One year ago, on July 2, 2015, I attended my first birth. I had never been in the room of another birthing women, aside from myself. It was one of the most miraculous moments of my life! And the exciting thing is, I have relived that moment 16 times over this past year.
In June of 2015 I trained to become a birth doula. Over the course of four days, I connected with women from all sorts of backgrounds and, together, we created a beautiful bond through a like-minded desire… that women feel supported during their births. I found my sweet spot! I have longed to find something that I felt so fit for, and I finally found it! Becoming a doula has been one of the most enjoyable journeys.
I was blessed to have a wonderful mentor, Anna Kemp, who was slowly transitioning out of her doula role and into a new adventure, and because of this, she was passing potential clients to me. With her word and stamp of approval, these wonderful families trusted me to be part of one of the most intimate moments of their life – the birth of their baby.
There are some things I learned this year…
Birth takes my breath away!
I am always mystified, amazed, blown away by the awesomeness of childbirth. Watching a woman labor, watching her find that safe place, a place where security and vulnerability collide, watching her find out how strong she truly is, watching her husband fall deeper in love with her. All of it is so breathtakingly beautiful!
I have resigned, that I will always cry happy tears at a birth.
I am a crier… always have been. Commercials make me cry. Saying goodbye makes me cry. Watching my kids grow up makes me cry. Seeing a baby born, seeing a woman become a mother, a man become a father, that makes me cry. And watching a man cry, that REALLY brings on sentimental tears!
On call life is hard, but I wouldn’t trade it!
I am a light sleeper in general, so when I have the exciting anticipation of a birth drawing near I loose all sorts of sleep. I have learned how to manage it better, by heading to bed earlier and having all my gear in place. Being ready helps me sleep more peacefully.
You have to have a safe place to share your joys or sorrows.
When I walk away from a birth, most times I walk away feeling high as a kite. I am overwhelmed by the joy that was filling the birth space. I am excited for the beautiful experience the couple just had. I have also walked away from births exhausted; having to process things that didn’t go the way everyone hoped it would. I attended a birth that had so many similarities to one of my own births and I walked away realizing that I never processed the traumas I experienced in birth.
Obviously, client confidentiality is of utmost importance, but by having a safe place for me to share, I become a better doula. I am able to give more of myself to the mother who has fears as her birth approaches, or who is exhausted by her 24 hour labor, or to the mother who is crying because her baby is crying as they both wait for the sweet relief of breastmilk to flood in, or to the mom who is preparing to return to work after her maternity leave ends and her emotions are consuming her.
First time moms CAN give birth naturally!
I did not have a natural birth with my first child – even though I intended to. I have to be honest, I got an epidural. After my experience, I resigned to thinking that first-time moms didn't know what they were in for, that the pain was too much, there was no way they could have a natural childbirth. Then I had a doula at my fourth birth and I realized how valuable that support was... so I began the journey to becoming a doula. I was still a little skeptical that a first-time mom could birth naturally, but then they proved me wrong, and I am so glad they did! You can read more about how 90.9% of these amazing first-time moms gave birth naturally by clicking here!
I can’t learn enough!
I have become obsessed with learning more. I want to attend every workshop, every class, read every book, listen to every podcast, watch every video – I LOVE any and all things pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, and baby related. I want to be able to give families the very best of me, so I am continually trying to educate myself.
There is so much more I could say, but then this blog would turn into an autobiography! So I will save it for another day.
I am a birth doula, childbirth educator, wife to an amazing man, and mother to four beautiful girls. I love serving families as they bring new life into the world!
Serving Virginia's Shenandoah Valley & West Virginia's Panhandle
Winchester // Stephenson // Stephens City // Strasburg // Berryville // Purceville // Leesburg // Inwood // Gerrardstown // Shepherdstown // Martinsburg // Charlestown // Middletown // Front Royal
Host of Birth Boot Camp Doula Trainings
Host of Birth Boot Camp Childbirth Educators Trainings