So, the presents are opened. The turkey is almost finished. The lazy days are well and truly here. I, of course, am missing being on call and being with my ladies. I know... I look forward to my off call times so that I can go to the theatre etc without having to keep an eye to my phone.
Who knew when I first started this journey that I would become so passionately committed to it.
After I had done my first "official" Doula birth I was raring to go. I remember sitting with one mum whose husband couldn't sit still at all and suddenly went out to get a curry mid labour. Mum and I both laughed. She felt that she had been a bit fraudulent as her labour stopped when I got there, however when she was relaxed the contractions came back strongly.
Eventually we moved to the birthing centre at her local hospital where she had a beautiful waterbirth. It was the first waterbirth I'd seen and it was magical. I adore waterbirths. Watching the baby rise up towards its mum is so fantastic. Oh I could wax lyrical for ages!!
Now I had to do four births (at a minimum) to get my Recognition with Doula UK. In the end I did five. One was a caesarean section. I had to fill in lots of paperwork and get my clients to fill in some more. Once that was done I had to visit my Assessor Mentor to debrief the births that I had attended to talk about what had happened, what I had learned and what I could still learn. I am so glad that Doula UK have their Recognition process. It really helped shape the Doula that I've become. I often call a lovely Doula friend to debrief the births I've attended and I know that my AM is available, even now, whenever I need her.
We are all told, at Doula UK, about the importance of study and so I attend workshops and courses that help me on this journey. I've attended breastfeeding workshops, breastfeeding courses and talks on birth etc. I read. Oh my goodness how I read. Ina May Gaskin, Michel Odent, Frederick Leboyer, Marc Weissbluth and any number of lactation books such as Breastfeeding and Human Lactation. The list is long and I wouldn't want to bore you, but I love it all and I read books, articles online etc etc.
The place I learn most about birth is at the actual births themselves. I have been to completely natural and physiological births, medical intervention births, inductions, caesarean sections and a crash caesarean section. I have even "caught" a baby when the labour progressed far faster than either Mum or I were aware. I have been at and supported those mums whose babies have decided to come many weeks early.
I love the strength of my birthing mums. I love seeing the dads rise to the challenge of unconditional support. I've been with mums as their sole birthing partner and with couples as a quiet presence in the corner of the room.
Do I have the best job in the world? How on earth can I be unbiased about this? Of course I do.