According to Google (which we all know is law) a Doula is defined as ‘a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.’
This role is something that I very recently connected wholeheartedly with. After having a rough labor with my daughter in October it was made clear to me just how important your support team is while you give birth. It can literally be the defining factor in this completely life changing experience. And so I looked further into how I could help other women in their births to make sure that they were being fully supported and empowered.
I started my journey into Doula work a few months ago and I have already learned and grown so much (i’m a little embarrassed to admit how little I knew about female anatomy.) But what I’m most surprised at is how much doula work and training can pertain to all aspects of life, not just birth and baby.
You’re probably thinking ‘what’s this crazy lady going on about?’ But hear me out!
I finally decided to get my butt back into shape post baby. My exercise of choice is running and I was so excited and ready to get back out there. It had been forever since I had felt healthy and strong. (Running outside is also a good excuse to leave your husband with all the babies while you get to spend alone time with nothing but TSwift in your headphones to keep you company.) But getting back out there is a little harder than it sounds in your head. When I was running before, two miles was a warm up. Now I was lucky to make it one without passing out in a ditch (you know the one. The one your mom was always afraid you were in if she couldn’t reach you after 10 pm) and I felt pretty discouraged. I know logically that’s silly because I had only just had a baby 4 months prior and I hadn’t been on a run for about 6 months prior to that. So all signs point to needing to build myself back up before I could run 4-5 miles without dying dead. But sometimes I’m not logical. And so the discouragement was there.
And then something crazy happened.
I was out on my third run since getting back to it and I started to doula myself. I bet you didn’t even know that was a thing, but it totally is! And no I don’t mean I miraculously went into labor and I was doulaing myself through birth on the bike path, but I was giving myself support and affirmations so that I could run two miles without stopping.
I told myself to find my rhythm. I listened intently to my music (Eye of The Tiger radio on Pandora) I began breathing with the rhythm. And before I knew it I was almost there!
Soon my body started to go against me, as one’s body might do when you’ve neglected it for so long. But I told myself that there is a difference between pain and suffering. What I was feeling was pain. But it was a good pain. It was my body stretching itself and pushing itself and growing stronger. I wasn’t suffering. It wasn’t anything that I shouldn’t be feeling after taking such a hiatus from exercising. It was normal. It was natural. And so I pushed through it. And I maintained my rhythm.
And then there was a point where my rhythm seemed stupid, and my breathing seemed stupid, and pushing through the pain seemed the most stupid of all. Why was I doing this again? What was the purpose? But I quickly snapped out of that negative mindset by telling myself ‘oh this is the transition’ in birth the transition is kind of where you start to fall apart and beg for the epidural and good God can someone please get this baby out of me!!!!! But it’s only because you’re so close. The end is so close.
And so I kept telling myself that I was so close and I knew if I just pushed through it a little bit longer I’d make it through. And I did! And it felt so good!
I know that it was only two miles, but for me, running those two miles without giving up was the start of what I needed to build myself back up. Build my confidence and my strength. And it was at that moment that I realized being a doula doesn’t just pertain to birth and labor and postpartum, it pertains to all aspects of life. If you find yourself struggling at anything, finding the right positive, non judgmental support either in yourself or someone else, it makes all the difference.
Humans are social animals and we very rarely like to be isolated. So when we struggle and when we suffer it’s incredibly important that we have a solid support system in place so that we don’t lose ourselves.
So the next time you’re feeling defeated do me a favor and try to doula yourself though it. Or get a hold of someone who can be that pillar for you. Be strong and don’t cast judgement. Push through it and grow from it. And then come back here and tell me all about it.
Guest Post written by Ashley
Hi guys! I’m Ashley. I’m a 27 year old mom of three. I have a degree in fashion design and merchandising but right now my biggest job is raising my tiny humans and making sure they turn out to be decent, not so tiny, humans. It’s not as easy as it sounds. When I’m not changing dirty diapers you can find me perusing Instagram or painting for my little shop, Chartreuse Daydreams (shameless plug) I love Buffy, Dancing with the Stars, and the smell of Barnes and Nobles when they are attached to a Starbucks. Can we please get Yankee to turn that into a candle already?? I used to blog and then life started getting in the way so I’m very happy to have a little space here to fill the void. Thanks for having me!
Read Ashley’s Previous Posts: Embracing the Chaos: A Tale of Unwanted Parenting Advice |||| 30 Going on 13: A Tale of Postpartum Puberty |||| Don’t Knock it ‘Til You Try it – A Tale of Boy Raising |||| The Seven Deadly Sins of Parenting
Other great resources for moms:
GENERAL // Things I Wish I Knew Before Our Baby Arrived (Written by over 50 other mothers!) // What to Bring a Mom after she has a Baby // New Mama Must-Haves // How to Transition from a Bottle to a Sippy Cup // Why you Should Hire a Birth Photographer // What I’ve Learned as a Mom Thus Far
BREASTFEEDING // Best Foods to Eat while Breastfeeding // Nursing Essentials // 10 Tips for those that Plan to Breastfeed // Nursing Essentials II // How to Increase your Milk Supply including a recipe for Lactation Cookies!
& don’t forget to join in on the #latenightnursingfeed!