It feels like just yesterday that I was sitting with my closest friends, crying into my T-Bones cold brew over how desperately I wanted the opportunity to focus on my family more and finally pursue birth work. Those who know me, know that this has been a growing passion and dream of mine for quite some time. It makes me laugh to think about those times when it all felt so impossible, all the while I didn’t have the slightest clue what the Lord had planned.
For nearly the past year, I have been given so many blessed opportunities to love and serve families on their most treasured journey - becoming parents. I have seen couples become parents or add to their families in a variety of ways and settings, but I can assure you that each time has been equally special. There have been countless moments that, to this day, make my heart swell. But today, as I just wrapped up my last birth until our own newest addition arrives, I can’t help be reflect on my favorite moments so far as a doula. That being said, I thought it would be fun to share them with you. In each birth, there have been some commonalities that I have witnessed that have easily become some of my favorites so far.
In no particular order, here are my top 5 favorites to have witnessed-
1) The difference a supportive team makes-
In every birth, I have witnessed mothers do amazing things. When their strength became faint, they had a swarm of heroes rushing in to pick them back up. In every experience so far, they've been there. The loving husband, the doting mother, the strong daddy, the prayer texts, the nurse who doesn’t give up, the ob who comes in at the right moments with reassurance and encouragement, the childhood best friend who knows just what to say, etc. The list goes on and on. My point is this- women can do AMAZING things when they are supported and believed in. Find a team that supports YOUR birth. You are worth it, and your experience is worth it.
2) Seeing women realize what they are capable of-
From our very first meeting together, I get to sit down with an expecting mom and hear her share her experiences, her dreams, her goals, and her fears. Sometimes it's a first time mom who is fearful of the unknown and her ability to make her dreams reality. Sometimes it’s an experienced mom who is committed to doing everything she can to make it better this time. The weeks and months seem to fly by till the moment we find ourselves together in a dimly lit L&D room, working together to make it all become reality. And then it happens - a fresh newborn is placed on her chest and the room is instantly overwhelmed with emotion. This moment always makes my eyes water and I have to threaten my tears to stay in place. There is so much joy in witnessing someone hold their baby for the first time, but for me it's getting to watch that mom realize that she did it. All those goals she talked about so many months ago? Check. She did it and did it so beautifully. Unfortunately though, there are times when, despite all efforts, some of our goals aren’t met. But you know what? Even in those moments, I’m blown away by the strength of those mommas. In an instant, their dreams may have slipped away, but they don’t allow that moment to define them or their motherhood. They pick themselves up, choke back their tears, mute their pain, and bravely face the unknown. Each woman I’ve had the privilege to support has amazed me in some way and leaves me encouraged by their strength.
3) Redeeming birth experiences-
As mentioned in the previous point, birth can be wild and unpredictable and doesn't always go the way we hope. But in true strong momma fashion, those women brave up and face birth again. Except this time, they are working and preparing tirelessly to make it better this time. As their doula, I’m so encouraged by their motivation and effort. As I grow close to these moms throughout their pregnancy my heart longs for them to have a better experience and to see how lovable birth really can be. Those mommas fight so hard for an experience they still believe exists. In those births, I live for the quiet moment when the activity in the room has calmed down and I see a mom riding a birth high she has never experienced before say the magic words - “Wow. That was SO different from last time.”. That moments fills my heart so much. Birth has been redeemed and she has a story she’ll love forever.
4) Seeing two people become parents for the first time-
Being a parent is such a beautiful, rewarding, (and mildly chaotic), experience. Before kids, it's so hard to imagine what life will be like when they arrive. It’s so exciting to do prenatals with first time parents and see the incalculable amount of love they are already pouring into this tiny little person they’ve never even met. I get to meet these new parents, talk with them, watch them grow, fall in love with them, all the while knowing how incredible they are going to be at this huge job. They always exceed my expectations of them. From the moment they lay eyes on their baby till I sit in their homes for a postpartum visit, they are a true picture beauty.
5) Witnessing moments of faith-
Birth is a journey. Sometimes it's a smooth one and sometimes there can be quite a few bumps in the road. I can without a doubt say that one of my favorite things I’ve witnessed in so many of my births has been a faith that can’t be quenched. Countless times I’ve watched families take moments of fear and uncertainty to the feet of Jesus. Whether its been through truth filled Bible verses filling the room, worship music drowning out the sounds of monitors, a husband praying and speaking truth over a discouraged wife, or a loving blending of families linking arms in a waiting room casting all worry on the Lord. I’ve been so privileged to witness every scenario mentioned and will carry those moments with me forever.
So there you have it. These five things are why I do what I do and why I love it so. Each birth leaves me feeling more blessed than the last. So to all the mommas, daddies, families, nurses, providers, etc. who have allowed me to be a part of these moments - thank you.