Once people hear I’m a doula, they tend to think that I’m a master of all things New Age and hippiefied. They’ve got me pinned as an organic-or-nothing, crystal-waving, “om”-ing, swirly-eyed Yanni-loving Yogini who has mastered inner peace and the ability of sitting in impossible positions until my legs look like they don’t have any bones.
Let me set this straight.
While doulas are, indeed, a giant ball of awesome, I’m a giant, caffeine and cheez-it and applecake powered ball of awesome. I own several pairs of yoga pants that have never been near a yoga class. I sometimes say bad words. I listen to show tunes and talk radio. High heels and motorcycle boots make my heart go pitter-pat, and I think Earth Shoes are ugly. I’ve read more Stephen King novels than I have anything by Eckart Tolle. I did not come from the progressive upper East Coast. I grew up in Arkansas, where we certainly never heard of tofu, and frozen yogurt didn’t exist as a “thing” until I was 14 years old. Heck, even drinking decaffeinated coffee made one worthy of suspicion and meant that you probably didn’t really love Jesus.
I just love birth. That’s all that being a doula really says about me. If you’ve met one birth worker, well, you’ve met one birth worker. We’re all different. There are as many styles of doula care as there are women who are doulas. That’s one good reason to make sure you’ve chosen the doula that’s right for you.
So, as a personal challenge, I recently joined a 21-Day meditation-for-beginners group online. Every day, the short “meditation of the day” email arrives in my inbox, and it’s my responsibility to listen to the ten minute podcast and Om along.
The first day went something like this: Ok, hands in my lap, sitting comfortably, let’s begin. Clear the mind, take a deep breath. Om… (did I remember to set up the coffee pot?) Om… Om… (Is that the cat throwing up?) Om… Om… (Come on baby, doooo the locomotion! Ack! Singing! Not supposed to be singing! Clear the mind! Remember the mantra! ) Om… (Wow, my stomach is growling really loud) Om… Om… Om… Om… (Oh, hey! Am I doing it? Wait, I’m thinking again. Drat!) Om…
It was only a few minutes, and it was harder than I thought – way harder. I could so easily go into the self-judgement of not doing this right, which could quickly become “I can’t do ANYthing right”.
Ah, but then I remember what birth has taught me. There are some things I think I know, and there are some things I KNOW that I know, and this is something I KNOW. We’re all learning, all the time. We’re all growing every day. I’m not who I used to be, and I’ve already grown a lot to become who I am. In my work and in my mothering, there has been a lot of learning as I go. I’m still a work in progress, just like everybody else. It’s not about being right enough for anyone else, ever. It’s about being the best “self” we can be, and accepting ourselves in this place, right here, right now. I don’t need a guru to teach me that. I’ve had hundreds of mamas model it perfectly. I’m not perfect. I don’t need to be, and that’s ok. There are people who love me, and people who never will, and that’s ok, too.
I’m responsible for loving myself enough that I have more than enough love to give to others. That’s all that matters.
Om. (Do we have any chocolate?)
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