Becoming A Doula... Kinda

Hey average goddesses and warriors. Have you ever went all-in on a new project, relationship, career, or other adventure, only to realize at some point that that’s not what you want to be doing or where you want to be at all? I know I’m not alone on this one, and I’ve done it more than once! One of those things I dove into at full-force thinking it was the start of a new career was becoming a doula. Spoiler alert, though I have deep respect for those who do this work, I do not want to watch babies be birthed for a living.

I worked in restaurants and other customer service jobs since high school. I attended a little college but never got a degree in anything. At age 27 I realized that I was craving something bigger in my career life. I knew that with my level of education, there weren’t too many options that would allow me to switch careers, find a job that paid well and that would be something I was somewhat passionate about. Within just months of each other, two women told me on separate occasions that I would make an amazing doula. The first time I heard this, I didn’t even know what it was. I looked into it and found out that being a doula is basically being a birthing assistant but without any of the medical stuff. A doula is emotional support for the mother, helps with their birth plan, advocates for them at the hospital or to the doctors or midwives during labor for them, and also helps the mother ease into life with their new baby or babies during postpartum and breastfeeding, among other things.

I wasn’t convinced that this was the job for me, but when I got a hands-on-healing session from a spiritual woman and she told me she could see me becoming a doula, just months after the first person had mentioned it, I started to take it as a sign to look more into this whole doula thing. I had always felt like I had motherly instincts; I always connected with babies and young children and even had interned at a school with kids ages 3-5. The more I researched it, the more I became convinced that this was my “calling” and found a program to enroll in to become a certified doula.

I put in a lot of work over a year. I studied my butt off and read books, attended birthing and breastfeeding education classes, wrote essays, and practiced the role of being a doula at two births (one was a best friend who gave birth to their first baby boy, and another, a friend I made at the birthing class who had two twin boys). I completed probably about 90% of the entire certification course. However, during the course, which could be done completely from home and in your own time, I moved to Maui, Hawaii. I thought, easy-peasy, I can just finish there, because who would give up the opportunity to move to Maui? When I was in California, I had found all the right resources and people that were helping me along my training, but all of a sudden I was in a new place with zero connections. My time limit was approaching and basically what it came down to, was that I couldn’t find my last pregnant girl and birth to attend (I was required to be at three during the training).

I really didn’t think this through before moving. I never thought I would be in a situation where I’d see pregnant women at the grocery store and then try to feel out their vibe to see if maybe they would smile at me and then I could somehow casually strike up a conversation that could lead to me telling them I was a doula in training and eventually ask them if they would let me witness their birth. But there I was, scoping out preggos left and right. Can you say creepy?! It’s like, against the law to even ask someone if they’re pregnant, when they're clearly 10 days past their due date. So yeah, you could say I hit an unexpected bump in the road (pun intended).

I tried really hard to connect with other doulas and attend other birthing classes, but for some reason, I just wasn’t finding the community I needed. I emailed and called some women 20 times in a week, only to get voicemails and no responses. It was like the universe was conspiring against me to finish my program all of a sudden. My mentors gave me an extension because they saw how much I wanted to finish the training by how much work and effort I had put in, but soon that expired too and I was unable to get my certification.

I told myself I could always start again at some point in the future, or just start my own business with it and build off experience, because kind of like teaching yoga, you don’t really need a certification, but it might get you better jobs. Maybe one part of me realized that even though I learned many valuable things, my heart wasn’t fully in it either. During my best friend’s birth, there was one part where I was trying out my new doula techniques, and bless her heart, she volunteered to be my guinea pig by being the first mother I doula-ed for as well as being the first birth I attended. So there I was rubbing her back and heard her mumble something. I couldn’t really hear her so I kept on massaging, until she screamed, “STOP IT!” I almost cried, but then realized that this was not about me. I also felt a little funny even attempting to be a doula when I had never been through the experience of birth myself. I had a running joke of being “the worst doula ever” and pretending to sympathize with my clients’ who were in pain by giving responses like, “Yeah, I know exactly how you feel. I just started my period and girlll, these cramps are the worst.” or “Oh my goddessss, I am so full from lunch, so I’m literally right there with you on the bloating lol.”

Fast-forward to my own pregnancy and birth at age 29. I knew right away I wasn’t going to hire a doula. My thoughts on this were A) I studied for that whole year so I knew what I was getting into, and B) I had planned on having a whole tribe of sisters attend who would pretty much be my “doulas” anyway. Turns out, Covid-19 hit the month before I gave birth, so I was only allowed to have one person there after all (my mom). I won’t go into too many details about my birth experience here… thats a whole other story. I will just say, I was in so much pain I don’t feel like anyone could have done a single thing to help me more than the anesthesiologist who came and gave me an epidural (thank you modern medicine). And don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond grateful my mom was able to be there and witness her granddaughter’s birth, all I’m saying is the level of pain I was in was far beyond words of encouragement and foot rubs. I realize doulas can be very helpful for some women, especially women that may not have a partner or family member to be with them. Support is important for the whole process, from pregnancy through birth and child-rearing! This is simply my experience about how our visions can change.

So here’s to hoping that by the time you read this, I won’t have lost my inspiration to build my own business and create an online boutique and blog, and that this does not become another one of those fleeting dreams, like trying to become a doula. We all can lose inspiration from time to time and are all doing our best to follow the right path, right? I think it’s important to listen to the universe and your gut when you feel you’re receiving messages to go for something, even if it doesn’t amount to life-changing accomplishments. Life is a journey and we are allowed to change our minds and our dreams every damn day if we feel like it. I’m grateful to have a huge support team that cheers me on in all the spontaneous adventures and challenges I take on. Big shout out- you know who you are!

Love and light,

Your average goddess

As I mentioned, I did gain a lot from the Doula training. Here are some of the most important take-aways from Doula school that don’t have to be applied to expecting or new mothers, they can be for anyone: (except the last one)

  1. Be helpful. Chip in and do dishes for your family and friends once in a while when you’re at their houses.

  2. Cook for people.

  3. Don’t take things too personally. It’s not about you.

  4. Pregnant women are WARRIORS not to be reckoned with (and I’m not talking about the average kind)!!!

Song of the day: “Change Your Mind” by Sister Hazel

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