The (lost) art of patience

As mankind evolves and technology becomes increasingly advanced it seems we find more and more ways to make our environments bend to our will and conform to our wishes. But some things are still beyond our control - like that freak sandstorm that dumps what looks like a full-size dune on your motor car when you are out at the supermarket, or friends you haven't seen in ages turning up unexpectedly for tea when you are halfway through spring cleaning your wardrobe.

In these days of chat messaging and smart-phones we demand instant gratification and lightning fast responses from anyone we interact with. Our attention spans are those of minnows - darting from one thing to another - keeping multiple balls in the air. Everyone seems to be in a constant hurry, rushing around from morning to night. It's like we are losing our ability to wait for things, we are losing the art of being patient. Happily though, in all this hubbub, some things remain unrushable (yes I just made that up) and force us to slow down. Fly fishing or bird photography demand great reserves of patience, as does breaking in a horse or teaching someone a new language. There is no set timetable for endeavours like these. They happen in their own time on their own schedule. And, of course, this includes babies. Or should I say more specifically, the arrival of babies.

Eid mīlad sa'aīd

There are many different customs and practises that take place in the world to mark the arrival of a new baby. From saving the top layer of your wedding cake for the Christening in Scotland, to tying a red string around baby’s wrist until the Christening ceremony and keeping the new-born indoors until then in the Ukraine. In China a party is held on the 100th day and gifts of money are given whilst in India a baby is not named until after it is 3 months old and the personality is clearer.

No matter what your beliefs, culture or nationality though the physical act of child-birth is fundamentally the same for all women. Working as a Doula in the UAE has allowed me to experience this first-hand. I have been fortunate to support a cross-section of women, from Irish to French, English to South African, and, just recently, a local Emirati lady. And whilst the physical biological process is similar the things that inspire and motivate my clients to push a little harder, and dig a little deeper, most certainly are not.

A gracious spirit

You have probably spent some time over the last few weeks watching at least one event from the Olympic Games, either in London live (lucky fish) or on TV like the rest of us. We have heard the term "Olympic Spirit" several times over the last few months, and I wondered, what is this thing called spirit that we talk about? Is it a personality trait, an attitude or something more intangible? Are we born with this thing or can it be learned?

I'm not sure that I am any closer to the answer, but i do think that we all know it when we see or experience it. And my last Doula client epitomised (for me in any case) what can only be termed a Gracious Spirit.

Cheryl's labour started around 21h30 and continued until 18h32 the following day. The body prepares for delivery in a number of, sometimes unexpected, ways (especially for first time moms). Part of this is a process of elimination where everything unnecessary is jettisoned, and this includes some vomiting in the final stages of labour. In Cheryl's case this phase lasted a lot longer than normal poor thing. I cannot stress enough the importance of staying well hydrated, and to eat small snacks in the early stages to keep energy levels up.