Home, sweet home.
I'm bouncing back (and i use the term bouncing very, very loosely....) from a very rewarding, very exhausting couple of days as a birth doula. I am happy to say that mom and baby are well despite minor setback after minor setback. But the mom was a rockstar (as are all birthing women!) and the experience of witnessing a whole, new, real, live person show up and join the party was just - as it always is - mindbending and fulfilling. And exhausting. Emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Something that is really odd about it - I get a call and I go to someone's house. In most cases we're nearly strangers, having met at most 2 or 3 times before. At a very pivotal point of their lives I slide into their environment fully. I, and my life, cease to exist except where I fit, in that moment, into their world. Very quickly we move past the awkward conversation and politenesses generally exchanged when a stranger visits your home, or you enter as a stranger into someone else's space. Over the next few hours we become intimate. We share stories, we share experiences not often shared among even siblings.
Sometimes we then go together into yet another environment with a new cast - a hospital room becomes our next reality, with the various nurses and doctors and midwives and support staff that become such fixtures in that event. If you've ever been in a hospital or supported a loved one through a hospital stay you'll know what I mean. You get to know the nurse and are disappointed when her shift ends and she goes home. When she comes back the next day, for her next shift, and you're still there - you're overjoyed to see her again, this old friend. And you mourn the departure of the one you've come to rely on in the meantime.
Then this amazing thing happens. This birth happens. And it's huge and tremendous. And we weep together. Marvel together at the strength of mothers, the miracle of birth. I witness women at their most vulnerable - which, remarkably, is also their most power filled - and I weep with joy, with pride. I am moved by these women, every time. Whatever differences we had when we met as strangers now forgotten. And then I go home, and leave them to their new families.
I arrive home, my kids energetic and loving me. I realize how I'd missed them, how I'd relived each moment of their coming. How I experienced again the joy of transformation from woman into mother. How I experienced again the pleasure of changing baby into sibling. I am exhausted. And happy. I shower, if I'm lucky, I catch a nap, and when I awake, it's all gone, like a dream. My life is mine again, and really, that lifetime that just occurred was a flash - a day or two, that's all - in the timeline of my family, my household.
It never ceases to amaze me, how my life waits for me. How comfortable it is to reenter it. How naturally it fits.
Labels: birth doula memories