March has always been a time to celebrate for me, as it is the middle of this month that I celebrate my own birthday. And this year, an extra special time as I welcomed my first two doula babies affectionately into the world!
After losing my mom a little over a year ago, my birthday no longer brings the sense of joy and celebration, but a pang of regret for not thanking her enough for the work that she did in bringing me into this world and for making my world the safe, beautiful, and ever-evolving wonderful experiment that it is!
Last year was the first birthday I celebrated without my own mother. As I expected, it was a beautiful but emotional day. I was teaching 4th grade in Boston, and my students had worked hard to create a "special surprise" for their teacher, with the help of the school social worker who frequented my classroom. (Partially, I think to make sure that my students were okay, and partially to make sure I was..... ) Anyway, at the end of the school day, "Ms. P", the social worker came into my room with a sheet cake to feed 100+ and my students went crazy presenting handmade cards and tiny trinkets. I teared up thinking about how surrounded with love I was, and I hoped that all my students felt the same extension of love. They were my "kids", and I was their teacher, but I loved and challenged them in a way that went beyond the scope of an educator.
Later that day, I heard from my cousin and his wife that their baby and my Godson, William was born! The "plan" was for William to be my mother's Godson, but with the tragic circumstance of her death, I was to be the replacement Godmother. He was due at the end of March. However, for some reason left up to fate and the unbeknownst ways of the world, he arrived on March 15. I could not have felt happier to receive the gift of a Godchild on the day that my own mother had delivered me. I immediately felt a spiritual link between me, my mother, and this child.
This March, I was present at the births of two beautiful baby girls. My very first doula babies! Again, left up to the ways of the world, they arrived back to back-less than 24 hours apart! (That left one very exhausted yet enthralled doula hyped on caffeine and a high dose of oxytocin :) ! ) I saw two mothers channel their inner strength and allow a bigger presence to help them overcome physical pain to be able to welcome their children into the world. I saw men become fathers to their children, in ways that they never could have articulated ahead of time. I saw relief, bigger than anything I had ever witnessed, as mothers settled in after tremendous effort, simply comforting a newborn baby in their arms.
And I witnessed the moment that my own mother held so dear to her-the moment that each mother looks her baby in the eye for the first time, and introduces herself to a soul she feels she has known her entire life.