I am proud of the work I do as an employment lawyer.  People care deeply about their jobs.  Business owners invest their time, sweat, and money to grow their businesses.  Employees rightly see their work as an extension of themselves.  When I draft an employment agreement or employee handbook, I feel good that I am helping people’s work life go more smoothly.  Even on a good day, though, I don’t think I’m a hero.

            But my daughter is.

            My oldest daughter, Atara Raizel, is a wife and a mother of three young children.  That already elevates her to idealized status.  But she also is a doula – a trusted birth coach who assists women in developing their ideal vision of how they want their births to be.  Doing this work under the best of circumstances requires all the skill and sensitivity that you imagine it would – and she has all that. 

            But imagine the following.  On your way to assist a first-time mother with her birth, you receive a call from a surprisingly calm husband saying that he and his wife are at home, and that his wife’s contractions now are consistently a minute apart and a minute long.  He informs you that he is about to put his wife in the car, and he intends to meet you at the hospital.  That makes sense, doesn’t it?  It would to me.

            That’s because we’re not heroes.

            My daughter knew that this did not make sense.  Immediately and firmly she instructed the bewildered husband not to even think about putting his wife in the car – unless he wanted to give birth on the side of the highway.  You are about to have a baby at home, she informed him.  And then my daughter proceeded to calmly talk this young couple through the process of having a baby at home.  Call the paramedics.  Place a sheet on the floor.  Breathe with me.  Are the paramedics there yet?  Yes, I can hear them.  Guys!!  Stop talking!!  They are about to have a baby!  Listen to me and follow my instructions.  Got it??  Mom, don’t push; let your body do the work!  That’s it.  You’ve done it.  No, guys – DO NOT clamp the cord!  That’s the baby’s oxygen.  While driving 65 mph on the way to a birth that she was conducting en route, my daughter conducted the miracle of birth with a room full of EMTs and first-time parents – resulting in a beautiful baby girl. 

Hearing about my daughter in action, literally saving lives, having newborn babies named after her, I’ve learned two things.  First, the world still has heroes.  Second, the cape is optional.