Happy World Doula Week! I’m late.. I know, I know. World Doula Week ended yesterday, BUT I still wanted to share this so that you all get a chance to know me!
My name is Raven aka “Raye” the Doula. I am a mommy to an energetic toddler named King. When I’m not doula-ing, I’m mom-ing, blogging my self love journey and trying to love on ME! Now.. on to the real stuff!
I initially embarked on a nursing path straight out of high school, saying my end goal was to open a center that provided services and support to teens and “low income folks” as a woman health nurse practitioner.
I grew up poor, battling reproductive system issues while being drawn to all things birth and babies… so naturally I wanted to create the solution for folks like me. (I later found out that I have midwifery in my DNA! One of Georgia’s “granny midwives…. No wonder i was more interested in watching “a baby story” as a kid over cartoons!
Well, I DID graduate from nursing school and become an RN in 2014, but I soon discovered that hospital nursing wasn’t my passion at all! I started to doubt my career choices, and decided to pause going back to school because I wanted to be SURE! I was NOT trying to accumulate any loans for a degree I was uncertain about!
I stepped away from bedside nursing and took a job in public health. I LOVED IT!!!
I worked as a case manager for children and youth with chronic medical conditions and special needs. I now recognized that the “special needs” is not the correct terminology– that should be disabled. My program was underneath the Early intervention program in my state, and right above WIC in the office space. I learned ALOT in this position.. About babies, the birth- five period, childhood trauma, positive parenting, breastfeeding… my eyes were opened to a whole new world that included seeing the disparities people of color were facing in the medical system.
It was in the positioin that i learned what an IBCLC was and why we needed more of them in GA. I learned about Baby friendly facilities and what needed to change in hospitals here. I was IMMEDIATELY drawn to this IBCLC path, and I felt my passion to work in the birth world rising back up.
HOWEVER, In my own personal life I was battling a diagnosis of infertility, endometroisis, and pcos which is polycystic ovarian syndrome. I had mentioned to a few people that I thought I wanted to do the lactation nurse and the general response was ‘ but how could you help someone if you’ve never had a baby.” I wish I hadn’t listened… but any who…
Life would have me go on a holistic healing journey, learning about the mind-body-soul approach to healing over the fully westernized versions. I tapped into ancestral healing practices such as womb massages, fasting, and herbal remedies. I learned the power of eating a diet full of whole foods, moving my body, mindfulness, affirmations and gratitude. I revamped my lifestyle to remove products that were full of hormone disruptors and replaced them with ones that were safer. I was on a holistic healing journey, and I was determined to stand on the strong faith that God had given me in choosing that path.
Eventually I was able to heal from any symptoms of endometriosis and PCOS, AND conceive my son naturally when drs said I never would.
At one of my first prenatal appointments, My black OBGYN asked me if I had a doula– and I was so confused. I had never heard that term. I went home, and said WHOA!! THis is what I want to be doing. I felt that same passion rising up like when I heard about the lactation nurse!
However, I had to focus on my own pregnancy being a plus size black woman giving birth in GA (a state with one of the worst and highest maternal mortality rates.) The statistics came out during my pregnancy and my main focus was staying alive. I had my doula and I knew I didn’t feel safe at the hospital so I wanted to arrive as close to pushing time as possible.
I was able to have the birth i wanted, but breastfeeding was terrible in the beginning. I had to debate a pediatrician and lactation consulatant about my son having a tongue tie and I felt most LC just didn’t want to help me.
It did nothing but fuel my passion even more.
After adjusting to motherhood and a battle with postpartum anxiety — I set out to become a doula & lactation consultant. I knew that I wanted to include everything that I had learned on my holistic journey so I wanted a holistic training. I began selling my handcrafted products, like waist beads for self love & herbal baths to fund my trainings.
I completed my holistic birthworker training.
I completed a training on bengkung belly binding.
I also completed my training to become a certified breastfeeding specialist in 2019. One step towards becoming an IBCLC (which is expensive as HECK!)
I took ANOTHER laction training and became a peer counslor for breastfeeding USA. (Another step closer to IBCLC!)
Everything I have experienced in life has shaped me into the doula that I am today. I provide support in all areas as a full spectrum doula– fertility, loss, pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I am constantly wanting to grow and learn more in the areas of womb wellness and also mood disorders. I have a list of trainings that I want to take to continue growing as a doula & better serve my clients and community. I STILL have that passion to have my own center… and further my education! But, this is where I am in my journey, and I am happy to be here serving you!
…. and if you know of funding / scholarships for doulas… lemme now!