This was during a backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon. I love hiking and backpacking but this Nankoweap Trail was the hardest trail I had ever been on. It's super exposed, no water for about 11 miles, and that day it was crazy windy. It was amazing and so worth facing my fears. We had the trail to ourselves and once down at the river climbed up this tiny perch to see these ancient dwellings.
Fear is a terrible place for anything to start. Our society has so much fear surrounding birth but I wanted to become a doula to help people have a positive experience surrounding their birth. We need more positive birth stories in the population. More people need to experience the transformation that is possible during labor and birth. My hope is to encourage an overall appreciation for what birth does to your mind and your body. I feel like my formal training as a musician is a huge asset for dispelling fear in my doula clients.
First I need to give you glimpse of life as musician: As a musician we have auditions for orchestras. Openings for the orchestras are posted online monthly by our union, and you can only audition when openings for your instrument are available. Everyone going to the audition is given a list of excerpts which are the trickiest sections of various orchestral works. On the day of the audition, the committee that is listening to the audition compiles a list that each candidate will perform. As an audition candidate you perform anonymously, and auditions have typically one opening and at least fifty qualified applicants. You are behind a screen so the committee doesn't know your name, gender, race or age. When you play the list for the committee they can stop you at any time and ask that you perform things differently or just ask you to stop all together. As the audition-er, you are responsible to pay for your entire trip to the audition location: flight/gas, hotel, food, plus any loss of income while you are travelling. The audition trips are normally no cheaper that $700 each and you could play for a few minutes, or (hopefully) get the job.
As musicians we are trained to practice and perform. That's pretty much what we learn in school. We learn how to turn on focus and tune out distraction. We are taught how to really listen and be a part of a team able to respond to our colleagues with in-the-moment flexibility. We are taught the standard way various works are performed so we can continue the folk-art that is music. It is an exacting profession with luckily some room for adding our own life experiences, taste and creativity like salt and pepper.
Good musicians become good because of hard work. Period. Yes, talent- blah,blah..that really just translates to diligence and actually wanting to do this particular hard work. Smart musicians know that life doesn't always have as many hours free in the day as it may take to learn a new work or master a specific excerpt. Another thing we learn is mental practice. During mental practice you can be as creative as you decide: You could visualize the hall, colleagues, conductors. You could slow tricky parts down until they are mastered. You could repeat things as many times as you want.
Because of my birth experience I wanted to become a doula. It's been an honor to join my clients as they welcome their new family member. It's beautiful to see the full range of human emotions and be present for this intimate, special and sacred moment of life. Birth is amazing and doesn't need to be shrouded in fear. Hard work and discomfort doesn't always have to equate to fear. In fact the less tension you hold in your body during labor the easier it is for your body to birth. I decided to be a doula because I want to help birthing people break out of the fear-tension-pain model that is prevalent in our society. My hope as a doula is to continue to support families through labor and birth so the birth can be looked back on with pride and a sense of powerful accomplishment. All births: slow births, fast births, medicated births, un-medicated births, c-births, VBAC births can all bring about this transformation. My hope is to support people so they can be informed, involved and flexible during their journey into parenthood.