A few years ago, I began looking into options for professional services and support for families, especially women who had experienced a pregnancy or infant loss. I was in school working on my bachelor's degree with plans to one day manage a small health care facility, I had never heard of the term doula until accidentally stumbling upon a website, Stillbirthday and immediately knew that my life was about to change.
At that time, it had been four years since the loss of my daughter (she was stillborn). My husband and I got very little support from hospital staff and our loss was soon forgotten about my by many. Finding the Stillbirthday website helped me to realize that there were in fact, folks who worked with families in situations just like or very similar to my own situation during our time of loss. I signed up as quickly as possible for the SBD course, to become a bereavement doula.
During the course, I realized that I had found my one true calling, to help and to serve families affected by pregnancy and infant loss. I started making plans to work as a doula, to start my own company and started to support friends who were expecting. My grand ideas and plans were brought abruptly to a hold in December of 2013, I was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder, Chiari Malformation I. I had suffered with month long headaches and underwent a series of tests, 9 months from start to diagnosis. December passed with much suffering, I could barely work my day job much less continue to help birth clients in any shape or form. January came and I was scheduled for brain surgery, no big deal, right?
I passed my recovery time by continuing to learn about the doula role, pursuing my Master's degree and just waiting to be allowed off the couch. My recovery didn't go as planned, I needed another brain surgery in May of 2014. This surgery finally helped to slow down my Chiari symptoms, not cure, but SLOW them down. I went back to work just shy of two weeks later and life resumed..at a slightly faster pace :)
By this time, I was anxious to begin working as a doula again. We were stationed in WA state and so I continued to work on starting my own business and gradually found more people to support. As a result of my Chiari, we moved back to our home, in SC, and are now trying to focus on our goals. I've worked hard in the last six months to transfer every aspect of our lives back to the south, including my doula business.
A few months ago, I came across 100% doula and again, felt like this was a much needed part of my life. While I never planned to become a doula, I was much too focused on what I thought I wanted to do in life, I've since come to believe that I have found my calling and that I do need a bit of guidance in this field that I am relatively new in. In just three short weeks, 100% doula has helped me to find connections, both throughout the country and right here at home. I have learned how to make my website better, although that's an ongoing process for me and can honestly say that I'm learning something new almost every day, just from being a part of the 100% doula program.
A few years ago, I had no idea that I'd be able to help others, to make a difference in the world of those affected by loss or that I would want to become a doula...here's to the next few years!
About the picture: Last week, someone suggested that we come up with three words that we believe summarize ourselves and/or our professional role as a doula.
For more information about the 100% Doula Program, check this link here. The program only opens a few times a year and I highly recommend to anyone looking to grow their business, it sure has helped me!