As the Director of Doula Canada I am stoked for what's to come in 2018, and for our great Doula nation!
After all, is there anytime more inspiriting than turning the page on a new calendar and peeking at the 365 blank days ahead?
I think not!
The excitement of those blank pages lies in the knowledge that we will be welcoming new members, graduating new alumni, supporting new families, having deep conversations, and pushing forward with the dream of doula support and education for any family who cares to share in the benefits our field can offer.
Our Doula Canada calendar for the New Year is ambitious; and we wouldn't have it any other way!
For 2018 our goal is to pair opportunity and ambition with holistic fulfillment. We plan to do this by offering programs never before offered by a doula training certification and membership organizations, creating new provincial/territorial initiatives to strike up communication and awareness about our field, and finding time for some fun too!
We love fun at Doula Canada (our 4th pillar, right after compassion, communication, and chill the eff out).
The one thing I discovered when I decided to leave my full time job for doula work was that financially, being a doula is not enough. Being a doula requires being on call for weeks, the ability to respond to a families call at any hour of the day. Birth work is highly variable in nature. You can be at a birth for 4 hours and for 40 hours – making a livable wage as a birth doula can be a big challenge.
Even if we were to fully book our schedules, taking 2-3 births per month, or about 1 birth per 10 to 14 days. When all is said and done, that can amount to little more than a part-time income. For some that may be exactly what they want, for me I needed to find a way to maximize my income.
In order to do that, I had to be more than just a birth doula. In order to increase the chance of creating income, I diversified. The bottom line: to earn more money, you must offer more products or services.
This had offered me many benefits. It allowed me to take on less births, to create more of a structured schedule for myself. It also had me offering products and services that complimented my work as a doula. As a result it brought in more doula business. Clients would come to ask for one service (birth doula) and I had the opportunity to sell them on other products (placenta encapsulation, Childbirth Education Classes, or counselling). It also worked in reverse.
Diversifying however is more than just adding services or products to your website and business. It requires the same amount of hard work and hustle it takes become a great doula. Simply adding things to your preexisting business does not guarantee a cash flow. To get business growth through diversification you do not do more of the same; you do something different. You expand in new directions.
Before you begin to diversify here are some steps to consider:
In November of 2007 my Best friend gave birth at just 17, to a beautiful baby girl. I walked with her through her entire pregnancy and motherhood journey. It was a journey that no one is ready for at 16 years old, but as her best friend I stood by her and provided endless support while everyone else walked away. She was a single mother at 17 and together we raised this little girl for the first year of her life. Then her little brother came along and everything changed. Now there were 2!
In October of 2008 she gave birth to a precious little boy. Not only did I get to stick by her side and support her prenatally through this pregnancy, this was my first birth experience. It was the most amazing, crazy, scary moment of my life, at 17 years old that’s not usually what you think you’ll love to witness. I remember supporting her through the birth, not knowing a damn thing, but when she felt that she couldn’t do it any more and I was right there beside her giving her empowering words, some maybe a little blunt (lol), but I got to support her through that moment in her life, ME, her best friend. The rush I felt was unexplainable, I felt like a million bucks. We were closer than ever!
In October of 2014 she gave birth to her third child, another precious little boy. I remember the call like it was yesterday. Just after 10pm at night she called me to tell me she was in labour and out the door I went. Again as her best friend I supported her through her birth, giving her the empowering courage and support she needed to birth her son. Thus being the third time with her down this road together, I knew exactly what she needed from me. And once again this amazing rush of excitement, empowering energy and exhaustion rushed over me. Every moment was amazing; again watching her bring life into the world was priceless.
WHO knew that there was an actual word for this! Not just a word, but a career.
After this wonderful journey I never thought any more into it, other than knowing how much I love birth and babies. Then in June 2015 I found out I was pregnant and in August 2015 we found out we lost our baby, he/she stopped growing at about 7 weeks although I carried till 11 weeks. We were devastated at the loss of our baby but were so very blessed to become pregnant shortly after. October of 2015 we found out we were pregnant again! And in June 2016 I gave birth via Cesarean to a beautiful baby boy, Mason James. He was perfect in every way. But my birth experience was far from what I had planned. I was open going into my birth but did not expect at all what I actually went through. Having almost every medical intervention possible; my water broke due to super low amniotic fluid, induction because I wasn’t progressing on my own, an epidural because “I didn’t need to be a hero during my birth” and listening because I trusted my nurses, to a Cesarean birth because Mason’s heart rated dropped and he reacted to the Pitocin. All after 12 hours of labour.
I was so excited to have my little boy in my arms and being his mommy was the best feeling in the world, no matter what I experienced, so I told myself. And it was, but at the same time I had this hole inside me that felt sad and empty about my birth experience. This changed me and how I looked at life and so my life changing decision began as I searching for a way I could help women experience birth in a better way. Thus leading me to finding out what a “Doula” was!
WHAT I’ve been doing this since I was 16, blew my mind!
I instantly knew this is what I wanted to do. I had done it three times before and loved every moment of it! From 16 years old to now my passion for birth has only grown stronger. It just took 10 years for my true path to shine.
I loved my career as an ECE but after the birth of my son, it was time for a change. I was different; I knew I had grown and that growth lead me to find my inner passion for birth work. I felt so passionate about becoming a Doula and I knew I loved everything about it before I started, as I had done this so called “Doula” thing a few times before!
I started MyDoula journey training with Doula Training Canada and created my business, MyDoula+ Birth & Wellness Services in December 2016. Since then I have climbed my mountain quickly with the amazing support of the Doula Training Canada family of students and wonderful instructors and mentors I have around me.
I my friends am a Kick Ass Birth & Postpartum Doula with the DTC organization, a Lactation Educator and soon to be Reiki Practitioner, specializing in fertility, birth and postpartum treatments. I own my own Business and all my dreams have manifested into my reality. I love all things fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum! And supporting and empowering women and their families through the most intimate, amazing, scary experience in their life, on this journey we call parenthood, is what I do!
Please stay tuned for the next big step in the MyDoula+ journey! To be revealed soon!
Ashley is a mama to a handsome little boy, Mason and a wife to a wonderful man. She has an open outlook on life and love things that bring positive energy into our lives! Laughter is the best medicine.
She is an Early Childhood Educator; The owner of MyDoula+ where she is a Birth & Postpartum Doula; Lactation Educator and soon to be a certified Reiki Practitioner specializing in fertility, birth and postpartum energy work.
www.mydoulaashley.ca Facebook & Instagram @mydoulaashley
Doula services Serving Prince Edward County, Quinte West, Belleville, Northumberland and Lennox & Addington.
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