In 2016 Meaghan and Alex had the pleasure of supporting Avie Herman of Fashionably Frum. Being her doulas from such an early stage in her pregnancy, we got to know her and her family over the many months as she returned to Toronto and blossomed into her upcoming role as a mother. When Meaghan joined her for her birth, she knew it would be a special day. Avie recently sent us this blog, offering it for us to publish, and we were only too happy to accept (once Meaghan finished crying that is!).
The saying goes that when a baby is born, so is a mother. That can be a heady moment, but also a complicated one. As doulas, we know that our job isn’t done just because your baby has arrived. When all eyes are on your baby, our eyes on are you.
Here is Avie’s story.
As I gathered up all the strength I had (and some strength I didn’t know I had) to push my baby out and into the world, all eyes were on me. Every person in the room offered some kind of support and encouragement. After one hundred minutes, I finally gave one last push.
And just like that, my firstborn child shot out into the world.
And just like that, it wasn’t about me anymore.
Three pediatricians and one midwife got busy suctioning out my baby. The other midwife tended to the status of my placenta. My mother had just become a grandmother and my husband had just become a father and they moved from my bedside to the warmer.
It was, in a way, a perfect segue into motherhood — the world no longer revolved around me, it revolved around my baby. But also, I was still there, freaking out on the hospital bed where my body had just erupted and my life had just transformed forever.
I didn’t mind being left to my own devices for a moment, because I needed to take a moment to lose my shit and then to find it again.
“It’s done! I’m done! It’s over! IT’S ALL OVER!” I cried again and again. I finally let loose all the emotions of the last nine months of pregnancy, 4 weeks of prodromal labor and 22 hours of birth.
Just as I began to notice that no one was noticing me and my mini meltdown, complete with tears and flailing limbs, Meaghan was at my side. With her soft voice and loving eyes, she took my hand and told me to breathe, then started to breathe with me. When it seemed like now everyone else was only here for the baby, Meaghan was still here for me.
She understood that this was the biggest moment of my life, that I felt all the feelings and that this was no time to just chill. So she didn’t tell me to calm down. She didn’t insist that I needed to relax. She just helped me breathe, she helped me find my centre, moments after the centre of my life was no longer inside of me.
Then she asked my husband if he wanted to announce our baby’s gender, as we’d told her was our plan.
“It’s a girl!” he said.
A girl! I’d convinced myself we were having a boy, but I’d so desperately wanted a girl.
“A girl!” I turned to Meaghan to share my delight. After supporting my husband and I on our journey since I was just 5 weeks pregnant, I could see in Meaghan’s eyes that she fully shared my excitement.
“I have a daughter! Oh my God, I have a daughter!”
Another wave of relief and joy washed over me as I began to process that I was a mother. Then I began to hyperventilate again.
“Breathe,” she said. “Breathe with me.”
She helped me breathe my way to some sense of calm, amidst the excitement and tumult. She helped me find my breath, so that as soon as my baby was breathing beautifully and ready to meet me, I was ready to meet her.
She helped usher me into my new role as a mother. She helped me understand that even though my baby will always be first in my heart, I’m still here. I still matter.