Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Amy the Doula?

Hello dear readers, you may or may not have noticed the presence of a new gadget on the upper right hand side of my blog. I'm referring to that gold button inscribed with the dubious word, "donate." I feel a little foolish having it there and would like to explain the reasoning for it. The following is an excerpt from a letter I've composed for friends and family. If you have already received my "Where I am, Where I am going" letter, save yourself the trouble of reading any further!

June 21-28, Doula Training Workshop

Dona International describes a Doula as “a knowledgeable, experienced companion – who stays with them [mothers] through labor, birth and beyond” (http://www.dona.org/). I’ve recently taken an interest in learning more about and possibly becoming a midwife. The first step for me is becoming a certified, practicing Doula. When I consider where this interest rose from and why, the rationale seems simultaneously obvious and vague. There are several reasons that this trade appeals to me and I will attempt to enumerate on a few here:

When I contemplate what I am most passionate about, what I value and would risk my safety and lay aside my comfort for, I think of Life. Granted, this is a rather broad. I have a friend who is a great admirer of Albert Schweitzer and through him I picked up Schweitzer’s oft used phrase, “reverence for life,” adopting it as a guiding principle for how I engage in encounters with people, animals and the earth. What a beautiful thing it would be to be trained in a practice that would allow me to be involved in what may be the most essential process of human life, for both a mother and child, to participate in birth!

I am motivated too by a frustration with the way that this natural, beautiful, process is often relegated to the realm of being a medical condition. Women are filtered through hospitals, treated as if they have an illness. I become frustrated too that despite pregnancy being so often relegated to the medical realm, there is still such a high rate of infant and maternal mortality. This is especially true of women who, whether because of income, culture or color, find themselves in marginalized social groups. My imagination wanders to a place where I have the training and the connections that allow me to be present for women who too often go without the assistance and empathy of someone trained to companion them through what would ideally be a joyful albeit challenging experience.

I am attracted to this field, also, because it is complementary to the lifestyle I find myself drawn to. Doula training, volunteering on the border, Catholicism; these are all facets that stem from and strengthen what is an ever deepening desire to live responsibly, with reverence for life, with great intentionality and care. Thanks to remarkable parents, and wonderful siblings, friends and relatives, I have always been well-loved and encouraged toward being loving. I am keenly aware that my experience of life has been an exceptionally blessed. For the past several years I have been trying to learn how best to act out of my gratitude. My time living and working in Kentucky did much to challenge and refine my thinking, particularly with regard to how I understand and respond to others, and to being mindful of the consequences of my choices which effect far more than just me. Living in Chicago has led to deeper paradigm shifts. It has also been a catalyst for my becoming more practical and intentional about implementing my convictions into the way I live life on a day to day basis. I have often described integrity as “honesty with legs.” I want to walk in alignment with what I say I believe is right and good. Namely, to practice what Jesus preached about giving food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, visiting the sick and the prisoners—essentially, loving God and my neighbor--living in unity with those around me and sharing the burden of living in a broken world.

No comments: