An Open Letter to my Certifying Birth Families

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for giving me the honor of serving you during the labor and birth of your sweet babies. Your trust in me as a new doula means so much to me. What I hope you did not realize was exactly how nervous I was!! I wanted to do my best for you as I know how significant the birth of a child is. It became all about you, and not about me, when labor actually started. It was no longer about achieving certification, but, rather, the deep desire to help you have a positive and satisfying birth experience.

To my very first client, you were a rockstar. This was your first child and your labor went so quickly. You labored very internally that it was hard to distinguish the difference between you being simply uncomfortable to you being ready for an epidural. Your direct stare and use of our pre-arranged code word (to know she meant business about the epidural) taught me a lot about differences in pain tolerance and expression. Seeing your boy born was the first time I witnessed a child coming into the world. What an absolute honor it was to be there. I was emotional as it was at that VERY moment I knew I was finally doing (at age 52) what I was meant to be doing. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your birth story.

To my mama whose labor was so quick that both your husband and I literally got to the hospital just in time to see you push your little man out. All I can say is, “WOW.” No, I couldn’t use your birth toward certification (as you labored overnight in the hospital and didn’t even call your husband, let alone me!). The joy I felt for you knowing that this birth was so dramatically different than your first (which you describe as “traumatic”) was overwhelming. I had nothing to do with making this birth more positive, but, it warmed my heart to see you birth him like a champion. It was all that mattered. My heart was full.

To my sweet cesarean mom, what a ride you endured! Your high risk status and experience with loss, made your pregnancy and delivery a delicate balance between hope and worry. You were so strong. I admire how you gracefully went month to month determined to birth this child. Even when a potential VBAC was changed to a scheduled cesarean, you maintained composure. Thank you for allowing to be the one to help ease your fears and calm your nerves. No, your birth didn’t count toward certification, as I wasn’t in the operating room, but you delivered a healthy boy. After what you had been through, could anything else matter? Absolutely not! Thank you for letting me join you on your birth journey.

To my sweet VBAC mama, I connected with you right away. I felt confident you were a great candidate for a successful VBAC based on the circumstances of your first birth. While there is never a guarantee of a birth going as planned, you labored and stayed focused on achieving your goal. We worked as a team to welcome your little girl into the world. There were hugs all around! Thank you for allowing me to part of your family for a little while.

To the new mama that came to me the very same day I found out I needed another birth for certification, thank you! I honestly feel like I was meant to know you. I felt like our meeting was a divine appointment. Your sweet nature and gentle spirit made you the right client at the right time. Hopefully you saw our new relationship as a win-win like I did. The confidence in your ability to birth your baby unmedicated, was the perfect way to approach labor. Maintaining a positive attitude can be difficult when hearing an OB mention the word “induction” before you were even 40 weeks along (with no medical indication one was necessary). I am glad I was able to help you see that the odds were your baby would let you know exactly when she was ready to meet you. You labored beautifully and delivered your sweet girl without an epidural. You knew what you wanted and you achieved it. I was so proud of you. Your birth, by the way, was my first unmedicated delivery. Thank you for the opportunity to be with you as you became a mom!

Finally, a note to the dads. Thank you, also, for trusting me enough to allow me to be a part of a very intimate moment in the life of a family. Thank you for allowing me to be part of the team that welcomed your children into the world. Your “thank you hugs” were often stronger than the moms’ hugs as if to say, “thank goodness you were here.” I took notice of that and treasure each of those moments.

Now I am officially a Certified Doula with DONA thanks to all of you. May your lives be full of joy (and sleep) as you raise your little ones into amazing people. As always, I am here if you need anything.

Love, Kathryn

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