During my pregnancy and Aysh’s birth I had a ‘doula’. Basically a doula is a birth companion, someone who has experience and information and can offer physical and emotional assistance during the birth.
Her name was Larissa. We lost touch after Aysh was born and we moved away, but I will always be grateful for having her level-head and guidance during what became a pretty intense time.
Today I saw something on Facebook about training to become a ‘death doula’ – someone to provide emotional assistance and support to family members when a loved one dies.
And it got me thinking, where is the ‘life doula’ – someone who has some experience, some knowledge and information, who can provide us with emotional support during our lives?
As a parent of a child with disability, having close friends is hard. Having friends who have walked this path before me, is even harder.
What if there was a ‘Larissa’, I could call when I am having a bad day?
Someone who won’t judge me for hating my life, or to help me answer those silly questions.
Someone who has ‘been there, done that’ and understands the sometimes complicated language of disability.
Someone who isn’t there for my child, but is there for me and my wellbeing.
I understand – and appreciate – the role of doulas at birth and death. But the doula isn’t really there for the baby, or the person who has died. The doula is there for those who are working the hardest to ‘do it right’ and ‘keep it together’.
And let’s be honest, that’s what parents of kids with disability are doing each and every day.