by Suzanne Tucker DelValle
Being a mom of three girls I have seen the movie “Mary Poppins” more times than I can count. You would think after the umpteenth time watching it, it would have lost its enchanting effect, but no. Each time I am drawn into its magic which really is all due to the magnificent main character, Mary Poppins herself.
She IS magic after all. I mean, she can fly.
Don’t you just love that first scene where she is effortlessly being carried through the sky by her cheeky umbrella? She is a picture of elegance, with perfect lipstick and total confidence, blowing away all the waiting nannies. She comes fully prepared with her magic carpet bag, ready to meet the children’s needs and confident she is the best one for the job.
Total Magic! A lot like the magic of postpartum doulas.
No, the point of this blog is not a movie review, although if you haven’t seen it you’re missing out. But rather it’s an insight I wanted to share with all of you. A few weeks ago, as I sat with my daughters enjoying “Mary Poppins” magic, I had an ‘aha’ moment. The doula in me shouted, “Yes, that’s it! That’s my job!”
During the final scene of the movie, after we have cried and laughed our selves silly down from the ceiling, a moment occurs that spoke to me. In this scene, Mary Poppins is up in the nursery with Jane and Michel, and they are crying. Their amazing nanny is packing her bags. They don’t want her to leave, ever. She is gently saying goodbye. She seems to be the only one who cares and they are losing her.
In an unexpected turn of events they hear their father call to them in an unfamiliar happy tone. They smile, excited. Jane and Michael rush down the stairs into the arms of their father who has fixed their broken kite! The happy family embraces. Mary Poppins watches them skip down the street holding hands, ready for an impromptu kite flying session.
The father has realized what’s important — his family. She is not needed any more. So Mary Poppins, standing at the front door watches the family skip away, happy and content. She does have a tear in her eye. She is sad to see them go as they have a piece of her heart, and they always will. But mostly her face shows the look of satisfaction from a job well done.
Her magic did its thing and it worked!
As a postpartum doula, this scene is what I strive to create with each and every mama and family I assist. This was my ‘aha’ moment!
Mary Poppins helped a family fly, she gave them wings. She taught them the tools they needed to thrive. The goal was not to have them dependent on her, but to guide them and support them. This is my end goal with each family I work with:
- To offer nonjudgmental support, guidance and care as a mama and family adjusts to life with a little one(s).
- To help them navigate the changes and challenges that being a parent of a baby brings.
And let’s be honest, it’s a lot tougher than what anyone tells you. We are led to believe in this fairy tale moment. The baby will arrive and life will be a picture of bliss. Ya… nope.
That sh*t gets real and it can get real pretty darn fast.
It’s hard, it’s raw, it’s beautiful and magical all rolled into one. But you know what? That’s OK. That’s where the magic happens. When you have support to move through the hard stuff and grow wings.
Having the support you need makes all the difference.
You can stay in bed all day and snuggle your precious little bundle while your doula makes you nutritious food, keeps you company and gives you the emotional support to keep going. You’ll be closer to that fairy tale than you ever thought possible!
I’ve witnessed this magic first hand. I may not get to witness the birth of the baby. But I get to be there for the birth of the mama. I am blessed to assist. I’ve watched their wings grow. And really, there are no words to describe the power and beauty I get to witness.
So yes, I can relate to Mary Poppins when it is time to say goodbye to my mamas and their precious baby(s). There is sadness in my heart as I pull out of their driveway for the last time. Because we have grown close, I have witnessed their transformation into motherhood. But mostly I leave with a great sense of satisfaction in a job well done. I have a tremendous pride in the amazing resilience and beauty of a mother.
As each baby is born, so are a mama and family being reborn.
Birth is hard. Without the hard, the wings don’t happen. With the support, education and encouragement from a postpartum doula like myself they have what they need to soar, to fly.
Don’t we all wish we could fly?