On Mother's Day I bought a cool gift for my mom. Every week for a year she'll receive a question about herself, and submit her answers to be compiled into a hardcover book, so by the end of the year we'll have a memoir of sorts about her life.
Last week's question was, 'how did you feel when your first child was born'. FYI, that's me!
Her response was to share how overwhelming it all was. How she didn't feel prepared or supported. How despite feeling good about my childhood later on, she was sad to "miss" out on the earliest joys of parenthood, because she had so little support, and it was so different than what she'd expected.
Perhaps it is no wonder I felt so called do this work of supporting new parents through pregnancy, birth and early parenthood, given this gap in our shared experience as a mother-baby unit.
I feel so much empathy for her as a new mother with no support, no one to talk to, birthing alone because back then, dads like mine didn't feel it was their place to be in the room where it happened.
And I think of baby me absorbing what it was like to be cared for by someone who didn't have the support she needed during those first months and years.
No one should have to birth alone, without support. No new parent should go through postpartum without people to speak to about the challenges of having a newborn and infant, that isn't a partner or spouse.
Being a doula plays a small role ultimately, but is essential nonetheless in my opinion. No one can do it for you, but being surrounded by people to coach and guide and empower you as you take on the enormous role of birthing and parenting is medicine for our world.
I'm writing this post not to necessarily say anything new, but to acknowledge and express gratitude to all those who support the new parents of our world. You're supporting the babies too.
To the midwives, birth doulas, postpartum doulas, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, perinatal mental health providers, birth haveners, baby-wearing specialists, pre and post-natal yoga teachers, new parent group facilitators, pre and post-natal bodyworkers...
My mother needed you then. The world needs you now.
If you need or know someone in need of support during pregnancy, birth, or postpartum, I'm happy to support and share my resources with you. Just reach out!
In the meanwhile, a few free resources that may be helpful: