As a Christian, I don't believe in the Eastern philosophy of Karma, but I do certainly believe "You reap what you sow" which is an entirely Biblical concept.
I have spent a great deal of the last seven years caring for pregnant and birthing women, also doing postpartum care to assist with breastfeeding (sometimes making 5-7 home visits to check latch or baby weight, or whatever). I often will neglect myself in the care of others, not sleeping or eating because the mom needs me.
I now have two wonderful, caring, loving women who I have assisted during their pregnancies or births that have offered to generously return that love and attention that I freely gave to them at that transformative time of their lives. One has offered to be my hypno-doula and the other has offered to be my postpartum doula as part of her training to serve women.
Many times I have attended births for free -- or for greatly reduced fees -- because the parents couldn't afford it, I couldn't guarantee my availability (for doula services) or they signed on with me late in the game. These mothers have still gotten everything I could offer them.
Sometimes, I have had people who seemed ungrateful for everything I did; who would complain about things, who I never clicked with. Sometimes, I think when things don't go the way that women plan, they need someone to blame, and the midwife or doula can be an easy target. There have been times when I have thought, "What is the point? Does anyone appreciate that I pour my soul into serving women? Does anyone care that I leave my family during birthday parties, that I leave $9 movies, that I get interrupted during sex, or woken to drive 120 miles at 3 AM?"
The answer is, YES. Someone cares. More than someONE, but several someones. I have made a difference for families. I have empowered them to have beautiful experiences and helped them to birth themselves as mothers as well as birthing their babies. And now I will get the chance to be loved and served.
Can I put myself in that role? Can I stop being the midwife and doula long enough to just be the mom? Can I sit back and let someone give me what I want instead of feeling guilty about inconveniencing them or imposing? Maybe if I remember how much I love serving women. If I remember how fulfilled I feel when I have held the space, when I have kept the quiet, when I have encouraged a father to reach out and catch his own baby, when I have helped a couple become a family, I think I can get out of the way and let them experience that same joy.
Midwifery Today's motto has always been "Each one teach one". If I can perpetuate women serving women and help others to achieve ways to assist couples and families, I will have done a great service. This is my mark in the world, to pay forward the love of birth, the love of serving women and families. To inspire others to this noble calling is such a huge honor and responsibility. I take it very seriously.