Why I became a doula

Why I became a doula

2010 was a Christmas much like any other. Spending time with family, stuffing my face, taking time to breathe, and then stuffing my face again.

In particular, I gorged on my aunt’s maple fudge this year, even more so than the family’s traditional crabmeat dip. (Gross combination, I know, but so, so damn good individually or actually, you know, together too- don’t judge). With my glass of red wine sitting idle to the side of my reclined rocker, I entered my sugar-dazed, mini light highlighted coma, like only I can.

Upon returning from holiday vacation, my boyfriend asked me if I’d had much to drink over the weekend, as I seemed lazier and sleepier than usual.

At the time, I blamed it on (sorry, aunt Cheddy) the fudge. I seemed so captivated by its special allure over me that I didn’t seem interested whatsoever in alcoholic holiday drinks this year, and so, I returned the nearly full bottle to the kitchen counter, as I unpacked the rest of my things.

Only a few days later, we’d figured it out. Together, we took a very brisk walk to the local drug store, and in the food court washroom I discovered my true fate.

The look on my face exiting that bathroom skittered the awaiting lineup away. Surely, onlookers must have assumed some catastrophic mess had just occurred in that fluorescent-lit hellhole.

To me, at that moment, it honestly kind of felt that way.

Justin and I were just 24, as we took that long, silent walk home to our frigid uninsulated bachelor apartment in Halifax’s north end. We got in the door, I took the additional test, and sure enough, positive.

At this point, I don’t think a word had yet been exchanged. In our winter coats, mitts and scarves, we hugged for nearly ten minutes in the entryway to the bathroom.

Empty tears.

Eight whole years prior I had been told I would have a very difficult time conceiving a child. The same had been true for my mother- an anatomy issue, the doc said, It was presented to me as some sort of golden ticket on a platter, as if it would be welcome news to my teenaged ears. Bullshit. It stung, and it still does.

To say we were surprised just doesn’t cut it. Terrified- that about does it. For an entire four days, we holed up in my mother’s empty (but heated) apartment downtown.

We thought so hard.

After the glum of winter passed the reality of Spring’s arrival gave us hope. We stopped lying to our friends about my “diet cleanse” and revealed our truth. My dad jumped for joy, and called everyone he knew, and, well, we were on our way.

We up and moved to an apartment with an extra room way, way across town, and, well, we prepared.

Or so we thought.

We bought the diapers, the nursing pillow, some little towels and some blankets. We got help from my dad to purchase the ugly ass car seat, and the bulky stroller.

I spent the rainy (thank goodness) summer working right up to the week I was due, and then I stopped. And we waited, and waited.

Induction talk came up, and the walls seemed to close in one me. There I was, a week and a half overdue, just huffing it up and down the hills of Fairview, desperate for change. Just freakin’ desperate.

And then, it started happening, nonchalantly in the middle of the night. My heart pounded and his brow sweat.

And that, essentially is what happened for the next 46 hours of labour. In the middle there, I tried to admit myself not once, twice, three or even four times, but five entire times until I was successful. We had two entirely sleepless nights, the latter in which I essentially curled up into the fetal position and cried for hours on end. Justin was exhausted, my mom was exhausted, I was scared out of my mind, and lets be real, I had no clue what I was doing. None.

And then that next evening, after three hours of pushing, she made her grand appearance.

Wait. She?!

And from that very moment, my life has been a chaotic, tiresome, late night forum-searching, snuggly, pinked-out, whiny, naïve but beautiful mess. And I wouldn’t change it, because it brings me to find you today.

My personal experience is a perfect one. For me, it’s without regrets. I wouldn’t change a thing, because I. Learned. So. Damn. Much.

And I want to help you, too. Whether it’s with writing a birth plan, with helping your partner feel involved, with learning to progress in labour, with just knowing what to expect and what is normal, or learning to feed your baby, these are all the types of hands-on professional support my own story could have used.

So, let me help you write your own story. And I guarantee you it’ll still get messy, but I’m willing to get messy with you, just a shoulder, phone or email away.

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