Would I?

The question was posed, "If you wrote and only three people read your words, would that be enough for you to keep writing?"

My response was quick and sincere. Absolutely.

Writing fills me. If no one read a word I wrote, the personal fulfillment is enough to keep pen in hand, fingers engaging the keyboard.

Those very same words later returned, when in the fog of being on-call, setting up appointments, finding childcare, weeding through business papers - I sensed the question replay once again. 

This time though, with a sense of question and conviction.

"If I were to put myself out there and only three people hired me for doula services, would that be enough to keep practicing?"

This time my answer wasn't so immediate and much more guarded.

Would I?

72 hours later I was in the delivery room. This time with a tender Rhwandan refugee. A young woman who in her 21 years of life spent 17 of them in a refugee camp. 

Let's sit for a moment and really soak that in. 

Yet, there we were. 

Two women from two distinctive cultures that are completely incomparable. Two stories that may have never aligned if not for these sacred hours of labor and breath.

These moments.

These moments of gentle support; of sorting out each stage and hour from the last; teaching in the midst of each surge how to embrace rest and uncertainty, how to release control and tension - these pauses were the very moments that offered the assurance needed for an answer.

"If I were to put myself out there and only three people hired me for doula services, would that be enough to keep practicing?"

When she successfully brought her second son into light through a most powerful VBAC.

When she held her tiny, tight against her knowing skin and nursed, sharing stories only milk could tell.

When her mother, mother-in-law, four sisters, son, 2 cousins, and two sisters-in-law all came to celebrate the welcoming of a son.

When they kindly offered thanks in both broken English and solid Rwandan as I quietly made my way out the door.

I knew right then.

I would.

I would keep my phone close for days. remain local for weeks. I would go without sleep, coordinate child care, schedule appointments, shuffle paperwork - if, at the end of the year, only three families hired me as their doula. 

Not only because of the pronounced whens, but because I believe in the beautiful support of a doula. I believe that having a doula present at a birth offers space within the childbearing year that not many can fill.

I believe that as each women and family welcomes doulas into their childbearing year the questions and uncertainty that we all hold so tenderly become not simply a source of fear but a space for new depths in our life and faith that remain within us past the celebrated birth.

And because I believe the value of a present doula is unmatched, I would.

I would, ever so reluctantly put myself out there, even if only three families hired me as their doula.

I would because those three women, those three families are as valuable and worthy of care and service as twenty. And what an honor it would be to walk beside them.

If only just for three.