My Journey into Holding Space

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire...”

Walking away from the corporate world after the conclusion of my maternity leave 6 months ago was one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make. How on earth would I support my family? How could I let go of amazing benefits and a 401K? Business travel to incredible cities, fine dining with my colleagues, getting dressed up and having a break from the stresses of parenthood… how could I possibly make this sacrifice? But deep down, my soul was crying out- it was time for change. Sacred, meaningful transformation of body, mind, and spirit. It was time to shed the comfort and security of the 9-5 that became my normal. My heart was whispering words of encouragement that I needed to pursue what I had recently unearthed- my life purpose, my true passion, and my deepest longing. To journey into the sacred world of birth work- to chase my dream of becoming a Doula, a servant to mankind.

Despite the fear clouding my mind with the thought of leaving my job, I closed my eyes and leapt. Through this longing to meet my truest self, I began my journey as a student of birth. I collected and began reading articles and books on all things birth and postpartum, and started reaching out to local Doulas who spoke my newfound language, leaving every coffee date feeling unbelievably inspired. I had no doubt that I had made the right decision. I had found my tribe.

After diving headfirst into the first Doula training I could get my hands on, I began to build and solidify my mission for changing the world one birth at a time. I realized that as a new student in the Doula world I would need to find a way to make a living while studying, pursuing ongoing trainings and certifications, and preparing to launch a new business. I began work as a nanny for several dear families, which has been a fabulous way to connect with and support local families, and make a reasonable income to support my family. On top of preparing a financial plan of action, I also realized the importance of having physical back up. As a Mama of two babies, life can be quite unpredictable. Embarking into an on-call lifestyle, I just could not risk being unable to show up for a family entrusting in my service. This realization led me to the decision to partner up with another wonderful Doula, Gabby Jones. This has been one of the best choices I have made along this journey. Gabby and I have been able to divide and conquer the multiple tasks required in running a thriving Doula business, as well as provide back-up childcare, among so many other exceptional benefits. I am so grateful to have connected with Gabby, who has not only become my business partner, but also my biggest confidant and guiding light as I navigate the waters as a new birth worker and entrepreneur. Together, we plan to do very big things. One of our largest goals is to build awareness of the tremendous impact Doulas can have as part of a family’s unique care team, and to thoughtfully nurture, empower, and educate the growing families we have the honor of working with.

Through the discovery of my raw self and motivation to serve families during such a tender,  impactful time in their lives, I have also uncovered how to deeply nurture and take care of myself. I have felt overwhelmed at times with gratitude for uncovering a profession that allows me to practice and thrive within my true authenticity. From a very young age, I have considered myself an exceedingly spiritual, holistic being at my core, drawn to natural healing and herbal remedies. A dear friend recently introduced me to the soothing, healing abilities of gemstones, and since this discovery these beautiful rocks have been a gift and tool I use to ground and to heal within my daily self-care practice. I have found the epitome of inner peace being in the presence of nature and deeply breathing in Mother Earth. Yoga and meditation have truly become an addiction, and the purest way to slow down my nervous system and connect with slow, meaningful breath. Cultivating self-care has been one of the most incredible gifts I have discovered along my path, and information I love to share with families to encourage them to also continuously refill their cups so that they can care for new life.

As the months have passed and I continue my research, I have begun to mold my philosophy around why this work is so important, and what it means to truly hold space for each family. I believe that the continuous, nurturing, uninterrupted presence of a Doula is something that every birthing individual needs and so deserves. As a society we are made to feel that birth is a scary and traumatic experience. I desperately want to remove this fear and help our community to understand just how normal birth truly is, and what a profound impact the presence of a Doula can have on the birthing experience for each and every family. My sole purpose as a Doula is to mindfully hold space for every family in whatever way is most helpful to them. This means that I acknowledge, recognize, and honor their chosen plan, and help them to make the decisions that are right for them in the moment. In order to do this, I must check everything at the door before I enter the birthing space. I must continuously stop and ask myself, “how will he/she remember this?” or “what do they need in this moment?” Sometimes holding space means simply my presence in the room, and I have done the work in order to recognize and be okay with that. Other times it means hands-on, personalized care for comfort and pain relief, or a detailed explanation of medical feedback in language that can be easily understood. Holding space is nurturing a terrified partner, showing them how to lovingly hold and support their laboring partner, gracefully guiding them through the dance of swaying, touching, and deeply comforting. Whatever the request may be in the moment, my soul overflows through this gentle and compassionate work, allowing me to continuously pause, take a slow, deep breath, and focus on moving with grace and intention.

With 2018 quickly approaching, I am excited to see what the universe has in store as more is revealed each day that I am truly on the right path. I am humbled and so grateful that I made the decision to follow my heart and pursue this meaningful, sacred work.

Wishing everyone a safe and magical holiday season!

Danielle DeanComment