A Silent September {A Personal Update}

I’m planning a silent September. Limited Facebook interaction other than checking one or two private groups that I’m part of. Less busy and more intentional working and playing and resting. More reading. More thinking. Maybe more writing. More kombucha making. I’m still working these details out…

I’ve watched nine mamas struggle and laugh and groan and sway their way through labor this calendar year and nine beautiful amazing babies make their glorious, wet, messy, perfect entrances into this world just since January. I’m expecting at least five more by the middle of December.

Those first lusty newborn cries. New daddies’ tears. Mamas’ shaking bodies. Grandmas’ hugs and prayers and fears.

These are cornerstones of my job as a doula. Whether it’s the middle of a dark night or the middle of a long week, I drop everything in my schedule to hold the space in birthing rooms while the heart- and body-breaking magic of birth happens. I massage. I soothe. I provide chapstick and snacks. I silently pray. I breathe IN and OUT…slowly. My body stills and strains, as mamas push and work and transform. I cry. I laugh. I take photos. I arrive home dirty and exhausted and fulfilled and wrung out. There is nothing left to give by the end. IMG_2959

{Photo: On my way to my last August birth…quite the different “professional” dress from before.}

It has been almost exactly a year since I turned off the lights in my middle school classroom for the last time and handed in my keys. It’s been over a year now since I’ve used my master’s in curriculum and instruction and written/aligned school curriculum. A year since I’ve found a student hidden under my desk (yes, I taught middle school for 6+ years). A year since I’ve attended a staff meeting in the black hours of dawn before the halls were brimming with teens, their homework papers, and the angst that I had come to adore. A year since my title changed from “Mrs. Hasz” to simply Lauren. Mama. Birth doula. Writer.

Abby had just turned five months old, and attending one of my best friend’s births as her doula opened my heart to a new calling. God knew just when to plant those seeds, as I didn’t think I was ready to leave teaching and hadn’t planned on changing careers mid-year (see this post and this post for the full story of the contract-issues that prompted the abrupt change). Still, now I’m here. And while I still miss my fellow teachers that had become like family and I still miss the hundreds of hugs and brutally honest compliments from students (my favorite will always be, “Mrs. Hasz, you look TERRIBLE this morning. Are you okay?”), I have been privileged to spend days at home with Abby and countless hours in hospitals all over Denver/Boulder/Longmont bringing peace to and encouragement to laboring families.

An unexpected joy. And nearly always on-call. Through the day and night and weekend. On-call as a mama and a doula.

Hence, my tentative silent September plan. I don’t expect any babies before the middle of October, and Abby is just recently sleeping through the night. I would really love to capitalize on the opportunity to silence my phone and sleep…deeply sleep.

So, please don’t be offended if I seem silent on Facebook. I’m planning on deleting the app on my phone. I will continue to update Instagram and hope to blog more often. I’m available by text, but will probably be checking my phone less often.

I want to be more available to David, family and friends who have patiently been flexible with my crazy work schedule. I want to be more present with Abby as she develops. She is a delight, but definitely demonstrating signs of a major cognitive “leap” and its associated CRYING, CLINGINESS, and CRANKINESS.  IMG_3792

My desire is to be present in the NOW. The hard parts. The lovely, beautiful parts. The small things. My pillow. My tea cup. (Or, let’s be honest, my coffee mug more often than not.) Play-dates with friends. Shared sorrows. Shared joys.

To-dos: Exercise, Finish the paperwork for my DONA certification, Organize more “stuff” in our space (giving away and throwing away as many unnecessary items as possible), Plan at least one baby shower for one or more expecting friends, Attend my church’s women’s retreat, “Camp” in a cabin with new friends and see the Aspens changing colors through the mountain passes

To-don’ts: Waste time on social media, Arrive home so tired at night that I have no energy for David, Pack my weeks full of errands that I don’t enjoy

It’s a basic plan. An outline. And I say “tentative,” because I’m learning that life is always in flux. But, this plan is further than I’ve gotten in a while in my pursuit of contentment and living fully alive in the NOW. Perhaps, I’m learning a thing or two from Abby’s enthusiasm…(And, yes, she was growling like a polar bear in this photo.)  IMG_3139

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