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Standing on the Edge

The WinCo parking lot is one of those places that I have stopped to catch my breath more than once. I think it's the anonymity of the parking lot.

While sitting there, a friend had texted to say that her son received his call letter to be a missionary. It’s a very prestigious accomplishment and we were invited to the reveal party. He would open the letter to find out where his next two years would be spent. I was thrilled for their family.

And then it struck me. I've been here before. Standing on the edge with a mom, waiting with baited breath to find out what was next.

All my years of doing free pregnancy testing came flooding back. Time and time again I have sat with women, waiting for the answer to reveal itself. Within minutes her life would be fundamentally changed. So many emotions have been witnessed. Then I reflect back to her what seemed appropriate, sometimes happy joy, sometimes quiet contemplation.

Why I love being a doula finally makes sense. For 14 years, I have stood on the edge with women, at the beginning of their journey. Now I stand at the end of their pregnancy journey, on the cusp of the parenting journey. Watching babies be born, some perfectly with the room filling with ecstatic joy. Some requiring CPR before they meet their parents. My job is to reflect back what is necessary in pivotal moments.

It requires unflinching determination which I carry with me for all births. Sometimes though, in the middle of the WinCo parking lot, that determination wavers and tears appear out of nowhere, as I realize tiny babies have grown, standing on their own edge. And once again I’ll watch the momma, while her life fundamentally changes, ready and willing to help on this next step in her mothering journey.

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