The joys of being a doula comes in many forms. Seeing a mother blossom into modern mamahood is one of my biggest joys. Those moments are precious and it’s always amazing knowing that I was there to help and gently usher them into this new way of being and seeing the world.
My work as a doula doesn’t just stop at labor and delivery. I spend quite a bit of time helping clients during the preconception and fertility portion of their journeys. This could include a lot of things but usually it includes helping with nutrition that compliments fertility and aligning the mind and body.
My days are filled with writing, meetings, and chatting about everything birth and fertility. I’m available around the clock, everyday. I’m constantly providing support, resources, and advice to clients, friends, and even sometimes strangers. It can be a lot sometimes, to say the least, but I thoroughly enjoy my work and the part I play in it.
By 8am, I am feeling the tingle of my calendar going off on my phone, alerting me of the things that are on my schedule for the day. This particular day, I needed to focus on emails and articles that needed to be reviewed and revised for publishing. I gather my things and prepare for my day and head to my office.
Later that morning, I am greeted by a client (we’ll just call her Jessica) that is requesting me of services regarding fertility and trying to conceive. Her and her fiance have been trying for about six months and were starting to get discouraged. Jessica explained that she has irregular cycles and she’s found it kind of difficult to track her ovulation.
“No Biggie!” I said to myself. I get clients like this all the time. Irregular cycles affect a large number of women including those suffering from fibroids and PCOS. After listening to her explain the steps she’s taken, including winging it with ovulation testing, I decided I would take her on as a client and start with my initial 2-hour consultation. Here is where I take down any information that could be useful with curating a preconception and fertility nutrition plan for her, including stress levels, family history of birth and miscarriages, known vitamin deficiencies, eating habits, lengths and dates of cycles that she can remember, and a few other things. Really I just really wanted to get to know Jessica and her story! I wanted to hear about her fiance and how long they’ve been together. I wanted to speak about what her support system looked like and how that impacted her in both positive and negative ways. We chatted about her goals during this journey and goals for her future.
At this time, now I totally know Jessica. At least enough to know how she will respond to my care and support and if we would make a good team, because essentially me and my clients are a team!
A couple hours later, I take the notes that I’ve accumulated from my chat with Jessica and I reassure her that there are things that we can do and implement to get her on a schedule and system that works well with her daily life and routines and that will help her cycles follow her with that same consistency. This is the time where I say goodbye to Jessica and let her know I will be in touch to check on her and to deliver her own personal preconception and fertility nutrition plan.
Towards the afternoon, I say around 1pm, I try and break away to nibble on something and to look over my notes, invoices, and other back of the house stuff. I am thinking of ways to curate a great plan for Jessica whom hasn’t mentioned any health or diet restrictions which makes this part so much fun. I return to my area and start to jot down a great starting point for her nutrition which includes a grocery list and a few recipes to get her started like a fertility smoothie, bone broths for her cycle and reproductive health, and herb blends that will make both her tummy and digestive system happy. Fertility and preconception is partly nutrition work and partly mental. The brain is a tricky little thing. We can think ourselves into an outcome that is not nearly as close to what it is our bodies are actually capable of doing. And so I start focusing on a preconception plan that includes Jessica journaling about her daily stresses, fears, and anxieties. I include affirmations for her to practice when this journey feels a little overwhelming and lonely. I also include some light exercises that will help strengthen the pelvic floor and help with overall blood flow.
Around 4pm - 5pm I finish up these portions of the plans and start to get to the part that can be a little tricky for some - calculating when exactly Jessica ovulates and how long her cycle actually is. From all the information she gave me I was able to calculate that she has a 40 day cycle. From here, things seem a little more clear. It isn’t necessarily about willing your cycle to exist as a smaller number, but working with what you have! Believing and understanding that, “Okay, this makes a lot more sense!”
I gather all of this information and wrap in up in a wonderful email, packed with encouragement, support, confidence, and love. I let her know that we should start right after her cycle and try and stick to these things for two months before she starts trying again. We agree and now we are not only starting this journey into motherhood, which comes in all different shapes and sizes, but creating trust and practicing listening to our bodies and intuition which is really the first step.
She thanked me and of course, I let her know that beyond anything else, “... remember to take care of you.”
- Kayla, The Modern Doula