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Doula, Daughter, Student

by Aug 2, 2019

Home » Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine Student Blog » Doula, Daughter, Student

This past week I had the greatest experience attending my first birth as a doula!

A doula is “a woman who provides guidance and support to the mother of a newborn baby.” It was amazing to be there to guide and support a woman going through one of the most painful stages of life — during labor — but with the beautiful experience of birth at the end. We laughed and cried during and after the birth of a baby girl. As I walked into my house at 3:30 a.m., my mom asked me from her room how everything went. No matter what her age, my mom will always be my mom! She will stay up late waiting for me, and make sure I eat before going to bed. I am very blessed to have her in my life.

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Right now, as I sit and think about my mom, I wonder what was running through her head this morning. For much of the day, she sat looking out the window watching the light pitter-patter of the rain against the window, but just a while ago loud thunder and lightning began, of which she is afraid and from which she hides under her blanket.

Yet, the way I see it is that the storm is not as strong and scary as the stamina and endurance she must have each day. Every day she battles with pain from the disease of arthritis. Dis-ease: “a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms, or that affects a specific location, and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.” She constantly experiences aches and pains that no amount of massage or manual therapy, acupuncture needles, warm or cold compresses can take away for more than a few moments at a time. For those moments, I would move the world and replicate it a million times to take the pain away forever.

Full circle. I began the day as a doula, present at the beginning of a life, supporting a mommy for the first time as she held her baby. I ended the day as a daughter coming home to a mother who is still waiting up for me and making sure I eat. Today, I may not have said all the right things, or done everything at the right time during the birth, or was able to be there for my mom when she was scared and in pain through the thunder and lightning. But, I did my best. I am a student in a graduate-level program, doing it for myself, to better myself. I am very blessed to take on all these roles, and I know I will take on many more in the future.

Yet, it occurs to me there is a similar pattern: I do everything with compassion and love. I am not perfect; no one is. If anything, we are all imperfect in a perfect way. And besides…if there were too many perfects, there would be no stories to tell.

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About the Author

Rina Sem

Rina Sem

Rina Sem is a student at the Lombard, Illinois campus studying in the Master of Science-Oriental Medicine program. Though working in the medical field for 10 years, she is keeping the promise she made to her father to complete her master’s degree. Rina is a first-generation American of Cambodian heritage, and passionate about her studies in the field of complementary and alternative medicine.


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