Annie is a student who began her training earlier this year. She brings to our program a perspective on childbirth that is perhaps a little more hands on than most. Here’s how she introduced herself to us:
“Oh Annie, Look! Put out Your hands!” My mother’s words came through her happy tears.
I reached out in front of me to find a lot of sticky curly newborn hair under which I found a wrinkly little face and a receiving blanket under it. My cousin Christopher had just been born and was on his way to the nursery to be bathed. I was eight years old and mine were the first hands to feel him besides his mother’s and those of the nurse who was crouched in front of me holding the newborn in her arms. While this is by no means a common practice in hospitals, I am forever grateful to my aunt Debby and the nurse who’s name I do not know. For were it not for their blessing, that precious experience would not be mine to share.
From a young age, I was fascinated by pregnancy, birth and infants. Having lost my vision at age 2, this was the first and only newborn I would touch so close to birth until the birth of my own child some years later. Seeming always to lean toward the natural and “old fashioned,” my search for knowledge in pregnancy did not stray. I have since given birth to three beautiful children. The opportunity to pass along the knowledge I’ve gained from each of these unique experiences has been a blessing I wish to share with the mothers I support.
There is just something so beautiful about the moment a woman brings forth life from her womb, and the precious unique moments leading up to that joyous occasion. The woman’s body is designed to conceive, carry, and bring forth the life of the next generation. Since the dawn of the human race, women have been supporting each other in these miraculous moments. As a doula who is blind, I have the ability to offer support to mothers with special needs such as visual or physical challenges from a similar perspective.
Sharing in this moment is a blessing to all involved, and having a support system in place eases anxiety and fear in expectant parents as well as those of the ones who love them. Allowing each woman to navigate through the stages of pregnancy, labor, and birth according to her own specific needs, empowers her in the challenges of the present and for the years of motherhood that lay ahead. I truly believe that one never stops learning and that each pregnancy I have the honor to support will bring forth a life just as unique and precious as the experiences that came before it.