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Diary of a Pregnant Doula

Siobhan Ridley

Last summer my husband was abroad on business and I woke up the morning my period was due feeling different. Weird isn't it...that a tiny line encased in a crappy overpriced piece of plastic can represent the magnitude of what is happening inside a woman's body, the vastness of the journey ahead and the feeling that everything, EVERYTHING is going to change beyond recognition and the unfathomable mystery of how that's exactly going to look. It takes my breath away and the air is heavy with overwhelm cut only by the occasional nervous giggle and excited flurry of butterflies rising in my throat.

Three children. I am full of gratitude. I know first hand some of the heartache of wanting a child and wondering if it's actually written in the stars for me. I know the feelings of guilt, anger, jealousy, yearning, heavy disappointment, physical pain and bodily disgust. I have supported friends and clients through their own journeys of sadness. This opportunity to grow, birth and parent another human truly is a gift.

So, our new gift will be arriving sometime around Easter time 2019. This is my first pregnancy as a birth keeper and my career and knowledge has already made a difference to my experience vs my previous pregnancies.

When I shared our news on social media and began opening the door a little on my personal experience of pregnancy, I received a flood of messages asking me to share more. It would seem that some are curious about how a doula might journey through pregnancy and birth. I've wrestled with this idea of baring myself so publicly (I'm more of an introvert and this doesn't come naturally to me), and after much to-ing and fro-ing I've decided to share some bits and pieces and see how it goes.

Why does my experience matter? It doesn't really. Well, not to anyone else other than my family and I. It's another story in the www. ocean of personal experiences. Like an ocean, there are areas where one ship would not want to venture but others might. It's up to each individual woman to find the stories that she wants to read, from which she may gleam some solace, insight and enjoyment. I am choosing to simply add mine to the throng. As a doula my perinatal (pregnancy to motherhood) journey is no better/worse than anyone else's, it's just different. Every decision my husband and I will make is the culmination of 1000s of variables, some of which I could articulate and many of which I'm not even fully aware of because they sit at an unconscious level, informed by everything that has occurred in my life up to this very moment. And as shared decision makers, there are my husband's variables too. The context of every one of our choices is deeply complex, just as is yours. I cannot comprehend all the reasons behind my clients' decisions, nor do I need to. I wholeheartedly accept that this is the right journey for them and I support them without judgement, with love and respect.

If you choose to delve into my pregnancy diary, you will be reading my journey, unique as it is and effected by much more than I could ever explain to you. It is not a reflection of my opinions of what others 'should' do...I have no such opinions. Your journey is yours and yours can I possibly say that because I made one choice, that that's the right thing for everyone and by implication, that it's somehow better. I am not you. What is right for me will not be 'right' for you and visa versa. The internet is full of people using their personal stories to tell others what's 'better' or what they 'should' do and it's bullshit.

So there it is. A little bit of background on me and my reasons for choosing to share my third pregnancy journey should you wish to dip in.

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