I believe that connecting through sharing our personal histories and stories is incredibly powerful. It’s how I connect with the families I work with and the doulas in my Brood community. Now, more than ever, we need to connect and support one another, and I hope that telling you my story might help.
Before it all Began…
I can’t pinpoint exactly when my caregiving and doula journey began, because it feels as though it’s always been a part of me. I was that kid who was perched on the edge of the bed soaking in every second of TLC’s “Bringing Back Baby” and the one who jumped at any opportunity to sit by a new parent and hold their new baby.
This natural urge turned into pursuing a nanny career after high school and becoming a part of two families who were in the process of welcoming second children. I was fascinated and became very involved in their pregnancies, and their first year postpartum. My heart was so full and I was enthralled, but knew the medical field wasn’t the place for me.One day while perusing the internet, I saw something for a Holistic Doula certificate from Pacific Rim. What I read about their program had me beaming. This was everything I loved, everything I was innately good at and all of my passions wrapped into one. Thus began my deep dive into the birth world…
School & Starting Out
With a summer full of waitressing in a tourist-filled downtown Victoria, I was ready to enter into the months of classes at Pacific Rim. These were my people, this was my place and this was my new path. The sheer excitement and passion I felt drove me through school, building a website and starting off my first company → Pacific North Birth Services.
I started serving families right after my move to Vancouver and I would scooter off to postpartum shifts, meet and greets and prenatals, leaving each one beaming and thinking “THIS IS MY JOB!!!”. Soon enough, I was attending births and had connected with Morag (of Apple Blossom Families) as a mentor. Helping me attend my first full birth, all six and a half days of it…
After about a year, Marlo found my site and reached out to me to interview me. She saw me, in all my naive passionate glory, and hired me on as the first Bunky Bambino postpartum team member. I like to think that she knew at that moment she would eventually pass the torch to me.
Wait, I have a career?
With a few more years under my belt, a lot of humbling experiences and many more families served, I was now working as a full-time birth worker. Highs, lows, and the intensity of being a very young and (mostly) clueless entrepreneur was catching up to me.
I started getting more and more interested in reproductive health, diving into extensive research and hosting workshops. Teaching folks about the intricacies of our menstrual cycles, our reproductive health, and our bodies. It was deeply nourishing, and an intergenerational knowledge-sharing space that I didn’t even know I was craving. People from all over the city would huddle around, we would joke, speak frankly and exchange stories of our journeys with our bodies.
As our on-call life thrived, and babies were joining us left, right and center. Marlo came to me with another proposition. Did I want to buy Bunky Bambino? Another clueless and passion-driven YES, and the next chapter began.
Now comes the predictable part of the story, a pandemic burst through all our lives — leaving families reeling on how to access care and a team of doulas unsure how to safely provided much needed care. As we adapted, shifted our practices and masked up — I supported two friends in welcoming their babies, Gill had Sunny in the first week of lockdown and Lizzy had Hank right before the first year anniversary of Covid. As we bubbled and I had the honour of supporting their birth and postpartum journeys — Brood was born. Over Zooms, nursing sessions and late night chats we produced 5 online courses for parents and have grown our agency to serve families in Vancouver (the Lower Mainland) and newly in Victoria! We have a team of 20 + amazing doulas, the most badass Clinical Advisory Board and are collaborating with a host of incredible entrepreneurs, birth workers and parents on what’s next!
Words By Emma Devin
Photos By Hana Pesut