Monday, January 26, 2009
Healing Through Birth
This photo is of my littlest one, right after her birth. I've got birth on my mind these days, and I couldn't help revisiting some old photos.
I was at a birth on Thursday night. If there is a more rewarding job than being a doula, I can't think of it right now. Any of you doulas out there who read this will agree. We women are a powerful lot. Seeing that power radiate is something else indeed.
This birth is on my mind because it was a "Healing Birth". That's what I call second births, when the first one didn't go as the woman planned. Since I have three young ones at home, and my doula partner has two young ones and a third on the way, doula work has taken a bit of a backseat in my life. Our clients are primarily return clients, and a few others having second babies. It is so special to see a baby sister or brother born when you were also a part of their big sibling's birth. It is even more special when the second birth heals the wounds of the first. When a mother is overjoyed with the experience, and so very, very proud of herself.
I don't say this to mean that anyone should feel badly about their birth experiences. I feel the opposite. And I don't presume to say what that birth should look like. But the reality is, for many woman who wanted to give birth in a certain way, when things don't work as planned, there are feelings of regret. So along comes the next birth, and in my doula experience so far, they have all been healing. I don't suppose they all are, but I have been fortunate to witness many women go on to birth how they dreamed of, and it feels great to be a part of it. Who wouldn't love to be part of that?
Even better when the Grandparents are there. It is quite something when a Father is there when his daughter gives birth. He doesn't have to be in the room for the impact to be made, either. This Father at the birth on Thursday was over the moon, and he was on a different floor. But he seemed so honoured to be there, and said as much to me later. I know my Dad feels a lot different about birth after being at my son's entrance into this world. He was in the backyard with my father-in-law, listening while I roared him out. He worked at UBC at the time, where the Midwifery Program was in it's early stages, and boy, he was praising that program to anyone who would listen. A week earlier, he wasn't sure I should be having a baby at home with a midwife, and the next week, he didn't know why anyone would birth any other way if they had the choice. Too funny. And though it wasn't in the plan for them to be there, I was so happy both my father and father-in-law could share in something that in their generation was not where men were invited. And when I had my third baby, there was no question that they were coming as soon as they heard labour had begun!
I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the births I did. My first was born in the hospital. If I had a regret at all, it would be that I didn't have the confidence in myself to have a baby at home then. And the birth was so bloody fast I probably would have been safer at home, and spared myself the agony of trying with every ounce of my being NOT to push my baby out in the truck on the ride to St. Paul's! But it was a great birth, and I have never in my life felt such a sense of pride in myself. My next two births were at home, and they were much more "me". Even as far as how social my husband and I are, and we practically had a party as the family members joined us! At my last birth, including the midwives and my lovely doula and best friend, Sarah, there were 9 adults and 2 (pretty much sleeping) kids! And excellent champagne too. Not bad for a party!
Ah, birth. I could honestly go on all day. If any of you reading will share your birth stories, I would love to read them.
Now I'm off to knit that little baby a little somethin'.