By Suki Gaetz
I began my work and life as a Doula in 2016 after finishing birth doula training with Stefanie in February of that year. However, my love of babies started much earlier when I was just a young child. I believe this was due to a combination of nature and nurture.
I firmly believe that there was a gene in my family that created an absolute love of babies and young children. Both of my parents had it, as I was exposed throughout my childhood to the ease my parents had when spending time with babies and children of all ages. There are fond memories of my mom teaching childbirth education in our home and using a uterus that she would knit to demonstrate how it stretches. I would run home from school rather than hanging out with friends if there was a chance my mom had a friend over with a newborn for me to hold.
Similarly, from a nurture perspective, my mother was a stay-at-home parent, as were many of the mothers in the neighbourhood we lived. I believe this contributed greatly to the way I viewed my childhood, to the confidence I developed as a young child and an adult. I knew from a very early age that I wanted to help people in some capacity and be there for them during those crucial moments.
After graduating high school I applied immediately to a social service worker program at Seneca College where I was excited to start studying and learning different ways of being involved in support and advocacy roles for a variety of populations. After graduating I went on to work full-time in a community living setting with children that had physical and developmental disabilities.
Over the course of the next 10 years I worked with children in a number of ways - residential programs, maternity homes, and intake programs for families that had children with autism. In all the roles I had my love and passion for supporting families through challenging times continued to grow.
Throughout my professional career in these early days there was a desire and excitement in having my own babies which I did when I was 30 and 33 years old. I was also in a position with my partner at the time where we mutually decided that I would stay home with my kids for as long as we could financially afford to do so, which was something I had always wanted to do.
I cherished the time I had with my children from babyhood until early teens, often contemplating the role that child development has on our future lives. I often thought back about my own childhood and how significant it was for me.
When my children were older and more independent and I knew that it was time to get back into the workforce, I was not exactly certain what that was going to look like. I struggled with the reality of having a large gap in my work experience which made it challenging to go back to applying to positions like ones I had before having children.
What kept coming up in many searches was a career as a birth and postpartum Doula. I was lucky in that I knew what a Doula was because I had hired one for my very first birth 19 years ago and she was not able to attend my hospital birth because of SARS, ironic that my Doula career was just taking off slightly before the beginning of Covid.
In 2019 I was lucky enough to start working with Discover Birth (a doula agency based in Toronto). I was also encouraged to develop my own website and presence as a Doula. With a lot of encouragement from Stephanie and the whole Discover Birth team I was able to work throughout the pandemic with families that had hired me as a postpartum Doula because they realized that the support I was offering them was essential at a time when they weren’t able to have family and friends be available to help navigate the early days with a newborn.
One of the things that I share with clients in consults both for postpartum work and birth support is that I feel it is an absolute honour to be considered to share in such a special experience as pregnancy, birth, and time adjusting to having a newborn in the home.
I take this special feeling with me into every shift and every birth that I do and at a time when I’m done having children and my own children are years from having children and most of my friends either aren’t having children or are finished. Doula work is a perfect way for me to feel as though I am contributing to the development of healthy human beings and getting in time with baby snuggles which for me is better than medicine.
Thank you for listening to my story.
Suki is a Doula School alumni, currently working as a Doula and birth worker in the Toronto area. You can find her at www.itrustbirth.com