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06 Mar 2012

Guest Blog by Stephanie Dawn: Self Care for the Doula

By The DTI team

Being a birth professional in this day and age is one of the best jobs in the whole world! You get to work with people you love, beautiful pregnant new Mamas and Papas and oh, the babies! Those sweet little bundles of purity and love! You get to work the hours you want, receive plenty of rest and daily massage…oh, wait a minute, I was hallucinating from drinking too much caffeine on this fine Saturday afternoon! In all honesty though, being a birth professional is one of the best jobs in the world and it can also be really, really hard. I know, I work with birth pros all over the world; midwives, doulas, prenatal yoga instructors, placenta encapsulators, childbirth educators…and you know what each of us has in common? We each, whether we are just starting our birth business, or have been at it for decades, face the daily challenge of maintaining balance in our personal and professional lives. Especially if we are Moms. It is not easy.

 In Micky Jones’ popular book for birth pros “Keep the Fires Burning, Conquering Stress and Burnout as a Mother-Baby Professional” she outlines, in great detail, the whys, the wherefores and the clear reasons why women continue to maintain “this type of “do it all” mindset stress.” For some of you, she says, it’s the responsibility you feel you carry, and she cautions, “Feeling as if the breastfeeding success of every mother-baby unit depends on you will lead to a crushing level of burden.” Do you carry a responsibility? Of course. I would even go so far as to call it a sacred trust. But what I want you to know is that no matter what, your responsibility must always come for yourself first. Learning to put yourself first is not easy. It takes work. But it is so worth it! You are worth it! Your health is worth it! As a busy birthpreneur (I just coined this term!), only you can be the one who can gage your own needs. No one else can do that for you. It’s when you continuously put others first, in the name of service and the love of your job that you suffer.

How does suffering manifest? It manifests in the way you speak to yourself, perhaps, sometimes, in less than loving ways. It manifests in your ability to be as loving and as caring as you would like to be in all of your relationships. It manifests by being overweight, by not processing the negative birth experiences in a way that clears them from your consciousness, by not getting enough rest, and in the worst case scenario, despair, depression, burn out and ultimately leaving the profession.

In my programs, I work deeply around the practice of excellent self-care. Allow me to define excellent self-care as I see it: It is the moment to moment, daily ability to tune in to what your needs are and give them to yourself. And if we go a little deeper, it’s the practice of self-love. Yes, the two are intricately joined. Sometimes self-love can look like taking a deep breath, or drinking a glass of water, or sitting down and eating a nutritious meal. Sometimes, it’s making sure you get to bed early several nights in a row after attending a long birth, or it’s making that appointment to actually get that massage that you desire so completely with every fiber in your being. Personally, I must have fresh flowers in the house at all times and I am fed enormously by circling up with girlfriends, fellow Practitioners and birth professionals. No matter what it is, only you can be the one that knows what you need and can actually give it to yourself…I invite you to turn that energy of giving and loving to others back around to yourself. Our clients, our families, our communities deserve to be served by birth professionals who are balanced, healthy, loving and happy! So go ahead, make the call, take the deep breath, do whatever it is that you need to do to look after yourself in this moment! If you are presently experiencing great health, I invite you to practice gratitude for the good you are experiencing in your life. What we are grateful for, we receive more of!

Here’s an affirmation that can help:

Today, I acknowledge myself for all that I am and all that I give. I give myself the time that I need to restore and rejuvenate my body, my mind and my spirit. I am grateful for my life and for my birth business. All is well.

 

Stephanie Dawn, ALSP, is a licensed spiritual counselor and life coach of the Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles.  Stephanie is the Creatrix of Sacred Birth Work, Birth Heaven Now! Coaching Program for Birth Pros and the Sacred Birth Mentor Program. She is a speaker, educator and birth visionary. Learn more about Birth Heaven Now! by clicking on this link https://www.facebook.com/events/341977679166316/ or contact Stephanie at www.stephaniedawn.com
 

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