What does a doula do? Part two
I think where doulaing is concerned this is our ultimate gift to you...time.
Time, especially these days, must be the most precious thing we have to give to somebody else. In a fast paced, busy world, time is so important.
Giving someone time says, 'I care about you'. I care what you have to say, what you're feeling, what you're going through and I care about all the little details of your life that you only really hear about when you spend time together and the generic conversation openers have all run out.
When I take on a family, whether it's through my birth doulaing or postnatal work, I give them time. I don't rush them when they are speaking, I don't interrupt, I wait in the pauses to see what comes up when someone is there for them. I take time with my answers, I think about what it is they really need to hear to feel better on their journey as parents. I take time to reply to them when they reach out, I take time to research articles and information to meet their particular questions and needs. I take time to get to know them, their hopes and their fears, their likes and dislikes, what's going to make their experience better and worse, what to do and what to avoid. I pay attention, especially to the little things. I remember things, so I can show them I care. Time says YOU MATTER. You're important and I want to help you. Time gives people a chance to grow into that space where they find their way, they find a path to a more peaceful understanding of themselves.
In the maternity system, sadly, time is very limited. One of the reasons I am often being hired is because my families want to spend more than ten minutes with someone, they want consistency and they want someone who knows everything about what they would like and will support them with it.
This is your birth, your first weeks as a new parent, it's so super special. Who wants to spend it with people you barely know? Don't get me wrong, midwives are amazing and how they can enter a birth space and make a connection in a few short minutes so they can better support you, is a real art but it's not the same. They haven't sat by your side and listened and chatted and shared for weeks or even months, they haven't seen you grow in confidence day by day, they don't know those initimate details about you which could make all the difference. I know they would love to but sadly in the system we're in there just isn't time for that.
Time is precious and I willingly give it to you. I'm not going to rush you, in conversations, in decision making, in labour, you set the pace and I will be quietly with you, there if you need me. When I'm on call 24/7 for potentially five weeks, I hold that space for you. A space where my life is in some sort of order that I can leave at a moment's notice day or night. When I'm at a birth, I have no idea how much time I'll be away from my life and my family but that's for me to worry about. You will feel my presence, my total and full attention is with you. Time is positive. Time is choices. Time is a healer.
'There's only one thing more precious than time, and that's who we spend it on'