BIRTH STORY WORKSHOP FOR BIRTH DOULAS ONLY - FEBRUARY 8
Expectant parents and babies aren’t the only ones who have powerful
experiences in the birth place. As doulas we are deeply affected by
the things we witness. Occasionally, it is time to examine our
experiences and seek resolution. Often what we really need is a safe
place, the opportunity to tell our story in a structured way and have
it be heard, really heard. We will use art exploration, facilitated
dialog and powerful ritual to promote self-awareness, stimulate
healing and celebrate ourselves as amazing women who lovingly and
bravely hold the space for others during a time of great power and
vulnerability. For more information about this workshop and other
Birth Story Workshops especially for home birth midwives and also for
women who have given birth: http://www.carolgray.com
I was never one for "art exploration," though truthfully, I can't say I have any experience. I have had a number of clients use the "birthing from within" philosophy which uses art as one of it's tools, but really, it all sounds a little hokey to me. I think the reason I like Lamaze is that I am much more pragmatic than hippy by nature. In any case, right now I think I could use some doula therapy.
Being a doula is a very emotionally taxing job. One of the reasons I do it is because I know the birth story matters. I know that how you experience your birth can frame much of your life and how you see yourself as a woman. Ask anyone who has had an unwanted cesarean and she will tell you how the event effected her concept of her own womanhood. The problem, at least for me lately, is that a number of the births I have attended are shaping how I see myself. I have been to at least two births this year where I felt helpless, unable to support the family in the way that they wanted, in one case, and in the way they needed, in the other one. One of them truly hurt me on the inside, deep in my core, and I am sure I have not began to process the events and my reactions to them.
Ask any doula and she will tell you how difficult a really long labor can be for her. We are not blessed with the hormones and endorphins that keep mom and dad going, but yet we have to be present in the face of exhaustion and fear. People count on us to be strong and steady. Sometimes it is easier than others.
I have doula-d stillbirths, failed VBACS, long labors ending in surgery, abusive relationships and a host of other wonderful and trying situations. But none so sad for me as when I worked so hard and left feeling unappreciated.