Doesn't every little girl want to be a doula when she grows up? No? Well I'm
pretty sure I did.
As a little kid, I loved dogs, birds and babies. I would constantly tell my
parents I planned to be unmarried, have 10 babies and live in their basement.
Can we say: classy??
My baby/mom fascination grew. Apparently on a family vacation at age 3, I demanded
to know why my aunt didn't nurse my cousin, all while trying to argue
"breast is best.” I was the weird kid who would sit and chat with my friends' moms while they were
One of my mom’s favorite memories is of picking me up at daycare, where I was
walking around with two baby dolls up shirt. When she asked what I was doing, I
responded "just feeding my babies"......An odd remark for an only
child who was exclusively formula fed.
My love of birth started when I found TLC’s A Baby Story
. To the best of my memory, I first heard of a doula on this show, it was a daily after school activity for me.
Come on: what
school aged child doesn't love to stay home and watch child birth stories?
By my junior year in high school, I knew I wanted to be a midwife or a labor
and delivery nurse. When I got the chance to do an independent study during my senior
year, I picked doula training.
After going round and round with different organizations,
I was able to attend my training summer 2007. My parents dropped me off at a
hotel in Concord, New Hampshire, and I spent two
days learning all about birthing babies and supporting families.
I spent the next few months attending more childbirth classes while reading books
like The Birth Partner and Ina May's Spiritual Midwifery, every
12 grade girl’s normal study hall reading. In 2008, I moved to Chicagoland for nursing school and started - well more
tried - putting my doula skills to use.
Gaining a clientele was interesting, to say the least. Who doesn’t want a
childless 19 year old for their doula?? But I networked and read and volunteered
with a NFP. Soon, people were
asking ME, the teenager, for advice.
As nursing school came to a close, I realized I didn't want my doula career to
end. Shortly before graduation, I told my parents I didn't think I loved being
a nurse-you know the thing every parent wants to hear after they just finished
paying for your private school education.
Rather than follow the advice of my nursing
school counselor to “take any RN job you can find.” I decided I only wanted birth and baby related jobs.....Weeks, okay months, passed and applications built up. Interviews occurred and
even some job offers, but so did births. And new clients kept coming and coming.
Finally, I did take a part-time job as a pediatric nurse while continuing to
build my doula practice. Best of both worlds, right? For a time, it was!
But then repeat clients happened and
I fell more and more in love with birth than wearing white
sneakers and pastel scrubs.
In fall of 2013, after 18 months, I made the choice to walk away from my
RN job and fully embrace doula work. I'm fortunate to do something that I’m
good at and that shapes peoples' lives. Nursing felt like a job, this
feels like career – a career that I'm passionate about.