The moment I saw the positive pregnancy test, something in my world shifted. My mind was inundated with thoughts of decorating a nursery, little vignettes of my husband, Jay, and I doting over this perfect baby. This first pregnancy unfortunately ended in an early miscarriage, and the harsh reality of being a child-bearing woman gutted me.
Once I got pregnant again, I was ready to take it day by day. I remember thinking about labor and delivery and picturing how it would look, thinking surely it would resemble the scenes right out of movies or television shows—me screaming in intense pain, fervidly swearing off my husband, and huffing and puffing with fear of not knowing what to expect next. As my pregnancy progressed, I started to think of what alternatives were out there. What could birth look like? What would my ideal birth look like? I was excited to explore more. All of a sudden I was ravenous for all things pregnancy and delivery. I decided I would try hypnobirthing and surrounded myself with pictures of positive affirmations.
It was through my own self-discovery into my own power as a woman that I became inspired to be somehow connected to other women in this time of their lives—at a time when a woman might not feel like herself, but at the same time may feel the most herself she didn’t know was possible.
Letting Go of Control
I powered through postpartum, arming myself with books and other moms’ advice. I struggled a lot with breastfeeding. I was really hard on myself because my expectations of what I would be capable of in postpartum didn’t match reality. I could not find the power in myself in postpartum to will this situation to be different like I had previously done while I was pregnant. The main difference? You cannot will another human to always comply with what you think is best (especially a newborn)!
Coping with this distinction was hard, but a necessary step for me to get comfortable with letting go of any sort of huge control I thought I could have. That felt good.
“What about being a doula?”
I was sitting on my couch with Jay last fall 2022 and felt this pang inside. I loved my full-time job as a nurse practitioner. I loved my colleagues. But I felt something was telling me to do more, to find another path to wander down while I kept up with all the things that made up my life.
Jay looked at me and said, “What about being a doula? We’ve talked about that before.”
I brushed it off pretty quickly, thinking, ‘I’d love to but I can’t drop everything and be on-call with my full-time job or if I was with our children in the evening.’
I Googled “doula” and delved further. I saw a link that said “postpartum doula.” I read eagerly down the page as I realized the description of what I was reading was exactly what I felt I could be, could embody, and could do well. As I was spouting off what it was to Jay, smiling and feeling tiny butterflies appear in my belly, and he responded with, “That’s awesome, Babe! Maybe call on Monday and inquire more about the course?” I had already put in my credit card information and signed up for the postpartum training course that would take place 2 months later.
Like most things in my life, when I have a good feeling about something, I move forward brazenly, as any good Aries would.
I knew the course would be incredibly educational, but I didn’t realize how emotional it would be. These remarkable women I met, from all walks of life, ages, backgrounds, and religions, came together with one common purpose: to learn how to serve other women going through one of life’s biggest transformations – becoming a parent.
My Experiences, so far…
I have been a postpartum doula to three families so far, and each time, I learn more about this most humbling job, more about human nature, and more about myself. It is the greatest individual, non-tangible gift I have given myself – the opportunity and belief in myself to offer my heart and helping hands to other families that could use the extra support in the postpartum. I believe going through the transition with a community around you can set you up for more successes surrounding all the changes new parents come across. I hope to serve many more families as I continue to grow into this role as a postpartum doula, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and individual, as I feel I am never just one thing but all these things intertwined.
If you ever feel that pang in your gut telling you to follow a passion or a dream, just go with it. See where it leads. You never know if it could be your life’s work, planting a seed. You just need to pay attention and water it.