Just a few short months ago while browsing Facebook, I came across a beautiful photo of a woman with purple hair! She was a fellow doula and she had just relocated to North Carolina. While her hair color grabbed my attention (mostly because I took the plunge last Mother's Day and dyed my hair blue like Wonder Woman), I felt this instant connection to her. There was something about her photo, something deeper. I knew she had a story. After connecting on Facebook and getting to know each other a little, I asked her if she would do a blog interview for me. I am sharing just a piece of her story today and I am grateful that Sandra, the Greensboro Doula, has allowed me to do so.
1. Give me some background information on yourself and your doula career.
I planted the seed for my doula career when I became pregnant in 2009. I gathered tons of information and pretty quickly I was the source to go to for other women in several pregnancy groups. I realized THIS is what I wanted to do: Giving women the information they need to make informed decisions about their pregnancy and birth. At that time I lived in Germany and doulas were basically unheard of. But my midwife's assistant pointed my in the right direction. I moved to the USA short after and my career was pushed in the background when I had my second son. Then my husband became sick and passed away. During that time I tried to gather information and helped other moms without attending births, yet. I did my training and started my birth doula career. Soon I discovered bereavement work and that there is a need for bereavement doulas all over the country. So I decided to get socialized in that. I opened a birth center in Michigan in 2015 and got a good start in the Metro Detroit birth world.
Last year I relocated my family from Michigan to North Carolina. Lots of changes, many additional trainings, and a plan to rock the birth world later - here I am!
2. What made you decide to relocate your family and business to North Carolina?
The main reason was my health. The Michigan winters and my fibromyalgia don't go very well together. I visited NC several times and realized I do much better over here. So I moved. I wish the business transition was that easy... But we have a great doula community in the triad and things will work out over time.
3. What was the hardest part of relocating both personally and professionally?
Leaving my friends and the doula community in Michigan behind. I make new connections easily. But it is always hard to say goodbye.
4. What did you learn about yourself and your support system during and after your move?
The Michigan doulas still claim me as "theirs". That is funny. And it makes me proud. It means I left a good footprint there. I can still count on them and my friends if I need help or a listening ear. The NC community welcomed me warmly. I found incredible friends and people to work with. I proud of my ability to adjust easily.
5. How have you adjusted to being down south and how is business?
Not quiet yet, but I'm on the right track. Things are still very different to me, not just in the south, but the whole country. The south is special, though. I struggle with the gap of people being very nice and others are incredibly racist. I am certainly different than most people in the Bible Belt...
6. What is your doula niche? How do potential clients recognize you?
Purple hair! That makes me laugh, but that is really the case. People recognize me and it opens conversations. I also drive a car that is covered in GREENSBORODOULA advertisement.
I think 'my' thing is that I'm a foreigner. My accent is unique and so is my experience. My childbirth education classes and exercise classes are based on the German model. I offer postpartum exercise classes to rebuild your abdominal muscles and strengthen your pelvis floor. I never heard of any other doula doing it. But it is standard care in Germany.
7. Where do you see your business in 5 years?
I would like to own a flourishing agency that covers all services. I hope still in Greensboro, because I like where I live.
8. What advice do you have for any doula looking to relocate or revamp their business?
Getting a business started as a doula in Greensboro is tough. The care providers are not welcoming a doula with open arms. Connecting and networking with local doulas is the key.
9. You recently took a trip to Germany. How was it? Was it a trip for work or pleasure?
Both! My 'baby' cousin had her first baby. I promised her to be there when she's giving birth and help her as a postpartum doula. Of course I had the chance to meet with a few friends and family, but I really connected with my cousin. It is so different to doula for your own family. It was such an honor and it sure brought us closer together. We chat a lot about her adventures as a new mom. It amazes me to see her as a wonderful mom and wife, and how she is facing the challenges it brings. She's not really my 'baby' cousin anymore!
10. Tell me about your latest "doula win."
Being recognized by the local doula community. That means a lot to me. Showing that I am a professional AND a team player. If you get asked by well known doulas if you would work for them, is a big honor!
I was born June 16th in Germany. I moved to the USA 2011 and married my wonderful husband. We have two beautiful sons together. 2014 I became a widow. I decided to relocate my doula business and family from Michigan to North Carolina. GreensboroDoula opened its doors 2015 and since January 2016 I have an office downtown Greensboro.
Professional Doula, Childbirtheducator
301 S Elm Street
M Floor, Suite 10
Greensboro. NC 27401
Phone: (801) 874-2071
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