I just returned from a longish time away from Seattle to help welcome my niece Lulu to the world. My younger sister asked me to be birth and postpartum doula (attendant) for her first child and I jumped at the opportunity to go home to help.
While away I was given an excellent opportunity to practice the art of balance, the balance of work and play, of productivity and rest.

As a self-employed businesswoman, I have the great fortune to be able to travel when I wish. I have amazing managers and teachers at 8 Limbs who keep everything rolling smoothly along while I am gone. However, I still have plenty of work to do.

When I arrived in New Orleans on June 25, we had all been so relieved that I made it before Lulu arrived that I hadn’t really considered that she might not arrive til the end of my two week trip, making the purpose of my visit less “productive” (at least that’s how my mind saw it).

In my mind I felt regret for a few days: “why did I come so early? will I even be here when she goes into labor?” Then I realized that I am someone who is very good at working hard and being productive, and also very good at totally unplugging from work/phone/computer. What I found difficult, and what was making me anxious in the days leading up to my sister’s labor, was a challenge in balancing the two. I couldn’t be fully productive: I had my 4-year-old with me who missed her father and sister and was not going to let her mother out of her sight for long, I had internet issues, and I was needed as a birth doula and postpartum helper. But I also didn’t have the option to ignore my work responsibilities.

So I shifted my perspective. With the help of one of my mentors, Heidi, I saw the longer trip as an opportunity rather than a regret. And it made all the difference. Instead of feeling a dread of what I wasn’t getting to work on, I simply made time to work a little bit each day and prioritized. Then I enjoyed my time with family and helped my sister with her big transition to being a mommy.

Sweet Lulu arrived on July 2nd, smack in the middle of my visit. We think she’s the bees knees.

Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer

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