Saturday, September 17, 2011

My life as a doula

Every healer comes to the art with proclivities, areas within which she has a natural feel, a knack. We can't ask for these gifts, they are divinely bestowed, maybe from before the time we were born, who knows? Sometimes our particular gifts fit seamlessly into our lives, other times they seem oddly placed.

Every now and again I take on the role of doula, or birth attendant. Usually this happens with people who have seen me for pre-natal massage. The role of doula evolves out of our work together, which makes perfect sense.

What doesn't make sense, not in the conventional way, is this gift. It doesn't make sense because I never wanted children, and I do mean never. I remember making a bet with my sister Karen that I would never have kids. She said by the time I was 30 I would have two. The bet was for $15, an enormous amount of money at the time. What was I, ten years old? I already knew I was not meant for that kind of relationship in this lifetime. That I was not meant to have kids is one of the few things I've ever been absolutely sure of. It's interesting.

I had my tubes tied at age 23. The doctor tried to talk me out of it, which at the time I found insulting because after all, I WAS an adult. Looking back now, who can blame the doctor? Twenty-three? Holy cow. But I never regretted that decision, never heard the ticking clock later on in my thirties, never developed a need to hold other people's babies. Babies are like humans of any other age - I like some, others I'm not as interested in. The maternal gene is missing from my DNA, I swear.

All that said, truth is, it's fun to work with pregnant women. Babies in utero are very psychic, something they dispense with (mostly) once they're born. A common experience in this work is for the mother to fall asleep on the treatment table while the baby kicks, dances and moves like crazy. I feel very engaged with these babies; I'm always extremely curious to meet them after birth. It's like meeting a blog friend for the first time - we know each other well, yet we have never met. It's very fun. Ironic, isn't it?

On October 3, give or take a few, I'll be part of the team welcoming someone through the gates of life into this world; that is, I'll be attending a birth. The parents are friends as well as neighbors and clients. They are very dear to me. I want to be the best doula I can be for them. It's much on my mind.

The role of doula is incredible, it deserves a post of its own. I'll write about it tomorrow.

I slept twelve hours last night. I am definitely once again above the weather, a good thing since it is moody and cloudy outside. I followed my own rules and feel back to myself again. Yay. Have a peaceful Saturday.


The Bug said...

My mom had a bet with her best friend that I'd change my mind & have a baby at some point (I should say Mom was on my side - no matter how much she would have loved a grandchild from me she knew my mind). I don't know if Sue ever paid my mom or not - but my mind never did change. Thank goodness I married someone who also didn't want children!

I actually talked to the LP at Planned Parenthood about getting my tubes tied when I was in my late twenties, but she didn't think a doctor would do that since I was so young. I felt very strongly that it was MY body that I wanted to protect & that I should be in charge of my own birth control.

Kerry said...

You're a doula! Awesome.

Being a parent is something that every person should think hard about. I greatly respect you for ability to think this through, and to make the decision that you did. There is pressure to do otherwise.

Reya Mellicker said...

But Kerry, there wasn't during the late 60s and early 70s. It was actually OK not to have babies then. The pill was brand new, super effective, and the social revolutions were underway. So I got a boost in the right direction. But I was sure it wasn't my role even as a little kid, hence the $15 bet.

You know, I never did collect on that bet. Dang, man.

Bug I'm sure you were duly insulted as I was. Looking at it from my current vantage point, I might have tried to talk you (or me) into waiting before taking such a drastic step. The maternal instinct is deeply embedded in most; so hard to recognize when someone doesn't have it. You and I weren't built for it. But that's OK. There are so many other humans in the world, we didn't have to have any.

Reya Mellicker said...

Whoa. Long comment.