My story, or: the long and winding road to Doulahood.

Writing a bio has always been a challenge for me.

My career path has been a winding one.

As a teenager I was a budding ballerina but I chose to study Biology and Chemistry at University rather than pursue a dance career. Two years in a Science lab was enough for me to learn that I’d made a mistake.  I took some time off and after  working for three years as a professional Nanny in the UK I took my half a Science degree and transferred what credits I could to York University’s Theatre School and after graduation I became a professional Wardrobe Attendant or dresser.

I often felt that no one really knew what I did for a living (including the theatre managers who hired me.)   But I’ll tell you – I helped people be ready. Not just physically, but psychologically too. I did people’s hair and listened to their problems. I was there for them in the dark when they had 30 seconds to change their clothes but being there, consistently there, dependably there meant they didn’t have to think about that costume change but could instead think about their next lines or dance steps or song lyrics. And doing the same thing every show satisfied my inner dancer’s need for a choreographed routine.

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 I was one of the last of my friends to have kids so I benefited from their experiences, and I knew I wanted midwifery care when I was pregnant, and I knew to call as soon as possible and I was lucky enough to get a spot. Having my own children changed things. You know that it will, everyone says it, but it takes a while to figure out how it changes you.  Working in the theatre and having small children was too hard for me. I wanted to be home with my kids. I don’t want someone else to be raising them, even though as a former Nanny I know that it is possible for someone else to love your kids as much as you do.

A few friends had asked me to be present when they gave birth – to be their doula though the word was new to me then. Experiencing births – their births, my own births, listening to the birth stories of others I meet at drop ins and parks and Baby and Me classes – it has made me more and more interested in working in the birth world.  I’m curious about the differences in OB care and midwifery care and the reasons why those differences exist. I want to learn more.  I decided to do my doula training with Bebo Mia and finally I have found a job that combines all my diverse skills. Changing from a Wardrobe Attendant to a Doula is not so big a jump as you might think. What I loved most about working in theatre was that I was constantly meeting new people, and you can’t get any newer than a brand new baby. I’m still massaging shoulders and egos and telling people “You’ve got this.” I’m still helping people get ready, physically and psychologically.  Maybe there aren’t too many other Dancer/Scientist/Nanny/Dressers in the birth world, but this career path of mine has led me here, and I love it.

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