what I perceived as hubris in our healthcare system and really felt for my clients. When you're a person that feels deeply, this hits you very hard. You talk it out with other doula's, your share with your family and you feel a bit better. But it's not until you receive testimonials like the ones below that you remember why you do this work in the first place. It's amazing how a few words on a page can turn everything around. How they can lift you back up and get you back in the birth saddle again!
Here's to birth! Here's to the amazing women that give birth each and every day! Here's to their incredibly supportive partners! And here's to the blessing of being able to serve these families!
From a Mama's Perspective:
As a first time mother all I can say is that Marlo is a godsend, she is compassionate, kind and determined. She was invaluable part of our birthing experience. For hours on end she was our coach, our friend and our number one supporter. Nothing in our birthing experience went as hoped or planned, exept having Marlo there with us. She helped guide us through unforseen events and choices all with a smile on her face despite the time of night and the long hours. She motivated me to keep going and push myself to fullfill my goal of labouring without pain medication. She stood up for us againt unwanted pressure and negative comments from the medical staff.
After our son was born, Marlo made sure to visit us at home. This is where her compassion shined as she listened to my transition into motherhood with understanding and support. She truly cares about the mothers, fathers and children with which she works. You can see it in her face and hear it in her voice. I cannot imagine going through this process without Marlo.
From a Papa's Perspective:
Marlo was incredibly vauable to have around during my wife's labour. I was prepared and enthusiastic but I couldn't bring the know how that Marlo provided as it was first time watching a woman go through labour. Her coaching and guidance were very helpful and, with my wife in her own world, I had someone to talk to and joke with. Her calm, confident and sure demeanor were reasuring in moments when I did not know if something was "normal" or "common place". At one point she actually went out to get me some food and many times told me (though I didn't listen very well) to sleep and take a break. She was there for both of us and it was very much appreciated.