Last week I had the incredible honour of supporting a friend through her labour and delivery. After reading about childbirth and watching many documentaries it was neat to be a part of one.
I still remember our impatience to have the baby come out after waiting through contraction after contraction… the wait seemed oh so long. It was hard to imagine the contractions would get more intense as the hours went on, but they did! My usually calm, collected friend lost her cool as she bravely dug deeper into herself to birth her child.
At one point she used me (unknowingly) as the punching bag to release the pain and tension she was experiencing. And as the birth got closer she needed more and more reassuring words from the team around her to tell her of the progress she was making and that she was so close to the end. One time she shook her head in disbelief and said we must be lying…. and so we spent more time describing what was going on around her, and showing the progress that she was making, which was actually significant for a first time mother.
I will never forget the look on her face at the end of it all when her little boy was placed on her chest, perfectly content and seemingly oblivious to the marathon his mother had just ran. Her face was radiant, and although exhausted the joy in her eyes was palpable. She looked like she’d had just conquered a mountain… and really she had.
In the early hours of the morning as I crawled into bed I got thinking…. in many ways we ALL give birth. We journey onward carrying our dreams, visions and hopes with us. When the time for fulfillment comes close it all seems too much; we can’t go on. We get very discouraged and disillusioned with the entire process. Like a woman in labour we are stuck between a rock and a hard place – keep pushing through each painful contraction that gets more intense, or go back and be in labour forever. We expend all the energy we have and yet we seem to make no progress. This is where the birth support comes in. We need people around us to look us in the eye and tell us ‘yes you’re making progress‘, ‘you’re doing such a great job‘, ‘you’re almost there’.
You may currently be in that place of birthing… the often arduous journey of bringing something to fruition, or maybe you are standing on the sidelines, a Doula of sorts supporting someone else through their journey. Wherever you are on the journey … look for others you can lean on when you need it. And if you observe someone else close to giving up, encourage them, remind them how close they are…. ‘Keep Calm….. and Doula on’.