Why I Became A Doula
This week, starting today, is World Doula Week! I feel so blessed to be part of a profession where we all truly love our work- I have yet to meet a doula that doesn’t enjoy her job! A frequent question I get on my initial client consultation is, “Why did you become a doula?” Here’s the long version of that answer!
As an undergraduate at Texas A&M, I fell in love with Journalism, but specifically with Public Relations. I knew that it would be a career that I could still have after having children because there are always opportunities for freelance writers! After graduating in 2005 (Whoop!) I found a job in Houston and married my college sweetheart. We knew we wanted to start a family soon but I had no idea what life had in store for us.
I didn’t realize that I had a “Mama Bear” within me, just waiting for sperm+egg to rear it’s overprotective head! As soon as we found out I was pregnant, I began to research every single little thing. No decision was made without consulting friends, family, book, or the internet!
Of course, this can be a bad thing sometimes… So many people are willing to share their thoughts and opinions, and not all of them are good things to hear. Like the lady on the elevator telling me I was ruining my daughter’s life since her due date was December 26- what if she came on Christmas? Didn’t I think about the impact of too many presents at one time? When will she have her birthday party if all of her friends are on Christmas vacation?!
I started to search for the whys. Why should I choose this car seat? Why should I try for a natural birth? Why should I use cloth diapers? Why should I avoid an induction? Some things were less important that others, but the important thing was seeds were planted and the wheels in my brain started turning.
Along the way someone told me I should hire a doula, and I had someone’s husband email my husband to try to convince him that it was a good idea. We didn’t, and I’m sorry that we made that choice. My labor lasted a couple of days and I had a lot of minor complications along the way that I feel we could have avoided had we hired a doula.
As my children grew I had to grow too. I had to question practices like spanking, what kind of food should I feed our babies, how should we handle television, when should we potty train, what language should we use around them, etc. I read more.
A beautiful new mother (left) and me holding sweet little Baby H.!
At some point I realized my friends were coming to me, asking for information about birth and raising children, and I really enjoyed talking about it. I liked talking about these little things that seem mundane to a lot of people but to me they were fascinating because, holy cow, I’m in charge of a little person. Three little souls! Why shouldn’t I know everything I can about how to raise happy, healthy, and holy children?
Through these past five years, I’ve realized that it starts before birth. Knowledge truly is power, and getting off to the best start with raising children starts before birth. How a mother cares for her body during pregnancy and learning about things like breastfeeding and postpartum depression beforehand sets a new mother up for success.
I was debating my career path since my number one choice was to stay at home with our children. I felt like it just hit me! Doula! Why hadn’t I thought of it before? I brought it up with my husband and asked if he’d be able to stay at home with the kids during my odd hours and prenatal meetings, and he agreed! I found my local DONA training program and it has been a wonderful process from there. I am blessed to be doing something that I love, and so far I feel like I’m pretty good at it!
It’s been very challenging mentally, physically, and emotionally, and I’ve realized it’s definitely a vocation and not “just a job.” There is a lot riding on me during a birth, but during a labor I feel like it’s where I’m meant to be. It’s an opportunity for me to put my personal life on hold and pour out my heart and soul into this new mama!
So, that’s my story! I feel compelled to thank my clients who have helped me get to this point- this week it’s been one year since my training and I’m mailing off my certification packet tomorrow!