A Journey of Connection and Transformation

My Seven Years as a Doula

In the realm of life-altering experiences, nothing quite comparesin my life to the profound impact of becoming a birth and postpartum doula, working closely with hundreds of families over the past seven years. It’s a journey that has not only shaped my professional path but also transformed me as a human being and a therapist. As I reflect on my time as a birth and postpartum doula, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of honor and gratitude for the privilege of being intimately connected with birthing people and their families during one of the most transformative moments of their lives.

When I first embarked on this journey, I had no idea how it would affect me. My role as a birth and postpartum doula was not just about providing physical and emotional support during labor and birth, but it extended to the critical weeks and months that followed. It was about becoming a trusted companion on the incredible journey of childbirth and the delicate postpartum period. I witnessed the raw power of the human spirit and the strength of those in labor, as well as the vulnerability and resilience of new parents in their postpartum journey. It was a privilege to be a witness as birthing individuals discovered new versions of themselves as parents, as partners, and as human beings.

One of the most valuable lessons I learned during my time as a birth and postpartum doula was the importance of holding space for people as they navigated the challenges and joys of childbirth and the new reality once they came home. In this role, I became adept at providing emotional support, creating a safe environment for expression, and empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their birthing experiences and postpartum care. This skillset, honed in the labor room and in homes, has proven invaluable in my work as a therapist, where I continue to help individuals explore their feelings, process trauma, and find their own path toward healing and growth.

Becoming a birth and postpartum doula also deepened my understanding of the interconnectedness of family systems. I saw firsthand how the dynamics within a family could profoundly impact the birthing experience and the postpartumtime. The support of partners, the involvement of extended family, single parenthood and the unique stories and histories of each family all played a role in shaping these pivotal moments. This understanding has enriched my work as a therapist, allowing me to approach family dynamics with greater sensitivity and insight.

As a doula I witnessed the resilience of the human spirit. I saw individuals face fear, uncertainty, and pain with unwavering determination. I saw them tap into inner reservoirs of strength they never knew existed. These experiences of triumph over adversity continue to inspire me in my work as a therapist, reminding me of the incredible potential for growth and healing that resides within each of us.I have transitioned into a “retired doula” with a heart full of respect and appreciation for the vital work that doulas do in both the birthing room and the postpartum space. They are the front line of defense when it comes to protecting the mental health and emotional well-being of the families they work with.

This chapter in my life as a doula ultimately led me to discover my passion for working in perinatal mental health. The experiences, the connections, and the lessons learned during those seven years have shaped my career and my sense of purpose. I am forever grateful for the privilege of being a doulaand for the opportunity to contribute to the mental health and well-being of the families I had the honor of serving.

Posted by Colette Lopane-Capella