Thursday, June 5, 2008


I attended my second doula certification workshop on Sunday, and I found myself feeling stubbornly blue and mopey for most of the day. It was dreary to play and replay my own birth story (or rather my son’s birth story) in my head again and again and again, picking apart the things that didn’t quite go as I would have wished, reflecting tiredly that I oughtn’t have given up so easily on having a homebirth. It was dreary to worry about the fact that I have no good work space at home and that the one shelf I have devoted to my own (non-clothing-or-accessory-related) crap already looks like this…
…so how am I ever going to be able to keep all of my doula papers (training and workshop materials, certification materials, marketing materials, business cards, client files, etc.) organized?* It was dreary to realize that being on call and ready to go with an infant at home could turn out to be a near-insurmountable challenge that will burden not only me but also my husband and our friends, all of whom will have to be drafted for last-minute babysitting duties. It was dreary to realize the obvious, which is that I can’t be a doula without doula clients (doulees?), and unlike acupuncturists, counselors, physical therapists, etc, my current work situation is not particularly conducive to locating and netting said clients.

Overall, I was feeling overwhelmed by the drudgery that inevitably follows the excitement of a career change - the drudgery of footwork and paperwork, organization and logistics, and most of all, the drudgery of anxiety, old and new. Why, I wondered, did I ever think I could do this? This AND childbirth education certification? AND yoga teaching certification? I must, I concluded, be insane.

Towards the end of the day, though, the doula trainer (gloriously Long Island in her impeccably matching navy top, capris, and Nine West pumps; gloriously counterculture in her dedication to homebirth and the power of the uterus) put us into pairs in order to practice comfort measures for laboring women. I gently stroked my partner's back and thighs as she leaned on an exercise ball, and I held her stomach and quietly told her to soften her belly and breathe into my hands. (Yes, it's that intimate, and yes, everyone was a little embarrassed, but fuck it, right?) A little tightly-wound to begin with, she relaxed visibly. "You're really good at this!" She blurted in surprise, taking both of us aback. "I would hire you to be my doula!"

Just like that, my blues dissipated and I forgot my dreary worries. I felt (for the first time) that I am really, really going to do this, and that it is a really, really good idea. Because I enjoy it, and I am good at it, and - at the moment - I have enough confidence to write those phrases down for everyone to read.

*Obviously, I never completed item #10 on this list. In fact, dealing with the bookshelf in general and the scary spot in particular have been on various to-do lists for at least six months now. But I can't. I am too adult ADD (literally), and I am too overwhelmed by the books and the scary spot (not to mention my files, which reside in my husband's office, talk about a scary spot). The whole thing just makes me want to cry, because I would love my apartment to look like a grownup lives in it, but can't seem to manage anything better than dorm-room-grade organization.

1 comment:

Jocelyn said...

You are going to be such a good doula! All that on-call stuff is a pain, sure, it's soooooo worth it!