Holding Space

Holding Space

Denise Bolds MSW, CD(DONA)

November 15, 2015

“There’s a place, a space of
joining, a scared time, you and me become we.”  Denise Bolds.

Holding space – many take it
for granted, others cherish it. As a black birth doula, holding space is one of
the supports I make sure my families have. The moment of love is a space of
sacred accord; where two people agree to love one another. The moment of
conception is also a sacred space, when the sperm penetrates the egg; a bond formed and energy shared.

I support many births; black,
white, Asian, Latino, same-sex, single, married, couples; all instinctively
engage in the same act, bonding with the newborn and with each other as new
parents. It doesn’t matter how many times a woman has given birth; she bonds
with her baby. A special connection occurs within that moment of skin-to-skin
and meeting of the eyes.

As a birth doula it is my
responsibility to advocate, to hold space for the newborn and parent(s). Many
couples have cultures and traditions that are done at the birth of a child that
may include singing, prayers, silence, reading a passage, whatever it is I am
holding space for them and their new baby in this moment.

As a black woman with
southern and Native American roots, I deeply understand the value of holding
space: many of my slave ancestors gave birth to their babies only to have them
snatched away and sold. My African roots are built on traditions; many African
tribes have ceremonies heralding the birth of a baby. These traditions were
abolished when the Africans was brought to America as slaves.

Holding space is politely
done with gentle reminders to the L&D staff and is kept within professional
boundaries. This can be requested as part of a client’s birth preference
developed before the birth.

Why hold space? It is so
vital in the validation of the mother-baby union. It is affirming the bond of
the parents as supporter of one another as well as commitment. This builds
self-esteem and strengthens the family bond. It is a once in a lifetime event
that cannot be replicated until death. Holding space is just a poignant as the
baby crowning or cutting the cord.

In this scared space the
newborn claims his/her mother’s breasts; the life source that is found through
smell, sight, touch and instinct. This act is a wonder and miracle all in one.

Hold that space, it doesn’t
matter what race, ethnicity or relationship status; holding space for the
inevitable, instinctual human tradition is a blessing to witness and a wondrous,
unforgettable reminder of just how sacred and amazing birth is. Bold Doula is honored to hold space for you and your birth.

***These two amazing photos
were taken by myself with the permission of my clients.***