The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

I will never forget the first time, the freshest baby I had ever held, at least up to that point in my life.  I was 17 working at an after school program with 0-2 year olds. This was by far the youngest baby we had in our care, all barely 2 weeks old. Our day care was mostly the children of staff at my school. And here at two weeks old, dad dropped off baby boy for an hour while mom checked in to work. He gently placed him in my arms while plopping down a giant diaper bag of things that would not be used in that hour, but hey, new dad was prepared.

It was the snuggle hour. Lucky me. Mom must have just feed him, because he was absolutely content. He sat there cupped in my hands, snug to my chest, and before I even realized I was doing it, we we're gently swaying. I stood there swaying for an hour, him warm against my chest, oblivious to all the world. I had never seen anything so small and so delicate. I mean his head could fall right off at any time, right? He was so tiny, curled in a little ball, his petite fingers, up against his scrunchy face. "Wow," I thought to myself, "baby's are so amazing."

There have been many moments like this that I can recall, being absolutely fascinated with babies. I was fascinated with pregnancy too, but those facsinations seemed less fitting for a high school student. I went to school to become a nurse, but it did'nt work out, and I soon realized that nursing did not entail many of the things I enjoyed. I love the whole person, their heart, emotions, opinions, ideas, not just the physical, or medically treatable. Where was the kind of job that encompassed  all those things?

A doula. My sweet friend and next door neighbor had a labor doula for her first little one. And while hanging out with her, holding baby, helping with dishes, changing diapers, she said " You know they have postpartum doulas too, thats what you are doing right now." The lightbulb went off, I went to google, and years later here I am. Labor and Postpartum Doula. Still the same 17 year old enamored by tiny little beings, and large round pregnant bellies. I am still the person who makes it a goal to make a new friend everyday, or make someone laugh, or feel like they are being heard. With this head full of knowledge, heart full of compassion, and hands for helping, it feels like the first time, every time.