Happy World Doula Week to our amazing Mama Glow doula family, and to every doula out there committing themselves to this life-starting, world-changing work. Becoming a birth worker is more than a career choice – it is an all-consuming lifestyle that calls you to its path. While we honor doulas every day of the year (and think you should, too!), we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to some of the amazing doulas who have come out of the Mama Glow training program, in the hopes that they can help you better understand what it means to show up for your clients and for birth work.
Here’s what Ebonie, Anike, Lindsey, and Rebecca had to say about their journeys to birth work, and how being a doula has impacted their lives:
What does birth mean to you?
EBONIE: Birth is the beginning of generation. It’s the opportunity to reflect on the human you want to be for the new human that has just arrived Earthside. Birth is beautiful, joyful, and hopeful.
LINDSEY: Birth is a sacred experience; it is a transformational rite of passage.
REBECCA: To me, birth means a transformative physical, emotional, and spiritual journey that the birthing person embarks on along with the baby, to birth not only the child but to birth a different version of that birthing person. During labor, we tap into the most primal aspects of ourselves and we rely on the ancestral wisdom of our body to birth the spiritual being into the physical realm.
ANIKE: Birth to me means birthing an extension of self through the dedication and power from the body. Birth is an art that is sacred to the parents/ parent that will fulfill them for the rest of their lives.
Why were you called to birth work as a doula?
E: I am a nurturer by nature and a protector of those that I care about. As a mom who didn’t feel prepared during my own birth experience, a mom who almost lost her life during childbirth, I feel compelled to be there for birthing people so they feel supported, educated, and cared for.
R: I have always been intuitively drawn to birth. Most of my early memories of whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to be in this world, I would always say that I wanted to help deliver babies. I initially thought that was going to be through becoming an OB; however, after discovering doula work, I was able to use my skills of being a naturally supportive, calming, and centering person to create sacred space for families to have the birth experience they desire, and that they deserve.
A: I was called to birth work as a doula because I have a high interest in what the body can do to grow a life. On a more important note, I was also called to birth work because African American women are dying at a significantly higher rate during childbirth compared to white women. I strongly believe that black women deserve a safe birth without interventions while simultaneously being advocated for.
L: I believe I was called to do birth work to hold women’s hands in transition and remind them they have exactly what they need inside of them, and help to bring unwavering confidence back to women.
What is your favorite thing about your Mama Glow doula family?
A: My favorite thing about my Mama Glow doula family is the genuine urge to learn and the warm love. My doula community is very supportive, healing, uplifting, and informative through all stages of the course but also through developed friendships.
L: I love my Mama Glow family for their unconditional love and acceptance. And, they love to have fun!
E: I LOVE the different backgrounds and niches that the MG Doula family encompasses. I love the fact that we all are so supportive of each other.
R: My favorite thing is how supportive and welcoming my sibs are. No matter how long I may go without connecting, I can pop into the Mighty Network or a group chat, ask a question, and my sibs are there at any time to answer. I don’t know what I would do without you all!
How do you practice self-care as a doula?
R: I practice self-care the same way I encourage my clients to – by being intentional and taking some time in my day to do activities that center myself. That could include sipping some tea while reading a good book, or rolling out my mat to practice some restorative yoga. I find that any activity where I can just release my thoughts and fully engage brings me joy and helps me be fully relaxed and rejuvenated after a long day.
E: After each birth, I take time to myself to do anything NOT related to birth work. Whether it be sleep, eat food that makes me happy, or spend extra time enjoying life with those I love.
A: As a doula, I practice self-care by treating myself to new books, meditation, yoga, writing affirmations, crying, listening to podcasts, and resting. It is extremely important for doulas to take care of themselves because although we love doing this work, we are pouring out everything we have. We deserve to pour back into ourselves because we are worthy.
L: Before and after each birth, I shower. I find water cleansing and provides boundaries between the world and the birth experience. I also am mindful of my calendar as I do not take on doula clients every month.
What do you wish more people knew about being a doula?
E: I wish people knew that being a doula is a lifestyle, it is not a hobby. The energy exchange is transferred during pregnancy, labor & delivery, and postpartum is so immense and life-changing for everyone involved. With that being said doulas should not be expected to lower their rates/fees for such an important role.
R: Doulas are not a luxury support that only wealthy people have – doulas are for everybody. We come to this work because we see that there is a lack in our community. It’s not about the money, it’s about decreasing the maternal and infant death rate in our communities by providing evidence-based information to our clients and empowering them to advocate for their needs.
A: I wish more people knew how having a doula can change their birth experience dramatically. I wish people knew the science behind what doula work involves, what communities we serve, and what we provide for our clients. It is so much more than only providing emotional support.
L: For those thinking of becoming a doula, I’d recommend starting on the personal development journey initially. You have got be grounded in who you are so that you can hold space for another. For those having a baby, I think a doula is absolutely a must for first-time births.
What are some “hacks” that make your life easier as a birth worker?
L: Let go of time management and manage your lifestyle around energy management. Energy and vibration are everything. Process each birth. Write about it, talk about it, and then let it go.
E: Listening to music that makes me sing at the top of my lungs and dance before a birth gets my energy up (Queue Brooklyn Drill Music Artist and 90s Hip Hop & R&B!).
R: Ensuring that I have plenty of snacks in my doula bag. It’s important that you stay nourished and hydrated throughout the process while you’re supporting your client through their labor. It gives you the energy to sustain yourself in order to support your client properly.
A: Some hacks that make my life easier as a birth worker is to communicate my feelings to my doula siblings or family members, creating a schedule for what clients I have booked, allowing conversations to flow instead of trying to show my clients everything I have to offer, and knowing what I am worth through business but also in my personal life.