Photos by Alexa Mazzarello.
When motherhood and doula practices collide.
Parenthood x Care Work: Celebrating a compelling combo
Many people are drawn to becoming doulas after experiencing pregnancy, birth, and postpartum as a parent or birthing person themselves. The care they received, or in some cases, the lack of care, can inspire them to be part of the change they want to see. While it’s not necessary to be a parent to be a great caregiver, these experiences can shape a doula’s approach and bring a unique perspective.
As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we sat down with some of our doula moms to discuss how their dual roles have influenced their practice and approach to supporting families. From the joys of witnessing new life to the challenges of balancing parenting, relationships, and work, we’ll explore the world of doulas who bring their own experiences to the table. Special thanks to Alexa Mazarrello for her incredible portrait sessions, and be sure to check out her moving Failure to Progress project.
Jamie (She/Her), Brood Birth Doula, Parent to Dylan and Jules
How does your doula work impact your parenting?
“What I just thought of now, which I think is very true, is that it has opened up conversations with my own children about birth. I’ve been talking to them openly about how they were born and how babies are born in different ways, since becoming a doula. Because of my job as a doula, we talk about all the different kinds of births, because I leave and go help people and support people, and they ask what it’s about, and they’re old enough now to hear about it. So I get to talk about it with younger children, which I find really special because I didn’t have that when I was growing up. I didn’t know all of these things. It feels so nice to teach them things that I didn’t know at their age.”
Who has influenced your caregiving style?
“The person that’s influenced my caregiving style the most would probably be my mom, Eileen, and my mother in law, Shelley. I’ve also been lucky enough to parent alongside my sister in law and we learn a lot from each other, and that’s been a really big part of how I’ve learned and taught myself how to parent. And my partner, my husband, is a very supportive parent and father to our kids, so I feed off of all those people. I also love getting Instagram tips on how to have a toddler and a four and a half year old! Ha!”
What is your wish for all the moms in the world, this Mother’s Day?
“My wish for all of the moms and parents and birthers in the world is that no matter what happens in their birth, they feel happy, like they got what they wanted out of it, and look back on their birth fondly and feel like they were supported.”
Rheanna (She/Her), Brood Postpartum Doula, Parent to Maya
What drew you to doula work?
“I’ve always been fascinated with birth and the whole postpartum experience. And after the birth of my own daughter, I felt very drawn to the work and decided to do the training. I just feel like my whole life has been getting me to this point.”
How has your doula practice impacted your own motherhood?
“I try to treat myself the same way I do all my clients, having a little bit more patience, a little bit more softness, and telling myself to take it all in stride.”
Can you tell me about any moms in your life that inspire how you care for Maya?
“So many, for so many different reasons. I have some very close girlfriends who were mothers before I was, so watching them go through it was very grounding and inspirational. And then, of course, my Brood mamas, Gill, Lizzy and Emma. And I would say one of my closest friends who just had her third baby… her name is Serena, and she lives in Nelson, and is a huge inspiration for me in the way that she is a parent.”
As we head into this Mother’s Day season, what is your wish for all the parents in the world?
“That you have a community to do it with because it’s so much fun when you can take breaks and feel like you’re able to have time for yourself, but then also enjoy your baby and being a mom.”
Ashley (She/Her), Brood Full Spectrum Doula, Parent to Leo and Domino
Can you tell us about your family?
“Yes, I live on Bowen Island. I have a three and a half year old and a five year old, and it’s very busy and fulfilling, but also a lot!”
How has your doula practice impacted how you show up as a parent?
“I breathe a lot. I joke that I’m a poop doula with my five year old, which really is a test of my doula skills. Lots of patience and I’m also a lot more present, I think. Or at least I try to be.”
What’s your wish for all the moms this Mother’s Day?
“My wish for all the moms is that they have access to community and support – and that society supports that. Paid parental leave, closing the gender pay gap, affordable childcare, and access to abortion are some of those things. Day to day, and in my own relationships, I hope that moms have the support to really settle into this season of life. That they’re able to find ways to reconnect with themselves, and, above all else, they offer themselves the same compassion and understanding as they do those they parent (and yes, I’m not just talking about kids).”
Cari (She/Her), Brood Postpartum Doula, Parent of 2
Can you tell us about your family?
“I have two little monsters—they are eight and four years old, and they love hearing about all the stories from my shifts as a doula. So every time I come home, they ask me, how was the baby last night? How old are they? How many times did they poop and pee? Did they spit up on you? They love to hear these stories, and as much as I can, after I finish my work with the family, I bring my kids to visit the babies so they can meet them and they know, oh, this was the baby that my mother took care of!”
Tell us about any mothers that impacted your life or inspired your caregiving.
“My cousin Barbara is the reason I became a doula. Her son was born during the pandemic and they had no one to help, so I was the person who supported them. Barbara was so committed to nursing. She was a lion and is still a lion. She’s such a big inspiration for me.”
How has being a doula impacted your parenting and your journey with motherhood?
“Being a doula has impacted my motherhood in a way that I feel it’s healing me from inside out. My postpartum was so hard, and I felt that I didn’t have the support that I needed, so I thought that by becoming a doula, I could help mothers and babies the way that I needed it. Because the moment I feel better about myself I can be a better mother for my daughters. Before becoming a doula I felt sick, I felt like I wasn’t here. I wasn’t present enough for my kids. And now I feel so much better, especially with the babies. They smell so good! And then when I come back home after a shit, I feel I can be more present with them. My whole soul is present for them — it’s very powerful.”
So it’s Mother’s Day season. What is your wish for all of the moms?
“I hope they get the support they need, because I didn’t get the support that I needed —because I didn’t know what kind of support I needed. I would like them to understand what they need and be able to ask for it.”
Ana Luz (She/They), Brood Postpartum Doula, Parent to Zam
How has motherhood impacted your doula practice, and vice versa?
“Motherhood has affected my doula practice, by giving me more compassion. Parenthood and the journey of it, especially postpartum, it’s not something we can plan for. There are lots of emotions and changes that are constantly going on that we kind of have to learn to do, a lot of letting go and embracing the moments. And I think as a doula, I try to bring that calmness and grounding in the moment, we’re taking it day by day, and that’s all we can do. Sometimes I think it’s been a blend of compassion and being able to provide education to a new parent, ahead of their natural learning curve, but in a gentle way.”
Tell me about your family.
“My family is a little trio of me, my partner, and my three-and-a-half-year-old son. He’s very excited to be four and do all the things. And I’m supported by some close family and aunties nearby, which has been super helpful in navigating all the things that parenthood brings. We like to go traipsing through the forest and enjoying outside time together.”
Who’s influenced your caregiving style?
“I think my caregiving style has been influenced by my family matriarchs, my mother, my grandmother, and my aunties. I’m a third-generation Cancer, so it all comes from the heart. I have that eternal need to use water as ways to balance, and it does. I enjoy watching and experiencing caregiving happening in so many different ways—in social justice circles and family and all the ways that it can be. And so I feel very lucky to have seen so many layers of community in my life, and that’s been really helpful in knowing that we aren’t little islands on our own. We are part of a big community that needs to be there throughout these major life changes.”
What is your wish for the mothers in your life this Mother’s Day season?
“What I wish for the mamas in my community is to know that there are people out there who can support them and I hope they have a sense of awe about where they are in their journey. I was reflecting on spring and planting seeds and watching plants grow, and how we nurture and love our children, and how we’re amazed at their beauty. As parents, we’re like that. We should be in awe of ourselves and our accomplishments, and know that there is still so much beauty ahead of us in our lives. We’ve navigated unknowns and unexpected sick days, and we should be proud of what we’ve done and that we continue to do a great job. There are so many more stories to tell, and we’ll laugh about them later over a glass of wine on a patio.”
Amelia (She/Her), Brood Birth & Postpartum Doula, Pregnant with her first!
How has being pregnant and your path to parenthood changed the way that you think about doula work?
“Now I listen way more, rather than just spouting out tips and education. And you can tell it helps them so much. They just want to talk and hang out, and not feel alone.”
How are you feeling about the baby’s arrival?
“So ready. Cameron, my husband, has been reading all the books that I was reading. He could be a doula himself. I just want to meet the baby!”
How are you celebrating or honoring your first Mother’s Day as a new parent?
“I’m gonna take a good, big nap… all day. Maybe get some flowers, eat whatever I want to eat (again). I’m getting excited— I’ve done my nesting, so I’d just like to hang out with those powerful mama influences and… nap!”
Tell us about any mothers that impacted your life or inspired your caregiving.
“I’ve been so lucky to have had so many amazing roll models to teach me the kind of parent I want to be to my baby. It’s been a big journey with a lot of lessons. Breaking patterns between broken mother daughter relationships, and I can’t wait to create a beautiful relationship with my daughter!”
Is there anything else you feel like sharing about being on the edge of motherhood?
“As a doula, there’s always birth plans or ideas of what the birth is going to be like or how it’s going to go for clients and people you get to work with. But I know I need to go with the flow, and I don’t feel nervous. It’s just whatever we gotta do, we’re going to do it. And I think seeing so many different kinds of births, it’s like I’ll take anything because that moment that they hold their little baby is so special, and this time I get to keep this one! . I’ll be taking this one home, I’m just so ready.”
Any advice or wishes you’d have for the moms in your life this mothers day?
“Honestly, I feel like just going with the flow. Everything’s going to be fine. Everything is figureoutable.”
From experienced parents who have grown children, to those expecting for the first time, our doula team is full of amazing folks who are ready to support and care for you, while caring for themselves and their own families.
If you want to know more about these amazing caregivers, head over to their bio pages here. Scroll down the page to see more.
Interested in becoming a doula, or are you already practising and looking for more work? We are hiring! Get in touch with us here.