An Unexpected Turn of Events & an Opportunity to Give Back.
I never dreamed marrying a military man would be the cause of every major shift in my life. And yet, here I am, life flipped upside down in the best way imaginable. Marrying my husband opened my mind to a world I knew nothing about and brought me down a path I never could have imagined. That life lead me to where I am today; the proud wife of a Sea Bee, mother to a beautiful one year old daughter (and pregnant with my second child) and independent business owner, working as a birth doula and training for my childbirth education certification. The drive I feel to be part of the world of birth started in 2014 when my husband and I experienced a devastating miscarriage. I fell into depression and spent months trying to make sense of the loss I felt. That’s when the research started. I read every book I could get my hands on, watched documentaries and read articles and talked to anyone in the field who would take the time to answer questions. The more I learned, the more I wanted to know.
In late 2016 right before I gave birth to my daughter, we got orders to a new duty station in Italy. I left my job as a Wildlife Educator and Animal Handler at the San Diego Zoo and prepared to embark on a move half way around the world. Then came the curve ball, we lost those orders two weeks before we were supposed to ship out. I was in a unique situation that allowed me the opportunity to take a look inside myself and find and pursue new passions. That new passion culminated in one life changing experience.
After forty-three intense hours of labor, Everly Rose came into the world. She was born at home in a birthing tub with the help and support of my midwives, doula and my incredible husband. The birth of my daughter left me feeling exalted, powerful and limitless; a feeling I believe every birthing woman deserves. It became my goal to do just that and so my life as a doula began. I started as a birth doula with an awesome organization called Operation Doula Volunteers which provided free doula support to mothers at the local military hospital. It has since become the San Diego chapter of the Military Birth Resource Network. It was immediately apparent, after the first few births I attended, mom’s felt they were not being heard. Hospital policies & procedures often felt like huge obstacles to moms. Often creating a lot of fear and doubt. That was when I found my niche. I felt pulled to help military families in particular because I knew from personal experience how stressful navigating military hospital requirements, standards and protocols could be, not to mention insurance and cultural expectations. I felt like it was my duty to help other families traverse these systems along with the actual birth experience by holding space, providing evidence based facts and information and reinforcing their belief in their own ability to birth the child they were carrying.
The confidence I have in a woman’s ability to birth has grown leaps and bounds. It is humbling to be in the presence of that kind of raw power and nearly impossible (I feel) not to be forever changed by the serenity and beauty of it. The beliefs and outlooks I hold surrounding childbirth most profoundly impacted by theses remarkable experiences, have been those in regards to the process of birth and the multitude of forms it can take on. Whether a woman chooses an un-medicated home birth, a vaginal birth in hospital, a hospital birth helped by pain relief or cesarean (planned or otherwise) as a doula, it is my responsibility to hold space and provide information so that mom and partner are comfortable and confident with whatever birth plan they choose. Evidence based research clearly states that when a woman is birthing in a space where she feels safe and supported, she is much more likely to have positive feelings associated with the experience and need fewer interventions throughout. In a world full of expectations and judgement I enjoy being a voice of support and kindness. For, it is not a doulas place to tell anyone what kind of birth they should have, but rather to help women attain the birth THEY desire. It is an honor and privilege to be allowed into such a sacred and powerful place, an honor I look forward to for many years to come.