Lightbulb Moment At The Kitchen Sink, Or, How I Became A Doula

 

How I Became A Postpartum Doula

“How did you become a doula?” Many of my new clients ask me this.  I always tell them about my trip to Seattle to visit my brother and his family after their second baby was born.  I loved playing with my older nephew, talking with my brother and sister-in-law about how it was going, offering encouragement, and helping to care for my new baby niece.

I would love doing this even if they weren’t my family.

At the time of that visit, I had been an at-home-mom for a while but had begun looking for work that would be both satisfying and flexible.  I remember standing at their kitchen sink washing dishes and thinking about how much I loved being there to help. It was satisfying to know that washing dishes gave them much more than a clean kitchen: it gave the family time for resting, recovering and bonding.  The “light bulb moment” began as I had the thought that I would love helping like this even if they weren’t my family.  And the light came on as I remembered that this actually is a job–postpartum doula!

Now, in October 2015, after 5 years as a doula, I still feel the glow of satisfaction when I make a difference for a family.  I know a lot more now than I did at my brother’s house–about infant temperaments and needs, breastfeeding, sibling adjustment and birth and the postpartum period in general–but the feeling is still the same. And, I’ve learned how my presence also contributes to peace of mind for the new parents as they build their confidence.

 

…And How That Led To Becoming A Birth Doula As Well

The idea to become a birth doula wasn’t sudden for me like the one about being a postpartum doula.  It was more of a dawning realization about how the birth experience was impacting the families I worked with, and how many of the new parents had been overwhelmed and frightened during their birth experiences.  I simply wanted to be able to be there for them the next time.  At the same time, changes in my family life made it possible to be available for the unpredictable and often long hours of a birth.  I find I love thinking with families about their impending birth and being there with them before, during and afterward.  I love supporting families as they head into their new life with a baby (or two).

I’m happy to be on this path of supporting families, and am looking forward to the next five years!

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