I was fascinated when a Hindu astrologer confirmed that my purpose in this life was about my work. I started studying astrology myself to better understand how everything that was revealed to me was true. According to astrology, my purpose was to build something new that would help others in their self development and I would incorporate spirituality in my work. At the time, I was already many, many years into my work, I had already travelled to more places than I can list for work and I was at least a few years into the development of something new that would help others in their own development incorporating spirituality. In my work, I have combined modalities to offer a fuller way to support others. I am a doula, a reflexologist and an energy healing practitioner. My passion is reproduction. I see a great need in the world for support during fertility journeys, during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. For a lucky few, making babies, birthing babies and growing babies is fairly easy and uneventful. For others, when the journey is hard, it can be so hard. What real, specialized and truly holistic support is currently available for people who are overwhelmed by the bigness of their experience? I think everyone can agree, there is a great need for more support. A multi-certification training like the Holistic Reproductive Practitioner program not only offers our clients more, but it offers us more sustainability in our work. Different clients come for different skills or have unique needs. When a birth doula client is not coping well, not sleeping or has fear, we can offer them a healing session that includes the three sisters (from Spinning Babies), reflexology, energy healing and emotional support in one visit. (This was my morning). Some clients come just for fertility support. Some clients I only meet after their traumatic birth for healing support. And other clients just need support with life or other conditions or ailments and I have the skills and knowledge to support them too. The Holistic Reproductive Practitioner training program is designed to offer students a broad foundation that gets deep into several modalities, everything individual certifications offer plus extensive fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum information not offered elsewhere. It offers students a foundation that sets them up to be able to create a rewarding, abundant and successful practice of healing sessions, birth work, and an authentic and unique way to blend the two, because sometimes (often times) birth IS where the healing work comes up.
There is a bit of an illusion in doula work, that we are fixers, that doulas make birth better in the sense that we prevent bad things from happening or that we reduce the risk of interventions, improving birth outcomes. That has been shown in studies and I can think of specific experiences where it's fairly obvious that a birth had the potential to go down one path but something with the potential of increased risk was avoided.
However, to be a doula is so much more than that, because avoiding suffering, avoiding trauma, avoiding "bad things", isn't actually the point, and sometimes, no matter how much we know, no matter what you do to prevent, no matter how you prepare, bad stuff happens to good people (I use those descriptives loosely).
Hard stuff, suffering, the mud, that's actually where the big work happens. We don't have to go looking for suffering to grow, that's not what I'm saying. Hard stuff eventually happens no matter what you do, so there's not much point in asking for it anyway.
What happens when we can get so immersed in another person's experience, not their story, but just them while they are in it, without getting drawn into the drama of it? What if, when "bad stuff" is happening to them, we can be at peace in their presence, open heart, unafraid of the bigness of it, so that they can step out of the story and just be present in the bigness of it? What happens when we welcome their emotions and the full experience of it instead of engaging in the practice of resisting it with them? When they are crying, we give them space to cry big. When they are scared, rather than comfort them and tell them to be brave, we give them space to make it big. What happens when we acknowledge their experience of what they are in without adding to the drama of it but also without trying to convince them of another reality?
"This sucks..." "Ya, this really does suck. Life isn't fair." "I'm scared.." "What is the fear, express it, say it out loud. I hear you." "This hurts" "It does hurt. I hear you."
We have a practice of avoiding suffering and trying to minimize or bring people out of suffering. What happens when we get really comfortable with suffering, not in a sadistic way, but in a way where we just recognize that we can't avoid suffering and to try to resist it just creates more suffering?
As a Holistic Reproductive Practitioner Trainer, I'm confident, that the best way to teach others to hold that kind of space in their work, is to teach others to get deep into their own mud. How do you get to a place where you can hold that kind of space? You have to experience it. You learn not to resist the mud when it arises naturally. As a trainer who is also a healer, I guide people in their own healing work. Once you've lingered in the bigness of your own stuff and come out the other end, you get really comfortable with other people being in the depth of it because you know they will be okay too and from there comes growth.
It's still vitally important to learn about the evidence, to know the tricks of the trade, to learn how to inform people of all of their options and how to navigate the systems in place, to be empowered in preparation and what is needed to minimize the chances of interventions. But we can't focus solely on the typical doula stuff. We can't own responsibility for "good outcomes" because then we also have to own "bad outcomes". No matter how much you know or how good you are at any of your skills, people's stuff is still going to come up during their reproductive journey, and what a gift to be able to love them through it so they can experience the fullness of it and get everything out of it.
My intention with the development of the Holistic Reproductive Practitioner training program, is to take practitioners so much deeper into the work, to offer everything that I previously offered as a trainer plus so much more depth. Spirituality can have a lot of buzz around it and can mean different things to different people, but for me, it is an essential aspect of truly holistic work. Every single person is on a journey. Every event on that journey is an opportunity to grow. We nurture the physical with touch therapies, nutritious food, positions, movement etc. We nurture the intellectual with information, options, evidence. We nurture the emotional with safe space and an open heart. We find depth with our clients with our presence. We shift our presence through our own deep work. HRP students aren't signing up to just learn, they're signing up to transform. It's not light work. Tonight is the full moon. May you not get caught up in the drama of your stuff that naturally comes up at this time, but rather find a place of not resisting the bigness of it. In love and light, Michelle