I have been asked a lot why I choose to become a doula. It is a very good question! Which is why I decided to share my heart behind this decision and why I feel called into this work. 🙂
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It all started 18 years ago. My third sibling was born, forever giving me a buddy and sense of responsibility. Up until this point, we usually experienced what most children-of-three encounters at least once in their childhood; someone was always “left out.” But then there were four. My little brother coming into the world blessed my entire family beyond measure. Little did I know this gift would also plant a seed that would forever grow into a vocation of a lifetime.
I was lucky enough to be brought into the world by a Mother who is a pillar of strength and who values the power of our own bodies. For her entire life, she has sought to learn more about what our bodies are capable of and how to achieve the optimum health. 28 years ago, she actively searched for a doctor who would allow her to have me at home. Since that wasn’t allowed at the time, she proceeded to have us three older children at a birthing center. By the time my littlest brother came, we had moved to a different state and a decade of advances had started to change the birth community.
August 27th 1997, my Mom went to the doctor after a week ofvery regular braxton hicks contractions. He suggested castor oil to start the real contractions so she came home and went for a long power walk, mowed the lawn and at 6:00pm decided it was time to have a party. In our new home state, we lived by a lot of family members. My Mom, being 40+12 and 4cm, drank castor oil, called the family, ordered pizza, and started to labor. Now Stacy would never really be described as being a modest person. After three natural births in a birthing center she was finally getting what she always wanted; a home birth. Stacy had no reservations about having multiple family members present at the time of her fourth birth.
7:54pm that night, my siblings, our dad and I (along with 8 of our family members) witnessed all 9lbs 7ounces being born via our crazy powerful Mother on zero pain medication. Being almost 10 years old, I was at this pure and innocent sweet spot. I had the attention span, yet wasn’t “too cool” to be completely in awe of the miracle I just witnessed. While ogling over this squirming, screaming little human lying on our Mother’s chest, the midwife asked my sister and I if we would like to cut the umbilical cord. I remember this glorious day like it was yesterday. I remember holding him and thinking that he was going to change our lives forever.
As amazing and empowering August 27th was; August 28th came with a paralytic case of shingles. My Mom’s shingles lead to infections that caused her to at one point reach a temperature of 105.3 degrees. These unfortunate set of circumstances lead my family into hiring a postpartum doula within the first few days of my brother’s arrival. Our doula was so incredibly helpful during this time in our family that as I grew older I became more and more convinced that the world needed more postpartum doulas. My Mom also felt strongly about our doula experience. She went on to train as labor doula a couple years after Alec was born.
As a kid, it was common for me to be referred to as very motherly and protective. Therefore, when Alec was born I really started to understand my love for babies and the desire I had to be helpful when it came to helping care for my brother. I began babysitting for kids in the neighborhood at the age of 12 and turned my babysitting experiences into a professional nanny career over the next 15 years. Every family that I ever came to love taught me very important things about motherhood. With the combination of my Mother’s great parenting and every other Mom I worked for, my heart grew exponentially for Mother’s in general. I especially came to appreciate the vulnerability and intimacy of pregnant and postpartum families.
There is such a precious space to be held for women who carry and conceive babies into this world. It’s an act of selflessness that I have so appreciated over the years. It really has become an honor to be welcomed into this amazing time in a family’s life.