Posts tagged what is a doula
Meet Jenn!

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.

Meet Steph!
steph hayes peterborough doula

HEY! I'm Steph! Co-owner and doula here at Hello, Baby!. 

Jenn's making me do this interview style so here we go! :P 

J: Why did you become a doula?

S: Oh man! I'm sure it started after the birth of my first. My partner Matt and I felt really traumatized. Here was this baby in our arms, and we were shell-shocked by birth. No one talks about all the things that aren't warm and fuzzy. So - with that experience - I knew, I never wanted another family to feel this way. 

It was lonely in Halifax with no family and supports in place, so we moved back to Peterborough. I was pregnant with our second and I knew I would do things differently. We had midwives and a home birth and it was a game changer! I had met Jenn and found a group of mamas who loved to babywear. 5 months after she was born I started working with other mamas in our community and photographing motherhood. Through Matt + Steph, my photography business, I felt compelled to tell these untold stories, like ours, especially from a female perspective. Once I started photographing births,  I KNEW I had to finally go for my doula training. Behind the lens was an awesome experience but I could literally feel my body lurching forward, wanting to help! Supporting women had suddenly become such a clear pattern and thread in my life and everything was calling me here! 

J: What do you hope to bring to the community?

S: The thing I want most is for mothers of the world to stop feeling so alone. We meet and share such incredible intimate moments with women in our community and although each experience is different, we all end up feeling such loneliness and guilt. I hope to bring women together and encourage each other to LIFT each other up and shed the guilt. Women working together is an incredibly powerful thing. I feel it at every birth I attend. Without being super cheesy, it's magical! It is! It's like nothing else you've ever experienced. 

J: What is one thing you have learned working with people during pregnancy, birth, or postpartum?

S: I think it would be that we are so incredibly capable. We are so powerful, our bodies are amazing, and we can do amazing things. 

J: Anything else you want to share?

S: I'm currently pregnant! I'm a surrogate for the first time for two amazing baby daddies as I call them! This journey has really connected me with the experience of being pregnant and preparing for our eventual birth of this beautiful baby. I'm thankful I get to have my very own doula this time around! Thanks Jenn! Haha! It's been hard and refreshing and has really connected me back to why I wanted to be a doula :)

Steph Hayes is working towards certification as a a prenatal educator with ProDoula and birth doula and postpartum doula through Bebo Mia. She is a photographer and filmmaker, who is passionate about sharing women’s stories, especially about birth. In her off time, she is tending to the garden and chasing the cat, the chickens or her two young children.

Why Hire a Doula?
We recently had coffee with Ann Douglas at Silver Bean Café and chatted all about her love for doulas! Ann is the author of numerous bestselling books about pregnancy and parenthood, including The Mother of All Pregnancy Books and The Mother of All Baby Books. She is also the weekend parenting columnist for CBC Radio. Her website is www.having-a-baby.com and she is @anndouglas on Twitter

By Ann Douglas

You’ve no doubt heard the buzz about doulas—professional labour and postpartum assistants who offer support to women and their partners during labour, birth, and beyond. What you might not realize until you’ve experienced the magic of doula care first-hand is just what a far-reaching impact a doula can have on your life. 

A doula can help you to feel good about your birth experience. A study conducted by a group of researchers in California found that women who had the support of a doula during their babies’ births were more likely to feel positive about their birth experiences than women who did not have the benefit of such support. While 82.5% of the women who had the support of a doula during labour rated their birth experiences as “good,” only 67.4% of women who laboured without the support of a doula felt similarly positive. Add to this the fact that mothers who labour with support from a doula tend to have shorter labours with fewer complications and fewer interventions, and you can see why so many moms-to- be opt for doula care.

A doula is a gift that you give to your partner as well as yourself. Having the support of a doula frees your partner up to do what partners do best—providing you with unconditional love and no-strings- attached support. It also makes it possible for your partner to practice self-care during labour, birth, and beyond. Your partner knows you’re in good hands when you’re being supported by a doula, so there’s no need to feel guilty for taking a break to have a quick snooze or to enjoy a healthy snack.

A doula can help you to find your “parenting village”—to tap into community services and supports and to connect with other new parents. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to support that child’s parent—and your doula has the keys to the village! Why waste valuable time trying to research all your options when you could be doing something far more important, like cuddling with your baby or catching up on sleep?

So, as you can see, there are all kinds of compelling reasons to hire a doula. Doulas are your go-to guides to all things parenting as you prepare to make this exciting transition in your life.

--Ann Douglas

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