If you would have asked me 3 years ago if I had a doula for my births, my answer would have been something to the effect of, "No. I had no clue there was such thing as a doula then. I wish I would have known my experience would have been different." The truth is, I had TWO doulas, I just didn't know it. I didn't have the language...or the money- I was a teen parent. What I had was the love of my family and it was abundant.
My grandmothers were my doulas for my first birth. What a lucky girl I was!
My maternal grandmother, Elsie Jackson served as my birth doula. She took me to my prenatal appointments and made sure I ate healthy nutritious meals. I was anemic, so she made sure to cook spinach, collard greens, and liver in addition to making sure I took my iron supplement. She was determined to get that iron level up, Hunni!! She reviewed the information from the doctors and nurses with me after each visit. She never made decisions for me. Rather, she made sure I had a full understanding of the information so I could make my own decision. During my labor she was a rock. She sat by my side and held space for me during contractions. She would rub my back and offer ice chips for the duration of the contractions. She reminded me to breathe and encouraged me. She was also present for my own birth and told me "you are sure better at this than your mama was when she had you. She was screaming and crying and carrying on". A lil friendly family birth competition never hurt nobody ;)
My paternal grandmother, Oveter Burnette was my postpartum doula. My family was in the middle of a big transition. My father was retiring from the Army and we moved back to the states from Germany during my eighth month. My grandmother came to Texas from North Carolina to make our transition a smooth one and to help me with the baby. During the six months that she was there she taught me how to care for my baby and for myself. She cared for my baby during the day when I was at school. She also taught me a few natural home remedies for his colds and constipation. My grandma held it down for us and I am forever grateful to her, may she rest in the sweetest peace.
AnyaDoula is Born!
I was called for this work. I'm a tad bit ashamed to admit that it didn't even register to me that my grandmothers were my doulas until I was in doula training. I am proud to say I was formally trained by renowned midwife and birth activist, Shafia Monroe. I have been trained by the best-my grandmothers and Mama Shafia!
One of the first points Mama Shafia taught us is that the ideal doula for each pregnant woman is someone in her family. MIND BLOWN! Do you hear me? I immediately thought to myself: I had the best when I thought I didn't have a doula at all. I had the two best doulas that ever could have been for me! This then begs the question (I already know where you're headed with this): Why do I need a doula if family is best? Am I right? I think I might be right.
AnyaDoula is For YOU because...
In case you hadn't noticed Houston is growing FAST with no signs of slowing down. According to World Population Review, "by 2020, Houston's population is expected to grow from today's 2.162 million to 2.52 million". This population growth (which has no signs of slowing down) is mainly due to people moving here for school, jobs, or immigrating.
This means a lot of them are moving away from family. It's not always easy to get everyone together even with the best of intentions. Additionally, everyone doesn't have family support even if they are in close proximity for a myriad of reasons. For women who are pregnant the village you build is crucial to your well-being and that of your baby during labor, postpartum, and long after. If you are away from family you will have to begin building your village.
My wish is for every pregnant woman to have the same support and love that my grandmothers gave me. I would be honored to do that for you. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant soon and you're not sure who your village is yet, call/email/text/DM me. I will be honored to join your village. Even if you already have your village, I don't mind jumping in the mix with mama, granny, auntie, your cousins 'n them if you determine a doula is what you need in addition. The point is to make sure you are supported and loved through this most exciting transition the way YOU feel is best.
Who supported you during your labor? Did you hire a doula? Was your family available? Are you currently looking for your village? I'd love to connect with you in the comment section below. Tell us who loved on you during your labor ;)