Sunday, June 10, 2012

Why "Wellness Doula"?

When I was deciding on what to 'call myself,' I wanted it to encompass my passions and be simple enough for people to remember. There really isn't a good definition for "wellness" and I wanted to do my best to offer a definition that includes every area of our life. As a Certified Wellness Consultant over the last seven years, that has been part of my work...guiding and assisting individuals to live a healthy and more fulfilled life. I wanted to take what I have learned from that endeavor, and incorporate the two areas into my Doula practice. Thus creating "Wellness Doula" for my Doula Business. It might change over time, yet for right now; it feels right for me to offer my services with that foundation and expectation from Clients.

What is "Wellness"?

As I mentioned above, there really isn't any 'set' definition for the word "wellness". I do not even recall is being a 'word' when I was growing up, so it is a recent addition in the advent of new industries such as Chiropractic Care, Aromatherapy, Massage, Nutrition and other Holistic ways of approaching our life.

Interestingly enough, there is actually a website that offers a definition of wellness and I really did enjoy what they offered. You can view their whole definition here. As they mentioned, 'wellness' is a tough word to define b/c it can be a chameleon or sort, changing with the idea of who offers the definition. From my understanding, it is different from 'health' because I see it as offering a more holistic approach to well-being. Health in my mind tends to mean we are looking at a body and that person can be considered healthy. Wellness, to me, is multi-dimensional, yet offers a way to determine if someone is living the values and principles in every area of their life. Its all encompassing and can also change.

This is the Definition provided from the website above:
Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a more successful existence.
*Process means that improvement is always possible
*Aware means that we are continuously seeking more information about how we can improve.
*Choices means that we consider a variety of options and select those in our best interest.
*Success is determined by each individual to be their collection of life accomplishments.

Earl Nightengale always said success is a "progressive realization of a worthy ideal."

If 'Wellness' is all encompassing, then how can we define it so it applies to every area of our life and also allows for us to move forward to improvement and growth.

Looking at this wheel, there is Spirit on the inside and 5 areas of all of our lives around the outside. I look at that and see "Spirit" as "I Am". I am Spirit: (Holy Spirit, Universe, Energy, etc) whichever form you choose to name it, every philosophy has an understanding that there is something 'within' us seeking expression.

How do we seek expression? We all have a Mind, where we question, contemplate, understand, problem-solve, allow and receive ideas that affect our beliefs. We all have a Body that allows us to function throughout the day...and most of them we don't even notice! When was the last time you thought about brushing your teeth? Or thought about how many times your blood pumps through your body each day? Our body allows us to go throughout our overwhelmed would we be if we had to THINK about every function we do? I know I would be exhausted! We all have Family I take this a bit broader and define this as all of our relationships with others. Whether they are related or not, we are very much social human beings and thrive when surrouned by people who support us. It is an inter-dependent relationship, we all need others in our life in some degree. We all live in Society, its our community; we have families and groups we are a part of. We are all part of our Countries in which we live and our Global Society; all of us who live on Earth. The final 'Pillar' is Finances. In order to function in our current society, there needs to be an value of exchange. Our current value for exchange is called "Money." I think its fair to say that all of us would like to have 'more', yet we can also see if we don't have how it affects our daily life.

We can see, by this definition, called the 5 Pillars of Health encompass every area of our life. It also allows us to move forward, offering a 'map' that guides us to improving each of these areas of our life. If you are interested in learning move about the 5 Pillars of Health, feel free to contact me!

How Does This Apply to Being a Doula and Supporting Women in Birth?
Birth is much more than just a physical experience, yes, it demands much from the Mother's body. There are so many changes that take place when a mother and/or couple find out they are pregnant. Questions about being a good parent, who will care for the child during the day, finances to afford the new addition, what will our expanded family think of our great news. It is a multi-faceted experience.

My approach to Birth/Pregnancy and guiding and supporting the new mom and/or partner is very much from the foundation of understanding and creating a foundation of support with these areas as the guidepost. During our pre-natal meetings, we will discuss these 5 different areas, address fears/concerns and allow the mother and/or father to process and discuss. Every parent wants a healthy baby, yet I would think we also want an environment that this new child will grow up in to be healthy as well. Also, the mother and father are stepping from being Adults, to becoming Parents...this is a big step for a lot of people and can be overwhelming on what steps to take.

It might be or take a bit longer and there might be a lot to process. Yet, Stephen Covey always says "Begin with the End in Mind." If we begin from this foundation of Wellness, then we have a guide in regards to daily actions and we have the potential to have less stress and be more aligned with the magic and adventure that life allows and brings to us everyday!