Sunday, 7 January 2018

empty streets

There is a magic in the work I do. There is the beauty of seeing a woman reach to the depths of her being to bring her baby into the world, the tenderness of  a man as he becomes "dad" and accompanies his partner in her pathway to "mum". There is the freshness and hope of a new baby. Every moment of it is a time of unfurling, blossoming humanity.

These things are obvious but I also take joy in the moments I spend all alone: cruising along near empty roads with the windows down, cool night air swirling, setting my focus on the family I will serve, thinking of their unique goals and challenges.



I enjoy driving over a glassy river, lights twinkling and reflecting from the dark. Sometimes I am travelling at dawn and the changing colours of the sky remind me of my own first labour, the way I watched the colour of the sky through just a sliver of window as I sucked on gas and wondered how long it would take.

One time I wandered from a city hospital in the early hours and found a large white feather on the ground. I picked up the feather and appreciated it's owner, a large bird surviving in the urban jungle.

Today's own little piece of magic came as I walked to the car park at 4.20. The sky was still inky but a magpie was hunting, catching and dropping a large insect several times to eventually grab it and run away from me as though I would steal the sticky looking prize.


29 comments:

  1. You do very noble work indeed.
    The early morning hours about which I have blogged too can indeed offer some priceless moments. In my garden, during the monsoon, magpies nest and the parents feeding their babies is a fascinating sight for me.

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    1. How lovely to watch the birds raise their young!

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  2. Very descriptive and takes us to the feeling of life and in particular new life.

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    1. Thank you, Red! New life never fails to bring a smile or two, does it?

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  3. I love the way you used words today. It made me feel like I was with you!

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    1. Thank you Anne. It was humid and unpleasant if the air wasn't moving. I'm sure you know that feeling!

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  4. I really loved travelling with you too.
    And am an early morning lover. There is always so much promise in the predawn hours...

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    1. I'm dreadful at dragging myself out of bed but I do love the rare early mornings I get to see

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  5. There is indeed something special about being out in the world when everyone else is in bed. It's not quite the same, but I always love a cycle ride about 7am on a summer Sunday morning when all you can hear are birds singing and grasshoppers chirping in the verge.

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    1. That sounds like a pleasant thing to do. Sunday mornings are like the watered down version of New Years Day when nobody is out at all

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  6. Last summer I went to a friend's 50th birthday party arriving by bicycle. I rode home around 2am and cycling on the empty city streets was like being an another world. There was no traffic and I was able to do figure eights under the street lights. Lovely.

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    1. Yes! that feeling of freedom and almost owning the world is so good

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  7. Your descriptions of journeys today are overwhelming. I could see and feel it all.

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  8. Magpies are such clever birds. He probably sensed that you were ready for your own breakfast. And who the hell would opt for toast when they could have a nutritious fresh insect?

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  9. As a doula, I suppose you see the people who want to have children and are likely to be good parents. Peggy went to labor and delivery partly to get away from the sadness of intensive care, a unit from which no patient walks away. As it turned out, labor and delivery was a sad place to work because of the large number of druggies having their fourth, or fifth, or sixth child (who would be taken from them like all the rest), little girls having babies, women with bruises from their latest beating having babies and hoping their abusive boyfriends wouldn't show up, and so forth.

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    1. I have had a couple of clients who were in difficult personal circumstances but for the most part you are right, they are usually fairly well educated, stable people with good support from partners and family.

      I once had a brief conversation with a woman who had retired from doula work following a volunteer posting in Africa. She saw western women as whiny and entitled and she didn't want to serve them any more.
      I see her point but you know, I'm sure she isn't giving up her washing machine because African women don't have them. The women I work with seem to feel that I make a difference and it is not for me to judge what that difference is or how much it benefits them.
      I'm sorry Peggy had all of that to deal with but her kindness to those women might have been all they received in weeks or months and that is worth doing, especially for a woman who will be caring for her baby

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    2. when i said it's worth being kind to a woman who will care for her baby i was thinking of her then being better able to care for the child but of course, if the baby will be taken into care, that woman needs kindness, too

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    3. How much women whine is culturally dependent, and might not mean anything more than that. Peggy did come away thinking that it was the poor women whose care was being paid for by the government who were the least appreciative and the most demanding.

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    4. Snowbrush,
      Maybe those women had not had the luxury of ever having decent care. Maybe they did not understand that they did not have to demand to get what they needed. Maybe whining and demanding were the only ways they ever got what they needed.

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    5. "Maybe whining and demanding were the only ways they ever got what they needed."

      I take it that you speak from experience. I haven't tried whining, but what I've found is that demanding doesn't work. Demanding just hardens would be helpers against a person because no one responds well to being told what they have to do. The moment that heavy emotions are interjected into an interaction is the moment that the other person no longer wants to help. On the other hand, reasonable requests presented in a quiet voice usually make a difference, and if they don't, it's time to talk to someone higher up. Sometimes, a whole organization is so dysfunctional that nothing works, but it's not the norm.

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    6. I've never known "the freshness and hope of a new baby", not having children or being a medic. But I'm sure it must be an amazing experience, especially if it's taken many hours to give birth.

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  10. I've never known "the freshness and hope of a new baby", not having children or being a medic. But I'm sure it must be an amazing experience, especially if it's taken many hours to give birth.

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    1. It's one of those moments of pure romance, before the reality of parenthood hits!

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  11. I too love the quite the of early morn... bracing for the busy day ahead.
    Greetings from the Riverina, NSW

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  12. I think being a doula must be wonderful (for the most part). Oh seeing that joy day after day (again, for the most part). It's got to be more interesting than what I do, but that being said I'm not knocking it. It more than pays the rent and I have a very good employer. Oh and a white feather is a symbol of your guardian angel (well if you believe that nonsense - which I do!). On the day we were leaving England after my dad's funeral he sent me the biggest white feather which landed at my feet just as I was leaving. It's very reassuring even now. Anna

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    1. I regard myself as a successful doula but not so much as a successful business person so I only see that joy maybe ten times a year. It is lovely though and a good birth can leave me a lot more positive about the business for days.

      I enjoy forging new relationships with all different women and families and even when I don't see the joyous meeting (which happened a lot last year) I still feel I offer something that is helpful. Hopefully, I really "see" my clients when they might feel that nobody else does.

      Generally speaking I don't believe in white feathers and such but if I had known it signified a guardian angel i would have had to see it as some kind of omen!

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