"Once there was a boy named Nikolai who sometimes felt uncertain about the right way to act."
He had three burning questions:
When is the best time to do things?
Who is the most important one?
What is the right thing to do?
Most of us are still very much like the boy Nikolai in this beautiful book, The Three Questions. Based on a story by Leo Tolstoy,
Stepping into a new role like parenthood brings up a lot of questions and insecurities. Tuck this bit of wisdom from Leo Tolstoy--by way of a children's book--into your back pocket to remind yourself of what's most important.
And if you have a postpartum doula, we'll help remind you:
The thing to focus on is what is happening right now. Almost everything else can wait. Accept help from others for the things that can't.
The most important one is who you are with. THAT INCLUDES YOURSELF.
The right thing to do is what works for you and your baby.
When you come to a place where you feel muddled, ill-prepared, confused, scared, or uncertain, your postpartum doula will help you find the answers you need to move forward. We are different from your friends because we won't simply tell you what to do, or what we did with our babies. We'll help you find the answers that work for you.
Because, as this book says on the last page, "This is why we are here."
She would have helped me see the beauty in the situation as it was, even though it wasn't the way I had planned things. She would have helped me assess the situation with an objective perspective. She would have brought a calming presence to the situation when everyone else in my family was stressed out, full of unhelpful opinions and blame, and overwhelmed.
She would have used her communication skills and her professional training in non-judgmental listening to help me find a way to lower my stress level in my moments of uncertainty about what to do with the mess. She would have been available even after the fact, even if I had previously thought I didn't need any help and would be able to deal with it on my own. She wouldn't have made me feel bad about changing my mind or not being as invincible as I thought I was.
She would have been knowledgeable about what it's like to have a roof cave in, and what the process typically looks like after a roof caves in. She would have been prepared and understanding about the way people are affected emotionally and physically when their roof caves in. She would have been able to meet me where I was emotionally, listen to my panicked freak out, and then help me understand the process of moving forward with the next thing, step by step.
She would have helped me find the words I needed to say in order to get what I needed from the professionals I had to work with. She would have guided me through each step of the process with patience and compassion for my emotional wellbeing. When my partner and I were not on the same page about what to do next, she wouldn't have gotten in the middle of it. Instead, she would have asked really useful questions that helped steer both my partner and I toward mutual ground and a place where we could make a decision together.
She wouldn't have tried to fix the roof herself, or diagnose the problem that had caused the roof to cave in.
She would have been knowledgeable about local contractors, emergency clean up services, and relief services that would have been useful for my situation. She would have been ready to provide me with the contact information for those local options.
When I got exhausted from my efforts, she would have reminded me to rest. She would have brought me something to eat without me even having to ask. She would have reminded me that it was a temporary situation and it wouldn't always be like this. I could have said to her, "I know. Everyone keeps saying that, but that doesn't change that fact that it totally sucks right now."
She would have replied, "Yes, it does suck. It's ok to admit that. You are still a responsible homeowner, even if you don't like owning a home right now. Nobody is going to take your house away because you have those feelings. What can I do to help you right now?"
She would have understood that it's my roof and my house; that whatever decision I made was mine. She wouldn't have had an emotional attachment to the outcome of my roof repair. Because she would have been confident that she had provided to me the best information available, she wouldn't have tried to sway my decisions based on her own personal preferences about what contractor to use, what materials to pick for the repair, what color shingles to use, or whether or not to go ahead and install a skylight since the roof was being worked on anyway.
She would have been available day-to-day during the repair to the extent that I felt I needed her presence and support. She would have helped us clean up, repaint, and put furniture back. She would have helped keep the house running while we dealt with contractors, estimates, insurance agents, and the noise of construction in our home.
She would have done all this and more.
This is was professional doula support looks like.
And don't worry, my roof is just fine.