New Year's Eve 2018 Reflection

Orange County doula reflecting on 2018

2018 has been a year full of growth and reflection for us.

This year brought so many wonderful hours working with the loveliest, funniest, warmest clients we could ask for. And it also brought some of the most challenging moments of our doula careers.

We’re continuing to learn and grow from each new twist and turn on this often surprising path.

Highlights of 2018:

We worked with over 120 families this year.

From childbirth classes to birth and postpartum doula support to car seat education to lactation counseling, we had the privilege of walking alongside 120 Orange County and Long Beach families on their parenting journeys.

This year, our clients’ job descriptions included: stay-at-home parent, comedian, lawyer, police officer, scientist, researcher, business leader, realtor, teacher, accountant, artist, web designer, app designer, musician, graduate student, therapist, software designer, nurse, yoga teacher, photographer, city planner, brewery manager, holistic health practitioner, esthetician, physician assistant, and probably many more that we can’t recall.

What an interesting, varied list of folks!

We honed our skills.

We love learning new techniques and perspectives to help our clients, and are passionate about continuing education. This year, we participated in the following educational opportunities to deepen our practice:

  • Savvy Sleep Certification, a breastfeeding-focused sleep education course to help Marlee guide parents through sleep challenges with their infants and toddlers (Moorea Malatt)

  • Undisturbed Birth, a wonderful workshop about the hormones of birth (Sarah Buckley, author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering)

  • Acupressure for Birth, a course addressing common challenges and discomforts of pregnancy and labor through acupressure (Maranda & Evan Bussanich)

  • Introduction to Trauma- and Resilience-Informed Approaches to Perinatal Support, a unique and insightful seminar addressing ways birth workers can support parents through a trauma-informed lens (Nkem Ndefo, CNM)

  • Navigating Pregnancy Loss, Infant Death, and Traumatic Childbirth, a seminar to help professionals support parents through some of the most challenging situations they may face (Jodie Hnatkovich, LPC, CRC)

  • Perinatal Bereavement Healthcare Conference, a gathering of perinatal loss professionals coming together to discuss best practices in caring for parents through some of the most difficult events of their lives (Forever Footprints)

  • Car Seat Safety Technician certification 4-day workshop, Marlee’s certification course to help educate parents on car seat safety (Safe Kids Worldwide)

We had our very first instance of two clients laboring at the same time!

Guess how close together their due dates were. Did you guess? 5 weeks apart!

Marlee was with one family and Megan was with the other. We’ve still never called a back-up doula!

We did a lot of writing.

Here are our 5 most popular blog posts of 2018:

Orange County breastfeeding help pink heart

We’re grateful for our community of support.

Doula work can be tough emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We are so fortunate to have supportive, compassionate people in our lives who help us when we need a listening ear, a warm meal, a brainstorming partner, or even a fun day off. We couldn’t continue to do this work without the love and help of our friends and family, and we want to take this opportunity to say thank you.

As 2018 comes to an end, we’re looking forward to big plans for 2019:

Our private childbirth classes took off, and we’re offering group classes for the first time next year!

We had so many requests for private classes that we almost couldn’t schedule everyone! We’ve loved working with our birth doula clients and other expecting parents in this way.

Since we can’t continue keep up with the growing demand for classes, we decided to host small group classes (no more than 4 couples) in our home in 2019. We are so excited about this growth, and can’t wait for our first round of classes in January!

We’re starting a new parent support group.

It’s going to be at our home in Santa Ana once a month. All new parents are welcome! Marlee will be facilitating, and to the best of our knowledge this will be the only postpartum support group in Orange County led by a postpartum doula.

We hope our clients and other community members will take advantage of this chance to be in community with other new parents, and get some questions answered along the way.

More info here.

We’re continuing to mentor new doulas.

Our work through Mentor the Doula last year was inspiring for us - we love working with new doulas! We are so excited to be continuing this work in 2019 as we help encourage and guide birth workers starting out on this path. It’s an honor to help build the community of people supporting parents in Orange County!

We’re grateful to the families we worked with this year for allowing us a tiny (or sometimes not so tiny) glimpse into their lives.

We consider it a great privilege to walk alongside families who are welcoming new little ones. To be trusted as a guide along this transformational path is a gift, and we don’t take it for granted.

We wish you a peaceful end of 2018. Cheers to a meaningful new year of growth, compassion, and love!

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