Recently we suffered a great loss in our family. My husband's father passed away on December 31st and this last weekend we laid his ashes to rest. I really can't stop myself from thinking about how birth and death are such incredible things.
Being a birth doula, I am surrounded by unlimited potential. So many wonderful humans are being born everyday and they are already remarkable. And as soon as those bundles of joy are here, parents are born too, and they have choices to make and (POOF!) just like that, the pressure is on to be good, and right, and correct. (Although, as a parent, I have found there is great power and importance in allowing space for "wrong.")
And this is where we get down to the point: our legacy is something we have power over. How we are remembered is something we can influence through our actions, goals, and conversations. What we leave isn't just stuff, but feelings, ideas, memories.
As a parent, what do I want my child to remember about me and her time with me? As a doula, how am I adding value to my profession and my community? Why am I here?
These thoughts are helping me see through some of this groggy fog of grief. Hearing the wonderful stories about my father-in-law are refreshing and uplifting. The small part of life I witnessed was only a slice of his - he had 67 years of relationships that left their mark.
Just yesterday, the information that is in the image above was shared on social media. It struck such a chord with me that I had to stop and evaluate how I was conducting myself. I agree with the statement above and I needed to check myself against what it is encouraging.
I felt stronger/better in her presence. Yes. I want women to feel stronger in my presence. I want to lift up and not tear down.
She always did what she said. I want to be a mom of my word. I want to be a doula of my word. I want to be a business owner of my word. I want my statements to be meaningful.
She increased acceptance and compassion in others. Yes, I want to increase acceptance and compassion. I want to help bridge sides. I want to help grow understanding and tolerance.
She instilled strength in our daughters. YES. I want to instill strength in my daughter, and your daughter. I want the daughters of this world to be brave and fearless. I believe my last post speaks directly to this.
She educated the masses. I am not a trained teacher, but I will share my knowledge with any that will listen (or read, dear Reader). Knowledge is what started me on the path to this profession, and helping other mothers have knowledge to make decisions that are best for their families will be a steady driving force in my work. Women with information are unstoppable.
She encouraged open-mindedness. There is a saying, that the world is a book, and if you don't travel, you are only reading the first page. I want to encourage women to read past the first page of their autobiography. I want women to dive into themselves, their feelings, their histories and their prejudices. Ask questions - of yourself, of your care provider, of your surroundings, of your understanding of normal. I want to help open doors to the millions of possible answers.
She left her family a financial success. Yes. I don't think there is anyone that doesn't want this. But I want it so badly and share why it is so important to my daughter. I want to share with her that relationships should be shared because you want to share them, you want to be in them, not because you have to be in them. And I know this looks different for every family, but I know what this looks like for me.
Although these traits are labeled The Legacy of a Doula, they ring true outside of business. And perhaps that is a greater legacy: genuine, knowledgeable, available, and steadfast.
As Heidi Shulista from Kansas City Doulas asks, "For what will you be remembered? For whom are you living?"
So do you know, for what will YOU be remembered? For whom are YOU living?
Authored by A Swift Doula