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.