People often ask me what a doula is, or they assume that a doula is something like a midwife or a midwife assistant. I always say that a doula is there for emotional, physical, and educational support of the mother and does NOT do anything medical. Though, sometimes the best way to explain to someone what a doula does is to show them my labor bag! Everything in this bag helps me to do what I do best. But my favorite tools of all are my mind, my voice, and my hands.
I use a large canvas diaper bag as my labor bag. Inside of this bag is my birth ball and foot air pump, my robozo scarf, my rice sock for heat and cool therapy, herbal lozenges, bottled water, wet wipes, disposable toothbrushes, lip balm, granola bars, a welcome folder with business cards, some cash, a thank you note for the nurses, and a change of clothes for me. I also like to bring along my camera if it is previously consented by my client.
As a mother I am always comparing myself to other mothers. I often wish that I could resist comparing but the truth (at least for me) is you admire people who possess qualities that you lack. Qualities that are difficult for you to acquire and areas that you might consider yourself a “failure”. Here I want to challenge that idea.
I personally don't feel that I have a decorative eye. I find it so difficult to put a room or outfit together. I am constantly thinking about these areas that I fail in and the idea always creeps in that “If I could only do this ‘one thing’ I would be a better mom”. The idea that if I could only have the style that my friend does everyone would be so impressed and I would have my stuff together. When I see a mom who’s house looks like it came from a magazine and who’s style is always on point (I'm talking about you bestie-love you!) and I feel like I will never ever being as good as them, and that they have their stuff together why can't I?
The reality is that same mom looks at me and thinks things like “wow I can't believe that she home schools her kids I wish that I could think of lesson plans that were like that or that I had the time and materials to be able to homeschool my kids.” She might have a similar idea like “If I could only do this ‘one thing’ I would be a better mom”. I’m telling you right now she is an incredible mom, homeschool or not, and so are you!
The reality of the situation and of every situation like this is that we all have strengths and we all have weaknesses and the most important thing is to value your strength and recognize your weaknesses. I value that I have strength in homeschooling, I use that to my advantage I make money on the side by tutoring, I like to reach out and help my friends and family who are struggling in education, and I know that it's something that my children will value for years to come. I recognize my weakness in the areas of style so I when have days that I am doubting myself I recognize this and I have the awesome opportunity to reach out to my bestie and I say “I would really appreciate it if you looked at this thing I’m doing because you are really awesome with style stuff and I could use some pointers.” I shamelessly put myself out in the open, so called faults and all, and I ask for help.
Alone as moms we are only good in a few different areas but if we band together and work together then we are the ultimate mom. Motherhood is a community it’s a group effort and we all need to look up to each other and stand side by side and solidarity. So I urge you to find whatever area that you're strong is and share that with the people around you! Whatever area your weak in reach out ask for help! Don’t be afraid to say, “I'm not perfect and it’s okay because with you I can be strong”.
So who is your tribe? Don’t have one yet? Reach out! Talk to that stranger mom at the park. Check out your local libraries children’s programs, look for local MOMS or MOPS groups. Surround yourself in a community of motherhood.
Know your strong and share it with the world. You are the most awesome you here!
I am a student midwife and doula serving families in the North Country, and living life with five littles.