10 things we have learned about birth

Birth is obviously something we are both passionate about. The experience of giving birth and the transition into parenthood is something that deserves to be honoured and celebrated and most of all supported!  This past year, we have had the chance to share intimate moments with our clients and each experience has taught us new lessons. As Hello, Baby! celebrates it's first birthday, we decided to look back and take stock. 

Lesson 1: Birth is beautiful

 Photo by Steph Hayes

Photo by Steph Hayes

Regardless of where birth happens or how it happens - there is beauty in birth.  Sometimes it is obvious and there for everyone to see and sometimes the little moments of beauty are hidden and shared secretly between a birthing person and her partner.  Beauty can be a movement, a look, an act of advocacy, or a simple touch but whatever form it takes, there is beauty in birth.

Lesson 2: Babies come on their own schedule

We have supported people who have gone into labour "early" and "late".  We have helped welcome new life to this world early in the morning and later at night!  We have seen labours last a few hours and a few days.  No matter what we do to help things along, in the end, babies are born when they are good and ready!

Lesson 3: Where you give birth matters

 Photo of Steph Hayes supporting a birthing woman.

Photo of Steph Hayes supporting a birthing woman.

When we talk about WHERE you give birth, we are not talking about home vs. hospital births - we are talking about the space that you choose to give birth in.  YOUR space.  Making that space your own matters - it adds comfort and calm to your labour and can make a huge difference in how you are able to relax into birth.  One of the things we spend a good amount of time talking with our clients about is how to make their birth space their own.

Lesson 4: "Holding space" is a REAL thing

 Photo of Steph Hayes & Jenn Avis taken by Matt Hayes

Photo of Steph Hayes & Jenn Avis taken by Matt Hayes

As "doers" one of the hardest things we have had to learn as doulas has been the art of holding space.  What does that mean?!  Part of our job is to simply BE THERE. Sometimes, we are actively helping with hands-on comfort, asking questions, emotional encouragement and even doing an ice run but sometimes, when a labouring person and her birth partner have found a rhythm our job is to observe and to protect that space.  Holding that space allows the birthing pair to move through labour with added confidence because they know that they are not alone.

Lesson 5: Doulas need to work out!

Legit.  We have both learned that self care and fitness NEED to be part of our world.  It takes a lot of physical stamina to be with someone for hours (or days) on end.  Eating well, sleeping well, and getting our yoga on has been absolutely essential.

Lesson 6: "I can't do this" is just part of the experience

 Photo by Steph Hayes

Photo by Steph Hayes

At just about every birth we have attended this moment happens.  A moment of doubt creeps in and birth all of the sudden seems impossible.  We have learned that when someone says "I can't do this" is that they ARE doing it and, in fact, they are almost done!

Lesson 7: Cesarean birth is amazing

 Photo by Steph Hayes

Photo by Steph Hayes

The fact that babies can be born in so many different ways is truly amazing.  Cesarean birth is birth, friends. It takes every bit the same amount of strength and will and love.  It is just as scary and just as rewarding.  Watching a team of doctors, surgeons and nurses carefully lift that little life into the world is breathtaking.

Lesson 8: Vaginal birth is amazing

 Photo by Steph Hayes

Photo by Steph Hayes

Watching a baby emerge vaginally is something that I don't think we will ever get tired of seeing.  When that little face finally pushes through and rests, just for a moment, before the next push it brings a sense of awe over the room!  One person emerging from another... pretty cool!

Lesson 9: Sharing this time with our clients is an absolute privilege 

 Photo by Steph Hayes

Photo by Steph Hayes

Being invited into birth is something we are both so grateful for.  It is an intimate moment where a family grows and people change forever.  The relationship we build during pregnancy with our clients is very special - personal and professional. We do our best to make sure that we are giving them everything they need but that, when all is said and done, they know that it was them and not us that had this amazing experience.

10. There is nowhere we would rather be.

We are looking ahead to another year working with clients, creating new classes, and learning more and more about birth and the work we do.  Being doulas is everything we thought it would be and more and we honestly cannot wait to keep going!  We are so grateful to the families who have trusted us to be part of their birth teams so far and to everyone who has included us in their plans for 2018.  This work is everything to us and there is nowhere else we would rather be.

Big Love, 

Jenn & Steph