I started this journey to find out what I wanted to be when I grow up after I had my second son at age 23. His labor and birth was scary for me, and I left the hospital feeling like something was ripped from my heart. I felt like a statistic instead of a new mother. How could I make this different so mothers don’t have to feel what I did? I prayed. I looked into going to school for nursing and even took some classes, but it wasn’t right. That was not where I needed to be to make the difference that I needed to make. I prayed some more. Where did God need me?
I was watching some TLC baby reality TV show and the word “doula” was tossed around throughout the episode. I immediately was intrigued! I had no clue what a doula was so I researched and prayed some more. It all then fell into place…this is where I needed to be….I fell in love! I started studying almost immediately after my decision to go at this full force. I read and read and read some more – about 11 books within 2 months. My next step was to attend a 3-day doula workshop which consisted of LONG hours – that was cake! Studying to become a doula didn’t seem like work to me, it was a passion that was burning in me that I would let roar when I was learning or inching closer to my dream.
After the workshop, fear and doubt set in. Could I support these women and their partners the way they needed to be supported? [Absolutely!] Could I push my own feelings and desires aside to make their feelings and desires my priority? [My client’s desires became my own desires.] What would happen if I cried during their labor and birth? [Nothing!! I have cried at just about all my births and no, I’m not sorry! ;-)] Could I live up to the dream in my heart to change labor and birth from the way it is to what it should be? [I can’t do it alone…that’s where I trust and ask God to use me to love on His beloved children.] What if I gagged if my client throws up (this was one of my biggest fears)? [If you had me as your doula, you know fears are a big part of our counseling time. You have to face your fears…well…I faced mine during my 3rd labor & delivery! I no longer fear vomit…I embrace it.]
I found out quickly that what I thought would be an awesome job watching babies being born, turned out to be a burning passion to connect with a mother so deeply that I would be able to sense her wants and needs during her labor and birth. I also found a need to uplift her partner and support the bond between them…paying close attention not to interrupt their time but to support it with much care. My questions and fears I had about my abilities quickly disappeared and the focus went off of me and onto what my heart burns with passion for…to help her connect with herself, her faith, her Savior, her partner, her maternal instincts, her hearts desires, her ability to have control over her body, birth and labor. I found myself turn into a completely different person when I “work”. My focus is my clients – learning to step back when I needed to, offer a hand when it’s wanted, inform when education is needed and most importantly to support the mother and father bond as they bring their baby into this world. My main goal is to provide my clients with the support they need to make confident and educated decisions that will empower their intimate birthing experience.
I finished my training with DONA (Doulas of North America) in 2010 and chose not to turn in my certification due to the pregnancy of my 4th baby and my 1.5 year sabbatical. In 2013, I decided to pick back up the books and head back in for more training, this time with BAI (Birth Arts International), a different organization with a whole new line of training. I’m more than half way through my certification through them and am so excited to add CD (Certified Doula) after my name.
Here I am, 5 years after God placed this calling on my life, still amazed by His path! I’ve studied, trusted, grown, cried, laughed, connected and experienced 24 beautiful couples with absolutely amazing labor and births!
My heart is full!
Kara – Smile Doula
Photo: Me with my client Carrie