Things usually get comfortable quick. There is a certain trust built sooner rather than later. We spend time discussing things that she may not even share with another woman friend, mom, practitioner, or sometimes even partner. When we first meet, we are strangers. Within a short time, we learn about each other and how our personalities will match up during the remainder of her pregnancy and in labor. I feel touched to be a part of this important journey. I have a strong sense of protection over the mom and her labor and birth. I feel in tune to her feelings, fears, and wishes prenatally. Feeling the anxiety along with her when things seem like they might take a turn in a direction she didn't want them to. I'm learning that if this happens in actual labor and not prenatally, how to transform that anxiety into something else positive so that I don't bring any negative energy to her laboring space. During labor, I spend all this time looking closely at her face, noticing her expressions, listening to her words, watching her body movements, her tension, her breathing. I understand how she is feeling.
This is the most 'real' someone gets, and whatever 'comes out' is ok with me - I can hear it, see it, and empathize with it. It takes a lot to shock me. And, I'm learning quickly through my own experiences that it is true what other doulas and midwives say about the more 'stuff comes out', the better and quicker the baby comes out, too. I am sometimes 'doing' nothing but being 'everything' she needs. Ya dig?
If she needs guidance and direction, I give suggestions. If she needs to be touched, I gladly support her with loving touch. If she needs space, I make sure she is given that. If she needs encouragement, I give it with the vibe I'm feeling from her. I literally pass my energy to her through our connection and know it is going to help her to manage during one of the hardest times of her life. It is quite powerful. I let her know that I think she can do this work. I am proud of her at every step. I feel so so honored to be there with her on her baby's birth day...it doesn't get more intimate. It is a very cool thing to only know someone for a few months (in one case of mine, only 24 hrs) and to feel so attached to her 'story' and wanting so much for her to have the birth she desires. Wanting so much for her to look back on this day with good memories and a feeling of empowerment and enjoyment - she'll always remember this day. Wanting so much for this day to be a starting point for her in becoming a confident mother to her child, whether it is her first, second, or sixth. I get attached. Maybe some attachments will be stronger than others, but I do believe that there is a reason each mom and I are put together for this time in her life. And I just love getting to know each one of them. What a joy. Nothing will ever compare to the attachment I feel with my children, but the attachment I feel with my clients is special, too. It is hard, just like parenting. Both are hard because of the effects on my sleep, being on call all the time, and the emotional intensity of it. It is very similar in a way. But, I absolutely love my two jobs. But I'm definitely an attached parent and an attached doula. :)