"Cus you've got to have friends..."
Once upon a time I was a fiercely independent and strong willed individual. My first career as a dancer, ballerina to be exact, taught me perseverance and determination that I carried with me after my brief career ended. I could do anything if I just practiced hard enough and put my mind to it, even if it meant falling over and over and over... "No one else could do the pirouette for me, it was all up to me". Unfortunately, this train of thought crept into my experience as a new Mom, but the ability to get back up again after the fall had disappeared, so it constantly felt like all I was doing was falling, over and over and over again. Then slowly, and with much resistance, I branched out and started to meet people, other people who like me, had a new baby and needed a tribe.
Fast forward six years and I still feel those pangs of fierce determination to pick myself up and go full steam ahead on my own. With the help of many dear friends along the way, I've grown to lean into the hard bits and instead of refusing to grab the hand reaching out to help me up, I'm grabbing on. It's no good mucking through the shit life throws at us alone, it's much more enjoyable with a sidekick...or four!
As a doula, my replies to invites for brunch, playdates, meetings or any other type of scheduled affair are often accompanied by my constant caveat - "if I'm not a birth!" Lucky for me those replies are met with the expectation that if I don't show I'm likely at the side of a family who is about to welcome a new human into this world. And lucky for me, I've found a tribe of friends who get it. Friends that are willing to watch the kids, or who swing by the hospital with coffee and actual real warm food, or who understand why I'm asleep at 1pm, those folks are a close second to my partner, and without them I couldn't do this work.
I know how fortunate I am to have people in my life that I can lean on, I hope they know how much they mean to me and my family - and to the families I support through birth. This work has taught me many things, one of which is to say Yes when help is offered and to be humble enough to ask for it when its not. Everything is better with friends, we were never meant to do this alone, so reach out to your tribe and celebrate your triumphs or ask them to help you up if you're struggling, trust me, it's worth it!