Doulas do immensely important work with growing families, and I wanted to do a photography project to give insight into their industry.
My first post is about Whitney. She serves East Bay and San Francisco Bay Area families throughout pregnancy, labor and postpartum time.
Whitney was working with a family with a 10 week old newborn on this nice and bright March afternoon; caring for the baby as well as helping out in the home were on the agenda.
Whitney is expecting a little one of her own this summer, and is eager to become a mom.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
“I’ve been working as a birth and postpartum doula for two years. Prior to starting my doula practice, I worked as a care navigator for low-income women living with breast cancer. I was honored to assist a number of these women with end-of-life care planning and to be by their side during their final transition. It was through this work that I was inspired to become a doula – I witnessed life ending and longed to better understand where it all began.”
What is the favorite part of your job?
“My favorite part of my job is witnessing women amaze themselves. There’s often this moment right after the birth when a woman exclaims, “I did it! I can’t believe I did it!.” I always can believe it because I witness her strength time and time again, but it’s incredible to see her realize and celebrate her own power. There are many of these moments in the early postpartum, too, and it’s incredible to see women find the edge and push through.”
What are the hardest parts of your job?
“The hardest part of my job is saying goodbye after working with a family. My work is intimate and I feel profoundly connected to the parents and the babies. While goodbyes aren’t always easy, they are something to celebrate. The parents are ready to navigate the next stages without my support and, as a doula, there’s nothing sweeter than hearing ‘we’ve got this now!’.”
What are some of the core principles that help you in your work?
“It’s my job to meet families where they’re at and to serve in the way that’s best for them. I throw my own agenda and expectations out the door and show up with an open mind and a willingness to offer unconditional support every time I’m called to a birth or to support a family postpartum. There’s no one right way to bring a baby into the world or to parent a child, but there is a right way for each individual family, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness new parents finding their own path.”
Is there a birth or family that has left an impression on you?
“One of my first births was a woman in her early 20s. She approached birth as if it were the simplest thing she’d ever do. She had no fear and stated many times that she had “confidence” in herself. When her labor started, that confidence seemed to only grow and she made birthing a baby look just as simple as she’d imagined it to be. Her approach postpartum was very similar. She assumed that mothering would be easy and found it to be just so. She relied on her own intuition and it served her beautifully.”
Any last thoughts, wisdom, or ideas for expecting parents?
“An empowered pregnancy leads to an empowered birth which leads to empowered parenting. This doesn’t mean that the unexpected won’t happen from time to time, but it does mean that making informed decisions that serve your own intuitive knowing will strengthen you throughout your parenting journey.”
You can find more information about Whitney over at Whitney Price Doula Services.
Are you a Bay Area doula that would like to participate in the #doulasatwork project? Shoot me a message to find out more!