You use the word vagina 10 times in one e-mail.
You love the sweet intoxicating smell of a newborn’s head.
A fun night out consists of chatting about placentas over a few glasses of wine.
Your shoes have the faint odor of amniotic fluid and blood. Yucky but so true.
Your heart skips a beat when you hear your on-call birth ringer (sonar) go off on someone else’s iPhone.
Your milk lets down when you hear a newborn cry in Trader Joes and you stopped nursing many months ago.
You attend a 24+ hour birth and get home wiped but can’t sleep because you are riding on a crazy tweaked out birth high.
You’d like to grab a chunk of vernix and give yourself an age defying facial. Imagine the look on my clients faces if I actually did this at their birth. I missed the opportunity at my own births
You are genuinely sad that you will never give birth again. Call me crazy but I truly enjoyed my last twin birth. I’m still riding on the high and it’s been a year.
You get that same beautiful wave of emotion every time you see a baby being born. Better than any drug on the planet.
I often times have to explain my job to people either because they have never heard of the term doula, or they think it’s some crazy new age hippie crap that they are turned off by. I often describe my role as a labor cheerleader. I offer informational and emotional support for the laboring woman and her partner. I have a bag of tricks but often my verbal encouragement and my hands are the two things I use the most in a birth. Most of my clients are looking to have an informed birth. Some women are seeking a drug free birth experience which I can help with labor coping techniques during her labor. My goal is for the woman to feel as in control and informed as possible. I guess the next question people ask me is why? Why did you become a doula? I guess my journey started as a child when I witnessed my younger brother entering the world at a birthing center in NJ. I was a little freaked out being 4 years old, but none the less exposed to the birth process. My mother was a Bradley Instructor and often taught natural birthing classes out of our living room. I knew the word uterus by the age of 2. I also knew that storks did not deliver babies. I grew up wanting to be an artist and attended art school. Right out of art school I started an acting program. All the while I was bartending and modeling. I was single and pretty self involved. I partied and went out a lot to numb myself after a life altering trauma that occurred while attending the acting program. My life changed in so many ways when I decided to become a rape crisis counselor at the now closed hospital, Saint Vincent’s in NYC. I worked in the ER advocating for survivors when they arrived. I would explain the rape kit process and also provided options for aftercare and therapy. I was a survivor as well and I realized that advocating for women was my calling. I had found some light in a very dark tunnel. As time progressed I met my husband and we found ourselves expecting a child together. I was the last person that would have believed that I would be pregnant at 25. I wasn’t sure I even liked kids. I knew that I wanted a natural drug free birth. I knew a bit about doulas and the benefits of having one. I ended up having a natural drug free birth. I don’t think my doula was the reason it was unmedicated but she definitely helped me feel that everything was normal during the birthing process. She helped ease my anxieties as a first time birthing mother. Fast forward to my next pregnancy, the first set of twins. I had a very different experience this time around because they were twins. I had hoped for a homebirth this time around but was weary because of the risks associated with carrying and delivering twins. They monitored me more during the pregnancy and did ultrasounds very frequently. When I told my OB about my hopes for a natural birth again she strongly suggested getting an epidural in the event of complications during the delivery with twins. Baby A weighed one pound less than Baby B so they warned me of the risks associated with a vaginal delivery. They offered a c-section but I declined. I did not have a doula this time around because it’s hospital policy to deliver in the operating room with twins. My birth was uncomplicated and I had two healthy girls vaginally with an epidural. I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointment in the whole birthing process in the hospital. It made me feel anxious and out of control. I think the physical pain from this labor was greater than my previous natural birth due to my high stress level. This experience made me realize my calling yet again, to advocate for women. I attended a birth doula training series and loved it. The first birth I attended during certification was a dear friend’s homebirth. It was such a lovely way to start this journey. In these few years I have grown and learned so much. I have attended many births in birthing centers, hospitals, and people’s homes. I was also able to finally have my perfect birth experience without anxiety or stress. My new twin boys were born peacefully at home. I love my job as a birth doula. I’m lucky to experience these little beings entering the world. If that makes me a crazy new age hippie then so be it.