I just turned 26 and was 2 months away from my due date with my first baby, a girl. I had been waiting my whole life for this! From a very young age I wanted to be a mom. I also knew that I wanted to work with moms and babies in some capacity. I was so close to my own mom and I couldn’t wait to have that special relationship with my daughter. I decided not to take any childbirth classes – how hard could it be, right? Wrong.
It was not the actual labor itself that proved difficult, but it was all the decisions I had to make through it. I had never heard the words Induction or Pitocin and I surely wasn’t prepared for anyone to offer to break my water. “Sure” I said to each thing that came my way. Everything went fine and I had a healthy beautiful daughter but something felt off. It definitely wasn’t what I envisioned birth to be, so I began to research and ask questions. During those few weeks after she was born, I also remember thinking that early parenting was way more complicated than I expected. Breastfeeding didn’t come easily like it was “supposed to”. I felt disorganized and of course sleep deprived. My mother died when I was younger so I didn’t have her lean on and none of my friends had kids yet. It was a very isolating time and I felt like each new experience was trial and error. Somewhere in that time I began to imagine what the perfect solution to all of these issues would be. I didn’t know it yet, but it was someone called a “Doula”.
About 2 years later I was unexpectedly laid off from my corporate job. I was devastated at the thought of not having a steady income for my family. Little did I know this was the beginning of an amazing and life changing journey. Hip to Heart was soon to be.
I started looking for trainings in anything that was birth related. I took a birth doula training in Atlanta, postpartum doula training in North Carolina and then a Childbirth Educator training right here in Massachusetts. I dove in and started connecting with other doulas in hopes of being able to back them up and take their overflow. Thats how it all started and my schedule began to fill. I focused mostly on postpartum care, as it is scheduled work and the most predictable. It was also the kind of care that I was most passionate about. Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement in the birth world and that is exactly how my client base grew. I made this my full time job and was still able to dedicate an incredible amount of time to my daughter, which is exactly what I was hoping for.
After gaining years of experience I started to think about becoming an educator. Knowing that I had to travel to take my trainings made me think there was a need here in New England. And of course there was! I started the process of becoming a postpartum doula trainer with CAPPA and soon was on my way to hosting my first training. I could not have been more excited. Not only was I doing what I loved, but now I was training other women to do the same. Talk about rewarding! Somewhere in that time I became a Certified Lactation Counselor and started doing more and more work with breastfeeding moms. CAPPA had recently created their own Certified Lactation Educator training, so I took that as well. Of course with the hopes of eventually teaching those trainings in combination with the postpartum doula training. It was a perfect pairing – postpartum care and lactation go hand and hand.
Fast forward quite a bit, Hip to Heart is just about 11 years old and has transformed and grown more than I ever could have imagined. We are now a labor and postpartum doula agency, providing concierge care to women during and after pregnancy. I also continue to train women to become postpartum doulas and lactation educators with CAPPA, and have created my own curriculum for an Advanced Business Training for Birth Professionals. My office space now offers an amazing variety of classes, workshops and trainings for prenatal and postpartum women and perinatal professionals such as prenatal yoga, HypnoBirthing, breastfeeding education, nutrition counseling, pelvic floor wellness, parenting classes and much more.
I’m confident that we will continue to grow and evolve into an even more comprehensive and supportive resource for women. I wish I had even a fraction of this available when I had my first daughter. In the past three years I have had two more daughters, both born at home with amazing midwives and a doula and every one of these resources at my fingertips. What an incredible difference it has made to have the necessary support. It is a dream come true.
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