Doulas on call beyond the birth setting
[The following article was published in DONA International eDoula electronic magazine in September 2011]
Monday 18th July, morning – 2 days before my leaving for Boston, have my printed itinerary for my first DONA conference downloaded, organized and studied the conference materials, prepared for the post-conference workshop, packed my stuff, checked on my visa status, my dogs, children, plants, all set. Just waiting for the ultrasound of my son that will verify that all is well with him after our car accident and I’m off.
Monday 18th July, afternoon – just back from the ultrasound apointment.
After 2 weeks in the hospital with internal heamorrage, my son’s heamatoma is still there, not diminished in size and pressing on his appendix and needs close monitoring. My son feels absolutely fine, he tells me to go ahead, and he’ll stay with my sister, as planned. That’s where my own words to pregnant mothers come to me, “what does your gut feeling tell you?” when doctors break some news to them. I have to keep quiet for a while and allow for the right decision to come to me. Very quickly too! All plans are turned upside down, it took months to organize this trip, I am representing Greece for the first time, we are working towards doula training in Greece for the first time, we have announced my trip and its reason to the community, I am all ready and have done my homework.
The truth is that the decision was taken with the help of another doula: I called her on her vacation time, telling her the options and she was totally supportive of me staying back to care for my family regardless of the commitment to the community. She had already ‘doula-ed’ me during the hospital days, doing my laundry, bringing me food, being there for my oldest daughter, calling… Many doulas formed a prayer circle for my family after the accident, I knew they were there if I needed anything at all. I was taken care of in more than one ways – and still am! – by the very substance of being a doula.
Change of plans is pretty frustrating and disappointing most of the times. On the other hand, birth and parenting has very little to do with planning, as we all know! I take this lesson as I try to accept the course of events that keep me away from the DONA conference in Boston this year. I wish you all a fruitful, inspiring time!
I am honored to be a doula and am grateful to all who stood by me through the storm and helped me set my priorities.