Adventures of a Poop Doula

Little Celosia started refusing to wear a diaper and pretty painlessly and quickly learned to use the potty recently. In the ensuing weeks I have had a lot of time to sit with her while she poops, and it has been alarming to me how much I have used my doula/midwifey skills which probably which seems super silly. The first time she pooped on the potty with me I had images of how it might be to be with her someday when she is having a baby of her own. I may have even wiped a sneaky tear away. She was on her little baby potty, and I was sitting next to her on the floor in the bathroom, not unlike the many times I've sat next to a laboring mom on the toilet.

**I want to note that we also had some precipitous poops when she was going commando in a skirt at the playground, early on in the process. Let's just say I hadn't realized that using dog poop bags might be part of the mom gig.

When she has to poop she usually says "owy" and grabs at her bum, and it took me a few days to catch onto this and then suggest that she go sit on the potty in a timely fashion. We talk a lot about how sometimes we have new or different sensations in our bodies, but that this is a very normal sensation, and that she is safe, I'm right there with her, and her body is doing exactly what it needs to do. Once she is sitting on the potty, the "ejection reflex" appears to come in waves, and I can see her tiny little body reflexively working just as it is meant to, and sometimes she even repositions herself instinctively. Her face gets very serious and seems to change color slightly, her pupils dilate, and she makes a lot of eye contact and sort of looks like she is "elsewhere". She wants to hold my hands. But in between the waves she usually kicks her little feet, or plays with a toy she is brought along. If I ask her if she is done, she knows if she is or isn't, and usually she sits there way way longer than I would ever expect it to take, but I make sure I tell her that only SHE knows when she is finished. When she is done, she is super proud of herself, and I am too, and I tell her I am so glad she listened to her body and followed what it needed.

So this is super ridiculous on the one hand, but on another I think it reflects the way we are changing our culture around birth starting as early as possible with new conditioning so that kids grow up trusting their bodies and feeling supported as they navigate the world. It shows how our world and our approach to it changes when we are living the life of a birth worker, and getting lots of opportunities to practice being at the feet of others in service. It perhaps seems like a helicopter mom thing to do, but I think it is a lot like birth (and I'm sure I won't be holding her hands while she poops for the rest of her life). We CAN do it alone if we really have to, but it is so nice to have a calm support person when we are experiencing new and powerful sensations.

It also made me wonder how many other times I am already subconsciously using or could be using these subtle skills of observation (my husband thought I was crazy when I told him how interesting it was to watch C poop) in my daily life. When we are in conversation with someone, and notice the subtle energy shifts, or can intuitively feel how the person in the next car is feeling. I hope those of you who have honed these skills value them for what they are, and how they benefit your life in many ways. Even if it just as a poop doula some days.

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