Our Birth Doula training is very comprehensive and includes not only Optimal Pelvic Positioning and “The Four Principles,” but also ways in which to enhance character development. One of the ways we do this is by having our students complete the BirthWorks Doula Journal Workbook in which one of the exercises is to write responses to insightful quotations. Here is an inspiring one we would like to share with you that is pertinent not only to doula work but to life itself.
“The more we become ourselves, the more we change”. – Carl Rogers
This quotation speaks of accepting fully who we are. In a society that tells us how to act, think, look and feel this can be incredibly difficult. Many seemingly subtle experiences create a culture of how and who we should think, feel and be – a parent reassuring a child that, “That didn’t hurt” when they fell off their bike (it might not have hurt the parent but the child sure is hurt). An Aunt insisting, “Come on and give me a hug, you’re not shy” – though the child is feeling shy in that moment. Teenagers are told who they should “like”; until recently this person must have been a member of the opposite sex. If someone likes long floral skirts they may be seen as old fashioned, or hippy – everyone seems to have forgotten that floral skirts have gone in and out of fashion many times over the years. As adults society has all sorts of messages – you should own your own home; you may only have one sexual partner – a dog and two kids is a complete family unit; you should be saving for retirement etc etc.
In this barrage of repression many people find it hard to find themselves. It takes a lot of work to dig through perceived ideas and false personalities to find their true self. It may even take decades of work through therapy, meditation, restorative practice and life crises. It’s worth the journey though for once we have found this true self we have found real freedom and real liberation. Unshackled we are able to live in movement, flowing with the tide of life, able to shift and change with our current situation or environment. We are free to live completely in the “Now” because we understand that we are merely consciousness flowing through a series of present moments.
Such acceptance is of huge benefit to us in our practice of being a doula as it allows one to be flexible and resilient. It let’s us accept that other people are complete individuals and we are able to differentiate ourselves from them (differentiation being the ability to hold on to ourselves, our values and our opinions while accepting that there is room for more than one valid opinion and remaining connected whilst dealing with the anxiety that comes from these differences in opinion). We realize that though we may be doing things we may not be comfortable with for our own selves, it may be the best way to meet the birthing mother’s needs at that time. It allows us to lend ourselves to our clients though they may not always heed our advice and may make decisions that we personally would not make. It allows us to be gentle and compassionate in all our dealings with our birthing couple and with the entire birthing team.