When going into the process of finding a doula to help us with the delivery of our first child, my wife and I honestly didn’t know exactly what we wanted. We were hoping to find someone with an extensive background and experience who could simultaneously be flexible and understanding enough to deal with us at what we imagined was going to be a time of sensitivity, vulnerability, and chaos.
From the very beginning of our time working together, Shelia made herself abundantly available to us, at all hours, for questions big and small. She laughed at my terrible jokes and then shook her head in sympathy for my wife, just like every other member of our family. She did an amazing job of checking in with us leading up to the birth, even when we didn’t know we needed someone to check in!
As my wife progressed from early into active labor I remember feeling so overwhelmed… That is until I remembered to call Shelia. Even at 3:30 AM she was strong, supportive and knew exactly what to say, and that was before she even got out of bed to meet us at the hospital. Though nothing about our birth process seemed to go according to what we had been prepared to think was ‘normal,’ we felt calm, prepared, and empowered throughout the process.
Throughout labor, Shelia offered great suggestions and support without forcing her way into the foreground. She was seemingly both everywhere and invisible, and always at the right times. She adapted quickly and kept reminding us that we were in control of what was going on, which was exactly what we both needed. She allowed me to be supportive physically and emotionally for my wife without feeling like I was unsupported myself.
After we got home we realized just how thankful we were for Shelia’s presence during the delivery. Shelia’s post-partum visit allowed us to talk through the whole event and process our emotions and thoughts. The fact that she could provide some additional lactation support only added to the usefulness of her post-partum visit.
And if all that wasn’t enough, Shelia somehow managed to juggle a camera and take some wonderful photos of us with our newborn daughter without it feeling like a spectacle. We’ll treasure both the photos and the support that Shelia provided during this amazing experience for the rest of our lives.