Some of you may know that I was a truck driver before I became a doula (and still am on a casual basis when I am not on call!). I did most of the reading for DONA certification while loading and unloading tankers – shhhhh, don’t tell the safety supervisor. I stopped driving full time when I discovered I was pregnant with my youngest but continued to drive casually as an independent contractor and eventually went on to own my own truck before the recession in 2015.
HOW DID BEING A TRUCK DRIVER MAKE ME A BETTER DOULA?
Ten years ago, I became a single mom with three children. I had no education, no solid work history, nothing but a set of bunk beds and some garbage bags full of clothes and no support from my estranged husband. I knew I needed to find a way to give my family stability, fast. My mom drove truck and suggested it might be the best way to give my family a steady income without going to college or university and that’s what I did. It was fast and effective and for the first time in my life I was truly independent.
Although I enjoy the work and I am proud to do it, my passion has always been working with women, and families. I love everything about pregnancy, birth, and babies! I attended my first birth in 2007 and realized I wanted to become a doula in 2009. I immediately started working through the DONA certification process. It was just a matter of waiting until my life was ready for me to make the type of commitment and sacrifice required. In 201, I gave birth to my youngest child, with the support of a doula of course.
I am a truck driver and a doula. Careers that are so different, I would have never thought I would pursue both at the same time. Thanks to a shared call schedule and agency model, I can do all of the things I love. As I was thinking about this I realized, there are some qualities and skills that I gained from driving trucks that make me a better doula. Who knew the two could be related?
1. LONG HOURS DON’T SCARE ME.
Truck drivers are notorious for working long hours without rest. I have to admit that I have pulled my share of extra long days over the years. As I have gotten older and more responsible I no longer take risks like that as a driver but when supporting clients I use what I learned when I needed to go that extra mile. I also attended Fatigue Management Training that helps me serve you with the same quality of care at twelve hours as I do when I first join you in your labor space.
2. I AM A PROFESSIONAL DRIVER.
In Alberta, where we only have two seasons, mud and snow, you can relax knowing that barring some freak natural phenomenon, I will arrive to help your birth even in the nastiest of weather. I have arrived safely to every destination, never had any kind of collision–knock on wood–and have hundreds of thousands of miles under my belt.
3. I DON’T QUIT.
I won’t walk out on you if your birth doesn’t go as planned. I’m going to be there with you providing judgement free support every step of the way. It doesn’t matter if your birth or postpartum recovery gets messy or your pregnancy becomes high risk, I am going to be there for you.
If I learned anything lying on the ground in minus 40 fixing the leak underneath my truck or struggling to stay warm in the back of my rig for hours while I waited for someone to come and help me with a breakdown, or the times I drug chains I couldn’t lift all through the mud to get myself out of a sticky situation, it’s to never give up. Even when you really want to. Some things in life are hard. Harder than you ever imagined. Life rarely goes as planned but you have to roll with it. Those hard days make the best memories. Hard days change you and make you a better person.
We won’t quit, together.
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