As 2015 comes to a close and I begin to look forward to the new year, I always contemplate what has worked well for me this year and what I would like to do differently next year. I don’t make resolutions. I do, however, like to create intentions, usually in the form of a word or phrase.
My intention for this year as a doula is to BELIEVE.
I spent a lot of time in 2015 studying the power of belief. I learned that belief is much more than “positive thinking” and behavior modification. Belief is opening your mind to all possibilities and releasing attachment to old and negative ways of thinking that may not be based in truth. I will share with you some of my intentions/beliefs for my doula practice in 2016:
- I believe that we do make a difference in the birth climate one woman and one birth at a time. It may be hard to see on Facebook and even in your local community, but in order for change to happen we must first BELIEVE it can happen. Every birth won’t be perfect. Every provider will not act in a way that we or our clients desire. But we can help facilitate a climate where there is hope for new ideas, constructive dialogue, and new ways of doing things by adhering to standards of professionalism and integrity. It CAN happen! BELIEVE this with me!
- I believe that I am called to my work and that by making myself available, those who need me will find me. This is freedom! This belief releases me from worrying about what my sister doulas are doing or not doing. When I see myself this way I also see them in the same way – called to their work and the women who need them. My unique abilities and personality are free to shine through when I practice in the confidence of my calling. I can just be myself! When I am functioning from my true self, my marketing, my interactions and my services reflect this and word of mouth becomes my best friend!
- I believe that all things are possible, even in the midst of questionable odds. This means, for example, that my client CAN have a beautiful and amazing birth with a less than friendly provider or hospital. If she chooses and believes it is possible, then why can’t I? What is the harm in my releasing negative experiences and stories about a care provider and instead looking through the lens of POSSIBILITY? Does a provider with a negative history always mean a negative birth experience? Can we expand those horizons? What effect would our belief have on these situations? What if I walked into every birth, regardless of provider or place, completely present in that moment and full of hope for all involved? How would perceptions change?
- I believe that I am connected to my community both locally and globally. This means that how I speak, act, and teach has an effect on the whole. I have an intention to be a professional that is guided by what is highest and best for each person I come in contact with. This does not mean that I create illusions about what the reality is. It means that I look for ways to impart love, compassion and integrity to all of my interactions even if I cannot change the outcome or the emotions involved. If I interact this way with one person, they may go on to do the same and pretty soon it becomes a movement. And THAT is how a revolution begins.
- Finally, I believe I can change. Because let me be real: this is not how I have always lived. I can be a skeptic. I get discouraged at times and wonder if I’m making any difference at all. I sometimes lose hope that care providers will ever start listening to the families and women who are appealing to them for something out of their personal comfort zone. I get angry when I hear about VBAC moms being rejected and belittled. I weep when I read stories about women who have been violated by providers that they trusted. I cannot directly change anyone else. All I have is me. But I believe that if I can change, anyone can change. And if others can change, a community can change. And if a community can change, a world can change. This is the CAPPA vision. It’s not pie in the sky; it’s real and it’s possible. It starts with me. I BELIEVE.
BELIEVE WITH ME in 2016, fellow birth workers. May this be your most amazing year yet.
Meliea has been working as a birth doula since 2008. She sees birth as a beautiful combination of science and art and feels honored to be able to walk with women and families on their birth journey. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband and four children and her cat, Tiger.