As Michele and I left for Austin Thursday night I knew we were going to have a great weekend. I never knew it would change my life so profoundly. Sitting in class on day one I remember looking around the room and thinking how familiar so many of the women looked. Call it kindred spirits or whatever you want but I now know we were all suppose to be there. Great or small, we were meant to impact each others lives in some way.
I was so inspired by many of their stories. Like the woman who induced lactation to breastfeed her adopted son. A woman who spent a year of her life volunteering in Africa helping women and children affected by the Aids crisis. The women who pushed for 6 hours to achieve her dream of a home birth. Or the woman who's home birth ended in an emergency c-section yet doesn't dwell on the blame or “what if's”. I met so many amazing women but I thought a lot about these women in particular. About how strong they are and how much they have over come. For the first time in a long time, I thought maybe I could be that strong. Maybe I can finally deal with all the pain I have been harboring from my own birth. I had never even considered the fact that I could process those feelings, let alone heal them. It didn't happen all at once, but with each thing said I let go a little bit and began to heal. Today when I think of David's birth I can think of what a wonderful day it truly was and how much I have learned. Part of me is still a little sad over what I missed out on but I am not angry and I have hope for the future.
Aside from all the healing I accomplished this weekend I also learned a lot. I'm sure as I look back and reflect I'll remember much more that I have learn, but for now here are some key points.
- Faith in someone and encouragement can take them farther then they ever thought they could go.
- Believe in the power of a woman, especially when she herself forgets.
- As Doulas we are taught to unconditionally support people emotionally. Applying this in your everyday life can move mountains.
- Don't be afraid to share your “perfect” birth story. It gives women like me hope.
- Believe in your self and your convictions, even when no one else does.
- Don't just watch what you say, watch how you say it. More often than not people will remember how you treat them, not what you said.
I feel so blessed to have had this amazing experience and to have met all these amazing women. I can not wait to help other women achieve their goals and I hope to one day to achieve my own goal of an HBAC. I have never been so excited or had so much hope about what the future holds.