Doula Sophia's storytelling session, sharing her journey as a birth doula in Vancouver WA and Portland OR.

Have Coffee with Doula, Sophia

Are you a parent-to-be and wonder what it’s like to have a birth doula by your side? Are you an aspiring doula and want to know the highs and lows of being a doula? One thing we know about doula work, is that people are interested in what we do and why we became doulas. Doula Sophia is one of our newest additions to the doula team at Baby Nest and we are so excited to have her share her doula story!

What made you want to become a birth doula?

I wanted to become a birth doula after the love and support I received from my sister and husband during my pregnancy and birth. And had an unnecessary induction at 39 weeks. I had no idea that an induction wasn’t necessary because I was so healthy & our daughter was too! 

The induction process went extremely well for me thankfully, but it was painfully long. I had no idea about not only the option to decline my induction but also the associated risks.

My sister was there for my husband and I every step of the way. She had two kids before I did & knew exactly what questions to ask the providers and nurses and how to make us extremely comfortable and confident during the whole process. She made the beeping machines quieter, ensured my nourishment, comfort, and kept me calm. Going in to a hospital setting and knowing we would leave with a baby were a couple aspects that already gave me anxiety, so it was nice to have support. 

During my labor, she made sure I was in optimal positions to help baby descend. She also ensured that I stayed hydrated, always offering a hand for me to hold, and became a pillar of calm and strength that I desperately needed – but didn’t realize until she offered that support.

After our daughter was born and I talked with friends or listened to podcasts, I realized how well I felt both physically and mentally after giving birth, and I know it’s because of the support my husband and I received. 

I knew after that I would be a doula because in my life I had always been a supporter, lover, and felt fulfilled when I could be my authentic self. Becoming a doula and providing support, love, and guidance to my clients has been the most self fulfilling work I have ever done in my life.

Describe your doula style.

My style as a doula is to meet families right where they are at. The best thing I can do for my clients is just listen. Listening without expectations and knowing that everyone is on a different part of the journey helps to keep my heart and mind open to provide the best support. My style is really client led, because deep down each client knows exactly what they need. By listening without judgment, I feel very confident that I can provide them with support tailored specifically to them. 

What is one thing you wish your clients all did?

I wish all my clients would focus as much of their time and energy on the postpartum period as labor and delivery. So often clients are missing the information they truly need to heal from birth- spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.

What advice do you give to someone hiring a doula?

The biggest piece of advice I can give someone when hiring a doula is pick a doula that fits you. All doulas are trained and can be trained in so many different areas, have various certifications. What matters when picking a doula is who you vibe with and who you feel comfortable with. Ultimately in the birth space, it is the most coveted and sacred space. You need someone that will vibe with you and your partner, who will fit in and make your space feel honored.

When you aren’t being a doula, what do you love to do?

When I am not a doula I love spending time with my husband and our kids. During the summer we take out our Dodge Hellcat and go for drives, and frequent our local park that does a car show. I love to go golfing, either to a course or range- time permitting! I also love spending time with my mom, sisters, and extended family.

Tell us the training you took to become a doula.

I went through Mothertree International for my certification. It was a three day intensive, but really felt like I was on a retreat with like-minded individuals that became my soul sisters. I do trainings to further my knowledge and education during the year as well. 

What advice would you give to a new doula?

Being a doula is much like labor and delivery. Each journey is unique and a marathon. Take the time you need to find your niche and passion within the work. The most suitable clients for you will come.

How do you include the partner in birth?

I first include the partner and remind them that I am an extra body.  They are ultimately the most important part of the birth persons story.  I ask what the partner is excited about and fearful of- this way I can learn them too.  This ultimately helps me guide them together so we can gel as a team. All partners want to be involved, but it looks different for each of them.  So I can’t tell a partner how to be involved without getting to know them and the birth person on a deep and intimate level first. 

What’s your doula superpower?

My doula superpower is tuning the world out and my ability to completely focus the world around my birth person. I get so in sync and in tune with my clients all while holding extremely firm boundaries with myself.

What would someone be surprised that you do?

I feel like most clients are surprised at the importance I place on a very comfortable, soothing, relaxing environment. Whether the birth place is a hospital, home, or birth center I always try to make the environment one that is comfortable. During inductions I always make sure to bring my string twinkle lights, leave my tripod flexible fan & put a few drops of lavender to help the birth person and support person feel relaxed and at home in any environment.

What’s one of your go-to items in your doula bag?

One of my go-to items in my doula bag is my gardening cushion! It is so inexpensive, but is truly invaluable! This tool comes in handy so many times for my clients, their partner, or myself. We never know where birth will have you (literally) or what position. The gardening cushion provides so much cushion for a variety of position and saves your knees from super hard surfaces.

After a birth, how/what is your doula self-care ritual?

I always sleep. First thing no matter how long or short. I always make soup, or buy some. Take a hot bath or shower. Use my Theragun to massage my body. Then I always “unpack” my experience too with a fellow birth worker.

How has being a birth doula changed you?

Being a birth doula has changed me in more ways than I could imagine.  The first is allowing me to be my most authentic self.  I have the heart of a servant and I truly love being of service to my clients and teaching them, and them watching them feel empowered.

What are some of your loves and interests outside of birth work?

I love gardening and aspire to have a fresh flower garden stand one day.  I absolutely love picking a few new flowers each year to grow and have on the table most all year long. 

What’s the most rewarding thing about being a birth doula?

The most rewarding part about being a doula is the relationships that are formed from the beginning and by the end of the birth feeling the clients full trust 100%. Some people don’t even choose to have their most loved and respected friends or family members in their birth space. It is such an honor to be the chosen one to go through the process with each client. I just love the look on my clients faces after birth and them knowing “I did this, because you helped to inform me, and I felt empowered and unstoppable with every choice I made.”

What’s the most challenging thing about this job?

The most challenging thing about this job is the last shift with clients.  I get so attached to my clients and good byes are the hardest parts for me!

What is included in your doula support?

In my doula support I am fully involved with my clients from the moment they hire me! I let them know that I am pretty much completely at their disposal and to use me for any question, concern, fear, or exciting moment they have!  We do two prenatal.  In prenatal we really get to know each other on a deep and intimate level that way I can help them to the best of my ability.  I attend the birth.  Help with movement, advocacy, and ensuring that my clients feel safe.  After birth I stay for a couple hours to help with their first latch and a nice snack.  After birth I return to their home to do two postpartum visits.  During those visits I help to answer any questions they have, help cook food if they desire, and overall ensure they are having a good transition at home. 

If you’re on the lookout for compassionate and dedicated doula support, consider reaching out for a FREE CONSULTATION. Baby Nest birth doulas. This is a chance to connect, ask questions, and discover the perfect fit for your family and birth team so you can have the most empowering birth experience.

If you’re eager to keep learning what it’s like to be a doula, extend your coffee break with Doula MariaDoula Cynthia Baker, or Doula Heather from the Baby Nest doula team!