Recently, I attended a home birth where I felt spirits in the room and in this case that indicated baby was going to be born soon. It was a familiar feeling I have gotten since I was a child and I think I will spend my life figuring out how to explain the sensation. Mama was in bed on her side with a stack of pillows beneath one leg to make room for her baby. It was nighttime, maybe 1045pm or so. I was holding mama's hand with eyes closed, sitting in a moment of stillness and silence,when I felt the first spirit brush past me. I did my usual scan of who/what are you? and a grandmother came to my mind the babies maternal grandmother. She gave me a quick acknowledgement before going to her grand and great granddaughters' side. It didn't take long for countless more spirits to fill the room and the house. I smiled to myself and gave thanks that they were there . I knew right away that this baby would be coming and sure enough 20 minutes later mama's waters broke; We had a baby in her parents' arms by 218 am. We all rejoiced in the arrival of a new person on this plane at this time.
This birth got me thinking about all the moments when I felt spirit in a birth . Every birth and I mean every birth I have attended spirits were present. It doesn't matter the location hospital, home or birth center spirits arrive; the only changes are who, how many and their purpose for being there.
What does feeling spirit mean? How do I know they are there? Once I feel their presence how do I figure out what to do about them? What if it feels like a negative spirit what do I do?
That is an entire class and blog post that is coming soon. For now I am sharing another layer to my work as a Doula; my spiritual work. In my role as a birth professional much of what gets focused on are what folks can see, hear and feel. I get asked questions about how I plan to help the birthing parent cope, or how will I make sure the birth partner feels include and how will I get along with the staff. Don't get me wrong these are all great and important questions. I believe a Doula that has been practicing awhile should know coping skills, how to work with practitioners and such. My thoughts are that we focus on those aspects without also asking and working on the spiritual components of birth.
From the beginning when I meet a family I begin to feel in my body how we may fit together. Once we both have decided to work together I begin talking to the baby and have them show me what they need. I begin praying for and working with spirits of light for me and the family I am working with. When I go on-call my 6th sense is at 200% until the baby makes it on to this side. I have to to work in order to remain grounded and to decipher all that I am feeling. I have a practice of prayer, meditation, exercise and work with angels to help me move through it all and utilize the energy for goodness.
The invisible work and energy that goes into being a Doula is,
to me, the deepest and most difficult aspect of my work as a birth professional. It is often recognized after the birth of the child and I have received some amazing illustrations of gratitude from families. Working with spirits has taken me almost 20 years to get to this point and I am far from mastery. I am constantly studying, praying, listening, taking classes and purchasing items so I may do my work well. Sometimes I am lucky and I can show what I am doing and express the tirelessness by which I balance the work of spirit and birth and my life. Most of the time only I am including this piece consciously into what I am doing.