As a Doula Mentor my role includes offering encouragement, support and debriefing birth experiences. This gives the doulas the opportunity to share their story, receive feedback and review any issues which may have arisen on a personal level, an important aspect of professional development. The mentoring session often assists them in grounding back to themselves after supporting the mother through the spiritual gateway of birth.
Recently on an early morning call, birth doula Naomi shared her experience of being called to a labouring mother at the last minute…
“Mum – 39 weeks – messaged me in the early morning. She had woken up in intense discomfort with surges very close. I suggested going to hospital, but her plan was to stay at home ‘as long as possible’.
I arrived 35 minutes later and was met by a very dazed dad at the door and mum squatting on the bathroom floor. When she looked up at me, I straight away saw the far-away look of transition and her sounds were deep and primal. She said she could not move so I made a quick assessment of the space and was prepared to support mum in the birth of this baby here in the bathroom.
I asked if she wished to stay there, or we could get her to the car and to the hospital (5 minutes away). I needed to give HER the choice. I knew baby was moving down, but mum made the decision to get up and go. We made it to the car and with a very fast drive to hospital. I supported mum to breathe and remain calm with no active pushing yet, although she was feeling the urge. She breathed beautifully.
We were met by midwives with a wheelchair and a speedy ride to birth suites. As we arrived next to the bed she crouched down as I supported her and breathed her baby earthside with hubby just making it through the door. I’ve attended a speedy birth before, but this was by far the quickest.”
During our call Naomi questioned herself, on behalf of the birthing mother, “should we have stayed cosy and warm on the bathroom floor – rather than make the rushed car ride to hospital?” and in doing so facilitated a more calm and peaceful entry into the world for the baby into her mother’s arms. Yet, as a doula, she fully understood the restrictions imposed both on women choosing to freebirth (without a medical professional in attendance) and on the support people (doulas) attending those births in our culture today.
Naomi shares “When I arrived home and took time to myself to shower and reflect on the birth, I became very emotional, I felt that I could have supported her better without the fast, traumatic ride to hospital by simply doing what I feel I’ve done for lifetimes before at the feet of birthing women and support the birth of her baby there on the floor.
I also felt fear… a soul memory of being dragged to a village burning for simply practising herb craft and holding space for the sacred rite of passage that is birth, along with many other innocent wise women accused of witchcraft because they simply had the magic of wisdom and holding sacred space for women.”
As she shared her experience, we could both see clearly* the many lifetimes Naomi has supported birthing women. * the meaning of the word clairvoyance.
We saw her beside the hearth with women labouring in their homes; attending births in softly lit caves; and nurturing mothers in the safety of women’s circles in different cultures.
The question arose “How can we reclaim the spiritual wisdom that resides in our ancestral memory today?”
Sadly, the answer is complex. Whether you choose to believe in past lives or not, we are living in a time when a paradigm shift is taking place in the ‘herstory’ of birthing practice. This is a time when the womanly act of giving birth has shifted far away from the innate, instinctual knowledge that mothers carry within their wombs and their hearts; as doulas we must awaken our inner knowing and heal this disconnection.
Doulas are waking up!
As we wake up and acknowledge that we are multidimensional living beings who carry the wisdom of past lifetimes, we reclaim birth for all women. When we respect the ‘Wise Doula’ aspect of ourselves and reconnect with her through inner dialogue, we validate our deeply intuitive ancestral knowledge.
Naomi – “This event has made me realise that this wisdom is truly in my cellular being from one lifetime to another.”
You can do this by –
Meditation or journaling… set up an honouring dialogue with your Wise Doula self, take time to ask questions, she may have insights to share with you.
Spending time in nature… calling on the support of Mother Earth to remember past healing gifts. There may be particular plants or herbs you feel drawn to and can explore further.
Past life regression therapy or soul retrieval, with an experienced practitioner, to ‘bring forward’ past wisdom into present time.
Express your inner birth truth… share your feelings with trusted peers or in the safety of a women’s circle.
Reconnection with soul memory may not change the decision to leave the bathroom floor, but it will deepen our trust as we continue to hold the flame for sacred birth.
With special thanks to Naomi Parker – Bare Foot Doula, who reports the birthing mother was very happy with the support she received and her decision to go to the hospital; she came home soon afterwards.
Anna Watts is the founder of Celebration of Birth Doula Academy. She is a Sacred Birth Educator, Doula Trainer, Counsellor and Spiritual Healer. The Academy offers Sacred Birth Doula and Post-natal Doula trainings for both new and experienced doulas to explore birth as a journey of transformation and healing. Please visit the website for training dates and information about her personal sessions, in person or via Skype anywhere in the world – www.celebrationofbirth.com