Doula Diaries: Sunday May 22, 2016
Ever wonder what it's like to be a doula with a family? I'll tell ya! Welcome to my doula life! My main characters are Mike, my superhero of a husband and father to our three children; Jace, my 11 year old guitar-playing, x-box loving, sharp-witted son; Kaia, my 8 year old sunshine daughter; and Ty, my 20-month old whirlwind of a toddler. And then there's me! I've been doulaing since 2011 and have attended around 60 births to date. This is my full-time gig! With three children and a doula business, private and group childbirth education classes, evening sports and afterschool homework, staying at home as a full-time mom and also creating space for my own health and fitness, there is, as they say, never a dull moment.
This coming week is week 4 in my childbirth education series. All 5 couples are amazing; 2 have already given birth and 3 are first-time parents. On the night of last week's class, my own mother was at my house, helping Mike out with the kids and spending the night so she could babysit Ty for me while I went on a 5th grade class field trip with Jace the next day. Class ended at 9p and Mom remarked, "Is class always that lively? I could hear everyone laughing and talking from all the way upstairs!" Cue the big smile from me. Laughing and talking means engaging and connecting which means opening up to vulnerability and learning something new. #thedoulalife for the win!
This month has been a whirlwind, as the kids wrap up their school years in two short weeks. They're "participators" as I say; they are bright and likable and therefore are involved in EVERYTHING. As National Elementary Honor Society (NEHS) president of his school, Jace had his induction for the upcoming class to attend as well as prepare a speech; Kaia was invited as one of two kids in her class to participate in the 2nd grade "Math Bee" next week; Ty is taking Infant Swim Rescue (ISR) lessons every day for two weeks. Sometimes it's really stressful managing everyone's activities plus running my own business, and this week I've paid the price with an awful RA flare. It started innocently enough with a mild cold after Jace had caught a virus late last week. But the thing with autoimmune disease is, while the body is attacking the virus, it becomes "confused" and also wages war on the healthy tissues. The results for me are immeasurable fatigue, crippling pain in my hands, and fear about what the future holds.
I often think about how I've gotten on this path to be a doula. Life has snowballed me here, and I sometimes spin around to say, Whoa! How'd I get here?! I trust that everything happens in perfect timing. My experience as an In-Home Parent-Educator and Case Manager just out of college had prepared me for in-home visits as a doula. My experience running my own children's music class business had prepared me for running my own doula business. And perhaps living, breathing and teaching pain-coping practices has prepared me for a lifetime of coping with the effects of RA; not only the pain, but also the fear of what might come next. And so I find my breath, breathe in to relax and breathe out to open, and focus on this one moment, right here, right now...Opening up to vulnerability and uncertainty...just like in birth.
I'm looking forward to slowing it down over the summer. Meanwhile looking to this coming week...Class 4 on Thursday will include "Losing It" during labor; Transition and Pushing; Placenta; Couples Expectations after baby; and Breastfeeding. All of course with a Birthing From Within twist, really diving deep into our own well of experiences and opening up to a whole new way of integrating the information. And a sweet baby should be making his debut appearance any time in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that birth announcement!
Stay tuned for the next edition of The Doula Diaries, and if you enjoyed this one, leave me a comment below!
In case you missed them, click below to read my first five Doula Diaries posts: