Have you ever met the perfect person at the perfect time who completely changed your life? Angela Gallo is that person for me.
She is a collector of animals. A collector of tattoos. A snorty laugher, a generous gesticulator, and when she walks into a room you have to double check if you can hear the Rocky theme song playing in the background.
She is an identity death doula, a curator of postpartum experiences with purpose. She teaches doulas how to excavate their soul so that they can consciously show up for clients.
In today’s episode we talk about
Our shared experience of birth trauma. What she learned from watching me go through a traumatic birth with severe shoulder dystocia my daughter, Lily. How we have both grown stronger and more resilient because of this experience.
We talk about this idea of what you don’t know you don’t know and that when that unknown is suddenly presented to you – how you can run and fight it or face it. You might find it hard to believe, but Angela is someone who has avoided feeling big feelings for along time. It is through her own excavation of her own demons that she has been able to step up, be seen, and be fully present in mind, body and spirit for her clients.
As birth workers we so often have a narrative of being rewarded for nurturing others. We gain a sense of self-worth and value from caring for others. Many of us even tell ourselves that beautiful lie – that by helping others with their trauma, we are healing ourselves vicariously. No, you’re not. You need to do the work on your own stuff. You need to show up and be fully present in your own body, doing your own work before you can be a container for someone else. Angela and I both feel this to be the uncomfortable truth because we’ve lived it. Are still living it! The discomfort of working on yourself is never done. We are always learning.
We talk in pictures so there’s a metaphor of proper self-care being like taking a bath in diarrhoea. Because, really, doing the work that you need to do to get strong as a birth worker is seriously uncomfortable. But if you can wade through it Slumdog Millionaire style – you are going to be SO fucking strong.