I haven't gone missing, I just had a busy week. The kids were home from school yet again for President's WEEK and my parents were visiting, which was really nice. I have to admit I got a bit spoiled. Every morning, my parents would ring the doorbell at 8 am armed with lattes, muffins and croissants. I kept having to remind myself that this will only last a week and then I will be back to instant coffee and cheerios. Which is exactly what happened.
Anyway, a few nights ago, when I was speaking to a potential client, I was asked an unusual question. Most of the time, when speaking to pregnant women searching for a doula, I am asked very similar questions- my experience level, my philosophy, my services, etc. This woman, though, asked me if I thought that being an orthodox Jew makes me a better doula. I have to admit the question threw me for a loop. At the time, I didn't really have much to say on the topic. But having thought about it some more, I do think that my religious values help me be a better doula.
First of all, it helps me work with other orthodox women because I understand their values and the specific laws that apply during childbirth. In general though, Judaism is a very childfriendly religion and I think that attitude carries over into my doula work. That every child is a blessing and we were put on this earth to give of ourselves to the next generation.
Additionally, the idea of doing "chessed" is a very important concept in Judaism. Chessed is doing acts of kindness for others in need, such as cooking for someone who is ill, visiting the sick or helping someone after they have given birth.
While it is true that I am being paid for my work, when I am at a birth there are so many acts of kindness and giving that I do for the laboring woman: massaging her back, bringing ice chips, raising/lowering the bed, suggesting a different position . Some people translate the greek word doula to mean "servant" and the idea is really to serve the laboring woman and take care of all of her needs- physical, emotional, pain management, etc so that you she can feel comfortable and secure enough to give birth.
This is a longwinded way of saying that some of the attributes that help me as a doula- i.e love of children and comfort in the role of caregiver, really originate in the orthodox Jewish values that I have grown up with and am continuously working on.
Am curious to hear if others agree or have anything to add. Feedback always welcome. Shavua tov!