I am often asked, “How did you get into that (being a doula)?”
Typically, this question is asked in social settings and I try my best to make it as short and sweet as possibly but the truth is, it’s not so short and sweet. My journey to the birth world began many years ago. Looking back, I know that it was all apart of the grander plan for my life. Just as a birthing person patiently waits 9 months and trusts that their body will birth their baby, I too patiently (and not so patiently) waited to be re-birthed and to find my true calling. Let's just say my gestation period was a bit longer than 9 months. I now see the unfolding of this work in my life even when I wasn’t conscious of the path that I was on.
I remember the first time I heard about "natural" birth. In middle school my best friend, Brooke shared with me how her mother birthed her and her two sisters without medication. In fact, her two sisters were born at home. My mouth dropped open in shock. “Your mom did what!? How cool.” You see, my sisters and I were all born by cesarean. While I was only 14 or 15 at the time, the medical model of birth was all that I knew. Unmedicated birth was never an option until now. “I will do that”, I thought to myself. A candle was lit. My interest was piqued.
Fast forward to my early twenties, I was bored out of my mind in my then boyfriends apartment recovering from appendectomy surgery with nothing to do but watch netflix all day. I decided to watch The Business Of Being Born (produced by Ricki Lake). I could not take my eyes of the screen and immediately found myself daydreaming about my future unmedicated births. I watched every birth related documentary I could get my hands on that week. “Maybe one day, I’ll be a doula or midwife…”
After that week in bed, I went about my life in my twenties. Working, partying, and getting into trouble. Needless to say, having kids was the last thing on my mind. Finally, in 2013, after beginning a career with lululemon and being encouraged in personal growth and goal setting, I decided to take my 200 hour yoga teacher training. My steps towards personal growth and being the best version of myself began to grow larger. Of course, I took (take) a few steps back from time to time. My decision to work with lululemon and get my yoga teacher training were foundational in my journey to birth work as I came to know myself and my body more closely.
It's 2014 and I find myself in Austin, Texas. Still working for lululemon and teaching yoga, I settled in quickly and couldn’t be happier with my decision to move to this beautiful city. Two years into my living in Austin, I met a boy. I’ll save the love story for another post, but our story was/is an important part of journey. This boy challenged me in ways that I had never been challenged. Together we explored love, light and lots of darkness. In this darkness, I started to question the things I was putting in my body. One substance in particular concerned me the most - birth control. I had been on the pill for many years and I started to get curious about how it was affecting my body, spirit and future ability to conceive.
It didn’t take long for me to ditch the pill and figure out other means of birth control. I decided to try out the Fertility Awareness Method, which is a method of tracking and charting your cycles to know when you are most fertile (and able to get pregnant) and when it is safe to have unprotected sex. Unfortunately, there was a huge learning curve for me. I was infuriated that I was not taught how my body works when receiving sex education (or abstinence education in my case). I’ll spare you the details - you can read more about my experience with Fertility Awareness Method here.
FAM put me on a fast track to forming an intimate my relationship with my cycle. My anger turned into passion and I knew I had to share this information with other women. I wanted to support women in reconnecting to their cycle and body. The question was now...how?
Along this journey my interest in birth never dissipated. I always told myself, “Maybe I will be a doula after I have kids of my own…” I continued my career with lululemon but the itch to start my own business and have freedom to travel and be my own boss was strong. In February of 2017, I took the leap and quit my full time job at lululemon to pursue a life of freedom and travel. For the next year, I traveled the world with my partner all while trying out location independent jobs like social media management and selling clothes online. I had a blast on my travels and learned so much, but I wasn’t doing fulfilling work, only putting food on the table and paying my bills.
My journey to reconnecting to my own body, womb and cycle led me back to my interest in birth and women’s work. After months of just getting by and not enjoying the work I was doing, I decided it was time to make a change, make an investment in training and let go of the belief that I needed to have children of my own to be a powerful birth worker. My mind was set and I was ready to take larger steps towards my dream of being a doula, but I had some more work to do before I took the leap…
Encouraged by close friends, a few months prior to “really” deciding to become a doula, I signed up for a plant medicine retreat. I had no idea what to expect but after hearing about my friends experiences, I knew that this retreat would be life changing. I decided to attend this retreat before I put my doula training deposit down, hoping that my work with plant medicine would solidify my decision to become a doula. Well, my friends, it did just that and more. Watch the video below to hear about my experience working with this powerful plant medicine from South America.