I thought I would start this blog series with why I became a doula. I've done several interviews and self-introductions at this point and this seems to be the most popular and sought-after response.
I became a doula for many reasons. My primary ethos in pursuing this career path is to support those who do not know that support is available to them. I was introduced to doula work when I was a child of about 5 or 6 years old. My mother was pregnant with twins and due to her pregnancy, I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandmother. I learned from my mom, my grandma, and the tv all things birth.
My paternal grandmother was born and raised in the providence of Barahona in the Dominican Republic where she birthed all 9 of her children, with my father being her last birth in 1964. During the months of my mother's pregnancy, I asked my grandmother a lot of questions surrounding birth. I spent a lot of time watching "A Baby Story" on TLC and I noticed several things: my mom's experience was different from what my grandmother's; my mom's experience was different from what I saw on tv; there was a distinct difference about the ways people approached births. My favorite births to watch were the water births. The parents seemed so involved, comfortable, and most importantly empowered. From that moment on I knew I wanted a waterbirth (they seemed the least painful of the natural births).
These thoughts never left my mind, 10 years later I would see that a medical center in the Bronx had a birthing pool and I fantasized about how amazing it would be to birth in the water close to home. By the time I returned to the Bronx from college, the birthing center had been closed. My dreams never changed and expanded on how to bring awareness to lower medical interventional births so more birthing centers can stay in business to support the community.
One thing that I rarely talk about during these interviews is another experience that really propelled me toward doula work. I went to an all-girls catholic high school, during my tenure there I witnessed and heard some scary things regarding reproductive health and wellness. I remember feeling like classmates of mine who had gotten pregnant or who contracted an STI oftentimes didn't have a reliable nonbiased adult who could affirm their decisions and provide all available options. My perception of abortion at this time was limited to the understanding that I didn't want to have to make that decision because it seemed like a hard one to make. I recognized that abortion doula work is someplace I'd like to be of service.
During my doula training, I learned more about postpartum and abortion aftercare that affirmed that these are spaces that have high need. My goals are to provide as much support as I can to ensure that individuals and families recognize that support is available and they are worthy of asking and receiving care and support.
Since my training in 2018, I have been able to support several families and individuals have affirming and safe births and abortions. My goals are to continue to provide information to families and individuals so that everyone can feel affirmed and empowered by their personal decisions and aware of their options.