North Shore Doula
As we go around the North Shore meeting locals and making new friends, we had the opportunity to meet Allie, a local mum who decided to become a doula and she was very happy to chat with us and tell us a bit about her story.
Hi Allie, could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about you and your family?
Hey! I'm Allie, mother of 2 year old Margot. My husband, Braden, and I met in 2012 and got married in 2015. We are big fans of the new Seylynn Park in Lynnmour and are there all the time practicing scootering or playing around. Braden is a realtor which is a wonderful complement to my work as a doula since he can be a bit more flexible with timing at work so I can be with clients for as long as I need to be since sometimes it can be days I'm away from my family at a time. Margot and Braden are such big fans of what I do and Margot loves to look at all the photos of mamas and dadas and babies that I edit after a birth.
Are you local to the North Shore or did you move here - if you moved why did you choose the North Shore?
My husband grew up in West Van, but I am actually from Southern California. I moved to BC in 2010 and studied at UVIC. I met Braden and if you know a North Shore boy, you know they never want to move from the North Shore and once I lived here I, too, knew I would never leave. We had our daughter and I became so much more immersed in the community of local parents and families and changed my doula practice to one of only taking clients on the North Shore since I knew I could support these families so much more authentically and lead them to community connection easily.
Tell us what led you to become a doula?
My mom is a pediatrician and my dad is in family practice and was in school when I was a baby and toddler. Medicine was such a big part of my home growing up and it's a world in which I'm so comfortable. I had my daughter with the wonderful Canopy Midwives and my doula. After I had my daughter, I realized that doula work was the most immediate gratification form of preventative medicine and made such a massive difference in cesarean rates, interventions, and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. My doula encouraged me to pursue this path after I had my daughter and I’m so happy I did. Supporting new families in all ways is something that truly never gets old to me. I’ve never been to a birth or breastfeeding consult or postpartum visit I didn’t love.
What are some of the things people may not know about the work doulas do?
I think a lot of people just genuinely don’t really understand what birth looks like and where support fits in. I know when I was pregnant, I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do even when it came to choosing a doctor vs a midwife and was so lucky that my parents knew more than I did and steered me in the direction that was right for me. People don’t know that doulas support partners about as much or even more than they support the birthing person; when I’m working with a birthing person, I usually act as a partner’s cheat sheet - letting them know what they can do to help, where to stand in the room, how to offer helpful touch and pressure, and if unexpected events happen we act as a gentle, nurturing presence in the room to translate what’s happening and take that responsibility off the nurses. I think the other thing people don’t know is that there are literally no downsides to hiring a doula. We have labour and delivery nurses, physicians, and other doulas as our clients because they all know that the research backs up our presence with them at home and in the hospital. If you cannot afford a doula, most work on sliding scale fees and some newer doulas offer very low-cost support.
What value are you hoping to offer to the North Shore community with your growing business?
To me, connection, information, and confidence are things doulas can offer the families they support. Restricting my niche of clients to the North Shore only has created this awesome ability we now have to focus our energy and time on learning more about the community and connecting with spaces like yours, for example, to make sure we are setting our families up for success and connection with other parents and families.
We thought of asking you a bit of a different question, one that we will try and ask every parent we meet, in the hope to help a parent-to-be out there: If you could go back to before you became a parent and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Ha! Oh man, how much time does my prior self have? And would I even listen to me? I think my main piece of advice would be to take it easy on myself and trust myself to make good choices for my baby and myself. I think I over-analyzed a lot when I was a brand-new parent “Is this color poop ok?” “Is my supply enough?” “How do I know if she’s gotten enough milk?” “She doesn’t sleep as much as so-and-so’s kid, is that ok?” etc etc. Luckily I had my mom who is a pediatrician to ask and she’d roll her eyes at me and say, “Stop worrying. She’s fine. When in doubt put her to breast. Stop analyzing everything and don’t ever talk to me about baby poop.” To be honest, I even still need her to tell me to stop being weird even now, so I don’t know if I’d listen to myself, but it’s something I’m still working on - letting go and just being.
Lastly, what is your favourite spot in the North Shore and why?
For sure our fav spot is the new Seylynn Park! It’s huge and flat and has a track around the outside to practice scootering along, biking, and when we get bored of that we can play on the grass or walk along the trail and say hi to dogs. It’s such an amazing park now and we use it as our backyard (even though we have one, haha!).
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