what brought me to birth work
I was called to birth work from my own experience. I wanted to be the support that I didn’t have during my pregnancy and labour with my oldest son. During that pregnancy, I was diagnosed with severe antenatal depression and anxiety, and during labour, my anxiety seemed to heighten even more.
I laboured at home for almost 24 hours before going into the hospital to meet with my midwife. I had terrible back labour and was in so much pain. When I arrived at the hospital I was beyond discouraged to hear “you are only 3 cm dilated”. It felt like a punch to the gut.
my expectations were wrong
At this point in labour, I thought my midwife was going to provide some non-medical support. I expected her to provide comfort measure options, position changes, and wipe away my tears. But that didn’t happen. My husband and I were left to navigate the first stage of labour mostly alone.
A couple of hours after being admitted to the hospital I chose to get an epidural, and my son was born within the hour of the epidural being placed (this is an important point that I will expand on in a minute).
who provides a deep level of support?
After delivery I found myself feeling disappointed about my birth experience. I had envisioned a certain level of support from my midwife and was confused that she didn’t help me more.
I didn’t fully understand at the time that a midwife’s primary job is as a medical provider. They are responsible for the health and well-being of the birther and their baby. But I was left wondering if midwives aren’t always able to provide that deep level of support then who does?
Enter birth work (aka doula support).
As soon as I heard about what a doula does everything clicked. It was like a full-body experience of YES, OF COURSE! THIS IS WHAT I AM SUPPOSED TO DO. I wanted to be the support I didn’t have and provide physical, emotional and information support for people during pregnancy, labour and postpartum.
what I didn’t know about stress and labour
Going through the MSP program I learned so much, and I found things start to click into place in understanding my birth more. One thing that I found particularly impactful was learning about the influence that stress can have on labour progression.
Learning how the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system can influence labour was like having a light bulb moment. No wonder my labour was so long, hard and uncomfortable. My sympathetic nervous system was activated, and I was in fight or flight mode.
I learned your body cannot relax when it is in that state, which can cause labour to slow down (among other things). This is why getting the epidural was helpful for me, it gave my body the chance to relax and progress more optimally. Learning this brought me so much comfort.
7 years later
It has been over 7 years since I started this journey. I launched a doula business and grew it into a multi-disciplinary team with a therapist, another doula, and infant sleep education. It grew into a community bigger than I could have ever imagined.
I think about the woman I was 7 years ago, and all the things I hoped would come from this journey, and I can genuinely say that it turned into something more beautiful than I ever could have dreamed of.
Birth work has changed my life, and I am so incredibly grateful for it.
What drew you to birth work? Have you always felt drawn to birth work? Feel free to share in the comments.
what brought me to birth work
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