Tuesday, May 1, 2012
I have been incredibly busy recently, and subsequently haven't actually been writing on this here blog that much. The Story of My Body series has taken some time to edit, format, etc, but the main thing keeping me busy (aside from the usual two kids thing!) has been preparing for the postpartum doula training I attended this past weekend.
I'm not even sure where to begin in talking about the training. It was practical, emotional, and educational...much like the support I hope to provide in postpartum doula work, I suppose! There was clarification of values, and there was clarification of our role as a doula.
A lot of stuff came up for me, but one thing that I just had to chuckle about was this: as much as I enjoy snuggling tiny babies, it is not the part of the job I look forward to. Snuggling my own babies is divine; I have said that I think baby snuggles are the key to world peace. But snuggling someone else's baby just doesn't feel quite right - I am a placeholder for a Mom or partner. I feel less effective, less connected, and less wise than I do holding my own babies. With my own babies, I've known their every sound, smell, and expression - and they've known and needed mine and nobody else's. I guess this feeling that I'm not meant to hold other people's newborn could be a good thing - my default position is that I'm not there to hold the baby, but I certainly will if that's what's needed (and of course I will be happy to do it!).
I do wonder if I will have a greater outright desire to hold babies when A-Train is older, less snuggly, and no longer nursing. I haven't been hit with any "baby fever" at all since he was born. Every now and then I get a tiny hint of sadness that I'll never have another tiny newborn skin-to-skin to stare at for hours and memorize every feature of, or just smell...but then I breathe a sigh of relief that I will never contemplate nursing another tongue-tied newborn, will never have to make a decision about treating that tongue-tie in any way, will never again contemplate weaning/pumping/something on a daily basis. And I'll never again wonder if I have permanent nerve damage to my nipples ever ever ever again. Likely, I'll never have thrush again.
In case it's not obvious, the fact that my postpartum phases sucked kind of stood out for me at the training. But still - in spite of so. much. crap. - I had the physical, emotional, spiritual, and educational support to not go off the deep end. I even found great joy. Space was made for me to bond with A-Train in what I came to realize was a profound way.
My family and I required a lot (a lot) of help. I haven't even listed everything that was going on that impacted the first months of A-Train's life. We had multiple medical professionals involved, family helping (physically, emotionally, financially), non-medical professional support, etc etc etc. But we made it through. In fact, we didn't just survive - we have come through it and thrived.
For me, this work is kind of like paying it forward and I wish I could do it for free. If (an intense amount of) postpartum support can keep an extraordinary situation like mine from spiraling out of control, and even leave us with memories of joy and a strong bond with our children, then what is possible for the less dramatic situations if families are well-supported through this amazing, joyous, driving-blind, wouldn't-trade-the-insanity-for-anything transition?