With my last post I covered a little bit of what I do as a doula and the services I offer.
Now let's talk about what brought me to this point.
I was a mom before anything. Even before I graduated high school. I was pregnant at 16 with a beautiful, active, little girl. My pregnancy was up and down. I was a teen mom so I was treated differently.
The nurses, the doctors, even some midwives, they all treated me like I was a child. Which I was but, I did everything I could to keep myself informed for both my baby and I. I tried to be as "adult" as I could about my situation.
I remember one appointment pretty vividly where they asked me if I planned to breastfeed and I didn't hesitate to say yes. I had spent so much time doing research and watching "how to" videos for a good latch and everything. I was determined to make breastfeeding work. The nurse scoffed at me and said, "I hope you know it's not easy as it looks and you'll lose a lot of time with your friends."
I replied that I didn't have many friends to begin with and I was very determined to make it work no matter how hard it was.
If I was an older mother I don't feel I would have been met with such a harsh attitude. If I was an older mother she may have told me how great the choice was or how they have lactation consultants on staff to help me after birth.
Fast forward to the end of my pregnancy. Something wasn't right. I knew it. I felt it. I was told pregnancy isn't comfortable and everything I was experiencing was normal.
It was not. A few days later at 36weeks 4days along I had to be induced because my blood pressure was rising and they told me I was close enough anyways so induction was just best.
I was blindsided. They came in at 7:30am and told me that my induction was scheduled for 9am. I went along with it because I had no idea what else to do.
I was a good patient. I stayed in the bed and when I did get out I was told I needed to come back to bed and get ready to get my epidural.
No one explained to me that movement helps labor progress, no one explained to me the risks of artificial rupture of the membranes or pitocin.
The labor wasn't bad by any means, but I wasn't informed and I find that highly problematic.
So almost 12 hours after the start of the induction, I was holding my little girl.
The nurse was very rough with my breasts when trying to help me latch my daughter as was the lactation consultant. They both warned me how hard breastfeeding can be especially because I was, "so young."
I continued on and I ended up breastfeeding my daughter for 27 months.
Through her infancy, I experienced a lot of bias towards me because of being so young. I was treated like I knew nothing and I couldn't understand anything.
Then I was expecting again at 19. This time with a boy. It was a hard pregnancy for me mentally, emotionally, and physically.
After I delivered my son I knew something was wrong. Again, I was told I was over reacting and just too nervous. Again, that wasn't the case.
After my second child I knew something had to change. I had read about doulas in the past and what exactly they did. I thought it was an amazing idea. I felt like birthing people needed more support, especially young first time parents. So I started to look into training and it was all very expensive. Plus most of them had in person trainings that I had to attend that just wasn't feasible for me. I knew I had to do something. I never wanted any person to feel as helpless and unheard than I did during what was suppose to be such an amazing and monumental time in my life. I don't care if the person is 15 or 50, they deserve respect, informed consent, and to be heard by their care providers! They deserved to know the risks! Why was no one screaming from the mountain tops about how these people are being treated and the deception that was happening????? (There absolutely are people who shout it from mountain tops, but I wasn't deep into the birthy world yet, so I didn't know people felt that same exact way I was feeling and they were pushing for change as well!!!)
During my third pregnancy I had an opportunity drop into my lap through a mom group that I was in.
Cardinal Birth had a low cost doula training. No births to certify, no in person training. It was all online. It was absolutely perfect.
So I took the dive and certified before the birth of my third child.
Through Cardinal Birth I learned so much about birthing people and how to support them. I learned there was a better way to help someone. To actually support their choices and listen to them. To help them through a labor instead of teaching them to be a good patient.
I was taught how to support birthing people in all settings as in homebirth, hospital birth, cesarean, VBAC, assisted, and unassisted.
Certifying through Cardinal Birth was one of the most amazing things I have ever done and if you're intrested in working as I doula I highly recommend checking out the program Cardinal Birth has.
A few months after the birth of my third, I attended my first birth.
Oh. My. Lawd.
I was floored. The BEAUTY and STRENGTH of a birthing person is SO amazing. Watching labor unfold. Watching the person work through contractions, on wave at a time. Watching tradition hit where things get so heavy and using my own hands to help the person through the waves of contractions. Holding legs or hands while the person is pushing.
It is intense in the most incredible way.
All the oxytocin floating around.
The sound of a newborns cry.
The moment the parents get to see their new baby.
It is all so amazing. It makes you feel elated beyond belief.
After I attended my first birth I was ready for me. Supporting parents through pregnancy and birth was my calling and that first birth lit a spark in me that turned into a roaring fire.
It's so much more than a job, it's a passion. It's something I hold so near and dear to my heart.
I am constantly continuing my education and learning new things to better help families all the time. I don't think I will ever stop and I'm completely okay with that.
There was absolutely a better way to support parents and I am so grateful that I have found my true calling.