Laughter in Doula Land
A good, real, unrestrained, hearty laugh is a sort of glorified internal massage, performed rapidly and automatically. It manipulates and revitalizes corners and unexplored crannies of the system that are unresponsive to most other exercise methods. ~Author unknown, from an editorial in New-York Tribune, quoted in Quotations for Special Occasions by Maud van Buren
Here, I will reflect on two cases of laughter in doula land: laughter of a client and laughter of a doula.
In the first instance, I just have to say that not only was I truly impressed when a mama of mine embraced a fit of giggles for contraction after contraction during early labor, I LOVED it. It did such wonders for progress, the energy in the room, and reminded me to make a conscious effort to LAUGH in the midst of challenging situations. Laughter makes good chemicals, people!
On the flip side, we doulas encounter some funny situations as we serve, and I just wanted to share one because it recently had me laughing and considering possible thought bubbles for the person with whom I was interacting.
Let’s just say there is nothing like walking into a major hospital through the emergency entrance at 3am to meet up with a laboring client, and when you let the security guard know that you need to go to labor and delivery he looks at you quizzically, first trying to figure out if your’re ok and wondering how you’re maintaining your composure, then stares at you, assessing your belly under your winter coat, then oh my goodness is the baby in your big bag there (??), and finally, OH you’re the support person… Let me call upstairs. Note: I did tell him I was the doula and meeting someone, but those details were lost on him as he reacted promptly to the words “labor & delivery.”
Labor, birth, parenthood (and LIFE) are full of stresses and hurdles, but let’s try to take a moment every day and find something to LAUGH about. It’s good medicine!