HEY! I am Jenn, the other half of Hello, Baby!
I did make Steph do this like an interview because … well… that’s just how I roll. So ask away, Steph! (read about Steph here)
S: Sooooooo, why did you become a doula?
J: Would you believe that before becoming a doula I was administrating employment programs?! Having a baby completely changed my life and my career path, that’s for sure.
I had a heck of a time after giving birth to my daughter. Pregnancy and birth were so beautiful and empowering for me. I was so lucky to have the birth I wanted and to end up with a happy and healthy baby. Coming down from that “high” in the depths of postpartum depression was a shock to the system. Top it all off with breastfeeding issues (low milk supply) and the fact that I, like so many of us, don’t live in the same city as my family (lack of support) and I was a hot mess. I needed help and support but didn’t know who to ask or how to ask for it!
As I started to reach out to the mothers (and fathers) in this beautiful community, I quickly learned that almost every single one of them had feelings of uncertainty, guilt, and loneliness. We were all smiles on the outside but inside we all just wanted someone to listen to our stories, to be our extra hands, and to validate the choices that we were making. I think that is when I decided that training to become a postpartum doula was the right choice for me. I wanted to help fill that gap and since then I have had the amazing pleasure of working with so many women and families in all stages of life with baby.
I think I always knew I would train as a birth doula, it was just a matter of time. Now that my own child is a little older and things have settled into a familiar groove on the home-front the timing is right. The connection between pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period is so strong that, for me, it makes perfect sense to work with people through the whole journey.
S: What do you hope to bring to the community?
J: I want to keep working to make this community a safe space for sharing our experiences - the good, the bad, the ugly. All of it! I think we (mothers) tend to get caught up in this weird competition of “bests” and “worsts” - I know I do from time to time- and we forget that, in the end, we all struggle and we all need each other. The more we are able to share the more we know and the more we can support and nurture each other.
S: What is one thing you have learned working with people during pregnancy, birth, or postpartum?
J: I have learned SO much but if I can only pick one thing … I would say that I have learned that what people really need, more than anything else, is to be heard. Sometimes listening with an open heart is the best support you could ever give.
S: Anything else you would like to share?
J: Honestly, I am just so excited to be following this dream. I feel like I have been looking for a way to help people my whole life and finally I set out on the right path. I know that the next few years are going to be amazing and I am really grateful for the opportunity to see where this takes us!
Jennifer Avis is a certified postpartum doula (HALO) and childbirth educator (ProDoula) and is currently working towards certification as a birth doula through Bebo Mia. Her primary focus is on providing education, support and perspective to expecting and new parents as they transition into life with a new baby. In her off time, Jennifer can be found digging in the earth and chasing her feisty toddler around the yard.