• The Rosewater Doula

31 lessons for my 31st birthday

It is my 31st birthday today, and as I looked around on my morning walk I saw ‘death’ all around me (day after halloween pun), but my mind was full of life, my mind was on birth. As the fall leaves crunched under my feet, and I yelled at my dog to “stop pulling” my mind trailed off. In the last 5 years the birth space has become my home, sanctuary, and greatest teacher. In honor of my 31st birthday, I’d like to share with you 31 lessons I’ve gleaned from the birth space.

  1. Giving birth is a complex journey, with unique spaces to navigate.

  2. Dilation gets way too much attention…

  3. No one knows their bodies better than themselves.

  4. Always listen to how someone is feeling emotionally and physically.

  5. The emotions of birth often speak sooner and louder than the physical sensations.

  6. Trust in the birth process requires preparation. Yes birth is intuitive, but our society has spent generations pushing people away from understanding how to listen to their intuition.

  7. Birth is not easy, birth will push you to your limits.

  8. Birth is not just about bringing a baby into the world.

  9. Partner support can look so different for different people.

  10. There is no ‘right’ way to give birth.

  11. There is no ‘wrong’ way to give birth.

  12. Birth is more than a baby leaving a body.

  13. ‘Birth’ doesn't always happen at term or even pre-term, birth can happen at 8 weeks, 6 weeks, or 4 weeks.

  14. There is no one-size-fits-all coping method

  15. Vaginal birth is not for everyone.

  16. An unmedicated (no-epidural) is not for everyone.

  17. Birth is messy, emotionally, and physically.

  18. Birth is unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean it is inherently dangerous.

  19. Physiologically normal has a WIDE range.

  20. Birth is MORE mental than it is physical.

  21. Medications are seriously sciences' gift to humanity, truly a miracle, it is absolutely remarkable what medicines can do to aid a laboring person.

  22. Homeopathy, tinctures, and herbs carry wisdom that spans generations, using these acknowledges age old feminine wisdom that is as old as humanity.

  23. Birth can shake you to the core in ways that nothing else ever could.

  24. Being invited into someones birth space is truly the greatest gift someone could give you. It is a sacred honor.

  25. Sometimes standing in the birth space is like ‘holding space’ in the eye of a hurricane, the whole world is spinning around you, and the only thing you can do is allow it to “be”

  26. Sometimes standing in the birth space is like wading in calm water in the balmy breezy sea.

  27. Sometimes I don't know how to help in the birth space, and that is a hard feeling to sit in, but that’s ok. Sometimes the best thing for me to do is nothing.

  28. Out of all the choices to make prenatally, the one that holds the most weight is who you hire as your provider. Your provider will be the greatest force in how your birth unfolds.

  29. When you are in your birth space, know that it is YOUR space. You hold command of the room, use your voice. Advocate for your needs.

  30. Sometimes babies need time to “come around”, talk to them! They need to hear a familiar voice.

  31. To hold space for birth, you have to hold space for death. This doesn’t necessarily mean there will be adverse outcomes, this means there will be life altering change—always.

Photo cred: https://heatherglennphotography.com/

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Featured Doula: Samantha Griffin

Certified Birth doula, postpartum doula, lactation counselor and childbirth educator, childbirth and parenting blogger and podcaster