Doulas are birth team players
One of my most memorable moments:
Arriving at the delivery room during an intense contraction, I leapt into action—massaging Janet’s shoulders and repeating the affirmations we had practiced for weeks: “I am strong; this is worth the pain.” Today would be a difficult day for Janet: she was incarcerated and would have only an hour with her baby before he’s placed in foster care. My job was to help her make the most of each minute.
Once the baby arrived, Janet’s anxiety skyrocketed. She begged for answers we didn’t have: “Where will my son end up? Will I ever see him again?” My mind raced as I devised a strategy to support her. How could I empower her in that moment without belittling her legitimate concerns? My first instinct was to ground her in the present: “I know the future is uncertain, but let’s focus on what we know for sure right now: your son was born today; both you and he are healthy and safe—today is a beautiful day.”
Having calmed her down for the moment, I spent the next hour helping her maximize skin-to-skin contact, name the baby, and sing him lullabies. We took as many pictures of baby Gabe’s face as we could and prayed that his future would be filled with love and laughter.
Walking home that night with a pit in my stomach—awed by the beauty and tragedy of the day—I called my mom.