Thursday, October 18, 2012

Big Temporal Tipping Points

"And then there are Saturdays, big temporal tipping points when anything is possible."
-The 10th Doctor 

Saturday, September 29, 2012 was one of the greatest days in my life. I've finished my CAPPA labor doula workshop and I can start attending births officially as a doula now. Let me just say that I am so giddy to get started. The class was two days, Friday and Saturday. I feel like my life has been changed. It's another step to check off on my big list of dreams.

Often, I run across people who have no idea what a doula, also called a birthing assistant, is. Doula is a word meaning servant in Ancient Greek. A doula's role is to serve the mother, and sometimes the partner, in the role that is needed during the time which the woman is giving birth to a child. She educates, supports emotionally and physically, and helps to insure the family has the tools required to have a safe and empowering birth.

Birth is a long, and sometimes scary, process- especially for the first time mom that doesn't really know what to expect. No book, childbirth education class, or story shared from another mother can never fully prepare you for what birth is- the amazingness. Not only will giving birth affect the mother physically, it will also affect her mentally. She has to learn to trust her body to do what it was designed to do without her having even the slightest bit of control over it. She also has to completely surrender herself to the care of her support team, such as her partner and doula, to ensure that her environment stays safe around her. That can be unsettling. Laboring will take all her focus and strength. Often, taking on this role as the support person can be tough for the partner to do alone. They must tend to every need of their laboring partner as well as their own needs- such as eating, using the bathroom, or resting. Remembering all the comfort techniques and aids to help their laboring partner is hard as well when they're unsure of the change happening as well. This is where a doula comes in.

To the laboring mother and scared partner a doula is a friend, companion, counselor, fountain of knowledge, focal point, supporting actor, mother, coach, relief, bringer of water or food, massage therapist, advocate, and natural pain relief. Doulas drastically lower the cesarean rate in the average birth, lowering the rate of any interventions needed that can lead to cesarean as well. She has been educated in terms used by the nurses and doctors so she can explain to the parents what they may not understand. Also, she has been taught and learned from experience several tricks and positions that can be used to relieve pain as well as help stalled labor progress. While she will never speak to the nurses or doctor on her clients' behalf or tell them what to do, a doula will do all she can to help the parents make educated decisions they will be happy with.

A doula also gets more than money from such an opportunity, this is more than just her job. Birth is her passion. One of her greatest dreams will be to help every mother she can to have an empowered birth whether she chooses to have a epidural, has a natural birth, or ends in a c-section. Her task is to help the mother be at ease with the effort she put into her labor and the choices she made. A doula is a servant, she is there to provide comfort in whatever way that may be necessary and she is honored to do so.

Monday, October 15, 2012

That's Life

"It's Life. Just Life. That thing that goes on when you're not there. It’s not one of those things you can fix like you fix your bow tie. Don’t give me those big wet eyes, Raggedy Man."
 -So said Amy Pond to The Doctor in Asylum of the Daleks.

I mentioned before that sometimes it feels like I'm doing everything... and nothing. Along with that feeling comes one I hate.

That I'm missing something while I'm doing everything... and nothing. She's growing before my eyes.

I remember shielding her eyes after they wrapped her all up and my mom brought her over to me. She was crying because she couldn't see because it was so bright. I was crying and I couldn't see because my world just got so much brighter.

I remember the first night she slept 5 hours in one stretch. I thought she was dead. I reached over and she was cold. I flipped out. Quickly, I turned on the light. I won't lie, I poked her. She opened those precious blue eyes and my heart melted all over again. I scooped her up and put her to my breast. She only thought I was comforting her. I needed her.

Her first word. Mama. I was so overjoyed. It felt amazing. My daughter recognized me. She may not have known what "Mama" meant but she knew it was -me-. I was more than a face and a voice and mostly boobs. I had a name, I was Mama.

And her first steps, 3 little ones before she fell on to her butt. I was so astonished. She was just 8.5 months. Not possible. I was so proud but so shocked. I think I blinked and she grew up.

Her first birthday. All green, pink, and brown. Mommy's little cowgirl. She wouldn't tear up the cake. She picked off all the raspberries and shared them with me. Her Mama. Her first love. My heart.

Shortly after she started talking 24/7. (She still hasn't stopped, by the way) She astounded me with her understanding. She was barely ONE! All the songs she could sing. Amazing. That's all she was and is. I was mesmerized.

She turned 2. She danced around in her frilly little skirt I made her. She was SO proud. She showed everyone "My mommy made me this! Mhmm!" and she would nod her head over and over. I was beaming. She danced and she twirled around house. As always, dancing to the beat of her own drum quite literally.

Dragon*Con 2012. Can you say ADORABLE? Red bows in her hair, red bow tie, light blue dress shirt, dark brown pants. She was the Doctor to my TARDIS. To anyone who would listen she said "Me da Doctor!" My little nerdy baby in all her glory. I think my favorite time of all was sitting the food court as "the TARDIS" nursed "the Doctor" to sleep for her nap. Her little cheek against my arm as she dreamed of the vampires, monsters, super heroes, jedis, and other crazy costumes we'd seen so far.

It's just life, my crazy girl. It's you. It's all I need. You are my heart beating. I close my eyes at night, snuggled next to you, and you're all I see. I'm loving watching you grow into such a happy, intelligent, beautiful, little nerdy girl. You've fixed my everything.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I am Courageous.

"Courage isn't a matter of not being frightened, you know. It's being afraid and doing what you have to do anyway." 
-The Third Doctor, Planet of the Daleks.

When I was 16 I started a little diary to my future daughter. If I found a inspiring quote, I'd write it down. If I had recently gone through a hard patch, I'd make sure to write down what I'd learned. I'd also try to take a moment every once and a while to just write my hopes and dreams and encourage her to make her own dreams come true. I still have that little journal, it's put up in my bedroom at my mom's house. I'll give it to Emmy one day. I hope she'll cherish it as much as I have.

When I was 16 I never once imagined that when I had that daughter one day I'd be raising her alone.

It's been 2 years and 2 months exactly since I officially became a single mom. That was the day I ran from the fear and the pain. All I knew was that I wanted better for my daughter. I wanted her to be raised in a loving, safe environment. It's been a long, hard road since then.

Learning to handle every sleepless night, every boo boo, bath time, and tantrum alone was hard. The cuddling and snuggling was easy, even if it seemed that's all I did sometimes. Dealing with the "times for discipline" was much more difficult. I never felt right yelling at Emmy or spanking her when she did "wrong", not after how I'd been treated in my year long marriage. She had also been affected by my fear when I was pregnant and hearing him yell at me in utero so why should I yell at her or hit her to punish? What is the real difference? All my husband was trying to do is was make me a "good wife", the wife he wanted. Why should I do the same to my my daughter to make her be a "good child", the child I want? So I opened my mind and I found my answer.

Being a gentle, attached parent after domestic violence can be difficult. You're so used to lashing out hatefully or in fear when something is not just right. I always wanted to make everything just perfect so that no would yell at me. I often felt like a failure far more so than I probably normally would have. Good mommies' babies never cry, get dirty, or get diaper rash, right? Her first bruise... I think I wanted to wrap her in bubble wrap for quite a while after that. I still struggle with that one a lot.

I had to learn to completely retrain my brain. When I did something that I thought was wrong I always had this huge desire to hide away and cry. That was the only self defense I ever had. You can't do that with a baby. Babies need you. Babies don't care that you just spilled your glass of water in your dinner, I was still her hero. Babies just want a boob in their mouth 24/7, to be warm, and snuggled up safe. I taught myself to look forward to cherish this time, to use it as a defense against negative reactions. I fell in love with that rush of Oxytocin flowing through my veins. It's all that got me through some days, my natural anti-depressant.

I don't remember a lot of when Emmy was a little baby now. I don't remember much of being pregnant. I think of it as a defense mechanism to block out all of the ugly times I have been through. I felt like I was living in a fog, just going through the motions some days. Others, I was bright and sunny. After I got out, I surrounded myself in family and friends who loved me. I made mental note of what issues really set be back into my fear and things that made me happy. I naturally controlled my depression through caring for Emmy and never once took a single pill. I took all my pain and fear and turned it into love and hope.

In March of this year, 2012, I finally woke up completely. I was finally through the fog. I had researched and learned. I had discovered how to make my own decisions again. I had met someone to whom my every action was useful to, my daughter. In May I quit my job. My business, Girls of Graceful, was finally getting enough orders I could be a stay at home mom! I also started Labor Doula training in April. I have my first client in December. I was terrified, I still am, but I do it. I can. Emmy taught me that I can do anything, especially be a single mom.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Who Shoes!!

It's official. I'm absolutely the best mom ever. Well, at least according to Emmy and that's all that matters.

When we woke up this morning I could hardly stand it, we got straight up and went to see the shoes! Emmy started dancing and proclaimed "FOR ME?!" Her eyes were huge with wonder. My eyes, of course, we not getting teary. We sat down in the floor and I helped her get them on. They're still quite a bit too big so I tightened down the strap and let her go. She danced through the house for half an hour and told all her babies about wearing her "Doca Who and Doca house tews". I thought my heart would explode with pride and joy. I made my little girl the happiest little girl in the world.

It was a great reminder to me that it's not just about me or even just about her. It's about us. We feed off one another whether it's good or bad. Today, it was amazing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Hello, I'm the Doctor...

...And the teacher, the chef, the best friend, the dog walker, the taxi cab, the horsey, the boobies, the hugger and kisser, the disciplinarian, the comforter, the gymnasium, the search and rescue team (for toys!), the housekeeper, hair stylist, keeper of secrets, diaper stuffer, toy repair woman, champion tickler, tooth brusher, no sleep zombie, professional lullaby singer, stain removing expert, damsel in distress and hero and dragon, clothes seamstress... and the Single Mom.

I always have this constant feeling that I’m doing nothing while at the exact same time doing EVERYTHING. I guess it comes with being a mommy, or maybe just with being female in general. Squeezing in everything seems next to impossible but once I’m done and I get to take a breath (One breath, mind you!) and I look back I just sigh… Was that enough?

Back at the end of May this year I quit my job. Sound scary? Yep, sure was! I quit my job so I can stay home with my daughter, my Mini E. I rolled up my metaphorical sleeves and made a plan. I decided I'd just sew and keep studying to be a doula. That's what I did. I've been sewing like crazy while watching various nerdy/geeky shows on Netflix (Thank you whoever created it!!) and studying, studying, studying. Let me just say it's all paying off.

Every person has a dream. I'm making mine come true. (Sadly, not the one of traveling through time and space in a bigger-on-the-inside blue box.) It's a fight, it's a struggle, but would I change it? No. Doesn't the Doctor always win in the end?
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