Thursday, June 18, 2015

#ILoveWhatIDoula

I’m 23 years old.

I graduated from Westmont College with a degree in Liberal Studies (= non-committal/elementary education).

I’m married without children. (Full disclosure: sometimes I carry my dog around like a baby.)

I anticipate that when this is published my mother Gail will read it, possibly take a few moments to realize that this is, in fact, her daughter writing, and then she’ll call me and we’ll laugh about it because we are, as she says, “sympatico”. Love you mama!

~

I’m a doula. It’s Greek for “a woman who serves”. My job description is Professional Birth and Postpartum Support Person.

It means that I attend births. I massage and braid hair and remind everyone to take a sip of water. I sway and count and breath to match the laboring mother’s pace. I tell her to reach down and feel her baby’s head. I watch babies take their first breath. Sometimes I pace the halls waiting to be escorted to a post-op recovery room. I take pictures and see the room erupt in tears and smiles. I witness families expand and double their capacity for love. I see women transform into mothers, and I share her “birth high”- there is oxytocin and adrenaline coursing through every vein in the room.

It means that I’m a birth nerd. I watch documentaries about the infant microbiome, breastfeeding, and home birth. I search youtube for vaginal breech delivery videos. I read books about maternity care in the US and the midwifery model of care. I research holistic care for pregnancy. I am obsessed with learning more about how women can GROW NEW HUMANS in their bodies. It’s fascinating.

It means that I’m a friend. I hug, listen to, and cry with mamas when they share their birth story. I spend long nights rocking fussy babies so their parents can sleep. I watch babies “latch on” and remind mamas to relax their shoulders as they nurse. I wash bottles and fold tiny baby laundry. I tag along grocery shopping and to doctors appointments so a new mama doesn’t have to go alone. I’m present and available, and I understand that the 4th trimester is hard.

It means that I am a business owner. I create contracts and confidentiality releases. I hold liability insurance. I pay dues to networking organizations. I am self-employed, and file taxes as such (wah wah).

It means that I am participating in something as old as human existence, but that is new every day. I am part of the changing birth culture in San Diego, in California, and in the US. I work alongside other doulas, midwives, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, body workers, nurses, obstetricians, and mothers who are PASSIONATE about improving birth.

It’s demanding, beautiful, fulfilling work. I do it because birth matters.

~

If you want to chat about anything relating to birth (including but not limited to finding a doula or becoming a doula), please connect with me! I’ll even share my favorite birth videos with you. ;)

Best,
Tess Maynard
tess[AT]lovelybirth.co
San Diego, CA

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