|Posted on July 18, 2014 at 9:15 AM|
Oh! Why, hey there! As many of you know, I'm Anna, the Oh Baby! doula. I figured I should introduce myself for those of you who may be new to Oh Baby!.
In the past year, I've been asked by many people about how it was I became a doula, or they'd ask me about how they might vernture into the world of doula-ing. After many inquiries I figured it best to simply write a blog post about myself and how I became Anna the doula and hopefully one day Anna the CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife).
Just a couple days ago I had an old friend stop by for a few hours. We chatted about life, caught up and of course, talked about some hilarious past memories. One of those memories my friend happen to bring up, "Oh man, do you remember when you absolutely loathed the idea of birth and anything of that nature?" Yes. Believe it or not, I used to be one who hated the idea of being around anything in the birth world, much less HAVING my own birth experiences! There was even a point in life I didn't want to get married. I had this weird dream of being single, living in the Amazon and eventually dying a heroic and dangerous death after saving a person's life. That was what I wanted. ...That is, until I got married to the world's most wonderful man and gave birth to two children. It's funny how much humor life has intertwined in it.
Within all of that story in a nutshell was a journey to where I am now. I won't get into it too much as to save details for those of you who would like to sit down to coffee and know more. But I'll give you the "as shortened as I can" version:
At a young age, though not wanting to be married or have children, I knew I wanted to serve people. I just didn't know in what capacity this would take place. I've always been a people person, though there were times as a younger kid I didn't always talk much, but I did love being in the presence of many. As I grew older and experienced many different outlets of serving, I eventually came to realized that I was wired to serve people who were in a state of deep need. I found myself trying out different efforts in pursing this passion to serve people, particularly ones that really needed it. I took trips to different countries and figured this would be it, being among the poor and sick, this would be perfect for me! But as it turned out, this wasn't where I was supposed to be. As time went on and different experiences of serving came and went, I came to a state of frustration. If I had this strong love to serve why did it not feel like I was using this gift fully? Why was my gift of encouragement and nurturing not fulfilling others the way I had hoped?
Fast forward a few years, I met my husband, married that hunk and eventually got some exciting news from my older sisters: she was having a baby!! My first niece or nephew, the first grandbaby and really the first time I'd actually experience a little person I was related to. Her experience through pregnancy was so inspiring to me! She eventually told me she and her husband would be hiring a doula. "Uh, a what?" She laughed and then told me what a doula was. *insert dramatic pause* My eyes widened, my heart fluttered and I was immediately intrigued. This began my search and contemplation of the world of doula-ing.
Years came and went, I researched here and there but not nearly as much as I soon would because...I found out I was pregnant with our first! Yay! I was so excited and thrilled I couldn't help but let the world know at only 6 weeks along at the time. That was a pretty big mistake on my part, but who I was I to know that? I was a young, excited and soon-to-be mom. At 8 weeks along I experienced the toughest time in life I ever knew, a miscarriage. I never knew such heartache, especially heartache for such a little being that I had never met. As my husband and I processed through all of this, I found so much comfort in the many women who came out of "hiding" (so to speak) to tell me of their losses. It was at this point, though I did not full realize it, was more affirmed for a life of working in the birth world.
A few months later I found myself taking yet another pregnancy test, scared and convinced I'd loose this one as well. It was positive and I was a nervous, sobbing wreck. I called up the midwife I had seen for the miscarriage to tell of the news, she set up an early appointment for an ultrasound to see how baby was doing. At 7 weeks we were staring at an ultrasound screen seeing of a little bitty baby with a happy, fluttering heartbeat.
And so began my search of a doula! Also my search of doula work. We eventually moved to a different state and I ended up delivering at a hospital in Topeka, KS. Involved in this long but beautiful birth was my husband, his sister, our doula and my rockstar midwife. This experience alone was the last stepping stone I needed to venture into doula-ing. 9 months after this birth of our sweet Sonja, I attended a weekend long doula workshop. It was intense, exciting, hard and fulfilling all in one. But it was something I knew I wanted to do! I thought this would surely be an easy journey to certification...but was I wrong! Especially because not long after that workshop I found out I was pregnant with our second baby, Harper. (She was a pleasent surprise, beings as she's only 16 months younger than Sonja) In doing doula work, I figured I'd just start bringing in the dough and making connections with women left and right. But it definitely did not work out that way.
Being pregnant AND trying to establish a presence as a doula was by far one of the toughest things I've ever done. Especially in an area where doula's were not quite as known as bigger cities. I worked hard to try and meet with midwives, doctors, childbirth educators and even nurses. Not only am I passionate about building relationships and offering encouragement to expecting moms, but I'm also passionate about building relationships with people in the medical field. No matter what area of Labor and Delivery they work in.
My very first client was a young teenage girl; I was nervous and excited at the same time because I had grown fairly close with this girl as she was someone I had already been helping here and there throughout her pregnancy. The big day came, she gave me a call and I switched on doula mode, hopped in the car, turned on my "Doula Jams" playlist on Spotify and drove to the hospital. It turned out to be a beautiful 6 hour birth (I was spoiled!) ending with a very happy and awestruck little family.
I felt alive and on top of the world! It was as if the floodgates of my life had been waiting to be opened for YEARS and outpouring finally came down and out. This was it, this was what I had been searching for as my outlet to serve in the capacity I was built with. My heart was full, not just because of how well this birth went, but because of how I felt I was used to be a source of light and encouragement to this beautiful young woman. And each birth had left me in the same state of euphoria after that first one as well.
So here I am, writing to you from our new home in Omaha, NE. I'm definitely not at the end of this journey, if anything, this is only the beginning of what may become something more than just doula-ing. To those of you who have asked me for advice in getting started in doula work, know this... It's not easy. It's definitely hard work, physically, mentally and especially emotionally at times. It's not one of those, "make cash quick with little effort" things. There is a lot of effort, but oh man is it SO, SO worth it! While this is an absolute joy in my life, I am beginning to think I am being pruned for something bigger in the future. We'll see! For now, this is story of my "Doula-ful Journey".
(This is a picture of the doll given to each of us ladies at our training. She's "Super Doula". Love seeing this photo!)
Categories: About the Oh Baby Doula