Doula lets it go: musings on service, women, and gates

Doula, is an ancient greek word meaning “a woman who serves”. She serves women mostly, as the word also meant hand maiden. She serves those who are bringing life into the world, she serves the mother as she is reborn through the rite of passage of giving birth, and she serves the woman during the postpartum passage as well.

A Doula also serves those who are on their death bed. She helps by holding space for the dying and their families. She helps to arrange the memorial, she brings the family food, she listens and doesn’t need to talk too much.

My teacher recently gave me homework, to find three people to serve on their death bed. She is a funny woman who tells it like it is. Shes sweet and hilarious with a funny accent. I find myself laughing out loud with tears in my eyes in a class where we are talking about death and dying.

My god I love women. They are brilliant, hilarious, deep, mysterious, and can teach you so many things. Going through the death doula course has really helped me tremendously and apparently its rubbing off. My lover is far more open with me as I am more open with myself. I feel more here with my feet on the earth and I love air. Maybe it is all of the talk of not having things unrequited. Maybe its having your teacher tell you to make a bucket list and then making you revise it based on immortality. Maybe its being in a space with women who are unafraid to ask ourselves and answer these questions and who are willing to hold the hand of those who might not be here. I have certainly had plenty of Doulas in my life, women such as aunts and friends who have inspired me. Held my hand in general, been good examples, and really loved me that has made me see how many Doulas I have had. In this way they have served me and I have served them.

I have served them by not taking their teachings for granted. Thank you.

 

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Alright ahhh!

Wow let me begin with…this year I felt yes I must go to Africa. I have been to South East Asia and all of these beautiful places with its residual African resemblances and yet my feet hadn’t touch the soils of Africa. I remember in Oakland there was an African centered woman who made clothes in the Lower Bottoms, I used to phone her and ride my bike to her home with lentils I intended to cook for her. She had a special place in the hearts of young black women who would visit her.  She reminded me of my aunts, you went over to her house, she had a rule everybody cleans up. I found myself doing the dishes, sweeping, and helping sort out fabric. My favorite part was if we all spent the night like a mother hen she read us stories. Can you imagine us early twenty something year olds lying everywhere heads resting on their palms looking up to a woman reading passages from books she wouldn’t let you borrow nor bend.

She used to say you want to go to Africa, all you got to do is confirm it and you will go. She was right, this year I decided two things were for certain I was going to see Hornby again and I was going to go to Africa.

Went to Hornby, thats another story. Now, I’m in Africa.

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