At the end of January this year, I was delighted to discover I was pregnant with my first child. It’s been a smooth pregnancy so far, but now that I’m in my third trimester I’m starting to feel pregnant. I have Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) caused by pregnancy hormones loosening ligaments and joints. I wear a compression belt to help ease the pain in my lower belly, and I’m unable to carry bulky items. Sleep is difficult because I can’t seem to get comfortable no matter how many pillows I use to prop myself up. I also must be careful how I climb in and out of bed so that I don’t pull a muscle and worsen the pain. Even simple tasks like climbing stairs leave me breathless.
Despite the discomforts, it’s such an exciting time. Each day, I’m feeling my son move around more. When I feel a body part press up against my hand, or when he jolts me with a swift, emphatic kick, I can’t stop the ear to ear grin. While I’m a little apprehensive about the birth, I’m impatient to meet him.
A friend talked to me about her experience with a midwife and a doula, which ultimately lead to my decision to go that route as well. Before we hired our doula, my husband and I met with her to discuss the services. She was warm, friendly, comforting, maternal, and gentle. She listened and encouraged us on our choices. After, we had much less trepidation about this unknown process. We were confident she would help us through it.
In case you’re unfamiliar, doula is a Greek word that means ‘woman’s servant’, or ‘woman’s helper.’ Nowadays, doulas assist mothers through the birthing process. They don’t deliver the baby but provide emotional, physical, and educational support. Here’s how they care for mamas-to-be:
- Address fears and concerns about the birthing process
- Hold birthing classes
- Teach techniques to manage pain
- Help experience a positive and safe birth
- Help with pain during the birthing process
- After the birth, consult on breastfeeding and provide emotional support and encouragement.
And there are many benefits to hiring a doula. They can reduce:
- Chance of c-section by 50%
- Lengths of labor by 25%
- Use of oxytocin by 40%
- Requests for an epidural by 60%
As I contemplated my birth, and all that my doula would do for me, the words spiritual doula crossed my mind. I thought, wouldn’t it be equally amazing to have another woman come alongside us to help us birth our dreams and visions?
I often wonder how many of us have dreams or ideas that were abandoned before they came to fruition.
Take me, for instance. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but there are things I have not pursued. Over the last two years, I’ve had ideas that have come to mind for children’s books and several blog series, but I have not written them. Why not?
Like with actual pregnancy, carrying a dream or vision into fruition can be uncomfortable. Some visions require a longer gestation period because they need more preparation. It may entail stretching you beyond your normal limits, way outside of your comfort zone. Trying to grasp new concepts and experiencing set-backs may tempt you to give up when the going gets tough.
It’s scary, especially your first time, because there are a lot of unknowns.
And yet, like the little baby kicks, the little niggle in your mind never really leaves you, the one that says: What if?
It’s like walking to the edge of a cliff, simultaneously filled with terror and exhilaration at the thought of leaping. Will you plunge to your death or will you feel the delightful freedom of flying? How reassuring would it be to have those spiritual doulas, who already took the dive, cheering us on, telling us it will be okay?
They say our bodies are never the same again after birth, but I have yet to meet a mother who would trade her old body back for that squirming little life in her arms. The little life that will grow and flourish as she loves, guides and directs it to become something great.
I also hear that you push longer to deliver your first child. The second birth onward is much quicker. Who knows how many more dreams you’ll deliver after the first?
Are you ready to jump off the cliff with me?