So much can change in two and half years... but just two and a half years ago I wrote a blog about how tough motherhood is, called "I Am Not My Own." This blog, "I Am My Own Again" is the sequel, the continued version, and you will find that a LOT can change in that short amount of time. If you have babies under the age of 6, you should take a moment and read my other blog first... then DEFINITELY come back to this one, it will encourage you!
I am my own again.
I’m on the other side...
Mommmm... come wipe my butt!
Mommmm... she just called me stupid!
Mommmm... she’s not sharing!
Mommmm... she's touching me!
Lots of “she’s...” in our house full of girls.
Your day is filled with wiping snotty noses, dirty faces, tiny tooshies.
Your day is filled with squeaky voices, screaming wails, hushed whispers.
Your day is filled with changing laundry, making snacks, refilling silly cups, reheating your coffee for the 4th time, rocking babies, soothing toddlers, finding breastmilk pads laying in random places...
YOUR DAY IS FILLED!
Your nights are even worse... you sleep (if it can be called that) in a state of constant awareness - able to sleep, yet hear your babies slightest sound, able to sleep yet adjust your body to accommodate your baby and make sure they aren’t smothered by pillows or blankets, able to sleep and change a diaper at the same time, able to warm up a bottle or breastfeed your baby while we do the “mommy” version of 'sleep.' Only to wake feeling exhausted...
YOUR NIGHTS ARE FILLED!
It seems endless, a vortex that has no end in sight.
But it does... and that’s the sad thing.
My girls are now 12, 11, 8, and 6. And I feel sad. Sad doesn’t quite explain it. I am yearning to open my arms to another child. I am yearning for those sleepless nights, yearning to watch the first smiles of a baby again, the gummy grins. I want to see the adventurous crawlers find their freedom, the toddling monster walk... I am longing for all the things that have passed.
That season of life that seemed like it would never end... it doesn’t last long... and it's true, it does come to an end. I have been living in this life of 'freedom' for two years. But this freedom feels a little like a loss. I thought I had processed the idea that my womb would no longer have another baby, but every now and then a wave of grief hits me.
I sacrificed 10 years of my life... my body incubated and sustained life, both inside and outside of the womb for 10 years.... and then it grew up; they grew up. 10 years seems so insignificant in the grand scheme of things don’t you think? If you knew that this wouldn’t last much longer, that this phase would be over so quicker, it might be a little easier getting through.
Honestly, by the time your littlest is 4, life seems a LOT easier. Now my littlest is 6, and I feel like I am my own person again. It helps to have an amazing older daughter, and a little tribe of women who love each other fiercely. But if you knew that this season was as short as 4-6 years of life.... you might look at it differently.
It’s easy to wish the days away. I did. I enjoyed them, but I also felt like I died a little. I am back to life, but secretly, I deeply desire to be back in the throws of it all.
I’m just giving you a glimpse into my heart. I see you momma... I don’t have to know you well to know what you are struggling with... and my struggles may have been different from yours, but I know we all wished/wish it was easier. Guess what... you ARE and are BECOMING and amazing human through this process we call motherhood. You are a gift to your children. When you wonder if anyone sees you, or values you, or remembers how amazing you were at this or that, just know that being a mom is making you greater than you could ever imagine.
You are learning to love in greater measure... an unconditional love.
You are selfless - it goes beyond patience, it is completely denying yourself for another.
You are learning to follow your instincts and intuition at a whole new level.
You are learning to stand your ground.
You are learning to silence the critics.
You are learning to ask for help.
You are learning that things aren't always as they seem.
You are learning not to judge others.
You are learning what is truly important in life and what is just fluff.
You ARE... you ARE so much more YOU NOW, than you have ever been.
Motherhood has a way of stripping us to our barest, most vulnerable place, and reshaping us, helping us to grow in our strengths. You are AMAZING, and BEAUTIFUL, and have greater potential now than ever before. And it is totally ok to breakdown 10 times a day from exhaustion. It is totally ok to feed your child peanut butter and jelly for the 5th time in a row. It's ok to feel like a failure, as long as your give yourself grace to grow. It's gonna be ok!
And just so you know... I see you!
I’m on the other side cheering you on - while also plotting to steal your baby for snuggles.
Don't grow weary in doing the most beautiful task a woman could be given. Love your babies and be their world because this season won't last forever.
When your doula gets the call from you, a lot of things begin to go through her mind.
From the moment she walks through your door, she begins assessing, and it never stops....
-How is mom coping?
-When is the last time mom went to the bathroom?
-When was last time she had anything to eat or drink?
-How is her partner doing?
-Is he coping well?
-When was the last time he has eaten or had some water?
-If the plan is to head to the hospital... do they have everything they need together?
-If other support people (friends/family) are present, how are they doing?
-How are the people in the birth space effecting the laboring mom?
-If they have pets... when was the last time they were taken out?
-What are the plans for the pets for after we leave, have those people been notified?
While considering all those thoughts, she is simultaneously providing comfort measures to mom, and between contractions accomplishing other little tasks such as...
-Shifting the atmosphere to help the mother labor peacefully
-Turning off the lights
-Turning off the TV
-Cleaning up the kitchen space
-Getting a trash can with liners in case mom begins vomiting
-Washing hands constantly
-Plugging in essentials oils to help reduce nausea or to to help induce peace
Even if your doula is sitting quietly in the corner watching you labor beautifully, she is considering all the elements involved in this birth, and how to help this experience be as peaceful as possible.
My husband and I didn't have a doula for my first few births, but at my forth birth we did. My husband said he finally was able to enjoy the birth experience because he didn't have to think about everything. He is probably the biggest advocate for doulas now, and has said that we will never give birth without a doula again. Doulas can be just as much for dads as they are for moms.
Would you like to learn more about how a doula can add comfort and support to your birth experience?
Alabama Births provides free consultations; an opportunity to meet with a doula and discuss your birth desires. Contact us today!
"I should have hired a doula..."
This is a phrase I have heard so many times.
In fact, I thought this after my third birth. I had about seven or eight women present in my birthing space, and even having all those wonderful ladies present, I did not accomplish my birth goals. I was trying to avoid paying for a doula. The truth of the matter is that in most situations a friend, or sister, or mother cannot fill the role that a doula can fill, and because of this, I hear so many people say this phrase "I should have hired a doula." Hindsight is 2020. But when will we begin to listen to the advice of our friends and hire a doula - BEFORE we have regrets.
A friend who has given birth naturally may have a special empathy towards you, but she doesn't have all the training that a doula has gone through. A mother may know exactly how you like to be touched and may be a comforting person in the room, but, again, she doesn't have all the knowledge a doula might have, should an intervention arises that you did not expect. Your sister might be someone you arent afraid to be naked in front of, but she might not know all the comfort techniques a doula knows.
Your heart is set on having a natural birth, but once you're in the throes of labor, holding onto that natural birth dream can be difficult. Will you be willing to listen to your mother or your friend telling you to stick to the plan? Will you want to hear them reminding you of your natural birth plans? Another question, will they tell you to stick to it, or will they be too afraid to hold you to your hopes.
Doulas have specialized training that teach them how to support a mother in labor with physical comfort, emotional support, informational support, as well as wisdom of the birthing process.
She understands labor, she is familiar with it. She can tell when something is up. Perhaps mom needs nourishment, and doula suggests a snack and hydration, and mom perks up out of her slump. Perhaps moms contractions appear interesting and the doula can tell that baby may not be an optimal position, so she uses techniques that can help the labor progress. She is trained in the many variations of labor and how to help in those scenarios. And the best thing a doula possesses is a natural affinity to know what is needed before it is needed or asked for.
But what about nurses? Why would anyone need to hire a doula when the hospital has AMAZING nurses? I have seen so many incredible, selfless nurses in my time as a doula! I am so thankful for all that those ladies do, but they also have a LOT on their plate. I know they are on the labor and delivery floor for a reason, because of their tender and nurturing hearts, and I know they probably wish they could sit and stay with a client for her entire birth experience... but that rarely happens. Nurses have so many responsibilities, and one of the most time consuming roles they have is charting. They also have other patients they may have to tend to. A Nurses job never ends. If it is a slow shift, she may be able to stay with you consistently, but you can't bank your birth experience on that hope.
My hope is this, that you might learn from me and hire a doula. I wish I had a doula at my first few births. I wish I knew what a doula was prior to my first and second birth. I wish I had chosen to hire one for my third birth. I am so thankful that I had one at my forth birth - that is when I finally had the experience I planned and hoped for. Even my husband says, "We will never give birth without a doula again!"
Would you like additional support for your upcoming birth?
I would love to connect with you about how a doula may help you feel comfortable and prepared labor!
Disclaimer. Not everybody wants to have a doula and I understand that. Many people will be very successful without one, but a lot of people will benefit from the support and comfort a doula can bring.
Another Disclaimer: Not everyone wants a natural birth. Doulas are beneficial at ALL types of birth, from natural to cesareans. I just find many women who long for a natural birth, and don't end up with it, wish they had hired a doula.
I am always amazed when I attended a birth and I watch a mom who is beautifully aware of herself and in tune with her labor. Her partner and her have a rhythm. They work together.
It’s in those moments that I feel useless.
At the end of their journey, they say things like “there is no way we could have done that without you,” and I laugh because that doesn’t seem true... they didn’t need me at all.
And that is when I realize, sometimes I am like a nightlight.
A laboring mom is often afraid of the unknown, afraid of what to expect, afraid of how to make her desires known. She longs for that extra sense of assurance, that if she needs you, you are there.
A doula nightlight.
A presence that stands to assure the mother that she is not alone. Sometimes that is all the confidence a mother needs.
So, I will be that dimly light presence in the corner of the room, offering assurance and comfort. The occasional word of encouragement, but mostly a quiet presence reminding her she doesn’t need to fear. She has all the strength she needs to accomplish what is set before her. Her partner, who knows her so intimately, also follows his intuition and showers her with adoration and love.
It's there in the quiet, that my presence fades gently into the background and I have come to be content there. Birth on beautiful momma... if you need more light, I will shine a little brighter for you. You are not alone. I will be your doula nightlight.
Blessings to you!
Not every woman desires so much independence in her birth space, some prefer to rest their heads on my chest between contractions, or that I wrap my arms around them providing counter pressure on their backs, while they labor on the toilet.
No matter your birthing style, all women deserve to feel supported, whether it is all hands on deck, a quiet presence in the background, or perhaps you desire a blend of both.
If you are seeking the comfort of support during labor, I would love to serve you. ~Jillian~
I want to let you in on something... I didn't train with Birth Boot Camp in the beginning - honestly, I have never heard of them. Unfortunately, my lack of knowledge and urgent passion fueled my decisions, so I ended up at the cheapest training, the closest training, and a training that would not test me. I walked away from that training defeated and not knowing where to begin as a doula. So, when I decided to add childbirth education classes to my birth business, I decided that I didn't care how much it cost, how far I had to travel, and if I had to take a 12 hour test (insert major exaggeration), then so be it! I rigorously searched for the best CBE options out there and Birth Boot Camp stood apart from all the rest! Little did I know, but I had struck GOLD!!! I was AMAZED by the support and excellence I saw within the company. With that said, I immediately signed up for their doula training - and this time I was not surprised by the AWESOMENESS, I was excited because I knew it would be incredible!!!
After I joined Birth Boot Camp, my birth business exploded! I felt prepared for growth and knew I had an amazing support team behind me! Now, I am one of their trainers. Because of the experience I had when I started doula work, I am eager to train up doulas who feel confident and prepared to serve families, and serve them well!
Are you ready to build your birth business?
Are you ready to be set up for success?
Are you ready to experience a supportive and encouraging community of doulas, childbirth educators, midwives, chiropractors, and so much more?
Click on the buttons below to learn more about Birth Boot Camp trainings!
My name is Jillian and I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator, Placenta Encapsulator living in the Wilmington, North Carolina. I believe in women and that they deserve support throughout their pregnancy and births no matter what method of birth they desire. I myself am a mother to 4 girls, pregnant with a 5th (that is a boy); each of their births were vastly different.