World Doula Week - Steph Hayes
Intro re. world doula week
Taking care of families is hard work! Whether it’s getting up on the bed to be right beside her head to reassure her she’s doing an amazing job and coach her through her breathing, or snuggling up with a newborn in a woven wrap, I need to be able to move around, quickly, and comfortably. So I usually wear layers which are always helpful, especially at births when the temperature can fluctuate from night into day.
I don’t really do quotes as life mantras! Haha! But I do think they can give you some great pause, or a that kick-in-the-ass you need to make your dreams happen! I like this one because it reflects my optimism. Buffy St. Marie recently mentioned in an CBC interview that she would rather feel good than bad. At the time, I was driving home from a postpartum shift listening to CBC (which was a beautiful ritual for me to and from Cobourg), thinking YES! Finally! This amazing woman, such an inspiration and badass, is on the same page as me!. I’ve been done feeling bad for a long time now and would much rather find the good which I think I bring into my doula work probably without even being super conscious of it.
What tools does Steph use most as a doula?
Listening I would say is the tool I use the most out of everything I have in my tool bag. I think sitting down with a good cup of coffee or tea and just listening to people tell their story is so undervalued in our society but is such a powerful tool.
There is healing that can happen just by speaking our experiences outloud. There is power in sharing your story to another woman and perhaps, having other women overhear that story and feel less alone in their journey. I’m a HUGE advocate for sharing and it’s why I do the work that I do and it’s why I put so much of my own self out there.
This life stuff, pregnancy, birth, raising kids or marriage, is too much for us to carry alone. So, sometimes, as doulas, we just listen.
What have Steph's clients said about working with her?
What's in Steph's doula bag?
There’s not much I carry in my doula bag for births. Why? Because YOU can do it! I honestly just grab my purse and throw a few snacks and bottle of water inside. Depending on the time of day I’ll grab us all some coffee on my way to to your birth. I usually throw in my rainbow woven wrap in case we need it but all the things we need for birth are within you and/or already in your space. There’s so much we can get creative with and I’d rather not be bogged down with things and gadgets.
For postpartum clients I will tailor it to our visits. Are we working on breastfeeding? Are we hanging out with older siblings? I have been known to bring a box of craft supplies, fresh eggs from the chickens, and definitely a few carriers to learn babywearing with *wink*
Who inspires you, Steph?
Strong women everywhere inspire me! Especially every single one who is not afraid to push the envelope or stand up for what she believes is right!
I feel like I draw inspiration from good people. People who are just kind and hospitable and do good things in the world. Like, good friends or strangers who will go out of their way to help you out or if they also are busy with young kids, check in with you in any way they can. We have amazing friends who will do anything for us and have supported us from basically Day 1 of our friendship. We look up to them and aspire to support others and treat others they way they do!
What is your favourite part about being a doula?
Selfishly, getting to know my clients and being part of such an intimate time in their lives is one of my favourite parts of being a doula. I also love learning and bearing witness to the power of women! There is something so transformative that happens when we share space around a birth woman and bear witness to her bringing another life into our world - crazy!
Mostly, I just want to help. I want to help and share my journey and the journey of other women before us so that we can raise each other up. This is what drives my birth photography as well. If you haven't visited Birth Story yet, please do! So if I have helped in anyway, big or small, I am super happy!