Intelligent tea drinking
It’s a skill. Honestly. Doula’s are really good at looking like we aren’t doing much, while actually doing a lot.
Us brits love it, it’s an institution and not to be messed with. I’m not really particularly patriotic about most things. But I do love tea. I love builders (hot and dark) in the morning, green at lunchtime and herbal thereafter.
But it’s not about just a drink.
It is therapy.
In tea drinking nations, it’s a cornerstone of hospitality. In Arab countries glasses or sweet minty tea appear as soon as you are greeted, this sweet beverage is brilliant if you are dehydrated. It can literally be lifesaving.
In the UK we are famous for offering tea as a solution to emotional and physical upset.
“Lets sit and have a nice cuppa and you can tell me all about it”.
“You’ll feel better after a brew”
We know it’s not just about the drink. It’s also about companionship and also listening. In a country where we aren’t known for our emotional openness, tea sometimes cracks open that shell. Sharing tea gives us permission to share ourselves.
It puts people at ease.
When I enter a woman’s birthing space, I always offer to make tea for everyone else who is there. It might have been a while since anyone had a drink. By offering I am showing that I am in service, that I am open to building connection with everyone who is sharing this moment with the parents.
It is soothing.
After the birth the new parents are practically required to drink tea and eat toast or biscuits. It helps to bring us all back to earth after the journey. In my own experience of birth I didn’t feel comfortable afterwards, until I had a bath and a cuppa.
It is reassuring.
Lastly I wanted to share this little story, which for me demonstrates the power of simple acts. That being present, and being in service to others, is really all we as Doulas often need to do.
“I remember lying there, coming round and not really wanting to open my eyes because I was really tired and my throat hurt. But I knew I had a baby and there was some concern about him, so I forced my eyes open and looked across the room. It was really hazy, but I saw the medical team, you and my husband drinking tea and I thought ‘well that’s ok then, they wouldn’t be doing that if the baby wasn’t alright.’ And I closed my eyes again.” (Permission to share)