As our book continues to make it’s way into the world, spreading its message of focused care for the new mother, I find myself considering the impact that birthing professionals have on a new mother’s experience. Like doulas.
I think of my own doula, who played such a key role in all three of my births. I know it was her presence that gave me the strength to sink deeply into the wild, unpredictable, sometimes frightening process of my births. If you asked me to define “doula,” I’d pass on the technical definition, instead keeping it really simple: a doula is a sister, a woman (or man, though there are few male doulas out there today) who has your back through every step of pregnancy and birth — and beyond. The connection that you have with your doula is powerful and incredibly intimate. And like any deep connection, it is essential to feel absolute clarity about your doula’s ability to hold you at the height of vulnerability. I knew that my births were going to be quite raw and real so I had to choose a doula with whom I could reveal all of myself: my emotions, my body, my noises, blood, poop, all of it.
I hired my dear friend Khefri Riley for my births. Khefri was a friend I had met in London when we both lived there. She came back to Los Angeles and wanted to have a “natural” childbirth with her first baby and I followed suit with inspiration. I also knew that I wanted her as my doula. I had absolute confidence in her ability to show up for me. She was present at my first and second birth. My third birth happened unexpectedly fast (3 hours!) and Khefri wasn’t able to make it to my home. I ended up using Ina May’s book, leaning on her wise words until my midwife, Davi Khalsa showed up with her assistant.
What Khefri gave me was invaluable — she was soft and strong at the same time, a current of support and love and warmth that I could (literally) plug myself into. I absorbed her strength and calmness and was able to ride them all the way to the finish line, where I gave birth to healthy babies in the sweet comfort of my own home. I named my first child Khefri in honor of my dear friend’s unflappable support. — Heng
Did you work with a doula for your birth(s)? How did she enhance your experience? We’d love to hear from you.
*We are offering all birthing professionals a discount on our books with a 3 minimum purchase. 40% off the retail price until May 22, 2016. After that, the discount will be 28% off.