For starters I just want to say, sorry I have not been keeping up with my blog these days. I have been really busy with my postpartum family, helping out a friend who just adopted a little guy, and I just took on a birth!!! Its kind of funny actually, back in January I starting praying that I would get to have one more birth before our baby is born in May. Thinking that good timing would be sometime in March. Well March came and went and nothing came up, which is fine I figured that was the way it was supposed to be. But then mid-April I got a call from a woman who came across my card in a maternity store. She was interested in a doula attending her birth, was I taking any clients? Um, well I guess this is what I asked for. We met and I really like her and her partner, and I guess they liked me enough so we are ON! Yeah...
Her due date was yesterday, mine is in 3.5 weeks... You can see what is going on here.
Last night our family had dinner with another family and my friend S started asking when I was going to really start focusing on my birth. And I said, when my client has her baby, I don't want to induce myself! This conversation has made me nervous. I want to attend this birth, it will probably be my last in a while, and I really want to be present for this soon to be new mama and daddy. I really enjoy my work as a birth doula. Seeing babies arrive into the world is one of the most sacred human events and its such an honor to be a part of each one. I know once I have a newborn, and TWO children, arranging on-call childcare or being away from a nursing newborn will be difficult, or impossible. (I will keep up postpartum care to some extent).
So last night as Marin had a difficult time getting into a good sleep, maybe she was having bad dreams, she kept calling out to me. And as I was making the short walk from my bed to hers throughout the night. I found myself feeling really uneasy about the wait for both babies to be born. I know what it is like to be in my clients shoes, waiting for your baby to arrive, both she and I are carrying full little humans, ready to meet this world, hers before me, we hope, but still we are just right there, waiting. I always get a little anxious for my clients as they wait to go into labor. But this time, because I am close to her due date I seem to be more understanding of her waiting, because I'm doing my own I guess.
Henri Nouwen has an essay titled Waiting on God. In it he says,
"Waiting is not a very popular attitude. Waiting is not something that people think about with great sympathy. In fact, most people consider waiting a waste of time. Maybe this is because the culture in which we live is basically saying, "Get going! Do something! Show you are able to make a difference! Don't just sit there and wait!" For many people waiting is an awful desert between where they are and where they want to go. And people do not like such a place. They want to get out of it by doing something."
This essay is from a book our family reads every Advent, Nouwen is writing about waiting on a specific child to be born, the Christ child. He continues,
"Waiting, as we see it in the people on the first pages of the Gospel, is waiting with a sense of promise. "Zachariah,... your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son." "Mary,...listen! You are to conceive and bear a son." People who wait have received a promise that allows them to wait. They have received something that is at work in them, like a seed that has started to grow. This is very important. We can only really wait if what we are waiting for has already begun for us. So waiting is never a movement from nothing to something. It is always a movement from something to something more." Mary and Elizabeth were waiting on the promise of the children that are in them, and this made them able to wait. They were waiting on the promise in them to grow and be delivered. He continues to explain that waiting is not passive, but active. We see waiting as a frustration that we can do nothing about. However these mothers we see in the Gospel pages are not passively waiting, there is action in their wait. "The secret of waiting is the faith that the seed has been planted, that something has begun. Actively waiting means being fully present to the moment, to the convection that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it. A waiting person is someone who is present to the moment, who believes that this moment is the moment. A waiting person is a patient person."
He continues to compare the action of waiting to the waiting of a mother who is nurturing a child as she waits for birth. She knows her waiting is open-ended and there is hope in the promise of a child.
I like this essay because while the overall theme is learning to be present in our spiritual lives, being able to develop and nurture the ability to wait on the promise of the return of Christ, or in the terms of Advent, the birth of Christ. Nouwen's words are encouraging for anyone waiting for anything, and very applicable for those of us waiting on our babies to be born. Especially sense he uses the example of two pregnant women!
Mary was able to wait because she trusted that something good was about to happen. After a night like last night, where I spent a lot of time putting worry into waiting, Nouwen's use of these Gospel stories is such a comfort. I can wait, my client can wait without anxiety because, we know something good is about to happen, however that looks, whenever these babies arrive, something good will happen, babies will be born.