The realization came many years later that my doula journey actually began with the birth of my first child. The morning labour started a traumatic event happened that sent everyone reeling from my community in Truro, Nova Scotia. A friend of mine was brutally murdered around the same hour my husband and I welcomed our first baby earth-side. Before all of this my friend regularly poured out her expression of excitement over the coming of our first child throughout the days and weeks leading up to my birth. I ended up being two weeks past my estimated due date and it was almost like she was more charged with anticipation over the big day than I was. When our baby, Abby, was finally born our friend was the first person on our list to call because we knew how thrilled she would be to hear the good news. She didn't answer the phone. When we finally found out why, it sent me on roller coaster of emotions with frequent surges of crushing, slamming and tossing. I was living in a dichotomy composted of the elation of finally welcoming our much awaited first born, and the tragedy of our friend's senseless and brutal death. During the postnatal period I was struggling to find space for grieving yet trying desperately to protect myself so the joy of being a mother for the first time wasn't robbed. Hormone fatigue and painful breastfeeding issues, that were not getting effectively resolved, the damage of an episiotomy gone bad and "too much everything" were constant companions. The people in my community who I relied on most were occupied with the fall out from the murder. Knowing the intense impact this had on all the people I loved I felt I couldn't add to their burdens. Even when someone would reach out and ask how I was doing I couldn't really open up and instead continued to painfully stuff my needs. To get through those first few days and weeks, I tried to compartmentalize the good and the bad going on around me and found out I was pretty pathetic at that. Instead I experienced each compartment leaked into the next. During this vulnerable time I needed strong emotional support and witnessed first-hand how a professional doula who was outside of the intensity of the situation and knowledgeable about all things birthy and baby would have been a saving force.
The doula journey continued to evolve with the birth of my next two children. I confess, I didn't know what a doula was at first (most people don't). I found myself researching to aid in having the best birth possible and discovered, having a doula present increased the probability of a better birth experience. Intuitively, I knew that this choice was important in "journeying well" for my births in different ways. I had friends who had gone through doula training attend my 2nd and 3rd births and I was able to stay away from unnecessary interventions. My 4th child came through international adoption. This was the hardest labour yet and an adoption doula would have been a welcome relief!
Years later I met a women who was a certified doula. I found myself intensely interested in hearing about how she was able to help as she supported birthing clients. After my youngest child went off to school I had room in my life to follow this new passion. I completed professional doula training through the Chubucto Family Centre in Halifax and have carried on to become a certified birth doula. I am a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator with Lamaze International and am Co-Chair for the Nova Scotia Doula Association. I have completed many educational opportunities and continually upgrade to enhance my learning and keep up-to-date on the latest research and methods.
"When you change the way you view birth,
the way you birth will change."