By Beverly Young-Reed
I was thinking the other day that I had stopped being a Doula because I had changed the title of my work and started working with families that had older children. I felt like I had let a part of me go, and I started to grieve over the loss of being a birth and Postpartum Doula.
Don’t get me wrong I love my job. I am a Certified Peer Counselor and work as a Family/Parent Partner for a WISE program. Ok, so what does this all mean? I support parents that have children with mental health issues while the family is in crises and is at risk of losing their child/children to a foster home or facility.
Then it dawned on me I have never stopped being a Doula, I just changed the client base. Looking at it this way I can see how being a Doula has touched so many areas in my life beyond birth.
I remember years ago when my grandmother went into the hospital. My family was not able to stay by her side, but someone needed to be there so the Doctor could update the family. I stayed by my grandmother’s side and was the “family communicator”. When my aunt asked me why I stayed there, I said: “I am willing to support other families, why would I not be willing to support my own family?”.
Over the years I have either witnessed or been the first on the scene of a car accident. I normally get out to offer first aid and make sure everyone is ok. More than once I have used “birth breathing” to help people overcome pain and anxiety, I have even been asked to call family members. To let them know what hospital the person went to. I am able to keep calm and do what needs to be done thanks to being a Doula.
As my children grew up and left the house I felt like I was growing and changing. I reached out for a new job and volunteer opportunities. Looking back I realize that in the different jobs I have held I brought being a Doula with me. I managed a Chiropractic Office and would support and comfort those that came in experiencing pain. When I managed a hospital gift shop, I would bring the calm to those who were frazzled because their loved one was in the hospital. It was at PTA that I used my teaching skills to teach leadership classes.
I think one of my biggest challenges has been to support families that deal with disease, death and dying. I provide support to families that live with Mitochondrial disease, using my ability to listen and to hold a safe space for the grief and pain.
As I sit here typing this, I am reminded of things in parenting, work, and life in general that I learned from being a Doula. So I guess one never really stops being a Doula, it just changes over time and with your life.
It was over 25 years ago that I started on my path to becoming a Birth Doula. I never knew how much it would change my life, or where I would end up years later. Feeling very blessed and thankful for all the families I have been able to work with in birth, parenting, and in life while looking forward to those whom I have yet to work with. I will never stop being a Doula, I am just a Life Doula.
Beverly Young-Reed, CBD (Madriella), CPPD (Madriella), CBE, CPC
Bev attended her first Doula birth April 1, 1992. She was certified as a Doula with Healthy Beginnings in 1999, DONA in 2003 and Madriella in 2013. Bev is a level 2 Reiki Healer, Childbirth Educator and a Childbirth Educator. She was a member of the Madriella Advisory Board at its inception and continues on today as a content contributor. Bev is an Authorized Workshop Provider for Madriella Doula workshops, and is retraining on January 1, 2017, release material in order to be able to offer her students the most up to date materials.