Our company avoids controversy because we find it divisive; it thrives on putting our personal opinions to the side to support the client. Today, I break that rule to make a statement that comes from a very personal place. Today, I am doing all the things I encourage you to do in the birth of your children; feel, work, grieve, trust, and cry. I am uncomfortable. I am indecisive. I am vulnerable. I hurt. I am scared to say the wrong thing. I grieve as a mother. I grieve as a wife of a police officer. I grieve as believer in #blacklivesmatter.
I could write for pages about privilege. I recognize mine and that of my white, middle class, college educated family. I own this and check it as much as I can. I could write for pages about victimization and how systematic bias and racism contributes greatly to the failure of the great American ideal (and myth) of ‘pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps.’ I could write for pages about how police carry the burden of the terrible ills of society, day in and day out, and how functioning on little sleep, little pay, and little reward effects their ability to see things with a clear heart and open mind. I have these conversations in my home on a daily bases and how they intersect in our lives.
There is not enough time for me to write about these things, nor do I claim the knowledge to do it well. What I do have the knowledge and experience to offer is what I give in every birth I have the privilege to bear witness to- empathy, compassion, and space to feel whatever you are feeling.
My role as a doula has taught me this:
I hear you. I hear your mistrust. I hear your anger. I hear your frustration.
I see you. I see you working hard. I see you raising your family. I see your fear and the fear of your loved ones.
I empathize with you. I have cried with your families and my heart feels heavy with questions, burdens, and worry.
I honor your space. I will never tell you your feelings don’t matter or that they are on a timeline. I will not suggest my way to grieve is yours or your anger is unjustified.
I will not be divisive. I am here to try and help bridge communication. The fear of bad outcomes is managed differently from every person in the room, and it will always include personal interest and experience. I try and help you ask questions and understand points of view and varying perspectives for your own conclusions. I have included links below for local contacts and further research.
I will not judge you. This does not mean I accept or condone racism. I believe this is unacceptable and will use my voice and business to say so. What it does mean is that we all come to our beliefs through varying experiences, and I cannot change that history. What I can offer, if you are interested, is a different perspective, or resources from those that know more than me. I will not judge you on your effort or timeline to understand, unpack or debrief your journey. I am thankful for those that continue to give me the space to ask questions without judgement so I may continue to learn.
I will not use inflammatory language. Our choice of words can fuel a fire where there are low lying embers. Black lives matter is no more a terrorist group than all police are racist murderers. What if we listened to what is behind those words? I have been trained to attune to the client, and I listen for unspoken truths. What I hear is frustration. What I hear is anger. What I hear is fear.
So where do we go from here?
We must be vulnerable and it is going to be uncomfortable. We must be willing to trust that our end goals are the same. We must be willing to cry and scream. We must be willing to watch others cry and scream without dismissing their reality. To move forward we must be willing to lower our guard in front of people we don’t trust. America is facing huge obstacles. We are divided by politics, race, gender, religion and occupation, and no one thing is going to make systematic change.
As an ally to the police and as an ally to people of color, right now I try to find my footing in the uncomfortable and sometimes hostile conversation, and familiarize myself with the varying perspectives and personal truths.
I have never had to worry that the color of my daughter’s skin could get her killed.
I have never taken an oath to protect and serve knowing it could get me killed.
This is not a suggestion that ‘all lives matter’, nor would I ever belittle someone’s voice with that perspective. I don’t have the answer. I don’t have the right questions or thoughts or language. What I do have is the ability to hear you, to see you, and to empathize with you, as I have felt my own frustration, anger, fear and sadness. I have the privilege to use my voice and I admit that I don’t know what is next. I admit I am conflicted and I admit that my voice gets scared. That is my truth. I am choosing to be vulnerable and speak, because being vulnerable is what allows us to grow. Please trust me in this, as I have the privilege to witness this discomfort, this fear and this vulnerability bring forth life; life in all its mess and stunning beauty.