Doula Reverie

June 26, 2010 at 10:45 pm (Doula)

In a week or so, I’ll have reached my first anniversary of getting my doula certification, and like any anniversary, it has me feeling nostalgic. It’s been a lot of work, and not a little stress, to build a doula practice over these past three or so years, but the work has brought such beautiful insights and rewards. I’ve been thinking lately about why I doula, and what doulaing has meant for me. The thoughts have filled me with gratitude for this line of work, and I want to share some of them with you.

I feel honored by each of the women and their families who have invited me to join them during this expansive and yet intimate time. As I’m driving to each birth, I take some cleansing breaths and open myself up to the energy of the woman I’m about to help. I find the receptive place in my psyche and heart that allows me to intuit the most beneficial way to support this individual woman. And I give thanks for what I’m about to witness: the emergence of a new life and the expanse of a woman’s love and power as she brings that life into the world. Even in births that appear to be challenging, this gift of the joyful beginning is not lost, and I feel incredibly lucky to play a part in the dance that brings it to being.

When I began my work as a doula, I committed myself to being completely present to each woman’s unique experience, discarding all my own expectations and prior experiences so I could fully serve the families I work with. Each birth has presented me with opportunities to expand my awareness about what birth means. The first birth I attended involved a medical induction and an epidural, and the birth was as amazing and spiritually profound as any of my own home births. I learned that the physical components of the birth do not define the birth experience, that each birth is perfect in its own way. At another birth, I watched a baby emerge with his cord around his neck three times. With no interventions from the caregivers, the baby spiraled three times as he was being born, disengaging himself from his cord as he emerged. He showed me that babies know how to be born. Another mama had experienced a difficult back labor, and I watched her, as she approached full dilation, roll and squirm her body until her baby rotated, so that he could be born smoothly and easily. Mamas’ bodies also know what to do to facilitate birth. I was present for a challenging birth that ended in a cesarean, and I learned that as a doula, I can’t create a trouble-free birth, but I can support and validate a woman through difficult circumstances. And at the next birth, a simple and easy home birth, I got to witness a woman in her power as she gave birth on her own terms. I’ve seen mamas in recovery from drug addiction give birth without medication, and I’ve seen mamas who have accepted drugs with grace and dignity when they’ve been needed to facilitate their baby’s arrival. And I’ve learned that the Universe will provide me with what I need, from childcare to supportive friends and confidants, so that I can continue this work that I have been called to do. I feel confirmed in this path, and immeasurably blessed by the experiences I’ve had.

As I anticipate the growth of my doula career over the next year, I am happy, excited, and sure in my knowledge that this is what I am meant to do. The full moon is shining outside tonight, and it reminds me of all the big and beautiful pregnant bellies and the mamas and babies who I have the good fortune to accompany along their path to loving, joyful birth. I’m looking forward to watching my own three children grow, and witnessing the growth of the families who have welcomed me into their lives, as well. I can’t imagine a better career than being a servant of birth!


1 Comment

  1. abigail said,


    You are a blessing to our wonderful community. I feel grateful to be slowly getting to know you and to be able to witness your growth and your service to our community from my own perspective. Congratulations upon the completion of your first year practicing as a doula!

    You are an inspiration to me as I struggle to finish my doula coursework and make the space in my life to offer my services to this community. Your story and presence in my life is uplifting. Thank you for being you, for sharing, and for having the courage to offer your special gifts to the world!



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