One year ago today I pretended to be a doula. I am not a doula, and after that experience I don't believe I will ever become one. Or pretend to be one again.
Giving birth is an incredible experience. It is also intimate and stressful. Sometimes, labor is long and sometimes it is gruesome. The ladies that are real doulas, do they live lives outside of their profession? For three days, I lived at the hospital. I took a break to run and teach at my co-op, but I was so fried after a night of being at the hospital that I put my white board on the wall upside down and began teaching as if nothing was amiss. It was during this stint away that my friend dubbed me as The Doula to a pushy nurse. "I want to wait until my doula arrives before I make any decisions about intervention."
Yeah. She did.
I arrived an hour later and was addressed by said nurse as The Doula. "Oh, so glad you are here! We have been waiting for you since she wanted her doula present for discussion."
For the rest of the long labor, I played the part of The Doula. Magical words in the world of labor and delivery. I was scared, so I was called midwifery friend of mine asking for specific labor advice. None of it helped, because, if you have birthed a child, you know that no two deliveries are the same. I pretended to know what everyone was saying and immediately googled anything that didn't make sense after the professionals left the room. Then, a whispered conversation would ensue between me and my friends. The stress of doulaing during labor was nothing compared to doulaing during actual birth.
I have been in the delivery room exactly two times. Once for Everett and once for Elijah. I was, obviously, the one BIRTHING those guys. So I missed seeing all of the messy business, since I was making the messy business. The pushing, the leg holding, the coercing and cheering--it's messy and intimate. It's exhausting.
In the end, it was also delightful. A privilege and one of the highlights of my entire year. It also confirmed that I will not become a doula one day, if I decide I want a second job. I think librarian might be more my speed.
Today we celebrated one year of life for the sweet little girl who knows me as Doula. The one and only.