intensely trivial

A gift of inspiration

Yesterday a package arrived in the mail from somewhere in Kansas City. Inside I found a note from my doula friend Heather, and eight bags of tea. Oh, wow. She meant the tea as a thank-you for my loaning her our small Fuzzi Bunz diapers when her little guy was born — and boy was it an extravagant thank-you. We share a love of tea, so I know she knew how it would thrill me.

You know what, though? This is just a drop in the sea of all the ways my friendship with Heather has thrilled me. I have rarely met so inspiring a woman. The first thing the person who hooked me up with Heather told me about her was that Heather had cystic fibrosis — as though she was at death’s door and needed someone to comfort her, and maybe impart some of my older-woman wisdom. (Ha ha.) It’s true; Heather has cystic fibrosis. But that is a mere fraction of the person Heather is!

When I first met Heather, I was pregnant with my firstborn, and Heather was just beginning her doula work. We asked her to attend the birth; she was doing it for free, and we figured it couldn’t hurt. (I can’t believe the lackadaisical attitude I had about that. So much has changed!) So we hung out, talked about birth and other things, and Heather journeyed with me through the birth of my daughter. We stayed in touch after that, taking walks in the park, me pushing a stroller, and Heather listening to me ramble on and on.

About then, Heather showed me her “life plan,” which she’d developed in a class at K-State. It was ambitious, well-thought-out, and exciting. Even though I was supposedly an established woman at this point, having had a teaching career for six years, and now with my own child, I didn’t have the passion or clear direction Heather had — for anything. It’s not like she was extremely task-oriented, though; she had time for fun. She invited me to take an introductory class on wines with her, and I did — and was by far the oldest person in the class, and surely the only nursing mother. The wines class reminded me that I had more faculties than those needed to care for a baby. There were several things and people who kept me from bottoming out in the early months of motherhood, and Heather was a big one.

She moved to Kansas City, but when I was pregnant with my son, she agreed to come be my doula again. Dan was the main deciding factor in our wanting her there, and I’m the one who benefited the most. (Topic for another post: Why dads need doulas, too.) Heather believed in my ability to give birth. She rubbed my back while Dan and I bonded. She gave me the quiet and calm I needed to focus and do the most empowering thing I’ve ever done: give birth to Jonathan the way I wanted to do it. And then, 10 months later or so, when I felt compelled to pass on the empowerment I’d experienced when I gave birth, she encouraged me to become a doula myself. (Really?!? Me?!?)

Heather lets me go on about cloth diapers and the environment as long as I want to, without thinking I’m weird. She makes a safe place for me to let my inner hippie out. She has coordinated Perspectives classes, taught her baby to use the potty when he was mere months old, learned how to grow heirloom tomatoes, made stunning photographs of families as babies are born, launched her own business selling natural baby products (check out, some of which she makes herself, traveled all around the world. . . (big breath). . . .

And she takes time to send me a box of beautiful teas, which she picked out for me at teadrops in Westport ( Listen to the names of the teas I found in the box: pissarros rooibos, jasmine dragon pearl, tango mate, and plum oolong. Heather has helped open up the world to me.

So thanks, Heather, for a whole lot more than the gift of tea.


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  1. * carmen says:

    I love your writing! What a great tribute to Heather!

    Posted 9 years, 6 months ago
  2. * Jill says:

    I finally met Heather today at the KC Doula meeting. We didn’t get to talk long, but I am excited to get to know her better. 🙂

    (Boy, those Fuzzi Bunz have been well-used, haven’t they? Your kids…Jack…Noah…anyone else in there?).

    I’m going to have to check out that tea room in Westport. That’s right around the corner from me! On this rainy, chilly night, I wish that we were curled up on the couch together sipping tea and chatting.

    Posted 9 years, 6 months ago

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