doulas

Beyond the Bio: Meet Emma

We are thrilled to introduce you to our newest doula - Emma! A few months back, Corina had the pleasure of meeting Emma for tea to chat about all things doula related. If you know Corina, you know that she’s soft spoken and almost never talks about herself but Emma is such a gentle open spirit that she got her talking - a lot! Emma is wonderful at holding space and putting you at ease. She’s always there when you need to check in and will be your biggest supporter - no matter what you’re doing! Learn more about Emma below.

Doula_Emma.jpg

What drew you to doula work? 

I'd always wanted to work with women in some capacity, and I've been fascinated by pregnancy and birth ever since I was a kid. As soon as I began to research what doulas are and do, I knew it was perfect for me. I loved the idea of being able to provide emotional support, comfort and information to women/birthing people as they navigated their reproductive journey.

If you weren't a doula, what would your alternate dream job be? 

Probably a social worker, working with women and children. That's what I was on track to pursuing before I fell in love with birth work! I wanted to provide counselling, and have my own practice.

What did you want to be when you were in elementary school? 

An artist! All I ever wanted to do as a kid was draw, so it sounded pretty appealing as a career. I still love making art, it's one of my favourite ways to self-care.

If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow where would you go? 

I would go to a cottage on a lake. Ideally, there would be a hammock involved. I would bring a big stack of books and someone I love and go off the grid for a bit.

What would the perfect off-call day look like for you? 

I would sleep late and then make a big extravagant breakfast. There would definitely be some yoga, and then I'd spend the rest of the day outside with some of my favourite people. Maybe at a park, or by the beach. Donuts would be eaten.

What's your favourite thing (or two) that you have no guilt about indulging in? 

NAPS. I love, love, love a long afternoon nap. Also, coffee.

Name one thing…

... you learned the hard way about birth early in your doula career: 

That sometimes the best thing you can do as a doula is sit back and do nothing. I felt like I always had to be busying myself with something, but I eventually learned that sometimes just being there is all the support the birthing person needs in that moment.

... you look back on in your life that makes you feel proud: 

Doing my doula training and deciding to pursue birth work as a career! It felt like the first big decision that I made that was truly for just myself and what was right for me. I didn't know anyone else who was a doula at the time, so it felt very unconventional and a bit scary!

... that usually surprises people about you: 

I used to do competitive synchronised swimming!

... that's always in your fridge or pantry: 

Avocados. I know that's such a classic, boring, millennial answer but they really are my staple food.

What’s your favourite…

Colour 

Yellow. But it changes all the time.

Animal 

I love otters! I'm also a major dog person.

Season 

Fall.

Toronto Cafe 

Juice and Java on Queen Street!

Birth Book 

Nurture, by Erica Chidi Cohen. The Birth Partner is a close second.

What does a fertility doula do?

fertility_journey_doula

Full spectrum doulas are becoming more common in Toronto - as are folks looking for doula care beyond birth and postpartum. We thought we’d take a moment to explore fertility doula care - one of the full spectrum services we provide.

What is a fertility doula?

A fertility doula is someone who supports people in their journey to become pregnant, regardless of what that journey looks like. Whether going the fertility clinic route, at home monitoring and insemination, or a mixture of the two - a fertility doula provides you with support best suited to your needs and wants.

This can look many different ways: in person or phone check-ins to process procedures, emotions, and information. It can also include unlimited text support, attending clinic appointments alongside you, providing you with resources and referrals to complementary health care modalities, helping you in formulating a fertility plan. Depending on the doula, they may also offer mindfulness session as well as fertility yoga.

If you’d like to learn more check out this guest blog post from one of Corina’s former fertility clients where they talk about the care they received during their IVF journey.

How DO YOU BOOK A FERTILITY DOULA?

At Spectrum Doula Collective you can book fertility support hourly or you can purchase a package. Check out our prices here.

Who hires a fertility doula?

Anyone who needs and wants one! At Spectrum Doula Collective we have worked with the whole spectrum of families (including single parents as well as queer and straight couples) who were trying to conceive. 

Want to learn more? Drop us a line and in the meantime, enjoy these 5 grounding fertility practices.

xo,

The Spectrum Team

Beyond the Bio: Meet Laura

Meet Laura - our newest doula! We first met Laura in August and we’ve been smitten ever since! You see, Laura is a type of grounding person you that puts you immediately at ease and you just know deep in your bones that whatever you tell her, she’ll never judge you and will find a way to support you, no matter what. Find out more about Laura below:

Toronto Doula

WHAT DREW YOU TO PERINATAL WORK?

For the past 12 years I was actually in the world of theatre. I was confident for my teenage years that I was only going to be an actor, and nothing else. Eventually, I found that acting was not very fulfilling. I constantly felt nervous about what my body looked like. There is a lot of body shaming, and a lot of sexism in the industry. I was tired of feeling both self centered, and self conscious all the time. I realized that I wanted to make an impact not by how I looked like, but what I did to help others in times of vulnerability and change. I was always someone that worked well in a crisis, and I have always found birth fascinating. The more I started researching the role of a doula, and the more I learned about artists who were also doulas, I was confident this was the right fit. The training with DONA International was incredible, and after the first birth I went to I knew it was where I belonged!

IF YOU WEREN'T A PERINATAL SUPPORT WORKER WHAT WOULD YOUR ALTERNATE JOB BE?

Great question. I still do love writing and creating pieces of art, but I also know down the line I would like to be a midwife. So possibly a midwife who also writes books, and creates performance art...? Let's say that!

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?

Either a nurse or an actor. I'm not a nurse, but I think I got pretty close to my childhood goals!

IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD TOMORROW WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

Every year I try to go camping in Wisconsin. It seems like I should be picking Paris, or somewhere in Africa, but honestly the forests and water there is absolutely breathtaking. I'm a big camper, and I would take a tent over a fancy hotel any day!


WHAT WOULD THE PERFECT OFF-CALL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

Oooo, this is a great question. First off I would get a ridiculous amount of sleep. I would wake up on a sunny afternoon, and meet some friends in a park to catch up, and rant about how great it is to be a doula. The night would be complete with my friends and I splitting a bottle of wine, and singing folk songs slightly off key.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE THING (OR TWO) THAT YOU HAVE NO GUILT ABOUT INDULGING IN?

Smartfood popcorn. It's bliss.

Name one thing...

…YOU LEARNED THE HARD WAY ABOUT BIRTH EARLY IN YOUR DOULA CAREER:

Ooo I learned that early labour can last days and days. One time I took the whole day off expecting to run to the hospital, but it was just me waiting around in my home for a full day before I was needed. Birth is just as unpredictable as everyone says!

... YOU LOOK BACK ON IN YOUR LIFE THAT MAKES YOU FEEL PROUD:

Honestly I would say switching careers to become a doula! It was scary, and it took a lot of thought, but I've never been happier.

... THAT USUALLY SURPRISES PEOPLE ABOUT YOU:

I ate my first orange 2 years ago. As a child they scared me. Not sure why. I love them by the way.

... THAT'S ALWAYS IN YOUR FRIDGE OR PANTRY:

Smartfood popcorn. Did I mention that it is bliss? It is.

What is your favourite...

COLOUR?

Green. Green. Green.

ANIMAL?

Bernese mountain dogs. Also turtles.

SEASON?

Summer. Can't stand winter.

TORONTO CAFE?

You can always find me at Voodoo Child by Kensington Market!

BIRTH/PERINATAL BOOK?

When Survivors Give Birth! It's a very heavy read but it opened my eyes to the importance of trauma informed care.

Beyond the Bio: Meet Rose

Lactation Consultnant

Meet Rose - our newest team member! Rose joined us after Laura and her family left the country to embark on their new adventure! 

Rose's work into the perinatal world began after the birth of her children, when she became a postpartum doula. While working with families during the postpartum period she saw need for support for families who choose to breastfeed/chestfeed and decided to fill that role by becoming a Lactation Consultant. Rose is incredibly passionate about her work and family - it's the first thing you notice about her! Get to know Rose better below:

WHAT DREW YOU TO PERINATAL WORK?

My interest in supporting families with breastfeeding comes from my own experience - my struggle to find good care during such a trying time.

IF YOU WEREN'T A PERINATAL SUPPORT WORKER WHAT WOULD YOUR ALTERNATE JOB BE?

MD focusing on women's health

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?

Veterinarian

IF YOU COULD GO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD TOMORROW WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

Zanzibar


WHAT WOULD THE PERFECT OFF-CALL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

A morning sleep in followed by lots of time to enjoy a coffee at my local coffee shop. Cuddles with my kids and a long walk in a park with my partner.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE THING (OR TWO) THAT YOU HAVE NO GUILT ABOUT INDULGING IN?

Red wine and a big piece of dark chocolate - they go so well together!

Name one thing...

... YOU LOOK BACK ON IN YOUR LIFE THAT MAKES YOU FEEL PROUD:

I birthed and raised three beautiful children.

... THAT USUALLY SURPRISES PEOPLE ABOUT YOU:

I don't like french fries...

... THAT'S ALWAYS IN YOUR FRIDGE OR PANTRY:

Chocolate!

What is your favourite...

COLOUR?

Turquoise

ANIMAL?

Elephant

SEASON?

Summer

TORONTO CAFE?

Cherry Bomb

BIRTH/PERINATAL BOOK?

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

 

What should you ask during a doula interview?

doula interview

This is one of the most frequent questions we get asked during doula interviews. If you google it you'll find a lot of questions to ask your potential doula - sometimes too many. Getting information is important but we suggest that getting a feel for the person you're interviewing is also important. Someone may look fantastic on paper and be a nice person but it doesn't necessarily mean that they're the best fit for you. 

During your perinatal journey you have a limited choice (if any) of health care providers. Maybe you like them, maybe you don't. Maybe you chose them for their particular skill set or location. In choosing a doula you can go with your gut feeling. Here are our tips on what to ask and do during a doula interview:

1) Think about what's important to you before the interview or even before contacting a doula. 

A while back we wrote two blog posts about what to consider when thinking about hiring a doula.  Do you want a certified doula trained with a specific organisation for insurance purposes? If you answered yes to this question than this is something you can easily find out before meeting the person - saving yourself a whole lot of time and emotional and mental energy. 

While we are on the topic of saving time and energy we highly recommend figuring out the doula is available and around for your estimate due date (if you're hiring a birth doula) before meeting them. Why meet with someone who may be unavailable or potentially away?

2) Pick a place where you feel comfortable. 

We can't stress this enough - you should feel comfortable chatting about yourself and your perinatal journey. No super public noisy rushed cafes! 

3) Ask about relevant experience and perinatal philosophy. 

A new doula might be as good as an experienced doula - there is no way to really know unless you hire them. That doesn't mean you can't ask a doula about their experience and take them into consideration. Some great questions are:

  • How many births have you attended?
  • How long have you been a doula?
  • Have you worked at X hospital/birth centre?
  • Why and how did you become a doula?
  • How do you see your role in this experience? How would you describe your support? 
  • What is your birth philosophy? 
  • Do you have additional training?

4) Ask about logistics. 

  • How would you work with my partner(s)?
  • How many births do you take a month? 
  • Do you work with a back-up? Could I/we meet them?
  • What's covered in your pricing? Does your pricing change if you are at my labour for a prolonged period of time? 
  • When do I call you if I'm in labour? What if I just have a questions?
  • When do you join me in labour? How long do you stay postpartum? 

5) Get to know the person. 

We think finding a doula so much more than asking doula related questions. Make small talk! Get a feel for their personality! Notice if they're receptive to that - mindfully listening and asking engaging questions in return. Have a meaningful conversation - this person may part of an important time in your life. 

6) Check in with yourself. 

This is the most important piece. Did you feel comfortable with the doula? Did they seem interested in you and what you want beyond answering questions? Does it "feel right"?

We know "feel right" is a hard feeling to quantify, sometimes though some people just click. If it doesn't happen, that's OK. It may build over time. 

7) Don't interview too many or too few doulas. 

Take it one at a time and sit with it a little while - unless you really clicked or you really didn't. Some people find their doula after the first interview, some find them after 2-3. We wouldn't recommend interviewing more than though as people will blend into each other. We suggest figuring out what's important to you and filtering doulas before contacting them. 

These are all our tips! Hope they help!

Love, 

The Spectrum Team