I’ve always loved babies. After going through septic mastitis, and a surgery that followed, w
hen my oldest child was merely 6 weeks old requiring home health visits for weeks after, I had an interest in nursing sparked. In 2013, I took the leap, as a working mother of three, and started courses in nursing school. Then I failed biology. And then I failed chemistry. And after having a conversation with a great friend of mine (thank you, Kim) and having an honest discussion about my passions, I realized that nursing wasn’t going to give me the connection with people that I so desired, so I switched my major to psychology and focused on human behavior for the next 6 years.
Fast forward to 2020, and the pregnancy of my grandson, as I helped to prepare my son and his girlfriend, I realized how differently my own labors and births probably would have been had I had the kind of emotional support I was giving them.
Had I had someone who empowered me enough to remind myself of my strengths that were already there, I may have not been scared of pain and opted out of pain meds. Had I had someone there, guiding me to advocate for myself, and when necessary, advocate for me, I would have been able to consent to all of the treatments while being informed of their background. Had I had someone there who had even a basic background of lactation knowledge, I may have breastfed my 2nd and 3rd children rather than being terrified of getting septic mastitis again, like the kind I had with my oldest, that landed me in the hospital for 3 days and ended my breastfeeding journey forever.
Throughout their pregnancy, I delve headfirst into the birth community, wanting to learn any and everything that I could to help prepare them. It didn’t take long for me to realize that maybe the question I’ve been asking myself for years, what do I want to do next, was sitting right in front of me: my desire to help people could be next used in the birth world, emotionally supporting soon-to-be parents, laboring parents, and postpartum families.
I immediately began researching trainings, certifications, and small business information and I was off. I was dedicated to using the pregnancy and birth of my grandson to test whether this was a path I could be on as a career.
Let me just say that being both emotional support birth doula to your son and his girlfriend AND being emotional Nonni-to-be at the same time was HARD, but so, so worth it. I knew when I walked out of that hospital, the night my grandson was born, that I was meant to be doing this work. I was meant to be forming these kinds of connections, that I’ve so desired for my whole adult working life (it’s why I’m a caregiver), and supporting laboring/birthing/postpartum people was exactly what I LOVE doing.
Don’t get me wrong, caregiving has been a wonderful life experience for me. I could write a book just of the stories and moments I’ve gotten to share with people over the last 17 years. I wouldn’t change that time for anything. It has changed me, shaped me, guided me in many, many ways and a lot of the tools I use wearing that title will be taken with me into life…not just the next career path. But there’s such a level of excitement and energy when a new baby enters the scene. Birth, no matter how it happens, is exciting and magical, and birthing people are incredible beings.
I am honored to be chosen by people to emotionally support them during one of the most, if not THE most, life-altering events. It’s empowering to me, to see so many people, so much more informed and knowledgeable and willing to learn more about their bodies, their choices, and their babies and their new roles as parent. Getting to help support THAT is the best part.
I also became a doula because I truly feel that anyone who wants emotional support, should have emotional support. But I want to do more than just be that cliche’. My business partner, and best friend, was a teen mother. Had she had emotional support like we give, so many things would have been so different for her. For this reason, we offer our birth services to pregnant teen folks free of charge. We also offer our birth package on a sliding scale, so that people can pay what they can afford based on whatever stage in life they’re at, whatever demographic they fit into, and to make up for the generations-long oppression they’ve endured. We take payment plans, and are always willing to work with any budget and any person who desires our help.
There is no parent handbook, unfortunately. But there are villages of people that want to support pregnant people while they enter that phase of themselves, and we call ourselves doulas, birth keepers, and/or birthworkers. This is nothing new…a duty that has been in every society for CENTURIES, literally. I didn’t know the path it would take to get here, being able to help people have their babies, but I’m glad I’m here. FINALLY.