Guest post by MotherWit Doula Megan Tolbert
in a group tend to get kind of chatty. And in my neck of the woods,
doula chatter swings from the ridiculous to the sublime in the blink
of an eye.
late afternoon, a smack* of doulas was sitting around my living room,
enjoying a glass of wine in preparation for our evening reservation
at a local spa. Naturally the conversation turned to how we would
survive stranded on a desert island.
tame a monkey, and teach it to breastfeed. I’d relactate, and survive
off my own breastmilk!” declared one enterprising doula.
heated discussion followed about how one would tame this alleged
monkey (it would have to be a baby monkey, it was decided), how long
the relactation process would take (given the fact that the doula in
question had not breastfed for eight years or more at that time), and
whether the caloric expenditure involved in producing the breastmilk
would be worthwhile in the first place.
deep into a second glass of wine, I had an epiphany.
GUYS. Why are you breastfeeding this monkey, when you could be EATING
all have a tendency to overcomplicate things sometimes. I see it done
during birth in hospital settings, where a C-section can be proposed
before even considering a simple solution, like changing positions to
help baby descend.
see it with new (and sometimes experienced) doulas in some of the
Facebook groups I belong to, frantically listing all the things
they’ve done so far to “fix” a clients long early labour—only
to be reminded that maybe the best thing they could do right now is
get their clients to sleep, and just leave them alone for a while.
see it with new parents when I visit them postpartum, frazzled and
exhausted, baby fussy and demanding—they’ve forgotten the first
thing they ever learned in hospital about newborn care: Skin to skin.
So back to bed we go, pillows placed just so, dress down mama and
baby, and just….breathe. And suddenly this breastfeeding thing
doesn’t seem so challenging.
back to basics oftentimes gets the job done. Occam’s Razor is a vital
principle in my work as a doula, one I have to remind myself of over
and over: The simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
birth, in parenthood, in life: Keep it simple. And for goodness sake,
stop breastfeeding that monkey and just eat the darned thing!
“Smack” is the unofficial collective noun for a group of doulas,
like a murder of crows, a pride of lions, or an exaltation of larks.