On The Path

I left my client’s house in the warm, late afternoon sun and headed down the path back to my car (some postpartum gigs are like this). While walking in this gorgeous light, I was thinking about the hours spent today helping a new mama make sense of the mysterious and tiny baby who has taken over her life. She is in the springtime in her motherhood, so perfectly expressed in the season around us here in Vancouver.

I often get folks asking me what exactly it is that I do as a doula? This photo captures it perfectly! Let me explain… Whether it is in preparing for a birth, attending a birth, or in postpartum visits after baby has arrived, I’m there to walk the path I know so well, while celebrating and welcoming new families on the journey. There is laughter, heart-felt conversations, practical discussions, and sometimes tears. Together we observe buds of new growth, affirm changes as they happen, encourage rest when the body is weary, and more than anything is to help new parents navigate the path, developing their own confidence. Spring is in the air!

This is sacred work, to be invited into the raw and vulnerable world of the newborn family. I am always learning so much about the resilience and tenacity of the human heart and body! And as it goes, laughter helps so very much.

So this is my gig: Path-walker. Lucky me.

Happy World Doula Week from your path-walking doula!

Teaming up!

Melissa!I’m so excited to announce that starting in January 2016 I will be partnering with one of my favourite people, Melissa Rodrigues, and we will be working together as a super-duper doula care team!

Following a midwifery-inspired model of rotating on-call time, we will be sharing the work of supporting our clients as we support one another to bring exceptional care to the families we serve. All prenatal appointments will be with both of us, and when your birth time comes one of us will be there by your side.

In addition to birth work, Melissa is also a prenatal yoga instructor and a mother of 2 delightful daughters. If you are looking for prenatal yoga, check out her class schedule!


You are the wide opened…

Don’t go off sightseeing,
The real journey is right here.
The great excursion starts
from exactly where you are.
You are the world.
You have everything you need.
You are the secret.
You are the wide opened.

Don’t look for the remedy for your troubles
outside yourself.
You are the medicine.
You are the cure for your own sorrow.

– – – – – – – – – – – –
Trans. by Nevit O Ergin
In The Forbidden Rumi


Nest(1)“Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you.
You must travel it by yourself.
It is not far. It is within reach.
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know.
Perhaps it is everywhere – on water and land.”
― Walt WhitmanLeaves of Grass


As a parent one of the greatest gifts we can give our children as they work their way through this turbulent, unknowable, lovable world, is that we try to do everything we can to help them strengthen their inner resiliency; that they may develop the skills to be able to mend their own hearts and souls, to rebound from all the stuff life will be throwing at them.

But how do we prepare them for this journey ahead? What skills do we hope to develop in them as they undergo the long and winding path from infant to adulthood? We cannot protect them from the hardships they will face, nor should we protect them. They must develop for themselves, in order to survive, the skills to topple, bend, sway, and shift, and then to find centre once again. As parents we do our best to remain present and loving, compassionate and supportive, companions on their journey, but we know that each one of them must walk the path alone… it is life’s bittersweet gift that as we unwrap over the years, we thus learn to become adaptable, resourceful adults.

Suffice to say that life doesn’t ‘ease off’ as the years go by. Every step of the way we continue to encounter the enormous variety of challenges, changes, joys and sorrows. As a pregnant woman walking into this wild and wonderful path of motherhood, you will no doubt find yourself at times facing the tests that will bend you almost in half. This is also the sublime, exhausting gift of the journey as mothers. We will become queens of resiliency as the years go by.

But first we must give birth. We must become mothers.

Maybe you’ve heard some pretty crazy things about birth- things that have you scared and worried? You’re facing the knowledge that you must pass through that mountainous path in order to greet your beautiful child, and along those steps you will likely encounter some of the most magnificent personal challenges of your life. In addition to the physical intensity associated with childbirth, there can also be rather profound challenges associated with the wildly unknown flow that the birth and the postpartum periods can take, the uncountable influences and unknowable factors beyond our control, the massive transformation/reformation of your life… Of course you will have supporters and caring helpers along the way, they will be your companions along the path, but ultimately you will be walking your journey alone.

And although there are very few other instances in a woman’s life when her own personal set of resiliency skills will be called upon so greatly, be assured- the gift of life guarantees that you posses the knowledge to face whatever comes along. And I don’t mean the brain-knowledge… I’m not talking about knowing pros/cons of epidurals, or the list of healing herbs for prenatal/postpartum, or the reasons an elective Cesarean birth is the best for you… these may be important and useful pieces to research. But they are unrelated to the skills and knowledge that resides in your soul, unspoken, waiting to be called upon to carry you through. Invisible, private, sometimes unnoticed. So what is resiliency?

Here are some things that come to mind:

Delight: when all else seems dark, you notice the sunlight streaming into the room, lightening a corner of your soul…
Patience: to hold your heartbeat steady, when everything around you is running wild. And this too shall pass, nothing stays the same forever. I promise.
Strength: the capacity to lift your entire self off the ground, when you have crashed down… again. and again…
Resourcefulness: the ability to ask for help, to reach out, when all else seems lost.
Courage: to unwind from the tangle of anxiety that can grip you, and face the dragon knowing that the treasure beyond will be worth the battle.
Forgiveness: to give, to ask, to receive… self and others.
Compassion: it’s OK to be scared. Nothing is perfect, we have to be kind to ourselves.
Sacrifice: some things do not need to be carried any longer, a new purpose has emerged; We can let some things go, for the sake of love.
Passion: the fire in the hearth always warms your soul- protect it with unrelenting faith.
Love: The Greatest of These is Love.

Do some of these speak loudly to you? Do some of these ask for your attention? Are there others that you would include? Notice and consider that. And keep going…

Resiliency(1)In readying yourself for the arduous journey that takes you up over the mountain in this monumental rite of passage, know that a holistic birth preparation also involves spending time checking in with your personal resiliency skills while clarifying your preferences for how you would like to engage with the process.

Yes! Make your plans! Caregivers, support workers, prenatal classes, food choices, passionately and carefully composed birth plan, parenting styles, community, etc. But also give time to consider the inner skills that you posses as you continue your walk into the unknown. Make time to reflect on your journey through life, on the wisdom of your experiences, on your ability to bend and return. Ask yourself about the times in life that you have had to overcome great challenges, physical and emotional, and what did you do to help yourself in that challenging time? What do you know about yourself because of those experiences? Let those thoughts remind you that with each choice that you make and at every step along the way, you take each breath with the compassion, the strength, and the resourcefulness that was created through your unique life…

We never know when we will be called upon to bend. We don’t know how long we will remain bent… but resiliency tells us that you will return to centre. And when that rebounding happens (perhaps slowly, over time) you will inevitably be changed.

You will be softer, you will be harder, you will be a mother. And so life continues, learning and teaching resiliency.

Blessings on your Journey,

– Dori

A Blessing Way?

You’ve probably heard about these Blessing Way things- a bunch of gals get together and say nice stuff and eat yummy stuff and maybe make some craft for the pregnant mama… something about chanting? or sacred something or another? Hmmmm…

But let me tell you a little secret about a Blessing Way… You will be so glad you had one.

Blessing Way

It’s that ancient wisdom thing- our human world is formed on the history of women supporting women into birth. Cultural norm! How far we’ve gotten away from that. I mean, let’s not get all cave-women or something, no one expects you to get naked (click here for opportunities to get naked!). But you are about to transform your entire life, your mind and body will be experiencing a phenomenon that you can hardly fathom. Why not surround yourself with a little ancient ritual of gathering your closest women around you to reassure you, celebrate you, honour you?

Here’s another thing. BIRTH IS A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, never-mind your religion. Birth will cause your soul to jump a bit. So why not line yourself up with a soul awakening gathering before you head to the big gate to meet your little one? Here is a perfect opportunity to get your closest women together to really speak honestly about what to do to prepare for such a spiritual journey. The more hands to hold, the better.

Baby Shower vs. Blessing Way? In my humble opinion, more than silly games, onesies, and tiny washclothes, a woman on the cusp of a major life change deserves and needs solid support, compassion, caring- and some laughter. The gift of little socks and bibs can be dropped off after the birth (with a pot of soup!).

Oh, and another thing? Your doula can help organize it. 🙂
Give me a call, let’s see what we can do to tailor a celebration to YOU.

– Dori