Yesterday I was doing a phone interview for a potential job in May. The expectant mama made a comment about how I can do this doula work with my kids at home and how I must just really like kids or something. That's a little bit true, but not really.
I chose to be a postpartum doula because of the mamas. I've been in that postpartum phase of life 6 times now. It's beautiful and terrible all at the same time. There are moments when I've just gazed at this baby and felt so complete. There are moments when I've felt so overwhelmed and incapable. I've felt exhausted. I've been deeply depressed and guilt ridden because of it. A lot of the time I felt like this was a lonely spot. I wanted someone to come in and take over for me for a few hours. I think that is one of the hardest things as a new mama: it's all up to me now. While I love that and I find it so easy some days, other days I want to be cared for on a really profound level.
That's why I love my job. It's so hard for us to ask for our deepest desires as mamas. When someone wants to help we either say we are OK or accept a frozen casserole or use the offer of childcare for something necessary like an OB appointment. But when you have hired someone to come into your home and do basically whatever, you can ask her to make you lunch simply because you are hungry but want to hold your baby for a while longer. You can ask her to vacuum because it's needing to be done and you don't want to do it today. You can sit and watch TV and just chat (ie not be alone) while you are both feeding a baby. (OK, that really only works with multiples!) You have someone to ask your silliest questions...like is the poop supposed to look like that? You have someone to make you tea and change the 10th diaper of the day while you sit and feel melancholy. You have someone to celebrate your first (nearly solo) outing with.
Motherhood is a crazy journey. It's beautiful...it's awful...it's mundane...it's consuming. I really love it. And I love having a job where I get to walk with mamas for a part of their journey.