Camilla's Story: A Doula Has Her First Baby

by Camilla Malkin

Photo credit: Brita Johnson

Photo credit: Brita Johnson

Becoming a mother after two decades of caring for infants, small children, and families has been an interesting process. While I was pregnant the speculation around how easy the transition would be groomed me to smile politely as anxiety bubbled within me.

‘[I was] an expert with so much experience.’

‘[I would] know what to do under every circumstance.’ 

‘[I had] a Mary Poppins bag of tricks, wisdom, and knowledge.’ 

Yet even with 20 years of practice under my belt I felt like a complete amateur when they handed me Maverick for the first time. As I fumbled with hospital sheets and a starchy swaddled newborn I realized instantly that no amount of prior exposure could have prepared me for the feeling of holding my son. That bundle of life was one of my greatest accomplishments. I had grown him from two cells and carried him within me for 40 plus weeks. As my husband, Andy, and I examined his every inch we caught each other settling into the awareness that Maverick was going to be an adventure of a lifetime and we were only at the beginning. 

When we were released from the hospital I took an eternity buckling the baby into the car seat. I was having trouble securing the straps. My muscle memory was being overridden by my new title of “mother”.

Buckle the 5 point harness. Pull the strap. Slide up the chest clasp. Check for two fingers of give. Nope. I did that wrong. Was I supposed to tighten then adjust? Or adjust then tighten? Was the chest fastener too high? What is a sternum again? Check. Double check. Redo. Check again.

Looking back on our process of choosing a doula, I am so thankful for my husband’s astute articulation of what we (read: I) needed. We were in search of someone who would doula me so I wouldn’t doula myself. 

As we victoriously reach one month of parenthood I am able to reflect on how grateful I am for the loving support of the Bridgetown Baby team. Our son is getting to know us as our best selves. We get to spend time revelling in the nuances of this child. We are becoming experts on all things Maverick. Welcoming in our postpartum doulas has meant we get to focus on the important emotional bonding without having to compromise our everyday routines (showering, eating, hydrating, sleeping) while ensuring that all three of us are getting care and support as we learn, as a family, what works best for meeting our needs and goals.

It’s been an amazing transition. And I’m happy to say that now my muscle memory kicks in even when my mommy-brain can’t fully comprehend why there is so much fabric in the Moby wrap!