Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Every Once in Awhile...

I have attended plenty of births and each experience has been unique, because of course each woman is unique. The relationships I've shared with these women and their partners have at times been very professional and at other times on more of an emotional level. I have no trouble at all working with almost any woman and connecting to them( as it should be when you have been invited into their birth space), but sometimes the connections are on a different level.

People ask me frequently if I cry at births. Yes I certainly do at most, either at the time of or sometime afterward, because thankfully the awe of seeing a woman become a Mother isn't something I have "gotten used to". I have goose bumps right now just writing about it. If births become "Just another day in a woman's life" it's time to hang up the birth bag.

Every once in awhile though one sits with me a little longer, lingering in my thoughts and triggering strong emotion upon the simplest reflection if it. Such is the case of a birth I attended just recently. The birth itself was fabulous, (fast I was only there but 5 minutes before the baby arrived) straight forward, natural and almost completely free of interventions. What moved me so much with this birth was the aura surrounding the Mother. If you haven't seen it then it's difficult for me to describe. The ease at which she birthed her baby, the look on her face when she saw her child for the first time and the serene atmosphere, put me in a "holy" place at that moment. This is what women are capable of, what babies are capable of and why every second of the circumstances surrounding her birth matters. Every single person there, her husband, nurses, student nurse and doctors all honoured her space, talked quietly and gently to her and celebrated with her. I truly believe that each one was indeed just as in awe of her as I was.

When I reflect on why I felt so moved by this particular birth I know it was due to the connection that I shared with this Mother beforehand. We had the kind of knowing between one another that you can't put your finger on. We even dreamt of one another shortly before the birth. Every sense I had about how this birth would be told me she would be strong and beautiful and she was, told me the birth would be wonderful and it was, that I would feel very privileged to be there and I was!

It is times like that that make me so glad I walked into the doula profession and stayed here. Not every birth is going to be like this one, in fact probably not very many, but it makes me feel even more secure that my next birth has the potential to profoundly move me, to cement my respect for women and mothers and be eternally grateful for the women that invite me to share this time with them.

Women have the power to connect with each other during pregnancy and birth on a much deeper level than at other times. These connections can run strong and deep and tether us together forever. This is how I feel about my midwife. Although I don't see her often, know her extremely well or have the pleasure of another baby to share with her she has a solid place in my heart. When I see her face I feel my chest tighten and my eyes still want to well up with tears 9 & 7 yrs later, because I know how much she believed in me and cared about me at the time my babies were being born. I felt safe, strong and capable when she was present and that is a gift I will treasure forever! No matter how the births I attend unfold, whether they be over hours and hours or within minutes, this is the gift I also give to Mothers and thankfully they let me.

Peace Out,



  1. Beautiful, Tracey! I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets teary at births. I literally have just experienced another awe-inspiring birth that filled my heart and took my breath away. You've captured the doula spirit so wonderfully with this entry...This is a blessed calling!

  2. Oh Michelle I am so happy that you love being a doula! You understand the emotions I feel at births. It's feels like my heart gets bigger, like the Grinch when he discovers love and his heart triples in size!

  3. Thank you Tracey! That was beautifully shared... I don't get to be a doula very often anymore but I will again this summer and you have reminded why I love it so much.... and thank you for reminding me why I love N so much!

  4. What a lovely story - makes me want to add "doula" to my repertoire.

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  6. Hi Tracey - loved reading this post. I have been trying to 'deconstruct' my own birth experience these days and try to figure out why I had to have one of those marathon labours with all the interventions. After attending so many incredibly beautiful and normal births (including one of yours!), I feel like somehow I deserved something better than what I got. But you know what it was - I DIDN'T have that connection with my midwife. I truly think it was as simple as that. I didn't feel "safe, strong and capable" the way you have just described. I guess what I'm trying to say is that by connecting with women the way you do Tracey, you are shaping their birth experiences. And I'm sure each of the women you've connected with would say the same.

  7. Hi Marlo,

    I understand what you mean completely. You are vulnerable during labour and have to really trust the people around you.

    You know what it is like at births and you have attended more home births than I have. I have attended the majority in the hospital where most of the people there are strangers to the woman. The doula serves as the familiar face there.

    At these times I feel like I need to connect to them even more and usually it works, but there are times when the woman is so fearful of all that is going on it affects her and or her spouse and it is difficult.

    I have been to long births that have ended up with several interventions as well, and many times I have tried to deconstruct them and see what I might have done differently as a doula. Some of them I have maintained a strong connection and at others is gets broken. Sometimes it is enough and at other times the whole team needs to be on board to make it work.

    Most of the time a relationship with the client is built in the meetings before the birth and the connection starts out strong. When we get to the hospital it is a set of circumstances that means continuing on with that or getting caught up in the vortex of the hospital environment. It is really in these times that I have to really believe in her, give her some of my strength and keep her confidence up. This is all we can do.

  8. Wendy, the world can and needs more doulas! Especially someone as wonderful as you!

  9. Hi Tracey ~ The birth you described could have been one that I attended a couple months ago. She was so strong; made labor look way too easy (3.5 hours total) and YES, I cried! It was such a peaceful waterbirth and afterward, watching this new mama and baby's father admire this little boy...Precious! I actually cried many times before this birth because I knew what was coming. Click here to read the rest of the story... http://douladianne.blogspot.com/2010/04/ultimate-gift-of-love.html

  10. Hi Dianne,

    Love your blog!! You have beautiful grandchildren! Looking forward to following you too.