Heartbreak Doulas

Women helping women through heartbreak and change

Women enlist in a myriad of roles for each other. Perhaps a lesser-known way is care-taker at the turning point of a broken heart. A woman in the community is devastated and suffering in her heart, and suddenly, as if answering an age old call, women instinctually step into roles of heartbreak doula and heart hospice care-takers.  

In the ending of a relationship for a woman, she can experience the fall, the death, the rebirth and the rise.  There are distinct roles that each woman takes on and some women stand strong as they allow the death of the relationship to become a reality, while other women present the transformation as a rebirth. Ultimately, the dying and rebirthing eventually merge into the same experience but during the process, it is usually experienced as two distinct passages.  

Traditionally, a doula is a woman specially trained to give continuous physical, emotional and informational support to assist women in returning to full health within the new identity that comes from giving birth to a baby.

Is the new self-image that emerges after a break-up a kind of birth? Break-ups are often the catalyst for a woman to dig deep and examine the dormant seeds she may not have allowed to flourish in the relationship. The Heartbreak Doula guides the woman to a new understanding through which all the manure of the heartbreak becomes the fertilizer for those dormant seeds. This vessel of sisterhood contributes to the nurturing of these parts of self to begin the process of blooming.

In the midst of a calamitous break up of my own, I came to bear witness the heartbreak doula-ing and heart hospice work my community of women unrelentingly stepped into for me-instantaneously. The awe-inspiring experience was that some of these women were long- time friends and others were women I barely knew. What they all knew was how be with a woman in despair. I was guided, healed and anchored by these women. I suddenly recognized in them the distinct hallmarks of skilled and compassionate doulas.

Yet another role that some women will take on while supporting a woman through heartbreak is that of heart hospice care. This is different than the role of heartbreak doula and just as important in the movement of healing and transforming. Hospice care provides emotional, physical and spiritual support as one enters into the next phase of life; death. The end of the relationship is the death. The parts of the woman that existed for the relationship, and possibly her life up until this transition, may need to relinquish their life, and the heart hospice care-taker provides the vessel of support as this death happens.  

What do Heartbreak Doulas and Heart Hospice Caregivers do? In both roles, the women who come to witness the primal tears of a woman birthing into a new self and allowing an old self to surrender bring food, flowers, stories, presence, texts, witnessing, encouragement, touch, articles, quotes, books... the list is endless. They keep her head above water while she navigates the deep waters of grief and sorrow. They listen to her bargains with the universe and unanswerable questions of “how much longer will I feel this?” They hold the vessel of non-judgmental and empathetic space.  

The pain is exquisite while a woman is journeying through the world of separation of old self and reclamation of new self. Many times, the outer world becomes non-existent and hardly accessible for a period of time. The heartbreak doulas and heart hospice keep the outside world around the woman functioning so that she can roll herself into fetal position and transform through this painful, universal process of healing and determination to rise once again.  

The sacred gifts of encouragement and grace offered by the heartbreak doulas and heart hospice play an integral, if not essential role, in the transformation of a woman into her own sovereign being, her own heroine. With this support, a woman learns of her own powers by scraping the chasms of sadness, torment, betrayal and abandonment. From these depths she is given the insight to recognize that she has a powerful tribe of women around her always to give her a hand as she is lifted back up into the world.  

What happens in this moment of transition as she re-enters the world is a powerful passage for her to recognize. Here, she comes to the truth within herself that if she ever falls again, she will rise, no matter the devastation. A phoenix from the flames. She's walked through the fire only to learn that the fire within burns brighter than the flames surrounding her.

The breaking apart and coming back together again is the catalyst for a forward leap into a woman’s evolution and embodiment of her authentic self. The hospice supports the dying off, while the doulas make way for the birthing of a new, mightier woman to walk in this world. This personal journey of heartbreak, if allowed to go full circle, can truly allow a woman to step into a deeper source of personal power that has been laying dormant, possibly her whole life.  

She now takes up space and flourishes. It’s a rite of passage from which there is really no return, just as child-birth or physical death. If a woman enters this cycle and does not find the support, it can often leave her half-healed, likely to return to a familiar new manifestation of the last relationship. That is why these age-old roles are essential to the evolution of women on the planet.  

The wound of heartbreak may never fully heal in a woman. What it will do is open us up to the raw and exquisite pain that it is to be a woman and feel so deeply. What it will do is give you a fierceness that is accompanied by tender-hearted knowing that we are who we are and who we are is meant to be here in these sometimes rough seas far from safe harbor.  

Eventually, the gift will reveal itself. Those chasms that dwell deep in our heart and the endless capacity we have to feel, to be truly alive in this world will give way to our deservedness to heal and rise from a fall.  What we also will learn is that throughout the journey in life we are all on, there will be more events that shatter your heart, crumble you to the bedroom floor, whether they be personal or worldly, and that you will re-birth a new part of yourself again and agin. There is no end to that potential.

We reach for our doulas and hospice teams throughout life to help mend our precious and fiercely loving hearts.  

Through my own heartbreak, I cried into centuries of woman-tears, un-locked rage and suppressed grief from the women of my lineage. I felt it deeply. I realized that I wasn't only crying my own tears but the tears of all the women before me and for my daughter here now.  I felt the fall, the death and now I am rebirthing and rising.  You will too.  

If you're in need of hospice-heart care or break-up doula services, I would be honored to be a part of the tribe of women caring for you, or the one that helps you to find that tribe. Explore my complimentary session, a free offering to you or someone you know who could benefit from my services.


Aubrey Sharp