At my last client’s birth, I was very mindful of all I had learned with Whapio of the Matrona. I was working hard to hold space for my client, aware that she wanted to have the most natural birth she could. She responded to my suggestions of moving to new positions to offer comfort without much interference from me. She spent a good deal of time in the shower with her partner close by. Lights low and beautiful music playing. As we moved to the labor room from the assessment area, she leaned over the bed, swaying in rhythm to the surges that washed over her. Later she moved to the bathroom and sat on the toilet at my suggestion as we needed to move forward in her labor. She moaned softly as she sat on the toilet (a most excellent place to labor by the way – we all sit on that throne with hips open and relaxed bottom). As I leaned in the room to see if she needed anything, she said, “Just be with me.” So I entered and she leaned into my body and we stayed like that for a moment; a moment that felt like forever and in another time and space.
Truth be told, I feel that is what we need to remember as doulas. We may not know all the “tricks” and have not been a doula for ages, but we can “be” with women as they enter that journey deep within. When she goes between worlds and enters the delta and theta brainwaves, we need to be cautious not to disturb her. She needs our presence but likely not our words. She needs us to “be with her.” She is journeying to the peak of the mountain and heading to transition, but she doesn’t need you to fix anything, but just witness her power and just be there.
It is not likely that I will ever forget those simple four words, “just be with me” as I go on to support other birthing persons on this sacred journey.