the bulk of being a doula is waiting.
for two weeks before and two weeks after a baby’s due date, i commit to being available. my main work during that period is making sure the mama feels amazing and informed and is eating right and taking good care of her body, mind, heart.
and then it’s time. the window for birth opens. there is the long period where the mama is cramping, then having contractions, sometimes blood, sometimes exhaustion. the contractions are a sure sign, and maybe they build, but maybe they go away.
what i have noticed so far is that the mama generally feels ready, past ready, like her body is tired from carrying around this miracle for so long. she wants to have given birth. she may also be scared, scared of how birth will go, or scared because her life is not fully perfect and stable for the new one, or scared because of the change her life is about to go through.
either way, we wait. and either way, something is about to happen which will majorly transform everything. it is inevitable.
right now i am waiting on two babies.
for one, i am a back-up doula, on call to get the mama to the hospital when the time comes, and stay with her until her primary doula, who is further away, can get to her.
for the other, i have been with her for a while now, falling in love with her and her baby, seeing the ultrasounds, hearing the heartbeat, shifting the nutrition and watching the gorgeous unfolding of a mama in the same space where was a girl only a moment ago.
i feel acutely aware of the miraculous nature of this waiting. it is mundane. humans, in times of great transition such as birth and death, we do mundane things – check our phones, listen to music, notice the weather, take baths, try to get comfortable.
the truth that i know for sure is: nothing i do or don’t do will change the inevitable – a miracle is coming. soon mama and baby will walk up to the precipice of life and death, and make choices. the safety of darkness will press by, the light will overwhelm, air will rush into lungs and all over the body.
this is the every day miracle, our first and most common experience, arriving.
and the practice, the activity which makes the difference in how the miracle is experienced, is being patient. not a plodding reluctant patience, or a bitter martyr patience, but a quiet indulgent luscious patience – a reveling in the current moment as crucial and delightful. the patience of not driving or pushing ahead, obsessed with outcomes – but BEING with the exact experience, as it is. trusting the body, the baby, and the mama to know what to do, and when.
i am a beginner doula still, just learning. i am fascinated by all of this. it amazes me how much we know, if we can just listen to our whole selves.
i share the fascination and observations here because each aspect of it, the mundane, the miraculous, the slow inevitable changes, and most of all, the patience, feels immensely relevant to all the other aspects of my life right now – health, love, politics, family.
i am working on patience, becoming still enough to let the miracles come.
i know they are coming, i know it.