Why and how I became a doula?
Unlike most doulas, my story does not start when I had my first child. It started all the way back to when I was 15 years old, living in Paris, France. I started becoming increasingly fascinated by birth. read all the birth stories, watched all the birth videos I could find, and read all the books…while already dreaming of becoming a mother myself. I learned about doulas back then, finding the website doulas de France. Sadly, birth doulas are very little known in France and were even less popular back in 2005. I decided to pursue my education and choose a dual degree – one in photography and one in newborn and postpartum care. I started to work as a postpartum doula for private clients quickly after I finished school in 2008 (I actually met my first client during my last internship in the postpartum recovery service at the Maternité de la Muette!) and started my photography company in 2010. In 2013, I decided to fly to the United states to learn English for one year. But because life never goes as planned, I met my husband in Los Angeles, a couple of months before leaving. He was a french intern in an American company, and we instantly “matched”. We decided to get married way before knowing each other, a crazy bet… and it worked! The idea of becoming a doula came to my mind again pretty quickly. I knew how much we were popular in the USA, especially in Los Angeles where I lived. Fast-forward 4 years later and after a lot of difficulties to obtain my work permit, we welcomed our first child, Charlotte. Back then, it was important for me to wait until I went through the “other side” of birth myself before becoming a birth doula. In 2017, I started My French doula and I have been supporting and photographing families since then in the US.
My birth stories are long and probably boring for you. Let me just say… it did not go according to the plans! I planned a birth center birth for my daughter and home birth for my son, with the incredible midwife Lisa Marie Oxenham. They both ended up at the hospital, in a non-emergency transfer. Boy, I was ready… ( I went both times all the way to 42 weeks), and educated! But I am a “marathon birther”, my body is slow and even slower when it comes to birth my babies. I rocked labor twice, with 51hrs the first time and 48 hrs the second time & consider myself a badass who had to ask for the saint epidural both times, even though my plan was to not have it. Epidurals are magical! Homebirths are magical! Hospital births are f**** awesome! Birth centers are incredible! Anyone birthing a baby, no matter HOW, is unbelievable. We don’t have a special prize for doing it one way or another. I stayed in labor for more than 20 hours both times in the hospital and never came close to have an emergency c-section. How? With education, doula support, and a lot of “no, thank you”.