I never expected my heart to be broken this weekend. I never expected to sit in a training workshop and sob.
But, then, God never does the expected in my life.
As of Saturday evening, I am now a trained DONA doula (much more on this in the coming weeks and months). For years, I have wanted to become a “servant” to women during their pregnancies, labors and deliveries, and postpartum weeks. For years, I have wanted to bring beautiful to the hospital rooms and living rooms and hearts of expecting families. For years, I have wanted to hold a laboring woman and let some of her pain become my own, as we witness perhaps one of the greatest miracles of all time – the birth of new life.
But, then, infertility happened, and I was too crippled by my own pain to shoulder the weight of others.
Now, nine weeks after Abby’s birth I attended a DONA training workshop this weekend with Abby in a stroller and have now emerged with new passion and with new purpose. I don’t just want to help couples stateside through pregnancy and birth, but rather I am now aware of a global need for mother/baby care “servants” in the remotest parts of the world. And, anyone can make a difference. We don’t need medical degrees (although those are extremely helpful). We don’t need years of experience. What we need are hearts full of compassion and boldness to raise awareness of the atrocities being committed worldwide.
Let me back up and explain…
Tammy Ryan CD/BDT (DONA), CCE, was my DONA workshop trainer this weekend. She is not just a lead member in the international doula organization, but also a founder of Joule Birth, Inc., which according to their website is a non-profit organization that exists “today with a vision that women in every country will have access to healthcare by midwives or staff, provide needed equipment, educate healthcare providers on evidence base childbirth practices, to find solutions to stabilize power sources, to eliminate kerosene in homes and introduce a safe alternative energy source that mothers can use to take care of their babies and midwives have a light source for night and emergency procedures in birth” (www.joulebirth.com).
According to the Joule Birth website, the State of the World’s Mother’s 2013 documented that 1 million babies die the very day they are born and 3 million newborns die within the first month of life. Up to 75% of newborn deaths are preventable with basic, cost-effective care. In The Democratic Republic of the Congo (where Tammy has been working in the midst of rebel warfare), 9 out of 10 mothers are likely to lose a child under the age of 5. The stats are heartbreaking. The stories even more so.
During lunch breaks and after training hours, Tammy recounted stories of women dying because the primitive operating room was not usable due to rolling power outages. She recounted stories of stillborn babies piled in corners of the single delivery room with masking tape covering each individual bundle with the mother’s family name written on it. She recounted stories of women being beaten because they dared to cry in childbirth or cry at the sight of a dead baby. She recounted stories of women laboring on their own because there simply are not enough midwives and doctors to go around. She recounted stories of rape and kidnapping and death.
She recounted stories that we can change. Stories of families like ours that could be forever altered by yours and mine. Through simple things like solar energy panels. Fetal heart dopplers. Doula care. Education.
And, all of the sudden, I see a convergence of passions that God has been stirring in my heart since I was a missionary kid in the orphanages of Mexico. A passion for international justice and mission work. A passion for rape victims. A passion for supported birth.
I’m going to embark upon my stateside doula services this year with a heart to eventually be able to make differences in countries like the Congo where way too many women and babies are dying. I would ask you to partner with me.
First of all, considering donating to Joule Birth through their website or raising awareness of the international needs that are present. If you have connections in the medical field, basic supplies like gloves and dopplers are desperately needed.
Second, please share my name and contact information with expecting mothers in your lives (Lauren Hasz at email@example.com). In order to finish my certification and gain more experience, I am offering my doula services in the Denver area for a greatly reduced fee for the first families that contact me in exchange for the necessary one-page reviews I need to complete my certification. I am excited to work with families through the last months of pregnancy to develop birth plans, work through fears, and plan for the postpartum period. Even more so, I am thrilled to use emotional and physical pain relieving techniques to create safe spaces for mothers to labor and deliver whether the birth takes place at a hospital, birth center, or home. I will not interfere between partners, but rather support the laboring woman’s chosen partner on the baby’s birth day.
Finally, I ask that you open your heart and eyes with me. I am asking God to break my heart once again for what breaks His. I am asking Him to use my hands and resources. There is literally a dying world that is too precious for us to sit back and do nothing.
Lauren, you seriously are one phenomenal woman. You so so strong and such an inspiration. I wish I could hug you tight for this. You should have been a nurse. Although, I know that’s not everyone’s calling. But you would be the BEST L&D nurse/PP Nurse, etc. You have what it takes. Forget the degrees, like you said. You said this: “What we need are hearts full of compassion and boldness to raise awareness of the atrocities being committed worldwide.” You could not be anymore right about this. And you also mentioned that you do not need a medical degree. So true. I cannot possibly express my frustration for those I see in my everyday life as a nurse who do not show one ounce of compassion in their careers. Sadly, they are in it for all the wrong reasons (money). A lot, not all, are so vain and only see what’s in it for them. I’m not saying that the money isn’t good…it is, believe me. But for me, as a nurse, I just LOVE being able to provide the empathy that they don’t get from the doctors. The support, the listening ear, the helpful loving heart, the non-judgmental care they deserve. We are all human. We all make mistakes. Who am I to judge them for why they are in the hospital to begin with? … I distinctly remember having a homeless couple on the unit I work on whom all they wanted was a pack of wet wipes and a few pairs of the disposable socks. The nurse before me told them no. I went above her and got them a bag and put in a few pairs of socks, some mini shampoos/soaps, some wipes and a few juices. I gave it to them and they dropped to their knees in appreciation. Tears came down their faces in an awe of thanks. All it did was make my heart explode to be able to help them. And it gave them a new sense of what being a nurse is all about. Regardless of the reasoning they were there in the first place. It didn’t matter to me. what mattered was taking care of the WHOLE person. Not just the disease. Anyway, I could ramble on forever. Basically, you see this and you are such a wonderful person. I wish you the best in your new journey. This is going to be so good for you. xoxo And all the women who pick you will be so lucky. Sending you and sweet Abby love. xoxo
Thank you so much. I needed to process everything this morning, and I’m just about in tears again imagining the homeless couple under your care. You are incredible and definitely in your calling too!!!! I can’t wait to see where and how God continues to use us in the future. Hopefully, we get to connect while I am in Houston. If not, then we can keep connected as we always have – online! Big hugs to you and Josie this morning!
These words feel like you peeked into my soul and wrote it here. I have prayed for a long time for God to break my heart… for him to give me a path, a direction, a purpose. I know motherhood is my first calling, but doula work is my second. It is so refreshing to see how many other women from our group share my faith and my passion. I am blessed to share life with you ladies… I hope we all become great friends and back-up doulas for one another. Maybe one day we can all travel with joulebirth! I hope we can all pray for each other as we take a step in faith. I will be praying for our strength, courage, confidence, and most of all that we may have an impact on the world around us.
Lauren you are such an amazing person and I feel so Blessed to have met you and sweet Abby as well as all of the other ladies in our class this weekend. I couldn’t even begin to try and express how I had been feeling from all the information and the emotions I felt as Tammy shared. But then I read your post and I like Wow, this is how I am feeling. And I have been wanting to just be more in tune with All that God has for me to do and especially with helping pregnant women. Thank you for sharing and I Pray God’s Blessings for you and your family and especially as we all embark upon this new journey, God’s love and Compassion flowing through each of us for others that need it as well!