In the meantime, I've immersed myself in a birthing culture other than my own little reality-- that of doula-dom. I went through the amazing experience of a one-week intensive in July (my first time away from my little Dennis-man!), where I met incredible women with a passion for life and redeeming an often-lost rite of passage for women. Since then, I've had the honor of attending the births of three women, including prenatal and postpartum appointments. Two were through a volunteer doula organization, Montreal Birth Companions, that does a fabulous job at pairing low-income (often alone or in need of some extreme sort) women with experienced doulas, volunteering their time. For me as a student doula, I worked with someone else for both of these births. The third birth I attended was an apprenticeship birth with the inspiring woman that trained me, a woman who has been working for years at this profession and built up a name in such a way she's had the chance to offer courses to nurses and resident ob/gyn's on how to give a woman emotional support in labor. It's been quite a ride, with emotional ups and downs in seeing the beauties of birth as well as the difficult parts of a sometimes-aching birthing culture, as well as the reality of many women going through this event (and child-rearing) all alone. It hurt at times to not have the power to change much, to just be there, hold a hand, and affirm a woman's decisions despite what those decisions might be. It hurt to see a doctor break down a woman's energy and motivation by her words, and it hurt to see unnecessary interventions lead to other unnecessary interventions and the conclusion of a doc saying, "I told you so..". But, to see a child enter the world... to see the mom holding her precious life she's worked so hard for... to be able to empower a woman through the birth experience regardless of what it looked like... and to see a father cry.... Let's just say it's been worth the bumpy ride, and I'm in. =) I still have two more births to attend as well as a variety of projects, book reports, etc. before I'm a certified doula, so we'll see how that plays out with the upcoming birth of my own babe, but I'm in and I'm going for it, and have learned so much valuable information to use towards my own family in the meantime. I could definitely use some prayers regarding all of this!
Another large concern now is, of course, financial. We feel so blessed to be living where we are as our medical care is free. However, we've been brought down to earth in realizing that that's not the only cost of having a child! There are diapers to buy, winter baby clothes to buy, good food that I will need to eat to sustain and nourish this little one, etc, etc. Maybe I'll take the time to soon post a list of specific needs. Somehow, someway, we've continually gotten by, however simply, on so many of your beautiful and generous financial gifts. Every month comes, rent is due, and most of the time we don't know where it's coming from-- but it has come. We're still here, and we're still deeply enjoying our lives and our work here. I ask, though, from a deep place of humility and gratitude, that you consider helping us out, whether it be for the first time or once again, a small one-time gift, or maybe a monthly commitment: whatever you feel drawn to and are capable of. We couldn't be doing this without you, and won't be able to make it through this winter here without you. Look at the previous post for specific instructions on how you can give, and like I said, I'll post a list of specfic needs and instructions in the next blog (coming soon, I promise!). Thanks for listening, giving, praying.