Just a Spoonful of Sugar
My head is spinning! Since I last wrote, I have changed doula mentor, had my daughters 8th birthday, been on a post natal mental health course, organised a village coffee morning for the newbies (with lots of little people!), had to physically hold myself back from booking onto any and every doula related course I hear about, attended a wonderful doula morning and sound bath (my first), taken a trip to Morocco for half term to see friends and generally putting in a lot of face time, while starting to spread the word about MummaBaby Space. Life has been anything but dull!
Being a mum, as well as setting up a doula business, is as chaotic as ever. Swinging between blogging and networking, while picking slime particles out of the carpet and treading on the tiniest lego pieces, while trying to stop the shepherds pie from burning, is definitely keeping me on my toes but, I love it! I love the freedom of planning my day the way I want to plan it, not have anyone breathing down my neck and taking things at my own pace.
It’s not easy putting yourself out there at the start of a new career! Having just established my cancer support network, my work with cancer survivors has always involved a considerable about of face time and being pro active, thinking outside the box, but integrating myself into a network of new mummies and young families, has made me appreciate that I have now entered the next phase of parenthood. As my daughter turns eight and I ensconce myself in conversations with new parents, I am aware of all the phases we have moved through, and are still moving through and my own ability to use my experiences to further my understanding, while also appreciating the journey our children are on too, right from birth.
As my path continues, I reflect on my rather obsessive habit of throwing myself in at the deep end! Despite telling myself I wouldn’t rush into things, I realise that is exactly what I have been doing. I met with a lady yesterday who has begun working in my local community. I love her calm and practical attitude to how we help others and she and I chatted about ways of helping me get the word out. During the conversation she said something that really stuck; Dwell. Dwell in the journey. Do a few things but do them well. There is no rush.
In sharp contrast, initially my main priority had been to find a local mentor so I could get cracking, putting my foot on the gas, as is my way, and driving at top speed, but after meeting more and more gorgeous doulas, I realised that I had just slammed head first into a traffic jam!
I had considered it a priority to have a local mentor, but after chatting to other post natal doulas, it dawned on me that having someone who was highly pro active, who would inspire and encourage me and really empathise with the challenging journey I had been on to get to this time in my life, who had a similiar mind set to mine, would be a much more sensible and long lasting decision. Just as a mumma can not rush the birth of her baby, fate and nature took its course and I understood the importance of having a mentor that I could confide in. It didn't matter if we couldn’t have face time all the time, after all, can a mummy always see her baby while she is pregnant? And there it is! A huge element of trust is required with any new journey in life and like a spoonful of sugar, it helps add a little sweetness to the trickier days.
So, I now have a new mentor and I have had a total mind re set! I am actively dwelling in the moment (literally, right now, as I write! See!!!)
Connecting with the network of incredible people running local pregnancy yoga classes, toddler groups, mummy and baby gatherings, as well as Mumma’s wellbeing events, is a slow process but what I love most. Hearing other stories, experiences, tips, advice and generally getting to know people are the building blocks of starting out in a job that is based on empathy and sensitivity.
Being included in a local doula coffee morning and experiencing my first sound bath, which was strangely relaxing as well as emotional, was also timely. The vibe in Zara’s kitchen that day was so comforting and positive and gave me such a boost. I was feeling very much like the new girl but doulas are a very special breed and the welcome and focus on our own self care was hugely refreshing. As a doula, as well as a mother, we can't possibly look after others if we can not look after ourselves first. Listening to the chat around the issues that doulas face as well as the highs and lows, and the general admin of what is happening in the community, was so reassuring, and to think I had been so anxious about meeting them all! (I mean, I ask you, how long does it really need to take??!)
I also had the pleasure of attending a fantastic course in September, on post natal mental health, run by Mummas Wellbeing. Not only was it my first course (and I was pretty nervous about that too!) but it was my first experience of meeting and socialising with other doulas. The course was fascinating and brilliantly run. I took so much away from it, as well as lovely names and numbers! What struck me most was that such a high percentage of women have a form of PND. The biggest is OCD. On hearing this, I realised I was one of those numbers. Learning more about the broad spectrum of mental health issues that affect mums at any stage of motherhood, shed new light on my own role as a mumma and I was reminded again of the influence of time on our own self development.
Through adversity, we learn so much about ourselves, as well as who are friends are, both as a victim and as a supporter. To survive the darker and more challenging periods, we need to lean on one, if not many, other people. We cant do it alone and we simply don't have to. We have the powerful right to choose those people and we always have options. This is an empowering thought but what I find more comforting as I travel further down this road, is that there is a whole pool of people who will and can, come into your life when you need it most. There is a time and a place for everything. This is just the spoonful of sugar we need. Just as a new mentor comes into my life when I need it, a doula comes into a momma's life just at the right time, when she needs them most. It's almost just like Mary Poppins! All we can do is trust. In nature, in ourselves and in time (as well as a little spoonful of sugar!)