Why Did I Become A Doula?
Authored by Devon Mullins; Owner, CLC, CYBE, HCHD, Birth/Postpartum Doula
I attended my first birth when I was 4 years old. Of course all I remember is being told by my Aunt Selena to stay up against the wall and out of the way while my mom gave birth to my little brother. My next experience in the labor and delivery room was when I was 10 years old and my 3rd brother was on his way. I got to see EVERYTHING! I mean EVERYTHING! It was definitely an educational experience for me and so were the next 2 siblings, 1 nephew, best friends’ kids, and my own 2 children.
I remember wanting to become a midwife when I was 14. I was already comfortable in the delivery room. I had witnessed 4 siblings be born and I thought it would be the most amazing job; to be able to witness new life coming into this world.
When it came right down to it though, I was too afraid of facing the negative aspects that statistically come with childbirth to take that path at that time in my life. I ended up going to college and changing my career path over and over. I could never decide what I wanted “to do”. I ended up joining the family business in construction which eventually brought me to Oklahoma. Life kept on rolling on and I felt like I would never find that perfect job. The thing is though, I’ve never lost desire to help women in the delivery room. Whether it was my sister or a close friend, I felt called to support them through childbirth.
I’ve always heard the old saying that if you do what you love you’ll never work a day in your life. It’s taken me a decade to realize that it is a true statement. Doula. Birth doula. Postpartum doula. Childbirth Educator. This is my calling and the most amazing career. So why did it take me so long to realize that this was the path for me? What made this a passion and a calling?
- The first step was realizing that it was even an option. I had heard of doulas when I was younger but it was more in the context of hippie, commune, chanting etc. stereotypes. I have come to see that there is a doula out there for everyone! There are amazing doulas that support women who want un-medicated births, epidurals, vaginal births, cesareans, and everything in between. Doulas aren’t just for girls named Flower, Rain, and Willow.
- The next step was understanding that not only was this an option but it is supported by research such as from the American Journal of Managed Care to be incredibly beneficial to women. The Cochran Review also states that “Continuous support in labor increased the chance of a spontaneous vaginal birth, had no harm, and women were more satisfied”.
- And finally, I came to the conclusion that I could draw upon my various experiences to help women to understand their options and feel confident in what they want.
You see, my birth experiences aren’t something to write home about. I didn’t have resources like Your Birth Experience to learn about my options. I wasn’t the most educated person and therefore I wasn’t able to advocate for myself the way I wish I could have. I didn’t think that I would need a birth doula because I had my mom and my husband. Little did I realize that my poor husband was more scared about the process than anyone and would be of little help to me during labor.
It is through my own life lessons and yes, disappointments that I can relay to others the consequences of NOT being educated and equipped to advocate for myself. I asked about delayed cord clamping but didn’t know enough to demand it. Skin to skin would have greatly benefitted my son after birth but I didn’t know enough to ask for it. My nurse was downright mean and rude and I was too afraid to speak up about it. I NEVER want anyone to have regrets and bad memories about their birth experience and it is my goal to facilitate the best most positive experience as I am able to.
I think that is why I am so passionate about it now. I know what it means when someone says the only choices you have are the ones you are educated about. It is my goal to educate women to the best of my ability so that they are equipped when they go into the doctor’s office or the delivery room and they can be empowered to advocate for themselves in their health care.
Will I ever be able to guarantee that women will have the exact experiences they want? Of course not. I am not in control. I can only support women in THEIR decisions. I can help to educate women of their options through the Your Birth Experience childbirth preparation course and by giving them unbiased evidence based information so that they can make informed decisions. I can give emotional encouragement and physical support to facilitate those decisions. This is my perfect job. I want to be there for you and I promise I won’t just stand by the wall.