Being a doula is a job that encompasses compassion, kindness, and attunement. As I comfort a woman in labor, I’m reminded of my purpose. I’m reminded that her experience matters and that the gift she is about to hold, love, and cherish will be witnessed by me. I do not take that lightly and I hold her hand and her moments with great care and compassion.
My daughter sits at home. She stares at me with big bright eyes. She grabs my phone and pretends to be me. “Hello, The Birth Haven, this is Julie.” She grins and giggles and I’m reminded that what I do not only strengthens the women I serve, but also the daughter who watches me. The daughter who has been told that she can live her life with purpose and passion and be anything she wants to be. The same exact words I hear my own clients murmor to their new precious babies as they’re placed on their chests for the first time.
As I think about all of the things that my daughter could be, I wonder if she will choose the profession I’ve chosen. The one that’s battling for a place at the professional table. The one that's fraught with contempt and disdain for women making better lives for themselves. Will she be caught in the crosshairs of being condemned for living a passionate life, serving others, and keeping the lights on? Will she be told that she’s too new, too inexperienced, and too green to make a real difference? Will she be torn apart for building her fellow professionals up, maintaining a healthy bank account, and giving back to the community through philanthropic endeavors the underserved populations desire?
Dear daughter of mine,
I want you to know something very important as you grow. I want you to know that you can be anything you want to be. I want you to know that I hope women fighting against the betterment of other women is not a battle you have to battle. You are smart, kind, compassionate, and trustworthy. You will find purpose in whatever you choose to do. If that happens to be becoming a doula, know I’ll support you. I’ll support you just like I’m supporting thousands of other women. I’ll support you as you stand up to giants and don't back down. I’ll remind you that although people may seem bigger than you, your voice is valid and deserves to be heard. I’ll remind you of the shining moment in my life when you were brought into my arms. As I kissed your sweet head and took in your intoxicating scent I was pronounced, Mother.
Daughter, be who you want to be in this world. Be one who seeks elevation instead of slights and digs. Stand tall, be proud, and speak up to injustices. Remember that because you are a woman, you are strong. Allow your confidence to push you to understand the world around you in new and profound ways. Remember your honest sincerity and to love with abandon. You, daughter, will have a place at the professional table. Others like me are working to ensure that. We’re not settling for bickering about what you do and do not deserve. We’re working to ensure that whatever you choose to do, you’ll never have to choose others perceived needs over your own wellbeing.
You matter. Women matter. We matter.