Picking a Doula- Part 1

I’ve been going on a fair number of interviews lately, which is really exciting for me!  I have met some amazing women and have more births to look forward to over the next few months.  Before each interview, as I am preparing my packet, I try to put myself in the shoes of the mom and consider what kinds of questions she will have for me so that I can be prepared with a thoughtful answer.  In an effort to learn more about where Mom is coming from, and to help any readers in their quest for a Doula, I asked Lisa to help me out.

The beautiful Lisa Deck from Before the Belly (my pseudo older sister) recently hired a Doula for her upcoming birth, and agreed to answer some questions for me about her process.  Now, I know every mom is going to have different needs, but Lisa is an “everywoman.”  She’s granola, but urban.  She’s natural, but understands the benefits of modern medicine and technology.  She’s open and smart and thoughtful.  Basically, she’s awesome!

Make sure you click on over to Lisa’s blog to read about her journey toward motherhood via IVF!

Kate:  When did you start doing your Doula research?

Lisa:  I started doing my research REALLY early, around 9-10 weeks.  This was on purpose.  I was trying to focus my energy somewhere positive during that scary 1st trimester when I had serious doubts about whether or not my pregnancy was going to “make it.”  This is my way of suggesting to the universe that it would.  It also gave me something to research on the internet other than early pregnancy symptoms.

How did you find out about Doulas?

My interest in birth started several years ago, long before I was married or planning to start my family.  I felt like a light bulb went off when I heard about how birth could be an empowering, beautiful experience rather than a scary medical procedure.  I started reading books and watching documentaries, much like I imagine you are doing now.  From what I learned, having a doula was a very important part of having a natural birth.

Why do you feel a Doula is important for your birth?

I feel really strongly that I want to try for a natural, unmedicated birth.  I also know that that puts me in the minority of hospital patients and that I will need a strong advocate to get where I am hoping to go.  Anything I can do to increase my chances of success, I’m willing to do.  And I also think the idea of having a woman experienced with natural birth, encouraging and guiding me, is such a comforting thought.

How many Doulas did you interview?

We interviewed 3 and all were awesome!  It was a really hard decision because I liked them all and could envision having a wonderful experience with each of them.

What questions did you ask them?

I asked a lot of questions.  🙂  I asked if she had experience with my midwife group and hospital where I planned to deliver.  I wanted to know if she would come to my house so that I could labor at home for awhile before going to the hospital.  I also wanted to know if she would be available if I went into labor prematurely.  One of the most intimate – and difficult – questions I asked was what her policy was if we lost the baby before birth.  I didn’t want to even imagine it, but I also wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t be locked into a contract we had to pay for if that happened.

Did you use a particular resource to find your pool of Doulas and the questions you asked them?

I did a lot of searching on the internet, reading yelp reviews and looking over the doulas’ websites.  I think I also searched mothering.com and other online communities to see if other people had recommendations.

Were there any red flags?

There really weren’t any red flags with any of the women I met.  I have a close friend who also interviewed a few doulas recently and she had a crazy/funny experience.  She and her husband went to the doula’s home to interview her, and when she opened the door, the doula put her hands in the air touching the top of the door and invited them to duck under and “birth” themselves into her home.  If that wasn’t strange one time, she made them do it again on their way out.  Here’s a tip: don’t do that.

How did you make your decision?

As I said, it was very difficult.  We narrowed it down to the two doulas we really clicked with.  One of them had a personality that reminded me more of me – warm, engaging and easy to talk to.  The other’s personality was a lot like my husbands – more cool, calm and collected.  I could really see the benefits of having either of them at our birth, and I really LIKED both of them.  But in the end, I decided it was the person who I could relate to the best that would be the person I was most comfortable with.  Besides, I already have one John, and one is usually enough.  🙂

What would you say to parents-to-be who are on the fence about hiring a Doula?

Well, I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say once I go through the birth experience with a doula.  But I can say that I’ve learned that having a doula can reduce your risk of having a c-section or other interventions as well as helping you have a more empowering and satisfying birth experience.  I also know that having someone who really understands birth – what’s normal, what’s not, how to cope with pain, etc – is very comforting to me and John.  We have no idea what to expect, so it will be a relief, I think, to have someone there to gently guide us through the process.

**Check out this article from CNN.com.  It’s a bit dated, but it’s got great information about how to avoid a c-section (#5 is my favorite!)**

What are the top 3 things you think a new Doula should do or say at in interview?

One of the first questions I asked my doulas was “what is your role and how is it different from my husband’s role?”  I think that a doula should have a good answer for that.  Men need to hear that they are still going to be necessary if a doula is part of their birth.  Women also want to know that there is a reason to have someone other than their partner present.  I also like when people who are going to be involved in my birth ask me about myself and my story.  As you know, it’s taken a lot of effort for me to get where I am now.  I want my doula to know these things about me and care about getting to know both me and John personally.  On the flip side, I also want to know about her.  What her philosophy is or why she became a doula.  Anything that gives me insight to her personality.  Like I said, for us, it came down to personality.  So, it’s important to let who you are come through during an interview.

How is your pregnancy going?

Great!  I am in the “honeymoon” stage where I feel good again and not big and uncomfortable yet.  I have a cute belly going, but it’s not cumbersome.  I’m really enjoying everything about being pregnant right now.  And oh – feeling the kicks is the BEST ever.  I love it.

Any strange cravings?

Nothing terribly strange.  I had my first cheese steak sandwich (ever) which has become a new favorite.  I also have been snacking on pierogies. 🙂

Thanks so much for your insight Lisa!

If you live in the Chicagoland area and are looking for a Doula, contact Lisa and I am sure she would be happy to share her list with you to get you started.  Or you can visit www.dona.org to find a Doula near you!

August 31, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , . Doula Stuff. 1 comment.

Meeting Up

“Meet yourself where you are.” 

Have you heard that phrase before?  Until recently, I never had, so it’s a concept I enjoy wrapping my brain around.  I have this image of walking down the street, seeing myself at a corner, and going up to myself and linking arms.  Sometimes the corner is a café, and sometimes the arm link is a hug.  Other times the corner is the edge of a cliff and the hug is a shove.  It’s never the same image, but it always makes me smile (even when I am pushing myself off a cliff).

It’s not an easy thing to do, this meeting self where self is, especially for someone like me who has really specific goals and high expectations for self.  Why can’t “I” meet “ME” where “I” AM?  Does that make any sense?  Of course not.

One major internal struggle I have is whether or not I will do any acting again.  Now, I know that I cannot actually answer this question, and I don’t really HAVE to because it is an art and I believe it is always available to me.  (Hollywood producers that think women over 35 are “old” will disagree with me, but they are lame and I wouldn’t want to work with them now, or over 35.  So there).

But being that I moved out to LA to pursue a career in Acting, the fact that I am NOT doing that, despite finding a career that fills me up with joy and feels RIGHT, it does feel like a failure.  But like that saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” couldn’t failure also be in the eye of the beholder?  Just because someone may look at my path and say, “Oh man, Kate has totally failed as an actor” if I do not feel that way, does it mean I failed?  If a tree falls in the woods….What is the sound of one hand clapping?  (Another awesome image!)

So, in times of  feeling like a “failure,” I ask myself this question: Do I want to succeed at making sure other people think I am a success, or do I want to actually succeed?  The answer is obvious, but until I can remind myself of the difference, I actually get caught up in the feelings of failure.

I am not a religious person, but I do believe that things happen for a reason.  Moving to LA was not something we would have EVER done if the right situation hadn’t come up.  And if you asked me 1 year ago if that particular situation was “the right one” I would have told you without hesitation “NO.”  I might have even told you, in a moment of extreme drama, that those circumstances ruined my life.  But that would have been a lie, and the reality is that those circumstances led me to where I am today.  And today I am on a path to something I NEVER would have found back in Chicago.  I miss home SO MUCH.  I can see our lovely little Andersonville apartment in my mind and hear the hum of the radiator and my eyes fill up with tears because I miss it so much- even 1.5 years later!

BUT, if I am doing the hard work of “meeting myself where I am,” I am embracing that self, and letting her cry when she misses Chicago.  I am giving her space when she wants to rage against the frustration of not knowing where the path is going and why.  And, most of all, I am not EVER judging her when she changes her mind- about anything- because that is her prerogative.

And it’s yours too.

So make a plan to meet your “self” at a cozy cafe and hug it all out.  Everything feels better after a good hug, right?  Right.

Where I was

Where I am now

August 28, 2011. Tags: , , , , . Hollywood, Home, LA. 2 comments.

I Found the Most Raddest Doctor on the Planet

And her name is Deborah Gleisner.

And she is a Naturopathic Doctor.

And I love her.

What is a Naturopathic Doctor?  Besides, awesome, she (or he) is a doctor with an integrative approach to healthcare that takes the whole body into consideration to promote healing, disease prevention and overall wellness.  She gave me a binder with information and that is a condensed version of what it says.

The bullet points on page one say this about their practice:

  • First Do No Harm
  • Support the Body’s Inherent Ability to Heal
  • Identify and Treat the Cause
  • The Doctor as Teacher
  • Treat the Whole Person
  • Emphasize Prevention

For me, this is GOLD.

Not only is Dr. Gleisner a Naturopathic Doctor, but she is also a Midwife who does home birth, AND she does pediatric care!  So not only can I go to her for my general wellness, but also she can deliver my babies AT HOME, and then treat my babies when they need it!

Our visit was everything I have ever wanted in a visit: an hour of uninterrupted time where we talk about the 7-page questionnaire that I filled out (and actually enjoyed doing so) and then I had my exam.  She made suggestions, filled in gaps of information where I had them, and made me feel comfortable to talk about anything with her.  Now, I should say this: I really care about my health and love being in tune with my body. I also avoid doctors because I don’t like NOT being listened to, and I don’t want to put chemicals in or on my body.  She really listened to what I had to say, explained everything she was doing and why she was doing it, took my worries into consideration, and then talked with me about how we could work together to handle them.

As a part time Vegan, full time Vegetarian, we talked in length about my diet and how it will affect my ability to carry a baby, and be healthy in general.  She drew some blood to check my iron stores, vitamin D and wanted to see if I am anemic.  I got the results back today: my iron stores are low, as is my vitamin D, but I am not anemic- yay!  And her suggestions?  That I eat iron rich foods, get on an iron supplement if I like, and take some vitamin D drops.  She educated me about the difference in supplements, and in her handy binder there is tons of great information on promoting health through food, rest, and activity.

And she emails!

Overall, I feel really taken care of, and that was only the first visit.  I actually look forward to seeing her again, although I hope it’s only under positive circumstances.

If you are in the LA area and are looking for a great doctor, please call her.  She is in Hollywood now, but moving her office to Marina Del Rey sometime soon.

Dr. Deborah Gleisner

dragonflynaturalhealth.com

We drive the same car =)

August 26, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , . Birth, LA. 3 comments.

List #12

Happy Monday!

Buck and I went movie hopping last night and saw Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Help.  That Emma Stone can ACT ya’ll!  Both movies were so great and totally worth seeing in the theater.  I read The Help a while back and fell in love with the book.  The movie stayed pretty true to it, which I appreciated, and the performances were outstanding.  Go have yourself a date night and see them!

Okay, on to the list:

Eight Wonderful, Stunning Things That You Do Not Know About Me

*disclaimer: some of you may know these, and not all of them are “wonderful” or “stunning.”

1.  I don’t believe in boredom.  My high school physics teacher was this wonderfully weird lady, and although I did terribly in her class, I took one thing she said away with me: “Boredom is the product of an inept imagination.”  And I agree with her.  One fun game I used to play in college (in my head) if I found myself uninterested in the topic being droned on about, I would make up stories or background about the person talking- try to imagine who they are on the weekend, what their favorite color is, what their house looks like, what makes them laugh or cry.  It was always interesting to me and then I felt like I “knew” them better and tended to pay more attention to what they were saying.

2.  I eat a lot of chocolate chips.  Well, I am sure I eat a lot more than you think I do.  Many of you who know me believe me to be a health nut.  While that is partially true- I do love clean, nutritious food- I also have an addition to Trader Joe’s Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (which are vegan thankyouverymuch).

3.  I always have these five things with me:  Wallet, phone, water bottle, chapstick, lotion.

4.  I joined Facebook.  Here’s the truth: I joined Facebook because I am starting my Doula business and I realize that there are connections to be made and fostered using the site.  My intention was only to set up a business page, but it looks like you can only do that if you have a personal page, or at least that’s how I was “tricked” into it.  Lot’s of people think I am silly for being so freaked out by being on the site, but I can’t seem to shake it.  I enjoy about 10 minutes of seeing how people are doing, but then get totally freaked and have to shut it off.  Baby steps into social networking…(Feel free to “Like” my page if you haven’t already: Doula By Heart)

5. I don’t believe TV belongs in a bedroom.  That space is for two things: Sleep and…not sleep…and TV interrupts both.  I suppose it could enhance one of those things…

6.  I have jumped out of a plane.  (and crash landed AND didn’t break anything!)

7.  I don’t own a microwave!  Wow- it’s been over a year since we had one, and I actually really like living without it.

8.  I am taking prenatal vitaminsAnd that’s about all I am going to say about that!  =)

August 22, 2011. Tags: , , , . 52 lists, 52 weeks. 1 comment.

I Was Hired!

I was hired…by people who haven’t known me for 20 years…to…be at their birth…which is going to happen…AT THEIR HOME!!  Can you tell that I am excited?  CUZ I AM!

First there is the “getting hired” part.  That was thrilling! And let me share something with you: Interviewing to be someone’s Doula is WAY different than, say, interviewing to be the Marketing Coordinator for Whole Foods Market.  For the WFM interview, I needed to look as cute and professional as possible, and I had to talk about myself as much as I could, because that’s what you are supposed to do in the corporate world- sell YOURSELF.  But in the (beautiful) Doula world, listening is key, looking too cute can make a preggy mama feel insecure, and working from a place of “I want you to have the best person by your side, even if it’s not me” is ESSENTIAL.  This is not a selfish work we do.  It is truly my belief that I was put here to be a Doula and to Doula very specific women.  I don’t know who they are yet- we haven’t met (or maybe we have…)- but we will when it’s time.

Tara and Steve were my first clients, and Tara and I have been friends for over 20 years.  When she hired me, it was over brunch at her baby shower.  It was exciting and easy and SO special to me that she wanted me there.  There was no interview because we already knew each other!  And I certainly do not mean to diminish that experience simply because we do know each other, but there is something astounding to me that someone who doesn’t know me well would want to have me at one of the most intimate events of their life.  I am overwhelmed with the honor and I instantly put this family into my heart.  They will be my second birth and my first home birth (assuming nothing comes up before November) and that is so special to me.

The weekend that they hired me, I had been in a workshop about how to start a Doula business taught by the talented Tracy Hartley.  If you are a Doula in the area and need some guidance, go to her workshop.  I literally walked out of it Sunday at 5pm, drove to my interview, spent just over an hour with the family, and got the email the next day letting me know I was hired.  It was amazing!

And to tell you the truth, I walked out of the interview feeling a little frustrated that I didn’t say some of the things I intended to say.  And this wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own!  I just get so interested in hearing their story, their expectations and fears, that I forget until the end to talk about my services (which are a work in progress anyway) and then rush to get it out!  But I learned a really valuable lesson: listening is my strength and it will work in my favor as a Doula.  And thank GAWD cuz if there are two things I love in life (besides my husband and ice cream) its listening and helping people.

August 20, 2011. Tags: , , , . Doula Stuff. 1 comment.

Taking a Breath

Here is what I have noticed- when I have a LOT to share, I put off blogging, journaling, and responding to emails.  I just want to get it all out and I want to take my time doing it, or rather it seems like it will take a long time to do it, and so I put it off.  And off.  And off again.  And before I know it, one week has gone by and I have blogger/journaler/emailer shame riding on my shoulders!

So, here is a list of the things I plan to get out on this here blog:

  • Recap of Amy’s wedding (it was so fun!!)
  • I was hired!
  • Finding the right Doula for you
  • I found the most raddest doctor on the planet!
  • I got to hear Carrie Contey speak and my world is a better place because of it
  • 100 Pushups
  • Meeting myself where I am
  • Diva Cup

Whew- it feels so much better to put it down!

If you are having trouble getting something done because you are feeling overwhelmed, or dread, or hesitation- ask yourself where it is coming from.  If it’s feeling overwhelmed, make a list and if there are things on that list that your partner, kids, friends, or minions can help you with, ask them.  Delegating is so important!  Post the list where everyone can see it and ask them to pick a task (or two) that they would like.  Make them feel like THEY get a choice, and they will feel better about helping you!

If it’s dread or just plain hesitation, determine what that is all about.  Don’t judge yourself for it- just name it and then find ways to do what you can.  Try tackling the task for a little bit each day (set a timer if you have to), or recognize if there is someone else that might be better at handling the task, and ask for help to- say it with me- DELEGATE!

Either way, know that everything works out eventually and a few deep breaths can go a really long way.

August 20, 2011. Random. Leave a comment.

List #11

List #11: Things I Will Miss About Summer

Being that, compared to Chicago, it always feels like summer in Southern California, I have a hard time thinking of things I will miss, but here goes:

  • Being able to call my friends and family that are teachers/students any time of day. 
  • Peaches
  • Feeling okay about being lazy
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes

I am going to stop here because I really cannot think of anything else.  I have been sitting here for almost an hour trying to think of things!  I don’t even LOVE summer that much!  I live in a part of the country that is warm MOST of the time and we don’t get those fantastic rain storms that I really love about summer.  I don’t own a bathing suit, and I fear skin cancer, so going to the beach isn’t something I’m really into.  I really love Fall, so I am actually pretty thrilled that summer is ending!

Maybe if the list was changed to “Things I really loved about this summer” I could do better…

  • Amy and Tommy’s wedding (which I still need to write about!)
  • Having the Duba- Mobley family out for a visit
  • Spending nearly every weekend of July with Zac
  • Seeing so many great movies
  • Going to San Diego for the first time
  • Making Doula Friends
  • Working on 100 Pushups with Buck
  • All the cooking I did
  • Reading The Hunger Games series
  • Wearing Dresses and skirts
  • New iPhone
  • Seeing my family and friends
  • Accepting my limitations
  • Setting boundaries I feel good about
  • The Beauty CULTure Exhibit
  • Hearing great news from my friends

Yeah, that’s more like it.

August 16, 2011. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

List #10 (a week late)

Last week was strangely busy, yet unproductive.  I was craving personal contact, and so every time I sat down at my computer, it felt like the enemy- the opposite of the thing I wanted.  So I didn’t get much done, and I certainly didn’t blog.

So, I planned to post both lists 10 and 11 together in one post, but it would be super duper long, and you’d probably get sick of reading.

List #10: My 10 Favorite Spaces and Places (in no particular order)

(this list took me some time because I am really sentimental and I was worried this would make me homesick.  It did, but I got through it)

1.  In bed with my husband  Here are a list of my favorite beds: fancy hotel beds (specifically: the bed at The Conrad Hotel), the first bed we every bought together (a queen Sealy with a pillow top), the bed in Annie’s guest bedroom, and the guest bed at my In Law’s house.  Comfort is really important- more important than space.  We had a full size bed for most of our relationship and I used to joke that we were going to downgrade to a twin so we HAD to snuggle.  Moving up to a Queen changed my mind about that…it’s awesome!

2The Dumich kitchen table  Kate (Dumich) Sollmann has been my best friend since we were 10 years old and her family took me in as one of their own.  Both of my parents worked outside the house, so I spent many days and nights over at the Dumich house, sitting around the kitchen table.  It’s nothing fancy- just a solid wood table with plenty of seating- but it is a lovely, safe place to be.  The kitchen has a half wall that allows you to see into the living room so that everyone can talk and listen.  I always admired the way their family would talk over dinner.  No topic seemed off limits and the debates were always exciting.  I have shared laughter and tears at that table; Kate wrote out all my wedding place cards at that table; together we wrote out all of Amy’s wedding place cards at that table!  It has seen a lot and has been there for me in the same way that family has always been there for me- solid, simple, and not requiring a lot of fuss. 

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Kate working on Amy's placecards (what a good friend!)

3.  “The Middle of Nowhere”  When Buck and I stated dating at ISU, there weren’t a TON of options for fun.  We often had to make our own.  On stormy days, we hoped in his car and drove out to the fields to watch.  One day we found this concrete slab on the side of a remote country road.  We jumped out and watched the sunset and stayed up late talking and watching the stars.  We called it “The Middle of Nowhere” and would return to it when we needed some space.  It scared the crap out of me to be in the middle of a field at night, but I think that’s just the city girl in me who has watched too many slasher movies…

4.  Independent coffee shops  Some favorites: Aroma Coffee and Tea Company, Joey’s Cafe, Groundwork Coffee, Intelligentsia.  Okay, I know that last one is not independent, but I love their brew so much…and their cafe’s are always so cool and clean.

5.  The Ostello della Pace  translates to Peace Hostel in Italian, and I stayed there when I backpacked through Italy in 2003.  Located in Assissi, it’s one of my favorite places on this planet for one really simple reason: it was the first time I was fully living in the moment.  I found myself there after meeting a girl (Kristen from Boston) during my travels and we took a train out.  The hostel is made of stone and brick and has really comfortable, affordable rooms.  Our first night there, a few other travelers showed up (Colin from Canada and another guy from Spain), as well as an Italian scouting troop made up of roughly 20 eight year old kids (both boys and girls).  We all became friends and stayed up until the wee hours singing and dancing around a campfire with the scouting troop.  They sang camp songs in Italian and I had no idea what they were saying, but it was bliss.  There was a song about a “kiss train” and all the little boys kissed my cheeks.  I was 21 and alive in my skin for what felt like the first time.  It was very powerful.

6.  Craft rooms  I love all craft rooms.  They make me feel inspired.  Here is a picture of mine:
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7.  The radiator in the living room at The Paulina Palace #2A.  Buck and I moved up to Chicago after I graduated and found our perfect apartment in Andersonville.  Buck says I have rose colored glasses now that we don’t live there anymore, but I really did love that place.  In the living room, there is a long radiator, and during the summer months when it was off, I would perch on it and read, or just look out the window onto Paulina Street.  When Buck proposed to me, I was sitting on that radiator (until I tackled him on the floor after saying yes!), and when I got the call that I had been hired to my dream job, I was sitting on that radiator.  It wasn’t super comfortable to sit on, but it was always comforting to be there. 

8.  The Start and Finish lines at a marathon The Chicago Marathon.  The Chicago Marathon changed my life so many times.  It is so empowering to finish a marathon, and if you ever think you may want to do one, call me.  I truly believe that anyone can do it (yes, even you who says “but I only run if someone is chasing me!”) and I love talking about it.  The start and finish lines of the Chicago Marathon in particular are amazing.  When you are at the start line in Chicagoit’s still pretty dark out, the city lights are twinkling, they play inspiring music, and then the National Anthem, and you and the 30,000 runners around you share in the excitement of beginning a race.  The finish line has stands filled with people and a balloon arch and you know that once you cross it, there are likely going to be donuts on the other side.  And you are going to eat them.  A LOT of them.  Cuz you earned it. 

9.  The ocean  I have always been inspired by and terrified of the ocean.  When I am feeling overwhelmed, I like to drive out to the beach (it’s nice that I can do that now that I live in California!) and remind myself that the world is very big and my problems do not have to be. 

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10.  CW301  CW stands for Centennial West and 301 is a room in that building, which is located on the campus of Illinois Sate University.  This room housed my first college Acting class (with Kim Pereira), many rehearsals for the Improv Mafia, some Mafia shows, rehearsals for The House of Blue Leaves (one of my favorite roles), and it’s the room I sat outside of listening to Buck rehearse for a play, and where I allowed myself to admit that I loved him.  We weren’t dating yet, you see, and things would be complicated with our group of friends if we did get together.  I would take a walk to the building at night and sit outside on a bench to listen to him in rehearsal and dream about a day when he would tell me he loved me too.  Lucky for me, that day came and we’ve been telling each other that for over 10 years now.

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Mafia misfits in CW301 circa 2005

August 15, 2011. Tags: , , , , , , , , . 52 lists, 52 weeks, Crafts, Friendship, Home, Husband, LA, sisters. 1 comment.

I can DO

On the last day of my Doula Training Class Ana Paula had us sing a song.  I am not a singer.  In fact, I break into a small sweat and try to find an excuse to leave the room when group singing is suggested (which is rare, but in my theatrical group of friends, it does happen).  I do LOVE to sing, but only in the privacy of my car or bathroom.  In college it was required that acting majors audition for the musical every year.  It was the most humbling experience because I would watch the faces of teachers I respected start out looking so hopeful and melt into a frown of pity.  This is why it took me 29 years to do kareoke.

But having spent an amazing weekend in the hands of Ana Paula, I didn’t want to miss out on the last few moments I had in the blissful bubble of doula sisterhood, so I hunkered down and prayed that no one would judge me too harshly.

Here are the lyrics to the song:

“It is a brave thing I do

Making a wave for you

I am strong

I can do

What it takes so that you can come through”

Singing with my sisters is a memory I cherish a lot, and from time to time I play the recording I made of our group song and smile (don’t worry ladies- I am not going to post it online).

I love the double meaning of the line “I can do what it takes so that you can come through.”  I can do what mama needs to help her baby to come through the birth canal, but I can also do what it takes for mama to feel comfortable enough to “get primal,” as Ana Paula likes to say.  I can do all sorts of things to help her feel safe enough to forget where she is and just tune into her body.  I can DO, and that is my favorite thing about this work.  There is PLENTY to do at every step of the way, and even if that “doing” is just holding hands or blocking the door so mom can rest, I know there is value in that.

August 10, 2011. Doula Stuff. 1 comment.

What is Support?

Starting today, I am waking up 2 hours early to study Doula stuff.  There is so much to learn and I just need to carve out some quiet morning time when the phone isn’t ringing to make this a priority.  Because I want to.  And because I need to.

So, this morning Buck and I woke up early, I made a quinoa breakfast thing from the Trader Joes cookbook I am borrowing from Michelle (will share recipe this week), and we set about doing our work.

One of the first pages in my binder from my training class has a page that says this:

What is Support?

Support it unconditional.

It is listening…

not judging, not telling your own story.

Support is not offering advice…

it is offering a handkerchief, a touch, a hug…caring.

We are here to help women discover what they are feeling…

not to make the feelings go away.

We are here to help a woman identify her options…

not to tell her which options to choose.

We are here to disucss steps with a woman…

not to take the steps for her.

We are here to help a woman discover her own strength…

not to resuce her and leave her still vulnerable.

We are here to help a woman discover she can help herself…

not to take that responsibility for her.

We are here to help a woman learn to choose…

not to make it unnecessary for her to make difficult choices.

– Anonymous

I love this.

As a middle child and an older sister, I have trained myself to turn the other cheek, and to get the work done, and to fill in the gaps when they arise.  But I realize that this behavior isn’t always the healthiest for me, nor the most helpful for my partners.

“We are here to help a woman discover she can help herself…not to take that responsibility from her.”

What beautiful work this is!

August 8, 2011. Tags: , . Doula Stuff. Leave a comment.

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