Why Losing My Dad Made Me A Better Doula
For the past 8 years, I have been working passionately as a mental health and addictions worker. I truly believed that I lived my life both professionally and personally, judgement free. I empathized with, cared for and supported people who's values did not line up with my own and I was totally OK with that.
So, why did an 18 year old city girl dive into the deep, dark world of addiction anyways? My dad, had been an alcoholic for as long as I can remember. He had extended periods of time where he was doing really well, and times when he was not. When I was in college, he got tangled up in the drug scene and that was the last time I truly saw him. He went from bad to worse in the blink of an eye and somewhere in that time, I forgot how to love him without judgement. I wasn't happy with his life choices so I disconnected physically and emotionally. I didn't make time for him, I didn't let him see his grandchild and I held onto his invitation to my wedding for fear that he might "embarrass me." I would sigh and role my eyes when he called my phone and would complain when he needed my help. I did all of those awful things because he made choices for himself that I didn't like.
Don't get me wrong, I would do anything for my dad, but I did it with frustration and lack of empathy.
My sweet, charming and charismatic dad died on May 2, 2017. I had seen him only 2 days prior and wish I had taken a few extra minuets to sit and talk to him.
So, how does this relate to being a doula? Very simply actually. I now know what it means to live a life free from judgement. It doesn't matter where you come from, where you want to deliver, how you choose to medicate yourself during labour or if you co-sleep or not. It doesn't matter, because those are YOUR choices, and I know you've made wise decisions that are best for you and your family right now. I know what it's like to feel judged by other people but more importantly, I am painfully aware of what its like to judge the people you love both personally and professionally. It is my job to make you feel the exact opposite; supported, cared for and loved.
As a disclaimer, a lot of you reading this may not fully understand my choices and thats OK! Remember, just because a person's values not do line up with your own, does not mean they are wrong.
Now, if you are lucky enough to have your parents close by, call them. Because one day, these opportunities will disappear and you will regret not making an effort.