Alright, here it is—my inaugural blog post…I’m going to pause for a moment to let that sink in (mostly for me)…
I’ve spent a good year going back and forth over whether to start a blog or not, and guess what?! I decided to go for it! (New Year’s resolution #1—check)
I’m so excited to be sharing my passion with all of you! Birth work is the life calling I never thought I’d find. It’s a true miracle I’ve made it here, and I'm not taking a single moment of it for granted. So, here it goes—my best effort to bring you positive, helpful, evidence-based information for your childbearing year.
But first, I'd like to give you a little history lesson on me—Lindsay Dougal, Doula. I was born on a cold winter morning in the year 1980-something...
Alright, alright. So we won't go that far back.
IT ALL BEGAN…
I had my first child, a son, in the summer of 2012. It was a time of immense growth and change—a time of complete transformation. I don’t think I really realized how transformational the whole process (from conception to the fourth trimester) would be, until I looked back from the other side. I prepped myself as much as I possibly could for the birth of my son. I watched all the movies, read all the books, and took all the classes. I felt so prepared.
My estimated due date and came went. I was big, and hot (August, anyone?!), and completely ready for my little gremlin to make his grand debut. My waters released in the wee hours of the morning five days later. Well, I didn’t immediately go into labor. In fact, I went back to sleep, woke up five hours later to head into my midwife’s office to make sure my water did, in fact, break (it had! Wahoo!), went back home to “pack my bag”, attempted to take a nap, then got so antsy that we decided to head into the hospital. Twelve hours after my water broke, I wasn’t laboring—we opted to induce.
They hooked up the pitocin and things started happening. Oh boy! Were they happening! Surges went from zero to so-intense-I’m-ready-to-throw-my-whole-birth-plan-out-the-window. But guess what?! I had an amazing birth team that truly helped me feel supported, encouraged, and loved. I fought hard (mentally) to stay focused on what I wanted for my son’s birth, and why I wanted those things. After 8 hours of unmedicated labor (with a truly heroic partner by my side), I was able to meet my beautiful boy and experience the complete awe and reverence for the capabilities of my body. I felt completely empowered.
SO, WHAT PROPELLED ME INTO DOULA WORK?
I was the first in my friend group to start having children. When my friends and colleagues began having children, I heard story after story of experiences so opposite to mine, that my heart literally hurt for them—and women like them—experiencing something so contrary to what the introduction to motherhood can (and should?) be. For me, I wanted to help others find the same kind of empowerment I found when birthing my son.
At the time, I didn’t really understand what, exactly, I could do to impact any of it. I had not heard of doulas—or at least, did not fully understand or know a doula’s role. It was about a year or two after my son’s birth that I really started learning more about doulas. I felt drawn to the work, but had so many excuses as to why I could never do it. I sort of put it out of my mind as a pipe dream—something that would be really “cool” and “exciting” in another lifetime.
FAST FORWARD TWO YEARS…
It was the summer of 2015. I was pregnant with my second child, a son. My pregnancy was uneventful—in the best kind of way. He was a little wiggle bug, practicing his acrobatics in my tum. As my pregnancy wore on, I had a feeling of unease, but chalked it up to “paranoia”—every appointment proved his health and well-being. I went into labor in the wee hours of a Sunday morning during my 39th week of pregnancy. When we made it to the hospital, we learned his little heart was no longer beating. Ya’ll, my world came crashing down. I won’t get into the nitty-gritty here (a post for another time, I have no doubt), but this single life event put things in motion for me.
We celebrated my husband’s graduation shortly before our son’s (still)birth, and he found a job a several months later. A series of events landed me a stay-at-home mama—a new challenge I was not totally prepared for, but willingly accepted. In my time at home, I learned that I needed to do something for me. I needed something to keep me grounded in Lindsay. And guess what?! Birth work kept calling to me.
I was seven months pregnant with my third child—another boy! #boymom—when I decided to take the leap. I still had so many excuses as to why the on-call life of a doula would not work, but I couldn’t ignore the lessons the summer and fall of 2015 taught—life is short, find what lights the fire inside you and hold onto it.
I signed up for my doula certification course and haven’t looked back. A little over a year into this work I can confidently say I have found my life’s calling. When people learn what I do, they often comment on how amazing it is that I get to see babies being born. And while I agree with this exciting statement, there is something that brings even more gratitude, humility, and power to my soul—being witness to the birth of a mother.