2016 has come to a close, and as I reflect back on the past year I can’t help but think of how 2016 served as the launching pad of my doula business. I feel like I’ve learned so much, and I’m so excited to see what 2017 will bring. But I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it without you, my client, and now friend. This letter is for you. Thank you.
You didn’t know it, but I sat in my car after our postpartum visit, and smiled. I could still see the mixture of love, worry, and sleepless nights on your face. I could still hear the way you spoke so tenderly, sweetly, to that newborn in your arms. I could still smell that sweet scent that only newborn babies emit. I could still feel the warmth of a baby wrapped lovingly in a special blanket as you placed her in my arms. And I am so happy for you. From morning sickness to swollen feet, glucose tests to beta strep, first contraction to last push, you handled it all with grace and the love only a mother is capable of.
I think back to the first time we met. Both of us a bundle of nerves as we focused on making a good first impression. But within minutes we were chatting as if we’d known each other our entire lives. It’s important to feel a connection to the people on your birth team, and we knew that wasn’t going to be an issue for us.
Thank you for keeping me up-to-date on your pregnancy. I loved getting the texts each week about how you and baby were doing. You didn’t have to involve me in this area, but it meant so much to me that you did. I saw the love and care you had even then for your unborn baby and couldn’t wait for the moment you saw your baby for the first time.
Thank you for inviting me into your home; into your family. There’s a powerful connection between a pregnant woman and her husband, and I am blessed to be able to witness it now on several occasions. I saw the love, the occasional banter, and the fierce need to protect one another. And Dad–you have totally got this. Don’t doubt yourself for a moment. It’s been an honor to work alongside you as well. To see you go from a bundle of nerves at the beginning of labor to a confident pillar for your wife to lean on, to an overjoyed father holding his child. I know you were looking to me for guidance, but the truth is, we were a team, on equal terms, doing our best to encourage and comfort this woman before us. Just as you were an awesome birth partner, you will be an awesome father.
Finally, thank you for allowing me to play a part in your birth story. You were so determined and focused: the baby’s safety always at the forefront of your mind. I saw your perseverance through each contraction, trusting that each one would bring your baby closer to you. I saw you doubt yourself at times, asking if you could really do it. I saw you reach deep within and find a strength you didn’t know you possessed as you pushed your baby into the world. I saw you wait with bated breath for that first cry….and then give in to feelings of exhaustion, wonder, disbelief, joy and love. And I couldn’t help but to cry a little too.
I know I was the one who was meant to encourage you, but in the end you also encouraged me. You encouraged me to put others first; to persevere, even when times are hard. Thank you for inviting me along on this journey. You are stronger than you know, and I look forward to watching you blossom into this new role called motherhood.
I’m here if you ever need me.