3 ways Autism taught me to Doula
Around 3.5 years ago my oldest son was officially diagnosed on the Autism spectrum. Around that time I was also beginning my journey to becoming a Doula. Both of these things are huge challenges in my life that I have had to learn and grow with. Autism isn't something we will ever overcome, we can only learn how to deal with the rapidly changing day to day dynamics of our son. Becoming a Doula presented itself with many challenges for me. I am a quiet introverted control freak so I had to step out of my comfort zone big time. I was thinking the other day between the parallels between Autism and birth and it drove me to write this blog post.
So how has Autism taught me to Doula?
1. Autism is always changing and presenting unique challenges. No birth is the same, each one presents it's own unique challenges. Raising my son and dealing with the day to day ups and downs and completely random new behaviors or ticks that show up has taught me patience and how to just roll with it. Being a Doula means just that, you can never know exactly how a birth will go, sometimes completely random things you weren't expecting get thrown your way. I have become a lot more flexible, learning to just go with the flow.
2. Trust your instincts. This was a hard lesson for me to learn and one that I strive to teach my clients. Autism has taught me to trust my own instincts. I know my son better then any of the doctors or therapists. I know I can take their suggestions and choose the ones that I feel are the best for my son and our family. With birth I strive to teach my clients that same thing. I hope that my clients can trust their own instincts and take the advice and suggestions that the doctors, nurses and even I give them and find the ones that will work best for them.
3. Never stop learning. I admit I am obsessed with research. I love learning new things. Autism drove me to continually research and keep update on new therapies, new ideas on ways to help my son. The birth world is also heavily research based and always changing. There is always something new to learn either through reading, hands on learning or even just attending a birth. My research obsession was solidified and justified. Now I spend a lot of my down time learning.
Everyday with my son is a new adventure, and even when I'm overwhelmed and exhausted I look forward to it. Some days are good, some days are not so good but each day he teaches me something new. Same goes for heading to a birth, no matter what I always look forward to it, because I learn something new, connect with someone on a new level and watch a beautiful moment come to fruition.