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My sister’s doula

My family is tight.  I have one sibling.  My parents still love each other.  We have weekly Sunday dinner during which we sit at the table talking long after the coffee has cooled.  And for this rare moment, we all live in geographic proximity.   

When my sister became pregnant, I coached myself on:

  • respecting her privacy
  • not using scare tactics
  • not saying too much
  • not saying too little
  • keeping horror stories to myself
  • keeping homebirth talk to a minimum
  • stepping back and allowing them to make informed decisions

All the while, I wondered how I could possibly be her doula in the hospital setting.  I imagined scenes of security guards forcibly removing me from the hospital.  But they chose a homebirth and I breathed a sigh of relief.  I wouldn’t need to guard her or time her arrival at the hospital just right.  I could relax into supporting.


As her time approached, I had so much anxiety.  If she had to transport, I would blame myself.  I knew this.  Deeply knew this.  A big sister thing, you know?  I did a Hypnobabies “fear clearing” before her birth. 

Then her birthing time began.  And it felt so normal.  The anxiety melted away as I moved into the familiar and comfortable space of birth.  I hunkered down to support her in the work of bringing a baby. 

What I was not prepared for was the emotion.  The powerful emotion that hit me full force out of nowhere as she was close to birthing.  At this moment:

Yes, this moment.  Do you know what I was thinking?  I was remembering the time I left her in my uncle’s hayloft.  She was little and refused to come down the ladder.  So my cousins and I left her crying.  My horrible brain fired off many of those memories in rapid succession leaving me a pile of mush.  I wept in her shoulder so she wouldn’t see.  I was entirely unprepared for the onslaught memories.  I never cried at my own births. 

She was a warrior, as I knew she would be.  And Zach was a strong birth partner whispering prayers and endearments throughout. 

Her sweet babe weighing in at 8lbs 4oz was a precious dumpling.

And her doula was busy remembering every mean thing she ever did to her. 

10 responses »

  1. Wow, Julie, I have tears in my eyes. What strikes me is the thought that this could be Norah and Cedar one day (so hang in there!). Sisterhood is so special and birth certainly brings on emotions that we never expected! I know you all did a fantastic job. Congrats to your entire lovely family.

  2. This is so beautiful and special. You’re so blessed that you got to share this experience as sisters.

  3. Julie, you are a beautiful women, sister, and friend. I have always admired the bond you two have. I appreciate all you did for her and for me during our births.

  4. That post was so sweet. It made me tear up.

  5. I cannot even imagine how amazing this must have felt to have shared with your sister. She is so lucky to have someone so supportive. I think you’ve more than made up for the mean actions as little kids.

  6. Oh, Julie! This was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Congrats!

  7. Just beautiful. What a blessing/blessed experience. The picture of you cradling each other says it all about what sisters can be. Congratulations, Auntie.

  8. Such a powerful and precious post! Sisters are special, and you two have a bond, just like your mom and I. I wouldn’t take anything for that closeness. Love you!

  9. So I’ve been hibernating at home with my precious dumpling and just now got a chance to log on and read your take on being my doula. Now I’m a pile of mush…crying all over the place! I hope you know just how special and incredible you are. I love you and I never thought you were mean =)

  10. I have never been more proud of both of my daughters than at this moment! Women of faith. Genuine and strong women. You have enriched my life…even as wee ones! And today, look at my blessings: I have two friends, two more sisters-in-Christ, confidants and wise consultants. You married men of God – strong in their faith and so very perfect for you and our entire family. You gave us precious grandbabies to start this amazing cycle of love and joy all over again. Today, I applaud you both. You make your Dad and I proud and we love you!


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