Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ma Doula

We weren’t sure what Moriah was trying to say. I was making a belly cast of her mama Dakota’s incredibly beautiful 8 ½ month belly and had invited her little 5 year old to join us in the room where we do them. She hopped off the chair I had designated for her and started by saying, “Ma doula, can I do that?” and “Ma doula, I wanna help.” So I told her where to smooth out the plaster and gave her the job of holding up the gauze strips before I dipped them into the warm water to soften them. 

“Ma doula can I have a belly cast too?” I told her when she is bigger and gets a baby in her tummy she can. Then her mom said, “Baby, whats you keep callin’ her?” Moriah ignored her mom, too engrossed in smoothing out any microscopic wrinkles in the gauze as I laid in on, layer upon layer. We let it go and kept chatting about finally getting to meet her son and how stressful the time had been, especially being homeless. 

She had moved up to Minnesota from Mississippi but had not been able to get an apartment in time for the birth. She had some family and friends here so she wanted to be close to them when he arrived.
“Ma doula, how do I get this stuff off ma hands?” I directed her to gently rub them together in the bowl of warm water until it all came off.
“Ma Doula, do I get tah paint it too?”

Dakota had had enough. “Girl! Whats youz callin’ her anyway?”


Before she could answer, it dawned on Dakota. She had told her mom and sisters earlier that day on the phone and several times during the week that she was “goin’ tah see ma doula”. Moriah thought that was my name! I could hear Mary and Debby, my supervisors giggling from their offices nearby every time Moriah called me that. So now we knew. It is ma new nickname at work: Ma Doula. I suppose it could also be spelled Madoula or Ma'doula or Mahdoula.... 

Stay Tuned! This and other stories will be available in my book, Ma Doula coming out in May 2015!

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