None of that sh*t matters
As I stood on the hill and heard the shrieks of pure joy float upward and knew my son was down in the melee, it hit me.
None of that sh*t matters.
I had been helping a new mom earlier who was trying so hard to make everything perfect for her new baby. I was happy to be able finish up with her and make it to the last day of my 9 year old’s week-long soccer camp. To celebrate the last day, they had what the coach called, “Dover’s Biggest Water Balloon Fight”. My boys and I had stayed up late the night before filling a rolling cooler with more than 100 water balloons. Soccer camp was made up of 2nd graders to 8th graders and was coached by volunteers from the Dover High School teams. And now they were ALL down on the field getting soaked by the water balloons and HAVING A BLAST. And when the Dover Fire Truck pulled up alongside the field and started spraying all the kids with water, I broke down crying.
THIS. This is the sh*t that matters.
It didn’t matter which kids breastfed for 2 years or 2 hours. It didn’t matter which kids had brand name baby clothes and which had hand-me-downs. It didn’t matter which stroller you bought or whether you changed their diaper before the feeding or after the feeding. It didn’t matter which kid ate pureed organic vegetables and who started with rice cereal.
All that mattered was that they showed up each day, played hard all week, worked together and then had some fun.
And here were one hundred Dover kids in front of me having good old fashioned FUN. There were no phones in the water fight. There was no talking, no worrying. Just laughter and squeals of joy in the warm sunshine. Just kids being kids and enjoying it.
Sometimes I get wrapped up in my explanation of what I do, of what a postpartum doula “is”. But today I realized that the simple way to explain it is that I help moms enjoy the newborn stage.
Because so many of us don’t. Personally, after my daughter was born, I got so wrapped up in the perfect way to feed her, change her, put her down, pick her up, calm her, etc. etc. etc. and that I barely enjoyed a single moment.
My experience led to my work as a postpartum doula and now that is what I do. I show up and help new moms enjoy it.
I help ease the transition, answer their questions, empty the dishwasher so they can just snuggle their baby, make them a sandwich so that they can fuel their amazing body, hold the baby so they can take a long shower. Laugh with them about the breastmilk that’s dripping everywhere. I shoulder some of the burden so that they can enjoy their newborn baby.
As I stood on the hill trying to hide my tears behind my sunglasses while I watched a water balloon fight, I realized these were tears of gratitude. I'm grateful to live in the kind of community that organizes soccer camps that end in fun. A community where the fire department shows up to spray the kids with water. A community that will continue to care for the babies (and moms) I help today. I'm grateful that my son is healthy and can play outside on a perfect summer day. I'm grateful that I am postpartum doula and can help new moms enjoy their babies.
Because it's a lot of fun when you do.
Darcy Sauers is the owner of Dover Doula and a mother of three kiddos ages 13, 11 and 9. She's a postpartum doula and certified lactation counselor who is passionate about helping new moms enjoy their first few weeks home with a new baby. Contact her to discuss how a postpartum doula can help you thrive, not just survive those first 12 weeks.