My friend is working on perhaps the most difficult task of motherhood – waiting for labor to start in earnest.
She has been in prelabor for the past two days, and as her doula – or birth assistant – I am waiting with the same tense anticipation for a text telling me to jump in the car and charge off to the next state over for the birth.
I love the way the process of birth knocks down barriers of race, creed, and nationality between women. When you are in that excruciating, seemingly endless place, there are no longer any barriers between the laboring woman and her female up-holders. There is only pain, and the courage to face it – shared between them.
In the Dominican Republic, my daughter and I helped total strangers of different colors and cultures through labor and delivery, only to find at the end we had become – more than friends. A tight bond of having been there together, one vulnerable, the other fiercely protective, is forged in the birthing process between its female participants.
Honestly, it’s very hard, and somewhat inappropriate to bond like that with male doctors/midwives/attendants, and in the long tradition of women helping women at this delicate and highly vulnerable time, I think Mom should be attended only by women, especially women who have been there themselves.
With the possible exception of some husbands.