You know the phrase, oh and that little law of physics, "what goes up must come down"?
This is one of the things I was thinking about recently when it comes to doula life and self-care.
There is no high like the high of birth. That special cocktail of oxytocin, endorphins and adrenaline makes any doula fall in love with their clients and leave births on a true high.
Of course some births don't go as well as others, but still the adrenaline you're on just to stay the course in any birth experience certainly props you up. At least for a while.
Then, inevitably, comes the down. Much of what I share in the Sustainable Doula's Guide to Self-Care, COMING SOON, helps to prevent the crash, or ease the landing, but one of the most valuable things that has helped me navigate this fact of doula life is the simple awareness of this phenomenon!
Sometimes it's a day later but more often than not, at least for me, the down doesn't hit for 3 days. (It may, by the way take a few births to learn your pattern. Your "down" may come on day 2 or day 4. It may also vary depending on how long or emotionally intense a specific birth is.)
But just knowing and being kind with myself when the down comes has made a huge difference in my post-birth experience. In fact predicting and planning my self-care to account for this lag has also been useful.
For instance, though I may of course dedicate time for rest and restoration the day after a birth, I need to give myself space and time for more rest and for example think about planning my massage for 3 or 4 days later.
It's also about not expecting myself to feel better right away. Treating myself with an emotional generosity as opposed to expecting myself to somehow rise above this law of physics has been one of the best attitudes and acts of self-care I've learned to treat myself with over the years.
So first, know there's nothing wrong with you. Coming down is just par for the course and you deserve kindness around it. Second, know it may be delayed.
If you notice you're not acknowledging or embracing the come down, I hope this will help you spot it and be kind with yourself around it. You can always start "acting as if" and plan a self-care day for 3 days post-births and see how that goes. Let me know!
P.S. For non-doulas, if you've actually read this far, this phenomenon is true for everyone, after any big event, and the message is the same. Know the down is coming. Know it will likely be delayed. Know there's nothing wrong with you. And know it takes emotional generosity and kindness to nourish ourselves until we're ready to come back up again.