Three years ago, after having my son and reevaluating my future, I began my research to become a doula. I was a Career Nanny, but I was also a new mother and wife. My husband and I ultimately decided that I would be a SAHM for a while until we came up with a long term plan for child care. I was learning two new roles simultaneously and frankly, glad that I didn’t have to take on the added responsibility of a job as well. And it was… well, hard. I had no idea how difficult it would be to care for a newborn, a household and a husband who was also a new dad. And with both of our families being in Georgia, we had no help after the first month. Having a background in education and working with children and families for many years should have made our transition to parenthood easy, right? No. Both my husband and I struggled to keep the balance. But we learned more and more each day about our son and each other as parents.
When my son turned a year old, I got serious about my decision to become a doula. By this time, I had returned to work as a nanny and I was so grateful for the families that allowed me to bring my son with me to work. Not all families are open to this type of child care and it took me a few months to find the right situation. At first, I was a bit underwhelmed because doulas have only recently become a serious mainstream topic and career choice. Most people that I talk to still do not know what a doula is or how significant their role can be to a new mother. But as I got deeper into my research and learned more about my local doula community, I became overwhelmed! North Carolina is a hub for many things such as higher education and apparently birth work.
Even though I wasn’t 100% sure how I was going to do it, I started making a plan. I was going to need to transition from a Career Nanny to a Doula, so I decided to become a Postpartum Doula first. Because of my education, child care center background and nanny experience, I found that I was actually already doing the work of a Postpartum Doula. My husband has always said that I need to treat myself as business. But frankly, that was and is a bit difficult for me. Yes, I offer a service(s), but I offer more than that. I offer families peace of mind, comfort, support, reassurance, education as well as advice and it is hard not to give your whole heart in this business. I have been burned and hurt by more than a few of my nanny families, but that has not stopped me from answering what I believe is my calling. So after 8 years of being a nanny to nearly a dozen families, I made the decision to go for it!
Leaving my last nanny family was so difficult for several reasons including a pretty bad car accident. I now know, if it wasn’t then, I may still be a nanny and I may not have taken the next steps towards becoming a doula.
I took my Postpartum Doula training earlier this year and I have been building my business almost every day since then. The first thing I did was purchase and set up my website. That was definitely a priority to me. Other priorities included designing and ordering business cards, finding a mentor and clearly defining what set me a part from all of the other doulas in my area. Little did I know, I already had my niche’ built in with my other business-fitness.
Best of Both Worlds Doula Services not only offers antepartum, postpartum and consultant services, but also perinatal fitness services. I became a licensed Zumba and Zumba Kids instructor last year and I absolute love it! Fitness has only been a passion of mine for a couple of years, but I became serious about it after having my son and having to have a myomectomy a year & a half later. Fitness was the missing piece to me gaining control of my whole self again-mentally, emotionally and physically. I believe that everything lined up just as it should have last year for me to be right where I am today. And as I mentioned before, I haven't worked with my first mother/family yet, but I pray every day for her/them. I have even been saying, “Thank you for the beautiful new baby and family in my future. I can’t wait to love and care for them” each and every day. I often think to myself, “I wonder if my a future client became a new mom today?” As you can see, I am a very hopeful and optimistic doula newbie :)
But I’ve certainly learned quite a bit from the doula community on Facebook. First and foremost, every doula has different professional and business practices and not everyone agrees with or respects everyone’s practices. With more research and joining several doula and birth worker groups, I have learned what kind of doula I want to grow to become. Being a Full Spectrum Doula is now my aspiration. FSDs often give care in all different types of situations such as high risk pregnancies, miscarriage and child loss, abuse, trauma, painful birth experiences, elderly care and doula-to-doula care. I am currently looking into other certifications such as Newborn Care Specialist and Lactation Consultant, but that will be later on. I plan to start my birth certification in a couple in 2017.
I have also learned that there is a small percentage of DOCs (Doulas of Color) that practice. While I am definitely proud to be one, my practice will be open and available to any mother/family who seeks my services. But I do want to be a new, young face that all mothers can be confident and comfortable in working with. I only hope to gain more knowledge with each day on my new journey to my new career.
This blog post was originally posted on August 3, 2015 as a guest blog post for Cornerstone Doula Trainings of Los Angeles, CA.