Being a doula has taught me…
- I have to disappoint people I love sometimes. At any moment, I may have to leave people I care about high and dry while I bolt to the side of a mother in labor. Babies don’t care about the date on the calendar.
- I will be growing and learning forever. I will never “arrive” at a place where I cannot possibly learn any more.
- It is not only okay to ask for help, it is imperative.
- It is also imperative to walk in gratitude for all the help I receive.
- Self-care is really important, and I am not very good at it most of the time.
- To value the friends who stick around, even though they can never really depend on me as if I were a normal person.
- To take myself and my work seriously. This isn’t just a feel-good hobby. It’s hard work, and it is worth it to invest time and resources into growing professionally.
- Never to take anything for granted. There are no guarantees of good outcomes in any decision I make.
- There are risks and consequences to everything in life. All we have to do is decide which ones we are willing to live with.
- Having a mentor is critical.
- Growing to become a mentor is a privilege.
- Peer review in the safest context possible is essential to avoiding burnout.
- I can never care more about a birth, and its outcome, than the mother. Ever.
- Humility is the first pillar of solid bridge-building between the staff, care providers, my clients, and myself.
- When I walk into a birthing space, I walk in with the reputation of all doulas in my hands.
- To be flexible.
- I don’t have to know everything. I just need to know where to find good information.
- Scope of Practice is one of my most valuable assets.
- How and when to say “No.” The rubber has met the road, where my family is concerned, and saying “No” is becoming a little less difficult.
- While I will never check my faith at the door, my hands, my heart, and my love are far better tools than my tongue.
- How to actually listen, though I think I will always be working at this.
- There is no such thing as perfect balance in a person’s life. I can only do the best I can with what I have.
- I cannot be all things to all people in all situations. However, I can love all people in all situations, and I can be fully myself in whatever moment I am living in.
- My best is enough.
Above all, being a doula has helped me grow in love–for my God, my husband, my children, and all who come across my path.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” ~1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
As a doula, I finally understand what it looks like when love wins. It doesn’t always mean that everyone is happy, or that everything works out perfectly. It means that choices are made that encompass what is truly best for the other person. It means laying down my desires, opinions, passions, hopes, and putting the best interest of the other person at the top of my priority list. In all situations, love of God, and love for my neighbor (beginning with those in my home) is the answer, and is the deep water my roots drink from.
I am so grateful for the growth I have experienced as a doula, and I pray that I never stop growing. That I always stay teachable. That I always walk in what I know to be true.
What life lessons have you learned from your work, either as a mother, wife, birth professional, flapjack flapper, or whatever it is that you do?
I have to give a shout-out to my mentor and friend, Desirre Andrews. More than anyone, she has challenged me to take risks, get up after I fall, and to widen my view while staying within the bounds of a very narrow path.
Grace & Peace,