Doula Mode, Mamazine Moment, The Journey

Sisters By Birth & Through Birth Work: A Tribute to My Doula Sister

Erin Taylor-Smith | March 22, 2021

My roots are a melting pot of many things, identities and cultures blended together like the makings of a soup. Looking at the ingredients, the flavors are elements of teachings I know without a doubt have shaped my foundation. Herbalism as the broth, nutrition as the vegetables, self-care and wellness sprinkled like seasoning throughout. This recipe would have not been possible without the guidance of the woman I admire – my sister, Nicole Taylor.

My sister is everything strong and soft all at once. She carries herself with power and grace, keeping her knowledge and wisdom at the forefront of her presence. No matter what environment she found herself in, we were always well fed and well educated, always updated on lessons to better ourselves. Herbal remedies, food for healing, natural self-care, and power in community are her values. I remember being that little girl, following in her steps to Whole Foods or making our way down to the herb store. What was foreign to many people around me was familiar in my mind, and thanks to this routine I grew up fortunate to have knowledge already within me. A recipe of balance, care, and wisdom.

A mother of three, she has dedicated her entire life to her family. Raising both her kids and her little sister, there was never a moment where we weren’t cared for. Even on days when it meant she went without; we never saw that reality until years later. Like any family, we had our good and bad days, but Nicole did and still does her best to help us see the good. Even when grief and tragedy struck our home, she carried us through regardless of how she was feeling. Evolved as a mother, doula, sister, and daughter her journey is one that has seen many things. She started her doula journey in the 90s and certified with ALACE, working as a labor doula all while providing for both myself and her three children. As situations changed, she redirected her focus, going on to do various secretary positions all while keeping family as her main priority.

Our father passed recently in May, but even then, she showed up to get us through the grief. We prayed, cried, reflected, and found comfort within our household in a way that only she could create. For me, who was unsure about my path, she sat me down and let me know that it was time. I was sorely focused on grief, and at the time didn’t really care if life passed by. I had struggled in trying to decide if being a doula was for me, but my sister was the first one who told me to lean into the fear. I was still heartbroken, sad, and unsure of myself, but she wasn’t going to let that shut out any opportunities. The day I had the Mama Glow Homeschool application open, she stayed by my side until I gathered the confidence to hit submit.

Even through the mid-summer and Fall, she continuously remained as a presence of strength for me. She motivates me every day to start the day with intention. “You showed up, that’s enough” is the motto she reminds me each day, and it’s enough to reset whatever uncertainty I had beforehand. I can’t name too many people that encourage someone to understand your vulnerable moments and embrace them. Instead of running from the unknown, she sees it as just another stepping stone on her path. Now that we are both Mama Glow doula trainees, I couldn’t be more honored to have such a force in my life. She reminds me each and every day, that sometimes, your presence is enough. An immense thank you to my sister, Nicole Taylor, for always showing up. Forever and always being enough.

Erin Taylor-Smith was born and raised in Philadelphia, where family stayed at the center of her world. Currently a doula in training with Mama Glow, she’s combining her love for herbalism, culinary history, and cooking within her work. After obtaining a business degree at Rutgers University she shifted her focus to finding her calling. She loves her doula community and values the relationship she has with those around her. She aims to complete her doula study with Mama Glow, and work with her sister in their doula service Sisterly Doula. 

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