It was 2:43 a.m. this morning when I finally pushed my baby out.
No, no, not a literal baby - I've already had three of those and I'm so done on that respect. I mean my website. Believe it or not, it's not that I'm a new doula - I've been in this business for over seven years. Yes, you read that right, seven years and I'm just now finally publishing a website. It has to be the longest gestation ever.
Perfectionism is a definite problem of mine. If I cannot dedicate 100% of myself to something, I put off doing it until I can give it my all. Combine that with a big fear of doing something "wrong" and you get zero production. Heaven forbid if I put something out there that made me look unprofessional, stupid or like I didn't have my poop in a group.
It took me months to pick a name for my business because I was terrified of being stuck with it and couldn't imagine choosing one that I didn't like for the long term. "Good enough" are two words that rarely pass my lips. Don't even ask me how long it took to choose paint, tiles, carpet and lighting fixtures for my home... And by the way, I still love my company name although I can't stand my paint colour!!
I probably sound quite boring, but I'm actually very spontaneous and fun loving in my day to day life. I only painstakingly agonize over what I perceive to be major decisions and throw caution to the wind for everything else.
Those who know me casually would probably be surprised to know that I struggle with committing to these big choices as I'm often one of the first to jump on board for things. However, those nearest and dearest to me are all too familiar with my procrastination and probably would like to give me a good, swift kick in the ass some days.
If only I could have had a doula all these years to keep me relaxed, focused and on track.
Her gentle, but assertive demeanor would win my trust over. Her calm voice of reason would wash my anxiety away. She would point out the benefits and risks, allowing me to come to my own conclusion and supporting me in my decision (that even a crappy website would serve me better than no website!)
She would have told me it's okay to make mistakes and there's no such thing as perfect. She would have guided me to trust in myself. When I veered down a path leading me from my goal, she would bring me back on track. She would suggest a new tactic when my method quit working. And if I decided to completely change course from the original plan, she would stand by me in full support.
She would make sure I was eating and drinking to keep my energy up - anticipating my needs before I even realized how thirsty or hungry I was. And she would do the same for my family so that I wouldn't be distracted worrying about them. She would push the hair out of my eyes so I could concentrate on the task at hand, maybe wipe my brow with a cool cloth.
When things got tough and I cried out that I didn't want to do it anymore, she would look me in the eye and her belief in me would shine through and give me the strength to move forward. Her firm, yet gentle touch would ground and focus me. At the peak of the intensity, in the wee hours of the morning, when I finally pushed it out and cried, "I did it!!! I actually did it!!!" she would be there to nod and smile, celebrating with me and telling me, "I knew you could. Congratulations!"
Tracy is a mother, birth doula and childbirth educator. She lives in the Calgary, AB area with her husband, three kids and her lazy cat.