Written by: Lindsay Neal, Doula
I think I was born with a fascination of motherhood. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t fantasize about the day I would get to be a mom. I loved bellies and birth and babies, even as a toddler. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up I’d always answer “a stay at home mom”.
Yet, as I sit here writing these words with a 3 year old screaming “mommy” from underneath the door, I’m struck with the realization that motherhood is equal parts everything I’d dreamed of and nothing like I’d imagined.
Nothing can prepare you for the love you are overcome with when that slippery babe is laid on your bare chest and you lock eyes with her for the first time. Nothing can compare you for the utter exhaustion, tears, and mental thickness that comes from night after night of bouncing him and no sleep. Nothing can compare you for the heart- bursting honor and back breaking weight of knowing you are their EVERYTHING.
The smell of that tiny head, the way they melt into you, the cluster feedings and spit up, the panic at that first rash, the panic at the lack of poop, the panic at the color of poop, the pride of those first steps, the giggles, the furniture parkour, the mess…oh, the mess, the tantrums in public and negotiations over the sippy cup color, the sticky kisses (the sticky everything), the mounds of laundry, the lack of showers, the yearning for adult conversation, the guilt and second guessing, the constant refereeing, and front row seats to the best rendition of “Let It Go” that you’ve ever seen…over and over and over again.
It’s a lot…it’s a WHOLE LOT. Some days I can’t believe I GET to do this and others I can’t wrap my head around WHY I wanted this so bad.
I’m all grown up now and, along with the title of “stay at home mom”, I also carry the professional title of “childbirth doula”. I love my work and recently I’ve found myself wishing there was such a thing as a Motherhood Doula. Someone who came alongside you as you walked this messy, crazy-beautiful experience…holding space for you, wrapping their arms around you as you fall into the support…brushing your sweaty hair back and wiping your tears as they whisper in your ear, “You’ve got this…you’re doing this…you were created for this and you’re rocking it.”
I feel like once upon a time there were many women in a mom’s life that served this role but today you will more readily find those waiting with judgmental stares and condescending words, meant to tear down rather than build up. And in the thick of it, it’s near impossible to find the clarity to remind yourself that the enemy would like nothing more than to steal your motherhood joy. We need to do this for each other.
Today, I’m declaring it a thing. Moving forward, I’m determined to seek out and draw close to the Motherhood Doulas around me (even if they don’t realize that’s what they are) and to be a Motherhood Doula to those in need. I don’t believe we were ever intended to walk this journey alone. We are here on this earth to love each other, hold each other, cry with each other, laugh and celebrate each other…YOU were created for this and you’re rocking it!!
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