A Doula for Camping?

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This summer my family went on a trip to Alberta to visit friends and family and to see some sights (you can’t have a six year old who is obsessed with dinosaurs and not visit the Royal Tyrell Dinosaur Museum!). Originally, we had planned on going with my sister and brother in law and camping our way around. It seems almost sacrilegious to admit, living in BC; that we don’t go camping. We have such beautiful mountains and valleys and places to go that it seems a shame we never camp outdoors. So, when we couldn’t arrange all of our work schedules to coincide, my husband and I decided to just book a hotel because we have only a very basic idea of how to camp, so really we have no idea what we’re doing.

Besides knowing that we would need a tent, some sleeping bags, some hot dogs and s’mores, we really have no clue about the real things we need to have and know in order to go camping. I’m pretty sure you need to book space to camp in, that you can’t just show up in the woods and camp, or that there are places that aren’t good to camp in. And what do you do if it rains? See, I have no idea. At least we know enough to know we don’t know. Y’know?

So anyway, the plan was to all go together and my sister and her family could teach us what to do and show us the ropes. They were going to be our camping doulas.

Now, I’m sure we could have just googled what we needed to know, bought some stuff, booked a place, shown up and figured it out and had a good time. But, we decided not to chance it so if they couldn’t come with us, we weren’t going either.

Camping for the first time is a lot like having a baby. You kinda know you need some clothes, diapers and they don’t sleep through the night, but you don’t really know what it’s like to have a baby until they’re there. Especially in our society that frowns on sharing birth stories. You’re taught that there’s some screaming, some swearing, some asking for pain medication and then poof there’s a baby.

But, what about all the other stuff? Wouldn’t it be nice to have that person that can hold your hand and walk you through it? Can tell you the ins and outs, that one person you can go to who has helped others through this before? Well, you can!

As a birth doula, I am experienced in helping families understand the process of birth and prepare as much as possible. I can help them understand their preferences, prepare for the unexpected and am an unwavering support of their choices. I understand the unique benefits of different types of care providers, places of birth, pain management options, community resources and more. Having supported many clients through each of these, I have firsthand knowledge of how birth “works”.

For postpartum support, it is about having someone to tell you, unequivocally, that you are doing alright. And I know, because I’ve supported others through this time as well. I can help families through the first diaper changes, learning how to dress and swaddle baby, bathe baby and tips to help with feeding. How to clean bottles, as well as offering tips and tricks on caring for yourselves.

It’s hard to know what you don’t know until you’ve been there. If you feel like you have a million questions or blank areas of knowledge, it can be good to know that you can ask your doula because they have supported someone else through it. And if they don’t have the answer, they definitely know where to find it.

One day we will go camping with my sister and brother in law and have them teach us what we don’t know. But in the meantime, we’ll stick to hotels and restaurants for our trips. However, having a baby is one trip you can’t cancel. Consider hiring a doula for support.

 

Thanks to the Birthful Podcast #37: Birth Prep Essentials for the inspiration for today’s blog post!

 

Let Me Listen

The Folly of Comparing Struggles
The Folly of Comparing Struggles

I recently had a friend over for coffee.  We were visiting and she was lamenting about how her mother was driving her bananas.  The thought popped in my head: “At least your mother is still alive.  Be thankful for this time with her.”

I wanted to say it, but I didn’t.

I didn’t say it because that is my struggle, not hers.  That is my reality, not hers.

And my job as her friend is to acknowledge that for her, in this moment, this is something she is struggling with; and to be there for her as an understanding ear. It might seem like comparing apples to oranges.  But, making light of one person’s plight just because someone else has it “worse” is dismissive.  It is refusing to give support just because someone else would love to “have your problem”. 

I know my friend is thankful to have her mother.  I don’t need to point that out because I know that truly, she is.  That doesn’t make the stress of dealing with her mother at this moment any less.

So, it does not matter if someone else has it worse.  You are allowed to feel what you feel.  If you are struggling with a crying baby, you are allowed to feel frustrated even if someone else is sitting with theirs in the hospital somewhere hoping they will come home.  It does not take away any of the weight of your reality, of how hard it can be, to know that somewhere, someone else “has it worse”.  It doesn’t make your weights lighter to know someone else is carrying ones that are heavier.  Even if that someone is a best friend.

But truly, to start comparing struggles at all -like one is worse than another- is not supportive or helpful.

If you feel you are being dismissed for your feelings, seek out someone else to confide in.  Perhaps someone else who is going through the same thing.  It can feel really good to know you aren’t the only one who is having this kind of struggle.

And know that as my client, I won’t judge you for having different struggles or finding different parts of parenthood harder than others might.

We all have our own battles, let me listen and support you while you fight yours.