As doulas, we know that birth is transformative. Here musician, Linzy Westman shares the story of how her second birth redeemed her vision of birthing and transformed her view of herself.
Mother’s Day always brings with it a slew of emotions. If you’re a mom, you know what I’m talking about. For many of us, it brings weighty memories of losing a child to miscarriage, still-born life, and other tragic endings… I’m with you there. For others, it brings utter joy as we snuggle our littles to sleep and inhale those sweet baby smells. Others of us reflect on the process of bringing our children into the world, rearing them on the daily and preparing them for fruitful lives ahead. No part of that process is easy, but if I’m honest, the hardest part of that process for me thus far was birth.
We didn't hire a doula with our first child, which followed losing our first to an ectopic miscarriage. My goal was to have an unmedicated birth and although I succeeded, the entire experience left me absolutely traumatized and panicked at the idea of having to ever go through that again. He was 2 weeks late, so I was induced with a combination of misoprostol. I suffered some of the dangerous side effects of the drug and went from having zero labor signs to holding a baby in my arms 4 hours later. I can say with confidence that those were the hardest 4 hours of my life and while I received the most beautiful gift at the end of it, I also suffered from extreme anxiety, fear and PTSD-like symptoms as a result.
Needless to say, when we found out we were pregnant with our second child, I was so fearful about the birth I couldn't even speak about it without tearing up and feeling tremors of fears shooting through my body. I had a hard time even getting excited about the pregnancy because it meant I had to give birth again, and I was terrified. This led my husband and I to being a search for a doula. My goal was once again to have an unmedicated birth, but I felt incapable of doing that without something being drastically different. Enter Wendy and Kersti.
We met with this mother/daughter team over coffee and I quickly fell in love with them. Kersti had the recent experience of having given birth "without fear" herself and Wendy had this amazing mix of strength and confidence in her tone alongside a spirit of gentleness. We had met with a few other doulas in our search, but I constantly felt like they were all too soft-spoken/comforting/gentle and I needed someone a bit more direct alongside those qualities. Wendy was JUST that. We counted the cost as if it were a part of the hospital bill, because we knew to have the birth we wanted, it wo