WATER COOLER DOULA
How I turned my #babywhisperer status into my #doulalife.
My boss is no longer my boss. She’s one of my dearest friends now, and for a period of six months in between she was also my client.
For what felt like forever, I was the only mom in my peer group at work. In the corporate world where many put career first, it’s quite common for people to not begin expanding their families until their 30s or 40s. Here in Toronto, the average age of first time moms in 2011 was 30.1 (vs 28.2 average for all of Ontario), with more than 55% of babies being born to women over 30. In my suit wearing, board meeting attending, 9 to 5 environment, I often received looks of awe and confusion whenever I revealed that I was barely 23 when my daughter was born. But as my colleagues began to build their families, those questioning looks began seeking answers as I rapidly became the go to sounding board for everything from conception to newborn care.
Ugh. I feel gross. What can I take for morning sickness? Ask Patice.
What the heck is this “ring of fire” thing I keep hearing about?? Ask Patice.
I'm terrified that I'm going to mess this kid up. You're not. I promise.
Conversations in the coffee line often became text messages and phone calls after the work day had ended. As I sat on the phone with these women, our working relationship forever changed by the common denominator of pregnancy, I provided input when asked, listened when an ear was needed, and sometimes just held space. We bonded on these occasions. I was there for them without hesitation or judgement as I supported their journey and relished in being the expert and confidant they turned to.
So when my boss-now-friend asked if I would be her doula because she could not imagine anyone but me supporting her through the phenomenal life changing task of growing and birthing a baby, it hit me like a ton of bricks that this magically soothing, belly and baby whisperer thing I had been doing all along was my calling. And as her eyes welled with hopeful tears and mine did too because I am an empathetic softy (really, how could I not be in that moment), I replied “Yes. It would be an honour to be your doula”.
That very evening I went online and registered for my first of many courses -- Birth Doula Training. I haven’t looked back since.