"Living becomes an awesome business when you realize that you spend every moment of your life in the sight & company of an omniscient omnipresent Creator." -J.I. Packer "Knowing God"
How my life could have been so different had I known that God WANTED to be present to me, that He desired to keep company with me. Being raised with the threat of "God is always watching" gave me no delight nor a longing to press into His presence. Instead, I became resentful, rebellious, & at one point in my life, wild. Why would I want or even bother with a God who was simply watching me to make sure I didn't screw up?
I read the above quote this morning during my time in the presence of God, which by the way took YEARS & is still a struggle because all I have ever known is shame & guilt as a result of "God always watching"... I read that statement over & over again because even now in my adult life I needed to hear it. I needed know it! It felt like a truth my soul had been longing for! Knowing that my Creator isn't just watching me but that I am in His sight! To watch is to restraint something or someone.... but to have sight is to have the power of seeing someone! He sees me. Every day He sees me & chooses to keep company with me. I don't know who needs to hear this word today, but I pray it brings you the profound freedom it brought me & the rebellious young girl I once knew. I am certain I hear old chains fall off this morning!
I kept trying to ignore it... kept telling myself that I was not podcast material. As an avid listener to podcasts myself I thought there was no way I could stand or I guess speak among those who I so deeply admire. Men and women who speak with boldness, confidence, & assurance, as well as humor on occasion. Yet this still small voice continued to press my spirit about starting a podcast. There are so many incredible voices, individuals, and organizations here in my hometown of Lancaster County doing such incredible work & something deep in me wanted to help elevate and project their voices too! So I did it! I started a podcast and I cannot tell you how deeply excited I am to be partnering with some of the most beautiful souls that I know. From other doula sisters, to my teachers & yoga mentors, to a local Urban farmer, and even my husband! I figured it would be helpful for other partners to hear what it's like to be married to a birther worker/yogi/wellness coach . Words are so powerful and these past few years I have watched as people have used their words to destroy one another. I wanted.... I needed to make a space where people from all walks of life, faiths, colors, & creeds could come together, & raise a voice to honor one another! So as you read this blog say a prayer for your girl as she ventures out into the unknown but does so trusting that being obedient always pays off. Oh & be sure to subscribe to the Earth Entirely podcast on Spotify, Anchor, or Google podcasts!
Very few journeys in this life are as sacred and holy as the journey of birth. The courage it takes to say yes to pursuing the pregnancy, especially if one has endured loss of life, struggles getting pregnant, or you’re a first time parent. Now add to that the possibility of walking this journey alone, not knowing what your rights are as the birthing person, and being a member of the BIPOC community to top it all off. Birthing persons… People who share my skin tone are dying at 3-4 times the rate, sometimes as much as 12 times the rate depending on the state one lives in, and while the birthing person may very well not be alone and have a loving partner, but more often than not the partner is stepping into this journey just as unprepared, not knowing where to start or end, and when they believe the do, these partners realize quickly that a bit of extra love and support could have changed the experience both for themselves & their loved one. It’s these very same partners who end up being so incredibly grateful for the presence of a Doula.
I have found myself so deeply grateful and filled with awe when I look back on the births that I have taken part in, and it has not been many so far, all the more exciting are the births to come in the future. A Doula spends weeks even months in advance with the birthing person and their partner building relationships, trust, and honor, and while we prepare as a team for the life that is one the way there is no telling what is to come until we are in the actual birthing space. This where the rubber meets the road, or as it is said, “This is where things get real!” Make no mistake that any Doula worth her weight in gold has pulled out all of the stops when it comes to educating, empowering, and preparing the birthing person and their partner for birth, but when emotions are high and ever changing the birthing family needs the support of another human who can and will walk alongside them until the end.
“You know it’s ok to cry, right?” Words I spoke to a first time Dad who moments after his little girl was born he was clearly struggling through his emotions. The nurses assumed he was going to faint or be sick, while Dad continued to make clear he was fine, as Doula there was a sense and a different set of eyes that saw a man realize that his life was no longer his own. He now had one of life's greatest responsibilities placed in his lap and it hit him. It hit him hard. Fear, joy, excitement, uncertainty… life forever changed. A new life entrusted to him to care and provide for and in the midst of navigating these emotions being bombarded by well meaning stuff who couldn’t see past their medical degree to see the emotional need.
It was in that moment that I really truly came to understand the power and the importance of having a Doula present. While Doulas first and most important priority is the birthing person and their rights, a Doula is and always will be for that of the family as well. Our family is who we are.