The other day I was at a coffee shop for an interview with a prospective client and I had arrived a bit early. I took a quick look around and didn’t see anyone who was obviously pregnant and so took a seat to wait. A few seconds later I hear someone calling my name. I look over and for a split second I didn’t recognize the individual who was calling my name. A second later I realized it was a former client who had her baby just a few months ago. She looked awesome and her sweet little baby was no longer little but a chunky monkey full of personality and smiles.
Last night I was reading through old birth stories and looking up former clients on Facebook. There were a few clients whose name returned several results, some with pictures of the account owner others with pictures of children. I soon realized that I had no way to know if those precious little faces were the children of my former clients or some stranger’s. Then as I began to look closer I also realized that virtually all of my mamma clients look different than the last time I saw them and wasn’t sure that the names matched the faces I knew.
As a doula I bear witness to some of life’s most profound metamorphoses.
You see, I typically meet women at their fullest – their most vibrant. Bellies full with babies, faces fuller, rounder, glowing with the hormones of pregnancy. Rarely do I meet a client for the first time who is not yet showing. After the birth I follow up with clients typically within the first week. Their bodies are reverting back to normal but they’re clearly postpartum and usually in all the hormonal glory that it brings. To me they’re still beautiful! But just weeks later many women are close to their pre-pregnant state. Features that were once round and full have now reverted to or are close to what they were before.
The same happens with babies. Little bundles of love who I cuddle and then leave in their parents capable hands are still red, squishy, wrinkled little souls when we part ways. The baby I see at our postpartum visit is not the same baby just a few weeks later. I was entering a grocery store once and saw an adorable little girl being carried into the store in a carseat. I started to comment on how adorable she was and then followed the hand that was holding the carseat up the arm and to the face of its owner. Instantly I realized that this was one of ‘my’ babies. One of my former clients was carrying his daughter into the store.
If I could tell women one thing it would be cherish the pregnant you. Sure, sometimes we feel fat, and ugly and frumpy and wonder if we’ll ever feel attractive again. But that’s normal. The truth is you’re beautiful. You’re growing a life, a sweet little soul is coming together in your womb. That is a truly beautiful thing. From maiden to mother, you’re undergoing/have undergone one of life’s most magnificent metamorphoses. (met·a·mor·phos·es – To change into a wholly different form or appearance; transform; change in outward structure or looks)
“Giving birth is a transformation and it doesn’t matter whether you’ve had eight babies before. It’s still a transformation the next time you have another baby, because you are no longer the same woman you were before you had that baby.” –Penny Handford
If I could tell new parents one thing it would be to cherish every moment with your little one. Your baby is in the process of undergoing his or her first external metamorphoses outside of the womb. They grow and change daily and before you can blink an eye they’re no longer babies but little people who will soon turn into school aged children and before you know it you’re sitting at their graduation longing for just one more of those sleepless nights as a new parent so many years ago.
Parenting is a stage of life’s journey where the milestones come about every fifty feet. ~Robert Brault
Embrace the transformation and cherish every milestone! What was/is your favorite part about your own metamorphosis? What was the hardest? Birth workers, what is your favorite part of assisting families through this journey?