Find Your Beginning
The presence of a doula during labor and birth is much like that of the hiking companion
A doula provides you and your partner with empathetic, non-judging, professional support for your emotional and physical well-being as well as an invaluable repository of information and resources. Imagine your beginnings as a family...
Focus on the task that lies ahead.
You are atop a mountain. Below, at the foot of the mountain, tucked away just beyond the dense foliage of trees lies your destination - a remote, quaint little village lined with elegant half-timbered houses and charming cobblestone streets. There, awaiting you, is the beginning of a new, unknown chapter in life - one of unbounded love and infinite joy. You experience a twinge of excitement and delight as you envisage the warmth of the cobblestones beneath your feet, the soothing sound of the rippling fountain at the heart of the village and the gentle embrace of the fragrant mountain breeze. After this brief moment of blissful anticipation, you return to the present and focus on the task that lies ahead. Your eyes intently scour the landscape, searching for and assessing possible ways to begin your descent into a realm of unprecedented love, beauty and personal transformation. But for now, you seat yourself among the sprawling, moss-covered roots of a nearby elder tree to rest before your journey begins.
You have been hiking many times before, but this mountain is different. It's uncharted territory. It's higher than you've ever hiked, the brush is thicker than you've ever treaded, and the bluffs steeper than you've ever seen. The solitary wooden sign posts marking the way are adorned with words of a foreign language. Friends and aquaintances have shared their experiences navigating their way down this very mountain. Every journey is different, every story unique and every perspective distinct. Some chronicle an abrupt, precipitous passage to their destination; others a remarkable, yet exceedingly prolonged trek. Some were met by piercing winds; others by the delicate rays and soothing warmth of the golden sun. And yet others endured a myriad of different weather conditions.
Every journey is different, every story unique.
Intently, you listen to tales of intermittant encounters with guides along the way. Some of these guides speak your language, others do not. Some, in all good intention, feel obliged to sway you down the 'right' path; a few are content to inform you of the potential paths, following your lead, only gently taking the reigns should danger present itself. Yet there is no certainty as to the amount of time each guide accompanies you. The longer your trek, the greater the number of guides you are likely to come across.
In a state of deep contemplation, you silently wonder how you will fare your course. What, and who, will you encounter? A wave of self-doubt momentarily washes over you. What will it be like? How will I react to the unexpected? Will I be able to stay my course with confidence and determination? As swiftly and powerfully as this emotion floods your heart and mind, so, too, does it wash over you and recede again, leaving behind in its wake your unwavering sense of resolve for the task at hand.
Imagine now that you are not alone. By your side is your partner. As you, your partner is unfamiliar with the terrain below and has never before experienced emotions and physical reactions with such powerful intensity as this unique journey now holds for you. Yet the love, presence and support of your partner lends you great comfort, strength and courage.
Now, imagine that accompanying you and your partner is a travel companion. She is well-versed in the art of hiking this particular mountain as well as in the on-goings and customs of those residing in the peaceful village at the mountain's base - your destination. You are intimately acquainted with this companion after meeting several times before to talk about and plan for your impending odyssey. Having walked beside many women as each forged her own trail, she is familiar with the different terrain, guides and conditions you may face as you and your partner make your way from the top of the mountain to the village below.
You are not alone
Unlike a guide, your companion does not prescribe or lead you down any one path as opposed to another. Instead, she respects and supports you as you evaluate and surmount any obstacles, forging your own way - the way that is right for you. She has no goal other than to be a steady source of comfort, information and reassurance as she accompanies you and your partner throughout your travels. At times, she walks beside you; at others she steps back into the periphery, following your lead.
Not only does she speak your language, she speaks the language of the guides and the words printed on the signposts, assisting you and your partner with communication as needed. When exhaustion, discomfort and possibly even self-doubt set in, she listens attentively, massages your swollen feet or aching back, and helps you to draw upon your inner strength, courage and wisdom to carry on. In her presence, you are able to experience a greater sense of comfort and ease, freeing your mind and your body of unneeded tension.