Why I Became a Doula

 

I was 19, pregnant with twins, living in a college dorm and had never heard of a doula I was terrified that I would be kicked out of student housing if I admitted my pregnancy to any of the university staff. My resident assistant, Amy, quickly realized what was going on however, (20 girls all standing around the bathroom with one in the stall tends to make it a bit obvious) and she quickly connected me with her doula friends. Why would I want a doula? What would a doula offer me that my OB wouldn’t? What even was a doula?  I had a partner, my parents and my boyfriend’s parents all close by. Surely we could do this without any support.

                Fast forward to a 60 hour labor, twins born 5 weeks early, a birth I was so exhausted for that I couldn’t remember details, and my wonderful doulas, Monica and Lauren. They watched movies with me, brought me ice chips, helped me change positions as I labored day in and day out, comforted my mom and boyfriend as time slowly wore on and were the emotional rock I needed to give birth and then parent my tiny newborn girls. Looking down at my scrawny little babies with tubes poking out of their noses, belly buttons and outfits, they reassured me that I could do this- I had done this!

                From the moment I gave birth, I was hooked. The compassion, support, love, concern and companionship I had received both prenatally, during delivery and postpartum from my doulas was key to my ability to believe I could give birth and parent. It took me another three years before I was able to begin my training process but I just knew that being a doula was something I had to do.

                I am never not awed by the magic of watching birth. Seeing that tiny head rock back and forth as baby almost swims out. Watching the power of the contractions as the laboring person curves around the pregnant belly to push. Seeing the partner offer comfort. Holding a hand during a cesarean section. Even when I am woken from a dead sleep to attend a birth, even when I miss Father’s Day to attend a birth, even when it is cold and snowy or rainy and dark, I am never not thrilled to be privileged to attend the making, or remaking, of a new family.

Hannah

 

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