Doulas of Des Moines
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The Doula Dish

Why I became a doula.

The question I get most often during consultations with potential clients is “Why did you become a Doula?” I thought World Doula week would be a perfect time to share my story!  

Have you ever had a moment in your life where everything just comes together? That moment when you realize that everything you've done in your life has been leading you right here…

I have a uterine anomaly, they discovered it when I was about 14. I had a complication arise when I began to menstruate and I had to have surgery. I remember asking the surgeon if I would be able to have children. He said that I should be able to. I always worried that I wouldn't be able to have the family, the big family, that I imagined I would have. Well, fast forward about 11 years and you’ll find me pregnant with my little honeymoon baby! I was ecstatic! I started researching everything. I spoke to several midwives but I was considered too high risk for midwifery care. I was sent to The Perinatal Center. I was nervous because I wanted to try for an unmedicated delivery, and I thought that being high risk might mean more restrictions during labor. As my due date approached I was pleasantly surprised at how supportive my doctors were for my birth plan! I was excited, I was ready, well I thought I was ready! I think I handled labor fairly well, at least once I had a little fentanyl!

When we got pregnant with my second, I felt so prepared. Until we found out that baby was breech. I tried all the things to flip her but my little stinker wouldn't budge. (I like to blame her even though it's most likely because of my uterine anomaly.) I scheduled a cesarean, but I wasn't thrilled about it. Surgery after such a quick first birth wasn't appealing to me! The birth went well, no complications but I still suffered from depression after. I felt alone and forgotten in the OR. After my daughter was shown to me, my husband went with her per my request. But then I was alone, no one to talk to, no one telling me what was happening, no one checking on me and celebrating my beautiful baby! I was scared and I didn't know what was going on with me or with my baby.

A few months later I was at a play date and talking with another mom about my birth. She was a Doula! Why did I not know about doulas!?! I could've had someone with me while my husband was with my baby! I could've had support, a comforting touch, someone explaining what was happening.That would have been amazing! (I know, because with my third child, second cesarean, I had my husband and doula by my side the whole time!) I want to be that, I want to provide that support to others! I would love that job!!! That night I looked online and found an upcoming training near me. I signed up!

This was it, my calling. My whole life seemed to have prepared me specifically for this career. I love babies and birth, but most of all I love supporting people. Being a source of calm and comfort during a new experience and during struggles. Working as a nanny prepared me well for Postpartum work. Working in a daycare center helped me in being able to work with a variety of people and attune to their needs and desires for the care of their precious children! I'm not sure if you know this, but parents can be very particular with how their child is cared for! Crazy right? ;) Knowing how to read people and speak to people is crucial for doulas and daycare workers! Understanding that no two families are the same, heck no two kids in any family are the same, is so important because it means that the decisions parents make are for unique reasons. I don't need to understand those reasons to know that those decisions are made in the best interest of that family. No one loves a person’s child more than that person! Learning not to judge others, to me, is the most important part of being a labor doula and postpartum and infant care doula. Families get enough judgement from the rest of the world!  They certainty don't need it from their doula.

Being able to provide truly unbiased support to families is the most amazing thing in the world. Being a doula isn't easy! Up and leaving my family at any given moment for an unknown amount of time is hard. Making sure I have on call childcare is really hard, especially with 3 kids with various schedules! *Shout out to my awesome Mother-in-law, who has dropped everything to care for my kids!* But at the end of the day (or sometimes at 4am) I love supporting people as they become parents and grow their families. I love watching their confidence in their parenting build. I love giving new parents a break to shower or nap or whatever, so they can come back refreshed.

Jill KvinlaugComment