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Doula Work and Motherhood

Chasing the Pot of Gold in the Rainbow of Balance


It’s not unusual for the call to join a doula family at their birth to come in the dead of the night.  In fact, it’s so common that I was talking to the kids’ babysitter today about how for once *I* was finally here to greet her when she came to get the kids instead of my husband doing the handoff just before leaving for work.


When I am summoned in the middle of the night, in the sleepy dim light of my home I give myself time to get ready in a way that centers me and helps me enter the birth space in a focused and open mindset.  Some of the steps might include…


  • feeding myself healthy, nourishing food and hydrating
  • using a mindfulness practice like Breath Awareness or Circular Breathing to calm my mind
  • praying for guidance for myself and a positive experience for the family
  • reviewing notes I took during prenatal appointments on which pain coping methods the mom finds most helpful, what kind of touch she likes from her partner, if she likes aromatherapy, candles, a rebozo, etc.
Birthing from Within San Antonio

Today the call to a birth came in right after a scooter ride around our neighborhood with my children and their friend.  We were wrapping up a little post-scooter playtime with family friends when the message came in…time to head to the hospital.  This is what preparing for a birth looked like with my children home and awake…


  • feed children lunch.  Tell children to stop hitting/chasing/teasing each other and eat their lunch before the sitter got here.
  • oh yeah and finding some food for myself while waiting for water to boil.
  • taking a shower to wash off Texas summer scooter ride, joined by my son who totally invited himself.  This shower was interrupted by the scalding water of a flushing toilet (because why would he go potty BEFORE getting in the shower?) and my daughter bursting the shower door open to ask me which day in July it was.  
  • Getting my work clothes on in between gathering swimming clothes and a regular change of clothes for my kids to take to the sitter’s house with them.
  • explaining why my daughter couldn’t pour herself a glass of pomegranate juice while she had a glass of milk and a glass of Honest Kids juice still sitting on the table.
  • talking to/lecturing my son about how to clean up the full glass of milk he spilled on the floor.
  • installing two car seats in the babysitter’s car at 2 pm in the aforementioned summer heat.
  • brushing my teeth and running out the door, stopping to turn off my daughter’s light on the way.
Birthing from Within San Antonio

So yeah, there are a few differences between getting ready for a birth with kids around vs. kids tucked snugly in their beds.  It was a good opportunity to see how easy I have in when the call comes in at 3 am, and also to remember that birth and parenting are all about being flexible and rolling with what comes.  So while I may not have taken the zen spirit out the door with me (that’s what the car ride was designated for today) I did get to take the spirit of resilience, adaptability, and love for myself and others regardless of the circumstances out the door with me.  Thanks, kids!

Nikki Shaheed CD(DONA)                                                                                                                                                      Certified Birthing from Within Mentor

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