I know. It sounds like such a vague statement. I was at a Doula get together where we were asked to write what it means to be a Doula on a card, and I wrote "I hold space." I think that other Doulas know what I mean by that, but I'm guessing that to a lot of people that doesn't mean a thing.
The other day I stumbled upon this article, and thought "YES!" What a great explanation of what that means, albeit in a different life transition.
"It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control."
As I read the article and came to the "8 Tips to Help You Hold Space for Others," I continued to think of how each tip applied to my work as a doula. I found my head nodding "yes" as I recognized what I do for Women and their Partners during birth and their postpartum period. Here were the 8 tips:
1. Give people permission to trust their own intuition and wisdom.
2. Give people only as much information as they can handle.
3. Don’t take their power away.
4. Keep your own ego out of it.
5. Make them feel safe enough to fail.
6. Give guidance and help with humility and thoughtfulness.
7. Create a container for complex emotions, fear, trauma, etc.
8. Allow them to make different decisions and to have different experiences than you would.
These eight points are exactly what I try to do with every client. Yes, of course I provide physical comfort like hip squeezes during labor, and I wash the dishes as your postpartum doula, but my ultimate goal is to hold space for you in the moment you are in. Without judgement or motive, but with humility and thoughtfulness.
A wonderful Atlanta Doula, Shari Aizenman, holding space for a birthing Mother.
Update! I've joined forces with two other Atlanta doulas to form
The Birth Story Collective!