“Oh, you’re a doula! How exciting! It must be so wonderful to see babies being born.”
When telling people about my career as a doula, I often hear comments like this. People are fascinated with life at its very beginning; with the idea of seeing cute little babies come into the world. I usually smile, nod, and agree. “Yes,” I’ll say. “It’s incredibly special to bear witness to life coming into this world.”
And I sincerely mean it. But, really, there is so much more to it. So much more that fuels my passion to walk next to a woman during the birth of her baby; during her early postpartum days. In this first post, I’ll share a bit about what drives my passion as a doula. In my second post, the final in this series, I’ll bring to you a few of my most vivid memories to illustrate my passion and drive.
You see, it’s not just when the baby takes her first breath. To me, it’s the moments – sometimes seconds – that a dad reaches out to his wife and comforts her, the chance glances that I see when a mom looks into her partner’s eyes and they stay there for just the tiniest bit of time, but long enough to make time stop. These moments capture me, hold me firmly in time and space, and humble me. After all, who am I to be able to stand alongside and witness this raw and deep vulnerability? Who am I to be invited to be part of this? I can tell you that there really aren’t words to express what it feels like to be part of the unfolding that takes place during a woman’s pregnancy, during birth, and those early days as parents.
Sometimes those moments begin early- in planning meetings with my clients, or even during the interview. I recently asked a dad in an interview what his thoughts were about the upcoming birth, what he would like to see happen differently from the birth of their first child. He replied that he didn’t really have anything to say. I paused for just a few seconds; gave him the space he seemed to need at that moment. Then he started talking. He shared his story for 15 minutes without stopping, during that time his eyes got teary, he connected with his wife and revealed feelings he hadn’t shared or maybe hadn’t even realized. He shocked himself, came to new level of engagement in the pregnancy, and came to a clear understanding of his hopes for his birth and how he wanted to support his wife.
Seeing this transformation is why I love my job!
Tiffany Decker is a Portland-based, DONA-certified doula and founder of Birthing Stone Doula and Childcare Services. She’s Mom to two rambunctious, and loving boys, Griffin & Grady. They enjoy gardening, heading to the beach with their dog, and baking. She and her partner relish in date nights together. As a doula, Tiffany is inspired by seeing women discover new-found strength in themselves through the birthing process. She is always honored to be invited to a birth to hold the space for families to have an empowered and positive birth.