Saturday, May 14, 2011

Doulas, and The Men (Or Women) Who Stand Behind Them

It's Friday afternoon, I've been with a client since Thursday morning and it's looking like it may still be a few hours before the baby is born.

I have a 5 year old and 3 year old at home, and I know they are taken care of. I know my partner will drop them off with their grandma before his night shift starts. I know they are well fed, they have practised their music and read their books. I know that I can come home at any time after a birth, climb into bed and take a long nap.

I know that on the ride home after a traumatic birth, I can cry my eyes out. He will not ask questions that I cannot answer, he will not try to "make it better". He will just be there. As a doula I know how hard "just being there" can be.

My volunteer births take me away from my family, they take gas money from our account.

When I'm on-call, so is he. My cell phone lies between our pillows at night. We are a one car family, we have to work around my births and visits. My children are not yet old enough to stay by themselves at home, so while I am at a birth he is responsible for finding childcare if he has to go to work. We cannot travel far when a mom is 37 or more weeks.

I could not do this without him.

This weighs heavily on me. There's been this guilt nagging at me. I ask too much of him. At least I get to witness miracles for all this hard work. What does he get out of it?

Last night he told me that by supporting me in my work he felt he was doing good in the world. That this is how he helped the community.

It got me thinking... how many people are out there standing behind and holding up those who are standing behind and holding up others? How fragile and beautiful this structure is.

It's become apparent that I'm not the only one volunteering for a teenage mom in whole community is.