A Breathe for Your Weekend {Peonies & Birth Plateaus}

As you all probably know, I am a birth doula. I hold a bachelor’s in journalism. A master’s in curriculum and instruction. Six+ years as a middle school teacher. But, yes, I call myself primarily neither teacher nor writer, but rather doula.

In the Greek, “A woman’s servant.”

Emotional and physical support.

A nurturer. Someone to “mother the mother.”

A father’s cheerleader.

In the wee hours of the morning after 24+ hours of walking the halls, massage, water therapy, moments of despair, and moments of triumph, I witness miracle.

The crowning of a baby’s head.

A father’s tears.

A mother’s determination.

Everyone in the entire delivery room holds their breath for those final pushes and the moment when a squishy, wet, adorable infant is placed in all its newness on its mother’s chest. Pure bliss. IMG_1238

I witness that miracle. After way too many cups of coffee. After nights of whispering lines of encouragement, words of empowerment, memories of comfort. After watching mamas’ bodies perform acts of sheer heroism. After watching them ride the waves of contractions through hours of “not progressing,” “not dilating,” and “not effacing.”

I watch the intensity and pain increase, as “progress” plateaus.

Ah,” I think to myself and often explain, “this is where your body may be performing its greatest jobs. It’s preparing to be a mother. In this transition, a new set of hormones are flooding your body and will propel you in the next stage of labor. Where medical caregivers can’t see progress, I am witnessing the potential energy of these minutes.”

Because, did you know that often during labor a woman’s body “stalls” just so that it can more efficiently contract and birth her baby? Did you know that this plateau is common and welcomed? Even in the midst of labor, there is a pause… IMG_1239

Perhaps we should view the weekend with the same sort of anticipation. Labor is not over. Pain has not ended. But, we are given the chance to pause. To reset for what is to come. To create a safe space where we are empowered to push through those finals days, weeks, months, years even, of waiting…

May you welcome the pause this weekend and let a sense of rest and peace soak deep into your soul.

This too is miracle. IMG_1240

(By the way, aren’t these peonies gorgeous?!?! They just began blooming in the summer sun near my front porch.)

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