Don’t forget to call the portrait studio and that woman who said she’d talk to me about coping with kids who have food allergies. Must get to a couple of different grocery stores. Pediatrician appointment in an hour. Don’t forget to wash the diapers. Is my outfit clean for Sunday’s dance? There are so many things I need to remember on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel as though there isn’t a thought in my head that isn’t attached to a to-do list. At the end of the day I find myself mentally (if not physically) checking off all of the things I’ve accomplished and reviewing those that must wait for another day. There are never enough physical to-do lists so I make mental ones to remind me to create hard copy versions. But I realize all the things that don’t make it on to my to-do list. Did I show my husband I love him today, not just tell him? Did I take a moment to savor that fast fading baby smell of my little boy as he passes his first birthday? Did I give my daughter my undivided attention to let her know that she still matters, even in the whirl wind of our busyness? These things should be at the top of my list. Did I take a few minutes to be thankful, to remember the blessings I have, even in the difficulties? I need to make a daily mental gratitude list and remember to both show my love and tell them. If only it would become so second nature that I couldn’t possibly forget.
What is a Doula? A Doula is a non-medical labor support person, similar to a labor coach. A doula does not replace the role of a husband, partner or relative who may be serving in a labor support capacity, rather the doula augments this support, and even provides additional help to any other labor attendants. They can also help service as liaisons to the medical professionals involved in the delivery if the mother isn’t able, for whatever reason, to properly articulate her wishes.
In addition to support during labor, doulas can also provide pre-natal education, especially labor education, as well as post partum support. Some even provide some lactation support.
I had doula support from local, and DONA certified, doula Katrina Beier during my last birth. Should I have any other children, I will definitely hire Katrina again, if at all possible. I didn’t have the easiest of pregnancies and Katrina’s support was crucial. I had false labor several times during the last few weeks of my pregnancy and she made several visits to the house to help us decide whether my labor was moving forward or not. Given that this was my second child you would think that it would have been clear, but you’d be surprised the kinds of tricks your body can play on you.
In the past, I wouldn’t have really considered having a doula and my husband was rather reluctant when I first suggested the idea this time. He felt like providing labor support was his job and that including someone else meant that he wasn’t doing his job well. But after our son was born, he was very glad that Katrina was there.
Katrina kept track of things for me so that all I had to do was focus on the labor. She kept track of my contraction lengths, when I had last eaten or gone to the bathroom, she even reminded me to check my blood sugar. When I was in labor with our daughter, my husband felt guilty running around the house packing last minute items, mowing the lawn or taking a shower because he felt like he should be sitting with me. But this time he felt free to do what needed to be done. He made a light dinner and finished up any dishes while Katrina helped me through my contractions. He and Katrina took turns doing double hip squeezes to help with the back labor. When we reached the hospital and the triage nurse asked what time I had last eaten, Katrina was able to tell them. When I was considering pain relief (laying on my side in triage did not make it very easy to cope with contractions), she reassured me that if that was what I wanted, it was fine. I hadn’t failed. When we finally checked into our room and the contractions got stronger, Katrina encouraged me, “You can do this, but you don’t have to do this.” With her assurance of my capability I felt confident to get my epidural without feeling like a wuss or a cheater. She sat with me after my son was born so my husband could run to the cafeteria. She stayed at the hospital with us when I was having post delivery bleeding complications and called my parents to keep them updated.
Obviously not every person’s experience with a doula is as wonderful as mine was, but it is a worthwhile option to consider, even if you aren’t planning an “all natural” birth.
If you are near the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania (or western New Jersey) I recommend Katrina Beier and Sidekicks Doula Services.
I fly through my Friday morning trying to cover all of my bases before the day gets away from me. My husband is sick. The baby fights his nap. I have a dance rehearsal tomorrow morning and we’re trying to get the food together for the baby’s birthday party on Sunday. I still have a couple last minute presents to buy and grocery shopping to do. In one hour we need to be at the library.
I can barely handle the little things, the rest of life is beyond my control. But He can handle the rest, the everything else, and then I can rest. I just have to hand it over. Hand it all over. The worries, the check lists and the frustration.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
A recent speaker at our MOPS group mentioned being yoked to Christ. Part of why his yoke is easy, is that he is pulling along side us, guiding us and supporting us. We don’t carry our burdens alone. Let him handle the rest so that you can rest.
I just want my baby to be ordinary. To gain weight (and keep it on), say more than one or two words, and be able to eat regular food. Some days I am so worn out with the thought of how much time I spend regulating his eating, his drinking and planning his meals. Do I have a protein at every meal? Can I buy that product or does it have milk, peanut or egg? What do I make him for dinner when we’re having eggs and pancakes? Will I ever be able to serve him the same meal the rest of the family is eating or will I be making two dinners every night for the rest of my life?
In my heart I know I have much to be grateful for. My son is for the most part healthy. Until recently he was fairly happy too. At least so far, I’m able to stay home and enjoy my children. But some days the struggles and the burdens drown out even my best intentions at counting it all joy. I am only ordinary. I can’t do this alone. But I serve an extraordinary God. Whether it is my belief that some how we will get through these feeding difficulties with my son (and all the financial implications that come with it), or faith for healing of a friend’s child hundreds of miles away; I know that I am not in control. Sometimes, for moments or hours, I forget. But I am always reminded by the truth of circumstances that I am not, but I know that He is. I am ordinary but He is extraordinary.