I am happy you found me! That's my son, Henry. He's a doll, isn't he?! I realize I am bias though. He's my second born, I am a mother to three other fantastic spirited kiddos, 2 boys, 2 girls. I am so lucky! I am married to a fabulous man and an even more amazing father. My husband is one of my biggest supporters. He runs his own business, which has enabled me to do what I love and continue to raise our children as a stay at home mom. The question I get asked the most is "How did you become a doula?" So, here's my story...
Since I can remember I have been fascinated with all things pregnancy and baby. I can remember being a young child and wanting to have a big family. I loved the idea of being a mom someday. I have always been traditional in that way; wanting to stay home and make a career out of motherhood. So, needless to say by the time I found out I was pregnant with my first (2006), I was over the moon! I became a verociuos reader of all things pregnancy. I loved being pregnant, as I had a very uneventful nine months. I did the usual, spent much of pregnancy focused on how to decorate the nursery and researching the safest car seat. I assumed my body would do whatever it needed to do when it was time to have my baby. What I did not know was how all of the interventions you may face giving birth in a hospital, ,many of which are routine, could have a HUGE impact on your ability to give birth naturally.
Which takes me to the first time I heard the the word "doula" shortly after my first birth in 2007. After reading about what they do I briefly looked in to it, found out that no training was offered at that time in St. Louis and put it on the back burner. I thought "Oh, wouldn't that be great to do someday?!" I knew at that point in my life I wanted more children and I just couldn't see where it would fit in. It became more of a dream than anything I could see realistically for myself at that point. But, in 2013 after having three children and life was full, I could feel my inner self wanting more...I spent some time seriously considering going to nursing school just to work on the Labor and Delivery floor of a hospital, but I had ZERO interest in going through all the other requirements of nursing school! At the same time, I remember Googling" becoming a doula" and to my surprise I found out that the training was now offered here in St. Louis. I called and spoke to the DONA trainer and explained to her that I was on the fence about either starting nursing school or taking the doula training. Throughout the course of the conversation she asked me what aspect of labor and delivery did I want to be involved in. I told her I want to support women in labor and I want to be there with them for the emotional ups and downs and help them navigate the process. As the words were coming out of mouth I KNEW with 100% certainty that I wanted to be a doula. I had NO interest in monitoring vitals or starting an IV. I wanted to work with one woman at a time and support her emotionally, physically and spiritually through her pregnancy and birth. I will forever be grateful to the DONA trainer who listened to me that day on the phone and who wholeheartedly agreed with me that THIS was what I wanted to do.
"It was the tiniest thing I ever decided to put my whole life into."
Shortly after I completed the training I took on my first client in the Fall of 2013. I quickly had a few friends as clients and started receiving referrals ( I will forever be grateful to my early clients whom allowed me to be present for the births while still figuring out my role as a doula.) Soon, after my training, I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child. I had a head full of knowledge and new insights and decided to go about my birth journey differently. And even though my other three birth experiences were incredible, I certainly knew nothing about informed consent or anything about trusting my body prior to becoming a doula!
This time I got myself a doula and among other things read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. It changed my beliefs about my own body and I had seen with my own eyes women give birth without many of interventions I faced in my prior births. I wanted to see if my body could give birth as naturally as possible. Nine months later I went on to have another incredible birth experience, it was completely different from my first three. This time I asked questions and challenged the "routineness" of giving birth. I wanted to feel like an individual. I wanted to make informed decisions about my care and the care of my baby.I gave birth on a bright and beautiful afternoon in August surrounded in love by my husband, daughter, sister and doula. It was unforgettable. I have never felt as empowered as I did that day!!! Today I am able to say I have experienced a wide range of births myself, from epidurals to un-medicated births. I have been privileged to be present at and support many families during one of the most sacred times in life.
I will leave YOU with this little nugget: However You give birth, remember it's your choice. Trust yourself, your body and your ability to do it! We were made for this! Now, go out and ROCK your birth!!!
Bella Bump Birth & Beyond