Doula Diaries: Birth, body, mind and spirit October 2, 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 25-month old whirlwind of a toddler. And then there's me! I've been doulaing since 2011 and have attended more than 70 births to date and have taught over 100 couples in my childbirth classes. 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.
"What does it mean for you to be balanced in body, mind and spirit, personally?"
This question was posed to me by my dear friend Heather. She's one of those amazing people you really want to be around. She's magnetic, charming, beautiful, insightful and thrives on getting real. We were put in each other's paths when our firstborns were infants, you know, when you're clinging to every ounce of your pre-mom self before you realize everything has changed, forever. We found each other in a breastfeeding support group, felt that magnetic pull, and have been buddies throughout the past 11 years and throughout the miles that now separate us. She's a massage therapist, she's a parenting class mentor, she's a coach, she's a healer. Thank goodness for people like Heather.
So when she posed this question to me, I heeded the call and perked up my ears to introspection.
Have you ever seen those stacks of rocks called cairns, when you're hiking or anywhere outside in nature? What's cool about cairns are that they are manmade, and what makes that cool is that we can see and feel how we as humans have an insatiable curiosity to create balance. We seek to make sense in an otherwise chaotic world.
So, how do I create a balanced life, physically, mentally and emotionally? I decided to think of it this way: How do I create my body mind spirit cairn? Which rocks represent body? Which represent mind? Which represent spirit? Which are on the bottom, as my foundation? Which are there more of? Which is on the top, for passersby to see? Upon what does my cairn sit? Can my cairn withstand the weather? If it topples, how do I rebuild it?
It's funny how life whispers answers into our ears but sometimes we're not quite ready to hear them. To answer Heather's question, what does it mean to be balanced in body, mind and spirit, I'm finding my answers in a period of deep rest. I ignored the whispers for just a tad too long and landed in ill-health, in pain, in an inflammatory state and bone-tired. I needed to be reminded that rest and recovery is essential to my well-being, and I deserve it. Today, taking care of my body is my foundation, the biggest rock in my cairn.
As I build my cairn higher, and trust in its balance, I focus on spirit. It's my relationships that feed my spirit and that's never more true than when you are staring prolonged physical pain in the eye. I've renewed my spirit's longing to be joyful by making the conscious decision to be a friend. Doesn't matter to whom, and it can't be often enough. Be a friend, be a light, reflect joy. Say yes. This also included letting go of relationships that no longer fit quite right.
The highest rocks in my cairn are my balance of mind. My mind is my mainstay, my strength. Thankfully I've learned tools to quiet my mind when it starts to make up stories about what is or isn't true. My mind is in balance, which I use daily in my role as a doula and birth mentor. Only when we experience a balanced quiet mind can we serve others in the throes of their own quest for balance.
Let me take Heather's question ans ask you: as you prepare for your birth, how are you creating balance in body, mind and spirit? As you create your birth cairn, what do your rocks represent? Do you feel balanced? What needs more attention?