I'll Be Your Doula. By, Nicole Lahey
I am struggling with the beginning of this piece because I don’t actually know where to start...
I have been thinking so much about what I do, how I do it, why I book up, what I provide, and how to be better. I am usually triggered by something I read that gets my brain spiraling down the path into birth, maternity care, birth photography, and the immediate postpartum experience. I want to make all of that better for you and for me.
Before I begin, I want to be very clear in my intensions as a professional birth worker. I am here as a blank slate for you. I do not carry my traumas into your room, I do not bring my fears anywhere near you, and I am able to keep myself fully emotionally and spiritually available for you during your prenatal period and especially from the moment you call me that you are in labor. My family is always taken care of, this llama got no drama, my life is of zero concern to you. I AM HERE FOR YOU ONLY and there is no other way to be a birth worker. This is a zero-excuse job, you get one shot to be there and anything other than providing your service in that moment is unacceptable unless you have a rock solid back up that is linear in your care and skill level as a photographer. I have that. My support system is rock solid so that I can give you the very best of me that you deserve from the moment you begin your journey to meet your baby. This is not a hobby, your birth isn’t a bucket list for me, this is not some type of braggery. This is the most important day of your life and I am there to serve you in every way possible within my scope as a birth doula and photographer.
Throw up? Poop? Bring it on; “your mess is mine”. When your body emits waste, it means things are working as it should and you are getting closer to meeting your baby. I get excited to see these things, they don’t gross me out and I won’t be walking away from you while you are at your weakest moment because I feel offended by your normal bodily functions. I’ve been here, three times, three different ways, three different experiences. I know what you mean when you tell me, “this is our rainbow baby and I want it to be perfect.” I know what your body is doing when it begins to shake, I will gently explain to you what is happening so that you can take comfort knowing how and why your body is responding this way. I will teach you how to work with your body and all of this will begin when you first hire me. I am full of knowledge that I’d love to share with you. For the last six years I’ve been immersed in the birth world, in all of it’s good and bad, and unfortunately the ugly; the ugly makes my passion grow deeper to protect you, protect your birth and your little family. I work directly for you, not a hospital, not an entity, I do not represent any organization on purpose, I represent myself and I assure you I hold me to the highest standards possible.
I’ll help you to see yourself through my lens. One that is always of immense strength, resilience, primal wonder, and incredible goddess shit. I will catch your moments of weakness and then through your own story you can see how you emerge the hero; always. You see, no matter what happens, you carried on through. No matter what, you don’t give up, you take what comes and you finish your story either way. There’s never a quitter in these stories, there’s no giving up. This is why I do what I do. To show you how you became the hero.
You want to deliver your baby in warrior three pose down at the beach while piping plovers dive bomb your head? I’ll be your doula. You want an elective cesarean because of past traumas or not? I’ll be your doula. You want to be one with the earth and deliver your little babe deep in the forest while chanting songs from your ancestors? Just don’t do it in Suffolk county, they have a lot of ticks, but I’ll be your doula. You want to give birth in the hospital with an epidural? I support you and I’ll be your doula. You want to try for a VBA3C, I will always support you and trust in your power to make the best decision for your birth, I’ll be your doula. My experiences will not play into your birth. I will educate you, teach you, empower you, support you, answer your questions, hear your concerns, and love you in all of the ways needed to make sure you have a respected birth. That is my goal for you. Respected birth. I’ll be your doula.
Sometimes things happen that we cannot predict and that we would never expect. I promise to be that familiar face to your partner when they’re unsure and worried. I promise to help walk your partner through it all. I too will help educate, reassure, and just be fully present in case it is needed. I will listen, I will comfort, and I will be just as respectful to your partner as I am to you. I am here for your family.
I will never discriminate. I love all families no matter what they look like, who they include, who they don’t include, whether you are alone, or you come with alllll the people. I don’t care if you are straight, queer, gender non-conforming, black, white, any shade in between; I am here.
I have support for this work. I have my best friend and partner to work with, to share with, to decompress with, to grow with, to learn from, and to strive to be better for. She pushes me to be better at my work and she holds me to my word. She is there in case of an emergency and knows our clients just as I do. They know if I can’t make it to their birth, there is not only a very good reason, but they’re in just as good of hands with her. To have a partner of this magnitude allows us both to better in our work. Without her, I couldn’t do what I do.
My knowledge is your knowledge when we work together. I want no more than for you to have all the answers to your questions, to feel like you know what you are doing even though when you are handed that fresh pink baby after not sleeping for hours, you feel like you “got this.” I have morals that I am very clear and open about and I stand by them. My services have no time limit; 5hrs or 35 hrs. I am prepared. If I feel we aren’t a good fit I will be honest with you out of respect for both myself and you. I do not gobble up all of the inquiries just to boast how busy I am, I work with people who want to work with me and who believe in my model of care and my talent as an artist. I do not sell myself short and you shouldn’t either. You deserve the best and the best is what you shall get when you come my way.
My husband was eating Chinese food while I was writing this and he threw a fortune cookie my way. I opened it and my fortune read “everything you do, you do to make your heart sing.”