I am a birth doula.
In anticipation of the many people saying, “Uh…What’s that?” let me explain. According to DONA International, a doula is defined as “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.”
A few years ago, I started college with the intention of becoming an occupational therapist. From the beginning, I had a fascination with God’s Creation and I always knew that I wanted to work in the medical field. The intricacies of each body system, the perfection and faultless placement of each of the seven octillion atoms in every human body, is incredible. How is it possible to look at the human body and say that it came about by coincidence?
While in college, my twin sister and her husband had their first child. My sister had a problematic delivery that left her feeling traumatized, confused, and distraught. Watching her go through such a difficult experience was stressful, and I wondered how many other women had gone through similar birth experiences. Birth should not be a discouraging experience; it should be an exciting, life-altering event. I felt compelled to ensure that other women had positive birthing experiences.
It’s funny (and sometimes frightening) how God’s plan works in our lives. Shortly after my sister had her baby, I was involved in a serious car accident. Due to my injuries, I was forced to take months off of school to recuperate. My recovery was tough, during which I was involved in rigorous physical and occupational therapy. It was during this time that the Lord made it clear that I wasn’t fit to be an occupational therapist. However, it was also during this time that I started researching childbirth extensively and came across the term “doula”, which I had never heard before. It comes from the Greek language and it means, “woman who serves.” I learned that doulas advocate for women and help create a safe, empowering birth environment for moms. Thus, a doula was born!
It was not for another year and a half after becoming a doula that I came to work at Anglicans for Life. Initially, I was looking for a part-time job that would be flexible enough to allow me to continue my work as a doula, which had proven to be difficult. There are few things that are predictable about labor and delivery, and not many companies were accepting of an employee that randomly would have to leave the office to be with a laboring mom. After meeting with Georgette, however, I realized that God had surprised me yet again with a wonderful opportunity. Why does His provision surprise me still? It often does, but it never should; He always provides.
My first few months as the marketing assistant at AFL have brought me many opportunities for growth, spiritually and emotionally. I am a rather sensitive soul, and the devastating stories of abortion, euthanasia, and disregard for the sanctity of life have been difficult for me to adjust to. It is my job to spread via social media the reality of how our culture degrades life. This job can be like riding an emotional roller coaster. I’ve felt stretched, sickened, exhausted, and saddened. More than the negative feelings, however, I’ve felt grateful and humbled. AFL strives to affirm life, sharing how our Lord is sovereign over ALL of His creation. Specifically seeing the pain of abortion has brought me closer to God, as He has broken my heart in the way that His is broken for the unborn lives that are lost.
Working in these two areas simultaneously has been so eye opening. As a birth doula, I get to witness one of the most challenging yet extraordinarily profound parts of life. I get to honor and serve women as they bring life into the world. Pregnancy and birth is remarkable in a way that words cannot fully describe, something that I feel blessed and proud to have been equipped to experience as a woman.
As an employee at Anglicans for Life, I have also gotten to see the other side of how life is viewed: women are degraded. Women are told the lie that they can’t have both success and children at the same time. Ironically, women are told that their lives end when they bring forth life and raise children, that their lives are no longer worth as much as they would be if they had had an abortion. How incredibly demeaning that is. Pregnancy, birth, and motherhood are not an illness, hindrance, or burden. They are gifts from God.
Working in both occupations has shown me the importance of what I do in each environment respectively. The blessing of human life has never been clearer since beginning my work as a doula and yet the reality of how our society denigrates human life has never been more evident to me since starting at AFL. These jobs go hand in hand. Both positions have taught me countless things about the other. Being pro-life IS being pro-woman. God didn’t create us to destroy and degrade one another, but to sanctify and love one another. In fact, we have the ultimate example of love: the Love of God. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
Through the love of God comes Life. God granted women the ability to house, deliver, and sustain a baby of its own volition. How empowering and honoring that is to women! I overwhelmingly grateful to have two jobs that celebrate the gift of Life!
Written by Rachel Mine, Marketing Assistant