I'll Walk With You
When I step into a birth space, I am walking into another world. It is the world of birth. It is a deeply spiritual world. It is a deeply emotive world. A deeply intuitive world. A world that brings life out of hard work, pain, and the complete giving of one’s self to bring forth new life. Unique from any other journey that we take on earth. This journey is one of ups and downs. Laughs, cries, quietness, anguish, peace. The journey of birth.
As I approach the birth space, I pause for a brief moment, take a deep cleansing breath, and clear myself of my own thoughts, agendas, worries. When I step into a room with a woman who is laboring, by my presence there I’m telling her, “I’m here to walk this journey with you. I can’t walk it for you, but I will walk it with you.” My emotions tune into her. My intuition tunes into her needs. If she needs to talk, we will talk. If she needs silence, I will be silent. But I will stay with her. She is not alone, and I will support her in the journey. Sometimes I have my hands on her, supporting her back, hips, feet, shoulders. Sometimes I’m simply with her, bringing a calming presence. Sometimes I provide reassurance that’s she is doing what women have done since the beginning of time, and she’s doing it beautifully. Sometimes I talk to her about options that she may or may not know she has.
I leave my world behind to join her in hers. I have left behind arguments that were happening. I’ve left behind family celebrations that were going on. I’ve left behind car accidents that I’ve had on the way to a birth. I’ve left behind icy roads and angry drivers. I leave it all behind to join her in her world, the utter most beautiful world of bringing forth new life. She is my focus. She is my world in those hours.
If you’ve ever wondered what a doula does, it is this. It is the leaving behind of our own worlds to join her in hers. To walk a journey that requires perseverance, love, patience, sweat, blood, tears. Perhaps one of the most acute imageries that portrays this is not a woman, but a hobbit. When Sam Wise journeyed with Frodo through Middle Earth, he left behind his own world to join Frodo on the journey to bring life to all of Middle Earth. He stayed by his side through every experience and at the end, when Frodo nearly gave up, Sam picked him up and carried him. So next time you wonder what a doula does, she does what Sam Wise does. She helps carry the mother through. We can’t carry the load, but we can pick the mother up in our own love, in our own intuition, in our own experience and thoughtfulness. And in the end, we will celebrate with you when your journey of birth has ended, and the journey of parenthood has just begun.