Different

I am a different doula today than when I started.

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I trust myself more. In the beginning of my career I was much more hesitant to listen to my instincts about what a birth needed. I was more cautious. Now I can hear my inner voice more clearly, and more quickly decide how to proceed to help. I have experienced more situations and seen what has and has not helped. I have seen that my support is meaningful and beneficial to my clients.

I trust mothers more. I like to think I have always trusted my clients, but now I express that trust more openly. I listen more readily, I ask more questions, I trust what they tell me more. I may not see immediate evidence to support what mothers experience, but almost every time, what the birthing woman has said has proven true. 

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I trust birth more. I trust the birth process, the signs of labor, the physiology and the biology. I trust the emotional signposts of labor. I trust birth to express normalcy, and to provide signs and indications when something is abnormal.

I trust myself to care for myself more. Birth work is unpredictable. It requires physical effort, emotional energy, odd hours, interrupted sleep. And I have to stay healthy through it all, physically, emotionally, mentally. I am also modeling self-care to brand new mothers, about to embark on the monumental task of raising a baby, so often to the detriment of their own health. I am far from perfect. But I have vastly improved my attention to my own wellbeing, and methods for promoting it.

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Joyce Dykema