When a doula gets the call to come and be present and their client's birth, a wave of excitement and joy overcomes us. For myself, a wash of relief is what tends to follow. Relief that this is the one of many scenarios I may have envisioned during what is commonly known as "on-call".
I take upwards of 3 weeks to prepare for my client's guess week. I think that in taking so much time to ready myself to be that assisting presence allows for me to be the calm and reassuring person in the space.
I re-read books I've come to know and love. Social media posts are limited, interviews scheduled out 4 weeks and other business actions are paused all together.
I vigorously clean my own home, meal-prep and prioritize laundry, setting it up to operate without me at a moments notice. Fine tuning my own reaction scenarios so that when the true call comes; I'm more than ready. It's simply de ja vu as I've visualized this experience. Am I out running errands? Is it the middle of the night? Where are my children and who do I hand responsibility to?
In some of our meetings, we talk about the "what if's" of birth. Most clients believe in the human standard of "thinking bad things into existence". A superstitious notion that by learning about all alternative outcomes, you are some how guilty of manifesting them in your own life. In talking about "what if's", we approach scenarios that may one may hold negative connotations about ie cesarean birth, unfriendly or abrasive staff, physical injury and even death.
By taking that time before hand and really delving into the limitless possibilities of a future experience, we are able to instill ourselves with wisdom to process said experience. During the labor and delivery process, things change. Plans are abruptly thrown to the wayside. It is how we personally react to those changes that can make or break a birth experience!
Though I've been witness to numerous births during my career as a professional doula, it wasn't until recently that I realized this is in fact the same technique I instill in my clients. Our visualization discussions allow me to open doors to alternative outcomes so that when and these are presented in real time, processing of the experience is expedited.
By knowing better before hand, we can do better in the moment. It is in this understanding that I prepare with wholeness. So that I can be devoted only to my client's needs, present in their moment.