When my oldest son was two and it was time for his nap, we had a solid routine. I would change his diaper, he would toddle over to his pile of books, pull one out of the pile and attempt to squeeze between my sizable pregnant belly and the rocking chair. Little Pea, by Amy Krause Rosenthal was among our favorites.
Little Pea is a book about – you guessed it: a little pea who lives with his pea parents. Every
night, Little Pea’s parents struggle to get him to eat his dinner, which consists of pieces of candy. They beg and plead with him, citing that he will not grow big and strong one day if he doesn’t clear his plate. An even bigger dilemma for Little Pea, is that if he doesn’t eat his dinner, he will not get dessert: a heaping bowl of spinach. Little Pea is ecstatic about his dessert prospect, so he begrudgingly eats his candy, knowing he will soon be slurping down his favorite green treat.
This book held a lot of amazing memories for my son and I, including belly-busting laughter at the sound effects Little Pea makes upon having to eat his loathed candy for dinner. But the doula side of me sees a big lesson for everyone in this book.
What is this lesson? Perception, of course!
It is so tempting to read this book and think “I sure wish candy could make me big and strong. I’d be so much happier.” But when we do this, we are invalidating Little Pea’s feelings about the detestable taste of candy.
Perception is different in the birth world too…
The woman who is vocalizing through contractions, may not be in as much pain as you think.
The epidural may have helped that mother relax and dilate faster.
The 2 hour birth from start to finish may have actually been a traumatizing scenario.
The planned cesarean may be just what this family wanted for peace of mind.
When we feel strongly about something, our feelings are never wrong. Even if our feelings differ from another, it is possible for both perceptions to be right because different perceptions fit different people. One of my favorite parts of being a doula is meeting families where they are at and supporting their perceptions, which may change day to day.
If I am ever able to be a postpartum doula for Little Pea’s family, I will hold his baby so he can eat an entire bowl of spinach with both hands, uninterrupted, and then happily help his family to function in whatever way they need for that day. After this, I will get in my car, put on my tunes and grab my bag of Twizzlers for the ride home. Little Pea will never know my love for candy, and he will never have to, because I support all families, regardless of how they feel about candy.