Volume 5

~ News From "Your Birthing Family" ~

Issue 5





Our Charis Family

Emily Johnson

Emily Johnson

My name 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 emilyjohnson.doula@gmail.com.

Emily at a postpartum visit

Our Friends ~ Our Family
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Charis Cuisine

Delectable Fruit Platters

Having a party?
Make an artistic fruit creation!

Want a fancy breakfast?
All eyes will wake joyfully to a fruity start.

It's a warm spring day
Make a refreshing snack!

Grandchildren are coming to visit.
Delight their need for "sweets" with these treats!

You've been invited to a "bring-a-dish" gathering.
What a lovely dish to bring!!!

Have a good recipe? Share it here!

'Behold, I will bring them from the north country, And gather them from the ends of the earth,
 Among  them the blind and the lame, The woman with child and The one who labors with child,  together,
 A great throng shall return there...And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD.'
 Jeremiah 31:8, 14
©2009 Charis Childbirth Services, All Rights Reserved
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May  2010