Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What are you doing? (part 2)

This post is far overdue. I wrote part 1 back in October about six weeks after starting the Praxis program. However, the online curriculum, group discussions, opening seminar, and oral exams are just part of the program. The other major component of the Praxis experience is the business partner that each participant is matched with for 10 months. Each participant has a different partner. My business partner is a doula service agency called Tranquil Seasons.

Working closely with the founder of the company, Anne Croudace, I advertise events and services, contact clients, and complete other projects. My major project this year is a fundraising event for the San Antonio Birth Collective which I am super excited about heading up.

Lately, I have been doing a lot of the actual doula work even more than I have been doing the administrative and social relations side of things. Since starting with Tranquil Seasons in September, I have worked over 400 hours in postpartum doula care. This time has been split almost evenly between twins and singletons and most of those hours were spent in overnight care. As a doula, I serve the entire family unit with emphasis on the mother and baby. Overnight care means I normally feed, change, and comfort the baby (or babies) while the mother and father catches up on rest. I also pick up the home, cook breakfast, do laundry, or take care of other tasks that will make life easier for the family the next day. My job also includes just being an encouragement to the parents and an encyclopedia to answer any of their questions about babycare. I have also received training in areas like postpartum care for mothers and lactation support. Just this week I spent time assisting a new mother as she learns to breastfeed her baby.

Even when clients find out that I am young and do not have any children of my own, they never question my abilities as a doula because I have already shown them by that point that I know what I am doing. In fact, only one person I know has alluded to the fact that I may not know what I am doing because I have no personal experience. As I wrote on Facebok one day:

Some people wonder how a 20 year old who has never had a baby could possibly be of assistance to new parents. Training to become a doula is just like training for any other job. You read and study, you get training, and the rest you learn on the job.
I have spent more time with infants and read more books about pregnancy, birth, infant and mother care, and breastfeeding since becoming a doula than many women do before becoming a mother.

The word doula means servant. She is there to assist with mother and baby care as needed. She is there to support new moms and dads as they journey into parenthood. She is there to pour out love and support to the family. She doesn't have to have all the answers, but her love for learning will help her find them. In America, where a woman's needs as a new mother are generally underestimated and under served, a doula can play an invaluable support role as the mother transitions into life with her baby (no matter the doula's own personal experience in child rearing).

I love being a doula.

I am also training to become a labor doula (supporting a woman and the partner through the labor process). I have attended one labor so far but did not get to stay until the baby was born. My first labor client is due in early February so I will soon have another chance to serve a mother and father through the experience of childbirth. I love this aspect of the doula work!

As I continue to do both the doula work and the administrative/social media/advertising work for Tranquil Seasons, I am learning about how a small business runs and what an entrepreneur looks like. My boss is extremely ambitious and has more projects on her mind than she will probably ever be able to complete in a lifetime. That's what makes her a great mentor. She's passionate about everything she does and never quits working. In four months, I have learned a multitude of things about entrepreneurship, business, and not to mention babycare. I know I will continue to learn from Anne as a Tranquil Seasons employee and Praxis participant.

All of this preparation will either allow me to continue with my business partner or strike out on my own as an entrepreneur and business owner.Whether I start a doula agency or another company is not important. The point of Praxis is to learn about running a business in general which I am getting a great taste of with Anne at Tranquil Seasons.

Interested in having a similar experience (except maybe with less babies? Unless you like babies, of course...)? Visit

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