Someone recently asked me why I became a doula. Why did I choose this profession?
Why would I choose to get called out at 3am? Leaving my warm bed in the middle of the night. To be gone for an undetermined amount of time. To help others through what the average person often perceives as one of the most traumatic events of a woman’s life?
The short answer, “Because it’s the best job on earth and I love what I do!!” However, the long answer goes much deeper.
When I was 15, I had my first baby, a son. Knowing that I couldn’t give him the life he deserved and with a lot of pressure from my family, I chose adoption. When the day came for him to be born my story turned out a lot differently from many other teen mothers who give birth under the stigma of being a teen and the resultant not so stellar treatment often meant either directly or indirectly to ‘teach her a lesson.’
I had a completely supported birth, filled with compassionate care from admission all the way through discharge.
Every medical professional I encountered during my stay showed me compassion. Some took time out of their busy schedules to sit and talk and just BE with me.
As I processed my birth experience in the years that followed, I knew I wanted to help others in birth with the same compassion and support that I was shown.
No matter how someone came to be expecting a baby and no matter how, they chose to have that baby and regardless of how they chose to parent their baby I wanted to support them as they navigated the process.
The desire to give others the support they need to help them succeed was born from my experience and the support given to me.
Six years later I discovered the internet and in doing so discovered doulas.
The minute I learned what a labor doula was, I knew I’d found my calling.
This was *it*, it was the *it* that I was put on this earth for.
I’d found what I was meant to do. I found the next training in my community and signed up. I’ve never looked back.
Here I am 17 years later and still so in love with the path that chose me.
At first, I was full of fire. Full of misguided passion, as many new doulas are.
I wanted everyone to have the same empowering experience with birth I had.
Experience taught me there were different ways. There are better approaches. I experienced my own kind of doula metamorphosis.
I feel very lucky. Lucky that my path to this work was not founded in a traumatic birth experience of my own.
As a doula, I see so many new doulas who come to this work after their own traumatic birth experience who unknowingly try to find healing in “saving” others from repeating their experience.
I am lucky to have come to this work from a place desiring to offer unconditional support. With a drive to help those I serve to achieve the experience they want and as they will define it.
The road I travel in this work is rough at times.
There’s no denying that there are two sides to this work and that with great joy comes great physical and mental pain.
This work isn’t about snuggling new babies. It is about supporting families.
The joys are beautiful; standing alongside a client as they realize their power and claim it, seeing the look on the faces as new parents see for the first time in flesh and their blood this soul that they spent so much time waiting for and sometimes fighting to conceive, watching them cuddle their new baby at our final visit just a few days or weeks after the birth is such a sweet thing.
But those tender moments are a fragile veil over the heartache, compromise and even loss that I experience in my work.
Some clients are seared into my soul for a lifetime. Not because of their spectacular achievements, but because of their tragic losses.
In the quiet of the night, they come to visit me. They remind me that triumph also has a sister named tragedy. Regardless of how diligently I work ultimately none of us has control over this most wondrous process.
I get to make a living and support my family doing what I love. Witness to the triumphs and tragedy, the smiles and tears and everything in between.
My hard work and dedication over the past 17 years and the phenomenal support from key people in my life and career have landed me in a position to also help other doulas in making this a sustainable career for their families as well.
I am honored by the hundreds of families who have granted my team and me at Tucson Doulas the privilege of walking with them through this most intimate and intense process.
And I can’t imagine doing anything else.