People often tell me what a wonderful job I have. I agree. I think it's amazing that people allow me into one of the most intimate moments of their lives. What a privilege, one I hope never to betray.
Sometimes though, it just ain't easy!
At the moment I'm worried about my twin mum who gave birth 12 weeks early. Her mood is low. The shock of the early arrival of her boys, the lack of touch, spending time in hospital over Christmas and not really leaving the building... well is it surprising?
I don't know how to help her. I have a desire to put it right. I can't. To be fair it's probably not my place. That doesn't stop my desire. Once I become someone's Doula, they have me for life. You may worry about my stalker abilities but it's the way I feel about my families. No call too trivial. Just as happy to discuss the pros and cons of cotton wool balls versus pads or optimal positioning for babies in the womb.
Just a couple of short months ago I took a call from a past client. She'd text me to tell me that she was expecting her third baby, a little unexpected but such a wonderful blessing. Within two weeks she called and I cried as I heard her miscarrying on the end of the phone.
Being a Doula is about supporting the parents, particularly the mum. This support is not dependent on healthy mum and child. This is about being there for the good and/or bad. I'm fortunate. The good far outweighs the bad. I've cried for twins born too soon that didn't make it and for mums holding a surviving twin. I've also cried tears of joy for the babies that I've seen enter the world and I've thanked God for their safe passage into this world.
I've been proud of the mums who struggled at the beginning but made it through. Today I had an email from a twin mum who found it so hard at the start. People told her why it would be difficult or impossible. I was at the end of the phone for her and she breastfed those boys for 10 months until a medical condition meant she had to stop. I've had emails from mums who were still breastfeeding a year on after the most traumatic of births.
I love my job. It brings me the most joy and the deepest heartbreak but I wouldn't change it for anything.
Being a Doula... It's not always easy.