How birth keeps me humble

I have attended many births during the past 8 years, and every single one is a new adventure. I keep waiting for the day that I feel like I know exactly what I am doing when I am attending births, but that day has yet to come. I have to approach each birth as a new experience. No one can predict birth or control it. Not OBs, not midwives, and certainly not doulas. There are so many variables to consider when trying to work toward a certain outcome. Someone can do “all the right things” and still end up with a birth that is opposite of what they worked for. Someone can do “all the wrong things” and have a perfect dream birth. Someone can do “all the wrong things,” have what you or I consider the perfect birth, an ideal birth, an enviable birth, and to them, it is a traumatic, awful birth.

I’ve struggled over the years to feel like I know just what to do at every birth. I wish there was a checklist of things to do that guarantees the perfect birth that each client desires. I wish the amount of preparation people put in guaranteed the outcomes they desired, especially those who worked their butts off to have the kind of birth they wanted. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way.

Sometimes I can kind of say what maybe tends to happen much of the time, but I just can’t guarantee that if you take the class, hire the doula, do the Spinning Babies, hire the perfect care provider, do all the exercise, get all the massages and chiropractic adjustments, eat all the healthy foods, and do all of the mental activities that you will have the birth of your dreams. I can’t guarantee that for anyone. No one can guarantee that. Birth has a way of proving people wrong. Hopefully it keeps people humble. It definitely keeps ME humble.

What I can guarantee is that I will do my very best to support you. I will be a humble servant. I won’t promise to know things that I don’t know, and I won’t promise outcomes that I can’t deliver. I promise that if I don’t know something, I will find out to the best of my ability. I will point you in the direction of great resources to help you do your own research. I will support you every step of the way however you want and need. I will encourage you. I will celebrate you. I will honor you. I will be one of your biggest fans. I will have your back. I will listen. I will do my best to help you feel heard. I will work to help you stay as comfortable as possible. I can’t beat an epidural as far as pain relief goes. I can’t make pain disappear, but maybe I can help it to be bearable. I can’t take away the tired or the hard, but maybe I can help it not seem so tiresome or difficult. I can bring joy and laughter instead of fear. I can accompany you until your baby is safely in your arms. I can share information, suggest positions, do my best to intuit your needs, or just be there-no words needed. I can offer gentle touch. I can guide your partner. But I can’t guarantee an outcome. I wish I could. I wish I knew what to expect every single time, but birth often has this way of surprising us.

I recently attended a training where another doula mentioned that one of the things that she loves about birth is that it always surprises her. No matter how long she does this, there is always something that surprises her. I loved that! It affirmed me, and I finally felt peace about the fact that it surprises me too! It totally keeps me humble, and that is a good thing. It means that I won’t let my ego get in the way of finding out more that I can do to be a better doula. I will ask for help if I don’t know. I will seek those opportunities to learn. I have a servant’s heart, a doula’s heart. I know a lot about birth, but there is always more to learn. Every single birth is a new opportunity to become an even better doula. I promise that I will bring my best to you during your birth.

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