During my 10 years as a Birth Doula, I have supported many different kinds of births and each and every one has been an incredible journey in its own right; for me, and for my birthing families. I have laughed, I have cried, I have soothed deep-seated fears and I have empowered. I have spent hours researching options and looking up new studies. I have fought back tears as I have asked for ‘space and respect’ for my clients. I have learned all sorts of amazing, almost lost techniques and shared my knowledge with those who have asked for it. I have had dads cry on my shoulder and thank me for helping them to feel as though they are part of the process and not just an innocent bystander. I have fallen in love with my families and have been so honoured that they allow me access to such a beautiful life-changing event.
There is nothing quite like the high that comes after welcoming a new baby earthside. Nothing quite like the thrill of seeing a new mama born. Nothing quite like the humbling thanks of a new father who sees his world suddenly, so differently. And I see birth as merely the beginning. The beginning of family though many women see birth as the end goal; the end of the pregnancy and the welcoming of a baby. But in my eyes, birth is the beginning of it all. The bit where you become the parent you are. Where it suddenly feels as though a part of your heart is forever living outside of your body. Where dreams are made and shared, the future holds hopes and memories and you shape yourself and your family with the knowledge and information you have at hand.
Although I no longer live in the North West, now Perth based, I am still deeply passionate about empowering women to unleash the strength they have deep inside them. I’m committed to protecting the space of a birthing woman so they may go within and birth their baby in the most innate way possible. To help them understand that birth is as natural as breathing. That a woman’s body knows what to do and if given the uninterrupted space and time, birth will unfold as it should. To overcome the fear and trust themselves and their body.
I often describe being a doula as a support person who ‘holds the space’ for the birthing family. It’s more than just the passing on of information, support and advice. Being a doula is my chance to support mama’s to achieve the very best birth that is perfect for them and their partners. To offer unwavering encouragement, whatever choices are made, knowing my clients have as much information as they need to make an informed decision. To ensure that their interests are held with respect and to honour them when necessary.
I was asked today what was the motivation behind my being a birth doula. It was an easy to answer question. Without thinking, I blurted out ‘its my passion. It is my wish that when my own daughter reaches an age where she is ready to have babies, that her choices are respected and that she has options available to her. I fear that unless we advocate for the rights of birthing women, birth will become a procedure that is managed and streamlined with little care toward our needs.
I want to protect the sacredness of birth and the journey that we take to become family.