Somewhere along the line, that initial interest was sidelined and by the time I was 16 I had decided to be a lawyer. I wanted to be a just lawyer, always on the side of integrity. I studied pre-Law at college in the States. I ended up having to leave college and move back to Scotland due to lack of money, and a year later I was back in the States and married.
I became pregnant with Cora at age 20, and I devoured all the information I could find. The internet was a source of info, but connections were so slow back then, it was more difficult than now! I read lots of books, like Henci Goer's "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth", and Ina May Gaskin's "Spiritual Midwifery". I decided early on to hire a doula, because home birth wasn't an option for us due to the legal status of midwifery where we lived. I found and hired one, and went through my hospital birth with her. Thank goodness she was there, because it was a bit of an uphill struggle, and I ended up conceding to things I didn't want to like an IV.
After Cora was born, I decided I wanted to become a doula. There were no training courses anywhere near me, so that wasn't something I could do. However my doula was gracious enough (and her clients) to allow me to shadow her. So I watched her work, and learned, and read her coursework from her training. I continued to read, and read, and read. I began attending births when I was pregnant with Calvin and continued after he was born.
In 2006 we moved to Scotland, and I got in touch with some local doulas. I didn't really pursue working but as time went on people began to find me. When I was pregnant with Maia I set up the Grampian Homebirth Support Group (now "Choices for Birth in Grampian") with my wonderful friend Charlie, who is a Natal Hypnotherapy teacher. The group is still running, and seems to have times when several women come, and times when none do. But clients have found me through there, as well.
Until very recently I still thought I wanted to be a midwife "when I grow up", but I'm not so sure anymore. I like being a doula; in fact, I love it. I love that all I need to focus on is supporting the Mum and Dad (or other partner), I don't have to spend hours writing notes, or checking blood pressure, or listening to the fetal heartrate, or balance following protocol and guidelines with respecting the woman's wishes. I just be there.
I think the key to a good birth experience is to feel in control, able to make informed decisions, and that those decisions are respected by your caregivers. Disappointment is different to regret, and I think regret often is where trauma comes in. I want no woman to ever have to regret decisions she made or did not make in labour. I want every woman to feel like her caregivers understood her, and how important this day was to her - not just another day at work like it may be for them. I hope and pray that I never lose the joy at being asked to be at a birth, how I feel that it's a blessing to me and not a job. I always want to feel lucky that a woman thinks enough of me to ask me to be at such an intimate event, that she will never forget.
I love my job.