I spent this weekend propped on a plush, pillow-laden couch in a large studio in North Hollywood filled with Persian rugs, floor chairs, and even more colorful pillows, decorated with paintings resembling the intersection of pregnancy and seed life.

Why was I there?

I was taking a birth doula¹ workshop to become a certified doula. And it was amazing. For 2 days, 12 women ranging in age from 20 to 40 shared enriching and traumatic birth stories, role-played comforting a laboring woman, affirmed each others strengths, and watched videos of women giving birth. It was powerful. We sipped Moroccan peppermint tea from Trader Joe’s and talked about organic food and ate fresh bread with butter. We practiced massage techniques on each other and coached each other in breathing patterns. We were mesmerized as our instructor shared the contents of her doula bag with us – everything from grape seed oil to a light purple rebozo to her aromatherapy kit.

Our instructor said something today that stuck with me: “Women are dying for compassion from one another.” And I think that’s so true! We become so competitive, so catty, so desperate to “one-up” each other. So to be in an environment where we were cultivating health, affection, and support of one another was incredibly powerful and life-giving.

And that’s when I realized, I love women. I mean, I LOVE women. There is just something about witnessing women cry and grieve over their birth experiences or share in the struggles of parenting while working full-time. Somehow women who are single or do not have children are able to relate. We have so much in common simply because we share the same body design. And yet, we are so diverse and unique. The beauty of unity within diversity.

I think women are my calling. I want them to be my work. I don’t think it will always be in the same capacity, but I think that they will be the common denominator in whatever slew of careers I end up having.

We ended the weekend by sitting in a circle and listening to a song that spoke of sisters: women leaning on and believing in each other because of their friendship. Below are the lyrics.

“Sister”
by Cris Williamson

“Born of the earth
Child of God
Just one among the family
And you can count on me
To share the load
And I will always help you
Hold burdens
And I will be the one
To help you ease your pain
Lean on me, I am your sister
Believe on me, I am your friend
I will fold you in my arms
Like a white wing dove
Shine in your soul
Your spirit is crying born of the earth
Child of God
Just one among the family
And you can count on me
To share the load
And I will always help you
Hold burdens
And I will always help you
Hold burdens
And I will be the one
To help you ease your pain
Lean on me, I am your sister
Believe on me, I am your friend
Lean on me, I am your sister
Believe on me, I am your friend”

We need more of this mutual support! I know I could use it, and I certainly need to learn more about what it means to provide it.

I was thinking about the women in my life and all the various roles they play. I want to share some of them with you, so below are links to blogs of women I really admire.

Jonalyn Fincher blogs on women and spirituality.
Hollie Baker-Lutz has a new blog on “finding feminism in the everyday”.
Kimberley B. George blogs on the intersection of gender and all kinds of injustice.
TulipGirl blogs on “mothering, theology, and gracious living”.

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¹Doula: a woman who provides emotional, physical, and informational support to a woman during pregnancy, labor, birth, and the immediate postpartum period.

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