I Was a Single Mother on Welfare Before I was a Postpartum Doula

birth breastfeeding mother postpartum doula Oct 05, 2021

When I was seven months pregnant I was deserted by my now deceased ex-husband.  I felt betrayed, alone, scared, ashamed, angry and sad.  Look at my expression in this photo, right after I gave birth.  It tells a story.

I asked my addict husband to get help or he had to leave. He left.  Part of my labor involved making sure the nurses kept him away, and out of the room. My point in sharing this isn't about sharing a story of victimhood.  I want you to know that no matter what your circumstance, you can rise above.

This is a story of love and support, and finding out what a doula is. My Mom was my birth and postpartum doula. At the time, I had no idea what that was. I do know that I felt the love and support. I received encouragement with breastfeeding (even though Mom never breastfed), I was fed, and my laundry was done. 

My Mom reminded me of what a great job I was doing, and how beautiful and amazing my son was because I was caring for him. People would ask me how I could do it, and I would tell them that I didn't know any other way.

This experience, while challenging, and seemingly unmanageable at times, shaped me into the woman and mother I would become.  It wasn't until my son, Matthew, was two years old that I answered the ad that called for helping new mothers after birth. It was my aha moment. 

I'd been working part-time, and collecting assistance from the state of Massachusetts (reluctantly at first). I wanted so badly to be with my baby. Becoming a postpartum doula changed the course of my life. Finally, I felt like I had a purpose on this planet, and I could truly make a difference in the lives of others. I could also support myself and my son, by combining the postpartum doula work with my other job.

My first boss and mentor, Joan, gave me the opportunity to learn and grow. She is still my good friend, thirty years later.

If you find your circumstances challenging, and less than desirable, make a commitment to yourself to follow your heart, and find what will fill you up. There is always a way.  Reach out for support from others that have been there before you.

If you want to be a postpartum doula, I can give you guidance. It's what I do.  I will share with you all the things that helped me along the way so you can shine your light in the world.


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