Our guest this week is Kristy Avery Huber. Kristy has been a doula for over 23 years and has attended hundreds upon hundreds of births. She is not primarily a postpartum doula in Salt Lake. She teaches birth doula training at SLCC and a postpartum doula training at MCU. Hidden talents? Going on game shows…look for her and her family in an upcoming episode of Family Feud. Kristy is passionate about the sacred postpartum period and would a wonderful help to any family bringing home a baby!
My journey of doula work began with a heart-stirring bang on my front door at 1 am. My husband and I were startled, to say the least. Ron, my husband, was a Salt Lake County Deputy Sheriff at the time and he got up, put his uniform on and answered the door. Puzzled, he found a young teenage woman I taught in church. She was obviously shaken up and sobbing. She had just found out she was pregnant with a married man’s baby and desperately needed to talk to me. This was the beginning of my doula career over 23 years ago.
I helped this young girl find a wonderful midwife for care, attended her appointments with her, accompanied her to her childbirth class, wrote a birth plan with her, and taught her all I knew about growing a healthy baby. I taught her about making choices in her care and being wise in what she ate and how she nurtured herself. I was coming from a beautiful place myself of five unmedicated births. I loved my labors and loved the way I felt especially after I delivered. I can honestly say, my five birth days were the best days in my life. I remember the surge of oxytocin after I delivered and the incredible love I had for my baby and for my endearing husband. I still get chills reflecting on those days and a huge part of me wishes I could go back!
With my experiences behind me and this young woman in front of me, I felt ready and able to help her. With her, I attended childbirth classes at St Mark’s hospital. I was introduced to Kim Smith and she said, “Kristy you should become a doula.” I said, “a do what?” She laughed and explained what she could about doulas and their role in labor and postpartum. She gave me Kristi Ridd-Young’s name and contact information. Within days, I was in contact with Kristi and fascinated that I could do what I already had great excitement and passion for. Within a couple of months, I had attended a three-day Doula training and was now well on my road to educate anyone that would listen to me about this work.
I have learned through years of experience that a postpartum doula is the sweetest woman with grandmother skills and the listening ear of a best friend. My postpartum work encompasses such a vast amount of qualities and needs. My skills are set to the needs of the family I am serving. It is helpful to have a few fabulous, nutritional meals in your court. I don’t mind cleaning up a kitchen, a bathroom, or running a few batches of laundry. I often think of a pregnant woman not being able to deep clean her own bathroom in the last trimester of her pregnancy. I have been thanked numerous times for going the extra mile in making a woman’s bathroom just shine. It makes a mundane task seem easy to me. My priority in care is to really nurture the mother. Giving her a fresh plate of cut up fruit, or allowing her to shower or sit in the sunlight while I care for her children lifts and comforts a woman. Listening and allowing a woman to process her birth is so helpful. Being a nonjudgmental source of encouragement always makes a woman smile. I truly mother the mother, and as I do this, my cup is filled. I often hold precious newborns for hours and think about the amazing soul I am holding. I think of their future and all they will accomplish and achieve. I have a vast knowledge of newborn care techniques and suggestions, yet I always keep in mind that I support women in their choices of how they raise their own children.
My work as a postpartum doula has not been without challenges. I have helped numerous women with postpartum mood disorders. I have spoken at a memorial service for a stillborn baby. I have witnessed many women struggle through the weeks following their birth with physical problems and aliments. We troubleshoot through all of them and the woman heals. When my services come to an end, we usually cry and hug, because the time together during their highly emotional time of postpartum has linked us in unspeakable ways. I love postpartum doula work. I go home tired, but by morning, when I greet an exhausted new mama at the door, my heart is pure and my hands are open to serve again.
My teenage first client went on to birth a beautiful baby boy unmedicated. She had an orgasmic birth! It was awe inspiring and quite honestly a story for another day.
If you are interested in becoming a postpartum doula I would love to train you. Life doesn’t get much better than seeing a woman desire to do this blessed work!
Tobie Spears Birth/Postpartum Doula Peaceful Doula Services