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How I Became a Doula

Me and Penny Simkin

For my first blog on my newly updated website, I thought I would talk a bit about how and why I became a doula. I’m really new to this, but here goes nothin’...

Back in 2012 I was searching for something that I wanted to do for extra income. I was tired of going from one meaningless job to another. I did some internal reflection and realised how much I was passionate about pregnant women and the process of birth. I think a lot of this stems from being present at the birth of my brother when I was 13. It was a transformative experience, and I didn’t fully understand the impact of it until many years later. I knew that I didn’t have a desire to be a doctor or a nurse, but beyond that I had no idea what birth-y jobs were out there that were in line with my beliefs about women and birth. I did a Google search and almost immediately found a site that explained what a doula was, and suggested some local doula’s near me in San Diego. I found a collective and contacted Stacey Scarborough is a local doula trainer who had a DONA training scheduled for a few months away. I didn’t realise it then, but I was so blessed to be signing up to be trained by Penny Simkin (author, childbirth educator and co-founder of DONA), Ana Paula Markel (doula, owner of Bini Birth in L.A.), and Stacey Scarborough (doula and childbirth educator) together. It was an amazing experience, I was so blessed to be taught by these experienced women. The whole training really opened my eyes to how transformative the birth process is, and how good support can make a world of difference. I knew that I was on the right path, that this was right for me.

Me with my DONA instructors: Penny Simkin, Ana Paula Markel, and Stacey Scarbourogh.

Over the next few months I sought out other doulas to connect with and joined a doula collective. I learned a lot from these women. I attended a second doula training with toLabor which taught me so much more about the process of birth and how it can be empowering. The skills I learned at this training meshed with what I learned with DONA. From here I started taking clients! I stayed with the collective until I moved to Colorado and started my own company Heritage Birth and Beyond in 2014. I the last 4 years I have supported women in all different birth settings: home, birth center, hospital; and all different types of births: non medicated, induction, epidural, cesarean. I have also assisted home birth midwives, and learned so much about physiological birth and variations of normal, and began to fall in love with home birth. I took classes on using the rebozo in labor, Neonatal Resuscitation, breastfeeding, and the effects of trauma on the birth process. I also was trained in placenta encapsulation and started offering it as a service to clients. I learned so much about how amazing the placenta is and I am very passionate about the benefits of encapsulation and ingestion of the placenta. In the fall of 2016 I moved back to San Diego, and am now in the process of launching my business in a new city. I’m taking more classes, revamping my website, and getting to know the birth community again. Recently there has definitely been a shift in direction in my life, and I’m going with it! So, I stepped out in faith and applied to midwifery school through Midwives College of Utah. I was accepted and start school in May! I’m not sure what the future holds, but I know it involves birth, and I’m excited to go for the ride and see where I end up.

DONA Doula class, March 2013

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