Category Archives: Doula

Two Months In…

So, as of last Wednesday, we’re two months into this stupid separation crap. I’ve resorted to sarcasm and grumpiness, lest I devolve into a flood of tears. (Which also happens regularly. Usually in the evening).  I am at the point where I often grumble about how I ‘HAD to fall in love with a Canadian!’ like I could have controlled that one.  For the most part though, I’m ok.  Sometimes, I’m very not, okay.

The first month was extremely rough. He was falling into a job with higher expectations than he had believed, with crazier hours (14 hour days…ALL WEEK) and insane learning curves.  My life was…much the same. Same apartment. Same mess. Same work. Same. Same. Boring. Same.  I didn’t even know where he lived really, or what his days were like. I didn’t know what he was doing, where he was, if he missed me. It was a huge mindfuck for me. Thank god for my friends because if it weren’t for them…honestly? I don’t know where I’d be. They quite literally held me up when I could not go any further. They listened to my whining, my crying, my insane anxiety spirals, everything. They listened. They tried to help. I could feel their love across the miles.

I tried to do as much as I could to support myself in that time. I cooked meals. I started to exercise. I worked to find a therapist. (And then another therapist. And now…am on the hunt again.)  I found a GP and talked to him about medication, which was a HUGE jump for me after my horrible experience with Effexor in 2004-2005. He listened to me, he was so kind, so caring and genuine. I LOVE him and am so glad I found him. I’ve now been on a low dose of Lexapro for about 6 weeks and I think it’s taking the edge off of the daily, constant, CHRONIC spin.  I plan on seeing him for some other health concerns I haven’t gotten taken care of due to lack of insurance…soon.

It all helped as much as it could. Probably was the reason I wasn’t in bed every single day, wasting away. I started losing weight, I avoided the crap food lest it make me feel crappier. I really did feel like I was doing the best I could in a seriously shitteous situation. I felt proud of that. I felt like, “I might make it!”

Then his job evened out. He felt more capable and confident. We started talking more.  At first I was so ecstatic. I felt like our love was renewed. We both felt so close, so committed. We started talking about the future and what would happen. Would he come back here? Would I move there? Who was moving where and what implications that had on our future. It was…amazing.  So reconnecting and just…it demolished any negative thoughts and fears that I had with one fell swoop.

Fast forward to today. It’s been a rough couple weeks. I had a birth false alarm, then I got sick with a cold that turned into the mucusy cough that wouldn’t die. My coworker gave notice. I went to a client in what we thought was active labor, at 4am, for 4 hours…then it all stopped. I slept for a few hours and went to work.  Later that night, I went to a DIFFERENT birth and was up all night with them until 7am. Then I attempted to go to another birth, back to back.  It was crazy. Less than a week later, I went to another birth ( a VBAC at home!) and then labor slowed and…I went to work. FINALLY that baby was born and I got home at 4am.  This is all within a 2 week span and did not include the fact that I was still going to appointments, interviewing applications for my coworker’s job, teaching 7 hours per week, all day Sunday and still just…keeping up with life.  I’m still coughing and have two postpartum visits for next week but..man. It really set me off in a bad way.

I’ve felt unsteady and apathetic for the last two weeks. I’m exhausted, like bone tired. Not just “i didn’t get sleep” tired, but TIRED. I feel like I have no more stores of energy to get myself up and moving. I wake up tired. I work tired. I stopped working out. I stopped having the energy to cook great meals. I crave sugar and crap. I get weepy at the drop of a hat and I explode with feelings if someone asks me how I’m doing. Andrew is at a loss of how to help when he’s so far away but he keeps trying.  I’m not depressed. I’m sad, sure. It’s a shitty place to be. But I’m not depressed daily. I’m just fucking tired.  I think I’m going to talk to my GP about adrenal fatigue when I see him in two weeks.  We shall see.

Other than feeling completely unstable and not knowing what I’ll be like at any given moment…I’m still upright. I’m still putting one foot in front of the other. I’m working. I’m teaching. I’m loving my clients and students. I’m still inspired by birth, by the midwives and clients I work with. It’s still my passion and my love, even when it gets hard.  I guess that’s why it’s my calling, or a good tip that it is. Even when it’s at its roughest, I can still see the light. (Sometimes not in that moment, but..it’s there).

We’re looking at me moving to be with him and immigrating from inside. It means I can’t work for 2 years, but…we’re thinking…maybe that’s the window we need to start a family. Maybe that’s a sign, saying, “HEy. You can’t work on your career or go to school for 2 years….I know you want a baby so…”.  We’re feeling like, if we do that, then we can get ahead in life. If he returns for his PhD…it’s another 4 years of struggling, not trying for babies and just making ends meet. Andrew’s willing to give up the PhD for now, to help us get ahead as a couple and as a family.  That’s a huge thing in my book so we’re looking pretty seriously at it.

After the first month, I just don’t care what we do, honestly. I just want to be with him, whatever that takes. Anywhere in the world. As long as I’m with him, I don’t really care.

My current plan is this: Get my eating and drinking under control. Get regular, healthy food and enough water into me so that I feel stable. Then add in some exercise and see where that takes me.  I’m sitting here meal planning and putting one foot in front of the other. I’ll make it. I have to.

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2014 in the Rearview Mirror

Man guys. 2014. Amirite?

It was such a doozy of a year, but as I go through all these questions I really feel like it was one of the best I’ve had. I feel like I’ve done a lot of fretting and worrying but I’ve also done so much growing and loving. I can’t really complain with that.

Apparently, sometimes it really is a good thing to look back and see how far you’ve come.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I attended a birth! I saw a real, live baby being born! I also had my first homebirth (!!!) and I attended my first cesarean section. Most of my firsts are firsts for my doula work. (First episotomy, first forceps etc, etc.) OH! I also took my FIRST, real adult vacation that wasn’t camping! How crazy is that!?

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for 2015?

I don’t even remember what mine were last year. Probably not. I will make some general intentions and a few longer term goals though this month. I think it is the right time for me to do so.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Weeeelllll, I saw a lot of births this year (17! SEVENTEEN!) , all people that were close to me by the end, but not family/friends.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, sadly. My Aunt Becky passed away in October after a long multi-year battle with aggressive ovarian cancer.

5. What countries did you visit?

Just the good ol’ US of A.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn’t have in 2014?

I would like to have more stability next year though with a large move on the horizon, I don’t see that happening. Oh, how I dream of feeling stable and having roots. I’d at the very least, like to have a more solid plan for the next 5 years of our lives together. Dare I say I would like a pregnancy as well or is that crazy talk?

7. What dates from 2014 will be etched upon your memory and why?

I’m so bad at remembering actual DATES, I’m more of a memories kind of gal. I’ll never forget my first birth, the homebirth, a few other doula related moments. I will never forget standing atop Rockefeller Center with my family in June, our vacation for my birthday and my Aunt Becky’s passing. Hearing that my father was officially cancer free!!!

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

Becoming a doula. By far. BY. FAR. I still cannot believe it happened.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Gaining weight back and treating my body like garbage. It’s made me feel so terrible. Inside and out.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got a pretty good cold before Christmas and I have been battling a few injuries that have kept me down, but nothing major. Thankfully!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

A vacation. My grocery delivery. (Yes, really.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My husband’s. I’m not one to be all lovey-dovey on the interwebs but man, he really was pretty stellar this year. I worked 40 hour weeks, attended seventeen births (yes, I’m saying it again because OMG!!!1!), endless prenatal visits, interviews, postpartums and several TWO DAY births. I was ridden with anxiety and depression at times, I stressed, I struggled…and all along? He did the laundry, cleaned the house, cooked meals and held me while I cried. The guy even came to get me at work when I broke down late on Friday night and felt like I couldn’t go further. I mean…I just don’t know what I’d have done without him this year. It’s certainly given me some perspective.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Politicians. People on social media. Medical professionals. Anytime there’s an injustice – I feel so wounded for all involved. ALL.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Haa, oh NYC. My money all went to rent and cab fare. And dining out when I was too wasted and exhausted. Sadly it did NOT go to Broadway shows liked I would have preferred!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

I got insanely excited about seeing Alan Cumming in Cabaret. Like…WOUND RIGHT UP excited. Andrew made us ‘take a walk’ when we got there because I just couldn’t settle down and sit still. Drinks may have been necessary to get me to just stop. But guys. ALAN CUMMING.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Ugh. Stupid old Taylor Swift, “Shake it Off”.  I really can’t stand her.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a) Happier
b) Fatter. Ugh.
c) Oddly enough, richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I’d seen more movies and had more quiet time with Andrew. I wish I’d seen more friends and gone out more.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying. Working.

20: How did you spend Christmas?

With my family in Maine. So happy we did.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?

Yes. With birth. I really, truly did. I just fell unapologetically, head-over-heels in love with it all.  I see amazing things happen! Life!

22. What was your favorite TV Program?

The Blacklist. The Good Wife. White Collar (it’s gonnneee!?).

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Hate is an ugly word.

24. What was the best book you read?

Baby Catcher, by far. It was so inspiring for me to read it! I was so grateful to get it as a CDP!

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Eh. I’ll admit I haven’t discovered much. Jason Mraz’s album with Raining Jane called “YES”.

26. What did you want and get?

Experience. Confidence. Direction.

27. What did you want and not get?

Time to myself. Stability. More time in a day.

28. What was your favorite film of 2014?

Hah. I saw one movie in 2014 – American Hustle. No joke. ONE MOVIE.

29. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I turned 34 on July 6th and we went to Boston! It was SO. FUN. We’d never taken a vacation that wasn’t to see family or camping. We stayed in an ACTUAL hotel, rented a real rental car and did touristy things! We got room service! It was just a much needed break.

30. WHat one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More time to breathe.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2014?

Will blood wash out of it? Does it go with leggings? Will this work at the hospital?

32. What kept you sane?

Andrew. My birth friends.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Honestly? The police brutality issues. It’s hard being the wife of law enforcement and can feel incredibly isolating.

34. Who did you miss?

My family. So hard. SO hard.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

My doula mentor and my childbirth ed instructor. Both are AMAZING women. One is a midwife now and one is just my best friend. Honestly. They were rocks for me and amazing resources. I wish I could hug them daily.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014?

Even when you aren’t sure of your purpose, you may be just exactly what someone needed.

All I know

It seems like I only ever come here to post lately, when I need help. When I’m heavy and struggling. When I need people. And I’m sorry for that. I hate people to feel like they NEED to respond or reply, but honestly? It’s so hard for me to reach out for that reason exactly. I never want anyone to feel burdened by me or heavy. Ever. Regardless, I still need people.

For many years, I felt heavy and neglected. My husband worked a stressful, demanding job, 12-13 hour days where I wouldn’t hear from him. Where he would potentially be in dangerous situations, dealing with awful situations. I mean, I still remember the 1am phone call that he had been punched in the face and I was to meet him at the hospital. It was one of the most terrifying and life-altering moments that I’ve ever had, followed by facial reconstructive surgery two weeks later. He attended school full time in a prestigious, yet again, demanding program. There was no time left for us. For me. For a while – that was okay. I worked too. I missed my family but couldn’t reach out without hearing, “chin up!” I missed him. I missed us.

After we got married, I became a full time housewife for a couple years and for a while, that was okay too. We fought as I begged him to spend time with me. To take a semester off. As I noticed the changes in him the longer he worked a job where he had to shut off his feelings. As he denied the changes and blamed me. I cooked because I loved it. I provided. My heart on a plate because that was what I could do. I could show my love and care in carefully constructed meals. I could provide some love at lunch time for him, even if I wasn’t there. I worked out. I obsessed about food. I lost weight. I put too much value in my appearance. I dreamed of what I wanted to do with my life but couldn’t yet.

When we moved to New York, it was tumultuous. If I am completely honest, we were openly talking separation before we both decided to put TWO FEET IN and make it work. Even now, I admit that when we fight, I worry that we’re still there despite making big leaps and taking great steps. The move shook things up and settled the all the same. I somehow, by the grace of…who knows, finally took steps to enter in a career that I’d felt absolutely compelled to be in for years. Finally.

The pieces started falling into place after I took the training. I got another job. I was accepted into a collective of amazing doulas with mentorship. I started taking clients. I got promoted to office manager. My office grew and grew and I got a raise. I found an amazing childbirth educator and she started referring me fabulous clients.

And here I am.

I am emptier than empty. I’m still charging very low rates due to my membership in this group. I am running all over, answering multiple emails from multiple accounts daily, all hours. I feel like I can recharge a little bit, but then each interaction takes more than I was able to recharge. I keep talking about it and talking about it – but I don’t know how to change it. I can’t figure out what I can possibly drop as the sole earner right now. I am useless when I get home and that certainly doesn’t help my relationship no matter how badly I wish it could be different.

I love giving to people. Supporting my clients feels so good. I get to see new life. I get to cut cords. I get to tell people how much I really do believe in them, that they CAN do this. I get to watch people become pain free and live their lives healthier. I truly, in my heart LOVE helping people so, so much. But…I just don’t know how I am finding the energy to keep giving. It’s all coming at a cost that I quickly am becoming unable to pay.

Pressing the publish button is really difficult for this post. I feel like I am just whining and people are rolling their eyes but…this is really hard. It’s just so, so hard to love what you do but still feel completely worn out and exhausted by it all.

I don’t have answers on how to fix it and you don’t have to respond.

It’s just all really heavy right now and all I know is to talk about it.

Oh crap.

It is 10:55pm and I am JUST now realizing I haven’t posted y’all! You see, I was so awesome that yesterday’s poat was scheduled ahead so I got lazy and out of the daily habit. Tsk tsk. It is only the twelfth, I’d better get my shit together eh?

I have a pretty good post coming up at some point, but the feelings, thoughts and emotions are still settling inside me. I will say that spending days in a small room with 12 other women, all talking about how strong, capable and amazing birthing women are – is life changing.

Truly.

I’m not sure, like I said, where I am headed just yet. I know that the experience has changed something inside me for the better. It has shown me a path. A better way. It has revealed strength inside me and purpose that I couldn’t find before.

That said, I can’t say I am perfect and that the path is perfectly clear. There is work ahead. There is brush to be cleared and trails to be tamped down.

If you have ever thought you wanted to get involved in birth support, or just supporting amazing women,  I highly recommend at least checking out Birth Doula Training.

It really is life changing.