Our Charis Family
is Emily Johnson and I live in Austin, Texas. I am a 27-year old unmarried woman, currently
certifying as a birth and postpartum doula through an international organiztion. I only heard of Charis Childbirth recently and hope to train as a Charis doula in
the future. I look forward to connecting with Christian doulas and
learning from all of you!
My journey as a doula began in 2006 when friends of mine invited me
to attend the birth of their fourth child, which happened at home. I
enjoyed preparing for that birth by watching videos and reading
books that my friend’s doula had recommended for her. I loved
learning about pregnancy and birth and babies and I started wondering
if I would make a good doula…
To learn more about birth culture and see what young families were
learning, I visited a childbirth class series at a resource center
for low-income families. During that series, I befriended a single
mom who was facing the prospect of being alone during the birth of her
child – her first child, and a product of rape. She asked me to
accompany her during labor a few months later. That was an
eye-opening and educational experience for me and gave me an
opportunity to meet an immediate need for a woman who otherwise
would have been alone in a very difficult time. I did not yet know
what a doula should do and I didn’t have any creative ideas for
coping techniques or ways to pass the time after she’d had an
epidural. But I held her hand and sat by her bedside. Afterwards, I
was glad for the experience I’d had with her, but questioned if I’d
really contributed anything. And then one year later, on the baby’s
first birthday, I received a phone call from the young mother. She
wanted to let me know that the baby was doing well and that she was
grateful for my presence on his 'birth' day. She said she’d like to be
a reference for me, if I ever needed a recommendation from a past
client. I was encouraged by our conversation and reminded that being
a doula isn’t only about applying all the techniques and strategies
I’ve learned or having all the latest books and tools.
Two years later, I still struggle with feelings of inferiority every
time I take on a new client. I worry that I don’t know enough and
that I won’t be able to offer all the relevant information for the
issues this family will encounter. I worry that my attempts at
comfort techniques aren’t effective. Am I being too hands on? Or am
I being too tentative? I am young and I’ve never had a child of my
own… Will people want to hire me? Will clients respect my
perspective? Do I have any wisdom for this situation or am I still
too inexperienced and naive about birth?
My experience as a birth and postpartum doula has been challenging
and edifying as I work to understand what it means to be a Christian
doula. What makes me distinctive from doulas who do not know Christ? How can I apply the full counsel of God in my service to women and
their families? What is my part in reclaiming the culture of birth
for the glory of God and His Kingdom? I learn something new with
each birth experience. I am also learning a lot by seeking to
understand the foundations of this work we do.
I want to be systematic and consistent in my approach to being a
doula. The Bible has a lot to say about parenting, children, gender
roles, families, and motherhood – instructions that God expects us
to follow. I believe a careful reading of scripture should shed
light on everything we do, even including principles surrounding
birth, the role of the father, breastfeeding, education of children,
the role of siblings within the family, why God gives us children,
how we should raise them, and more. Understanding these teachings
can help us to be more of a blessing to our clients. While I am only
beginning my studies and have many more questions than answers, I am
convinced I am looking for my answers in the right place: Scripture.
I would love to see a series of articles or a book addressing what
Scripture says to these birth-related topics. If you know of
something like this, let me know. If something doesn’t exist, I will
aim to write it myself! I am already working to build a bibliography
of resources. I’d love to hear from any of you at
Emily at a postpartum visit
Our Friends ~ Our Family
We'd love to feature you in newsletters to come!
Delectable Fruit Platters
Make an artistic fruit creation!
All eyes will wake joyfully to a fruity start.
warm spring day
Make a refreshing snack!
Grandchildren are coming to visit.
Delight their need for "sweets" with these treats!
been invited to a "bring-a-dish" gathering.
What a lovely dish to bring!!!
Have a good recipe? Share it here!