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Why I Became a Doula- Mary's Story

Updated: May 29, 2023

Hi there! I’m Mary, and I am half of the Madam Doula team. I also write the majority of our blog posts! So far, our blog posts have touched on a few important topics- postpartum essentials, the importance of positive birth stories, alternatives to placenta encapsulation, and more. For this week’s post, I thought I’d share a personal story: my journey to becoming a doula.

Why I Became a Doula - Mary's Story

I want to start by saying that I absolutely love my job. I love working as a doula, and my job is even more fun now that Katya and I have formed a partnership. As much as I love my job, I did not spend my childhood dreaming that one day I would become a doula. In fact, I didn’t even know what a doula was until about three years ago!

One aspect of my life that prepared me for doula work is my role as an older sister. My role as an older sister, and caregiver, has always been a major part of my identity. Pregnancy and birth were extremely normal in my childhood home, as my mother was pregnant for the majority childhood and adolescence. I often say that newborn care was my first real job- and I loved it. The happiest days of my childhood were the days that my newborn siblings came home from the hospital. I spent hours admiring their tiny lips and fingers, smelling their newborn heads, and carefully changing their tiny diapers.

Birth and Postpartum Doula Services
The Lucas siblings, June 2021

In retrospect, I was supporting women as a doula long before I had ever heard the word “doula”. I cooked meals for friends who had recently given birth, spent hours listening to my pregnant friends discuss their hopes and fears, and often gave friends and acquaintances rides to appointments with their midwives and healthcare providers. One day, about three years ago, I was reading an article about the abysmal maternal mortality rate in the United States. The article stated that women who hire doulas have a lower C-section rate than women without a doula. I Googled the word “doula” and read the definition: a doula is a trained companion who is not a healthcare professional and who supports another individual through a significant health-related experience, such as childbirth, miscarriage, induced abortion or stillbirth, or non-reproductive experiences such as dying. When I read this, it was like a lightbulb went off over my head. “This is what I am supposed to be doing,” I said to myself, and immediately started researching doula trainings.

I’ve had a lot of jobs over my lifetime, and I’ve lived in many places. I have worked as a server, bartender, cook, barista, nanny, ESL teacher, French teacher, Spanish tutor, security guard, freelance writer, and office assistant. I even once worked at a Billy the Kid themed gift shop in Mesilla, New Mexico. Nowadays, I’m a birth doula, postpartum doula, and placenta specialist (and still a Spanish tutor!). I’m probably forgetting some of the jobs that I’ve had, but the point is that I am a jack of all trades. I love working as a doula because I have the opportunity to utilize many of my skills every day. I utilize my background as an educator to create birth and postpartum-related curricula for my clients. I utilize my talent as a writer to write these blog posts! I am a great cook and I love making homemade bone broth, hearty soups, and green chile enchiladas for new moms.

My husband and I relocated to Northern Virginia at the beginning of 2020. My husband had a job lined up, but I didn’t, and I wasn’t sure what would pan out for me. The pandemic began soon after our move, and I suddenly had ample time to devote to doula trainings. I completed a doula training with DONA, certified as a placenta encapsulator, and then certified as a labor doula through ProDoula. I began taking my first doula clients soon after finishing my certifications, and over the course of the past two years I have worked with dozens of families throughout the DMV.

So far, working as a doula is my favorite job yet! It's a difficult job at times, but at the end of the day it is extremely rewarding. I am excited to continue to work with mothers and newborns and am planning on completing several more trainings this upcoming year in order to gain more skills. I am looking forward to many more years of doula work!


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