May is International Doula Month. Last year, I started a project, "31 Days of Doula Posts," and it was not only well-received, it was also personally enriching. I loved the connections that were made with all these lovely doulas and parents as they shared stories about doulas. The guest post which generated the most interest was Samantha -- the 14-year-old doula. I asked Samantha to start us off this year, and I am excited to read about the changes in her life -- I am sure you will be, too!
A year later and I'm still here! Even though several told me I wouldn't continue doulaing. (Well, I suppose in a way they are partially correct but before I get to that point, let me update you on this past years happening.) For those of you that don't remember me, I'm that really young doula -- the one who became a doula at 14 -- and I "haven't slowed down any," as my mom likes to put it.
In January I was certified as a birth doula through DONA International, and just recently in April O was certified as a postpartum doula, earning the titles CD(DONA) and PCD(DONA). In November/December of last year, I attended several days of workshops taught by WIC here locally in Texas. Doing so made me a "Trained Breastfeeding Educator," (while this isn't actually a certified title you could abbreviate with TBE, you can still call yourself a Trained Breastfeeding Educator).
I'm 17 now. I've had 6 clients and my first repeat client is due this fall -- I'm sure anyone who's had a repeat client can attest to HOW EXCITING this is! Stacie asked me to share a few things I've learned being a young doula.
One of the most important things I've learned is, age doesn't really matter at all in anything in life. We don't become wise and mature through chronological age; we mature through experience and acceptance of more responsibility. While there are many things in life that are sometimes better suited for those with more experience (and thus older in age), there are those that do happen to mature sooner in life verses later. While those people are rare and few to come by, these are the people that will later make changes in the world for the better. I've had the opportunity of getting to visit with several of these individuals, and it's extremely refreshing to find someone else who is young, mature, and eager to achieve their life's calling! As I'm aging, I love passing on advice to those new to the teenage years; hopefully inspiring them to overstep typical age boundaries by setting higher goals and achieving them.
It's hard to imagine just over two years ago I had no idea what a doula even was! I honestly cannot put into words how much I love doulaing! I've learned so much from my clients and grown a lot from this profession. My love for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation (and absolutely every thing in between), has grown so much! Getting to serve expecting mothers and witness birth is such a blessing! This path in my life was not one I would have ever thought I'd see myself taking. It's one that was chosen for me with a purpose by HaShem (G-d).
I've learned in life we start off doing something small (that we think is big at the time), and it's not until later we realize that was only a piece of the bigger picture. I became a doula to help support women to have the childbirth experience they wanted. Now I have been called to go into midwifery!!! I was granted a one year age exemption from the Association of Texas Midwives Midwifery Training Program and I mailed off all the required papers a few days ago. I'm so excited to step into this new journey of my life. Of course I'll continue to keep my doula certifications; I'm also taking the Lamaze exam this fall and taking a course to become a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC).
Another important thing I've learned along my journey is mentorship from those older and wiser. I've met many along the way. Even if I pick up one thing from them I know it's making me a better person, friend, and doula. I can only imagine what I'm going to be learning, who I'll be meeting and where I'm going to find myself in 10 years. One thing is for sure, I couldn't have gotten here by myself. It takes teams of people to make things happen. To all my family, trainers, co-doulas, clients, mentors and friends -- THANK YOU!
Who knows where HaShem will have me in a year, but I know, I'll be making my mark in the world, one birth at a time!
Samantha Morgan is the (very young) owner of Doula Your Way, in the Sweetwater, TX area. She is certified through DONA as both a Birth and Postpartum Doula. When she is not wrapped up in helping expectant and new families, she enjoys traveling, and spending time with her three fur-babies -- two Airedale Terrier's named Ollie and Lady, and a cat named Tony. Samantha believes every woman is empowered to give birth her way, naturally and confidently. She truly shows her doula spirit and heart by not only helping families, but also nurturing younger doulas as they strive to find their place in the birth world. Find her online, email her, or visit her website to learn more about Samantha.
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)