Bethany Geisel, Story of a Doula
I wanted to write a post about myself, to kick things off. After all, getting to know me is a big part of connecting with your doula!
I have been a birth doula also since 2012. I first trained as a doula when I moved to Manitoba with my husband. I took a doula training that was being offered about three months after arriving there, and the rest was history. I never certified right away, though - had every intention of doing so, but life got in the way. Ultimately, I decided that the benefits of certification and the importance of certification outweighed having to redo my doula course. And in 2018, I arranged for another doula course to be offered in my area and I restarted the certification process with DONA International. In 2019, I became the only certified Birth Doula (CD(DONA))in my local area at the time! Now, with a move to Kingston, Ontario - I am one of many dedicated certified birth doulas here. I also have more recently certified as a Birth and Bereavement doula through Stillbirthday, and am also a SBD certified doula with that organization, and I fully intend on maintaining both certifications. I have also taken additional trainings, and I am a Lamaze certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE), and a Hypnobabies(R) Childbirth Hypnosis Doula (HCHD) . I've also taken a Spinning Babies workshop for birthworkers, a breastfeeding for doulas course, attended the Winnipeg Birth Without Fear conference, and am an accredited La Leche League Leader. All of these credentials, skills, workshops, accreditations, and conferences have built and honed my particular birth skills. I love to learn, and am always working on ways I can expand my support skills for my clients.
As a Hypnobabies doula, I have particular training and skills to put towards clients who have taken Hypnobabies or other Hypnobirthing courses. The hypno doula course taught how hypnosis works and how to apply the techniques in childbirth. When supporting a Hypnobirthing couple, I work closely with you in order to create a special birth space and environment, and help you create cue words with a script to deepen your hypnosis in preparation for childbirth. The calm, grounded births from hypnosis clients are my favorite births to attend, though every birth is a joy and honour to be part of.
My interest in birth work began in earnest in 2009 when my older sister was first pregnant with my oldest nephew. At the time, my sisters "alternative" birthing choice were fascinating to me, from a social and cultural standpoint, and my sister and I discussed a few times why those were the choices she was making (home birth with a midwife, waterbirth, attachment parenting). It was also the first time I had even heard of many of these options for birthing. When my sister was due, I happened to be at her house for a visit, and the night before I was to head back home, my sister went into labour. I had the unique opportunity to provide labour support to my sister, without really knowing what I was doing, let alone that there was a word for it. Supporting my sister outside, while out for a walk, with a slight drizzle, during back labour contractions is a vivid memory for me of that birth. And while ultimately the midwives had to do a hospital transfer and I did not witness the birth, it did spark my interest in what would eventually lead to becoming a doula. Prior to that, I had some experiences with newborn babies and mothers in Nairobi, Kenya, which really opened my eyes to birth in the first place.
I began doula work with no children of my own, but have since had two children. Both were births in hospital with midwives (though I would have preferred a home birth), completely unmedicated and excellent experiences. (At least in my mind!) To be fair, my birth experiences were rather quick and I do remember giving my husband a few choice words during the birth of my own firstborn. For my second baby, my husband was deployed overseas, so I hired an amazing doula to help support her - you can read my birth stories in upcoming posts.
And now, a bit about me personally! I have been married to my husband for 10 years this year already. Our kids are currently 5 and 2.5 years old, and we recently moved back to Ontario from Manitoba, where my spouse was posted with the Canadian Forces. We are now situated in Kingston, Ontario, which is great for us because my family is all within about two hours of here, and my husbands family is also in Ontario (about 4 hours away). This is going to be a big change from the 8 years we spent in Manitoba, and family was a minimum of 26 hours of driving away! We haven't ever lived here specifically, but with family in the area and previous home of ours in Ottawa, we aren't totally unfamiliar with it. We are excited to get to know our new community, and are hoping to buy a house soon!
I've been a doula for more than 8 years, supported a wide variety of birthing families in a variety of circumstances, gained multiple doula certifications, childbirth educator certifications, created my own prenatal class session as well as co-created a skills class, attended workshops for doulas and increased my knowledge of normal physiological birth as well as a variety of methods of supporting families in all birthing situations. It's been a journey, and I hope to be able to settle into this area and build many connections here with the birthing community as well as other families!