As many of you know, in March of this year I made the decision to pursue continuing education in prenatal and postpartum massage as well as a massage doula. Some of you may be wondering how I came to this decision after our long struggle with infertility. Others of you are wondering what the heck a doula is and what one has to do with infertility at all. A doula is a non-medical, labor support person who provides education, emotional and physical support to women and couples during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and shortly after birth. As a massage doula I can provide regular prenatal massage throughout pregnancy, massage during labor along with typical birth doula support, postpartum massage and newborn massage instruction. I’m hoping to add fertility massage on to all of that in the future to provide all encompassing care from prior to conception all the way through learning how to massage one’s new baby.
Now that you have a description of the work I am trained to do, you probably understand a bit better how infertility and becoming a doula impact each other. Ever since I was in massage school, I was drawn to prenatal massage. I even created a business plan in school based around my dream for my future practice that offered various types of massage with specialized training in all aspects of prenatal massage, from fertility massage all the way through to newborn massage instruction. However, that was also the time that we were just beginning fertility treatments.
As our failures with IVF began to take a heavier toll and adoption seemed financially impossible, I put all of this on hold. I was not in a healthy place to focus on helping women conceive, massaging them throughout their pregnancies and then teaching them to massage their sweet new babies. I was struggling with bitterness, depression and anger with God. No one wants a bitter infertile woman as her massage therapist during pregnancy, and frankly, at that point I probably didn’t want to be her therapist throughout her pregnancy because it just hurt too much. In retrospect, regardless of our infertility, providing general massage therapy without a specialization when just starting out in the field, provided much needed experience that will benefit me for years to come.
With time however, God began to heal my heart, the bitterness began to fade and depression was slowly replaced with joy. Then came Asher and Lucas. Every day that I got to wake up and be their mom, my heart sang, and that joy and healing continued to increase exponentially. Just shy of their first birthday, I decided that it was time to begin focusing on my massage practice again after putting on the back burner for a year. I began looking into continuing education and remembered a program for training as a massage doula that I had seen around the time I graduated from massage school. God had been working on healing my heart and I knew that emotionally, I was ready to take this step and continue on the path that He had called me to nearly 4 years earlier.
I began my courses with excitement and even though I have had to face some of the emotions that I haven’t had to deal with for awhile pertaining to experiences that I may never get to have, I continue to be excited about this new path that my career will take. I will still offer the same massage services as before, but with the added specialization in prenatal and postpartum massage as well as massage doula services. I am now in a healthy place to support women and couples on their journey to growing their families, in fact I think that God will use our journey to allow me to even better support women and couples, and it is an honor to do so.