How Did You End Up Being a Doula?

This is the number one question I am asked. Potential clients, friends, acquaintances, strangers who ask what I do for a living…. they all ask how I came into this job. And I can appreciate the question—the doula profession is an uncommon one!

I’ve always had an interest in pregnancy, birth, and parenting. I have four children of my own and each experience has been similar but also very unique. I didn’t even know what a doula was until I was pregnant with my third baby. After two hospital births where I had hoped to have medication-free births but ended up with epidurals, I wanted my third experience to be different. I started looking into hiring a doula but the thought of having a stranger all in my business during such a personal experience was unnerving. And they were expensive. So I brushed it off and went without. My birth experience with baby number three went well, I got an epidural again but I was ok with it. It was after she was born in early 2011 that I started to be active in our local parenting community. I found babywearing and made wonderful friends and learned about all these different birth and parenting philosophies. I became a VBE (volunteer babywearing educator) with our local Babywearing International chapter and eventually chapter president. During our babywearing meetings I met and got to know moms who had regrets. They felt like they weren’t in control of their choices, felt bullied or coerced into agreeing to medical interventions. They didn’t feel supported or listened to and I began to see a need in my community.

When I got pregnant with my fourth baby, I knew I wanted a different birth experience. I had met some amazing mothers who had had homebirths and I knew that was the experience I wanted as well. I still didn’t end up hiring a doula, but I did have an amazing midwife who supported me through my pregnancy and made me feel strong and capable. After my (amazing) homebirth, I knew I wanted to be a doula. I knew I wanted to support women in the same way I was supported. I wanted them to feel like they were making choices because it was what they thought was best, not because they felt threatened or scared or coerced.

I started my doula career by viewing it as a hobby, something I would do on occasion when friends or friends of friends needed support. I never intended to make a living off of it but when my (now ex) husband and I separated I was forced with the choice of putting my kids into daycare and working a job I probably hated, or going all in and turning this passion of mine into a business to support myself and my kids. Well, we know which I choose. While running a business as a single mother is incredibly difficult, overwhelming, and stressful, it is also incredibly rewarding, exciting, and challenging. Loving what you do matters!  

Melissa Cruz

Owner

The Fayetteville Doulas

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