Happy 2019! I don’t know about you, but 2018 feels like it went by so fast and feels like it’s so far behind me, even though we’re only a whopping 17 days into 2019. So many highs and several lows in 2018 but they are all starting to blend together already. I did a mental year-in-review which mainly focused on the fun trips my family and I took, our move from Washington DC to Los Angeles, and my two professions, both of which are exceeding my expectations. In 2018, I started this blog. It was something I wanted to do for several years but just never took the time to do it until last year. Blogging allowed me to sharpen my skills and dive deep into specific topics. It allowed me to dedicate time to my doula craft, and it allowed me an outlet to share things that matter to me as a wife, mother, Soldier, doula, friend, and coach. And this year I hope to not only continue this blog, but provide even more information, resources, and thoughts to anyone and everyone who works with and/or parents our next generation.
I’ve decided to kick off 2019 with a quick series on my services. At the end of 2018, I started supporting families with newborns with overnight doula work and have really enjoyed it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sunshine and butterflies, but it truly makes me value the profession and definitely reminds me why I wanted to become a doula in the first place.
Which is a great way to kick off 2019 on the blog.
I just finished listening to Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. I’ve seen this title on several recommended reading lists both for military professionals and for business leaders. I actually listened to it twice! Great book, lots of interesting insights, and easily understandable thesis. As a business person, it seems so obvious to have a good WHY, but it wasn’t something I’d really thought about before. He explains the Golden Circle - What, How, Why - and juxtaposes it onto a dart board with WHAT on the outside (easy to explain and discuss), HOW in the middle (often contains components that answer how a company is different from others), then WHY in the center (the purpose, the cause, the belief). He is full of perfect examples of companies and people who know/knew their why and hold/held true to it and those examples make it much easier to see why we should start with why. Apple. Harley Davidson. Southwest Airlines. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - to name a few. They have/had a clear sense of why. Apple’s WHY, for example, “everything we do is to challenge the status quo.” And we can see that in almost everything Apple does. Years ago, when everyone was trying to put more buttons on their phones, Apple dropped down to 1. And who can forget the “I’m a Mac. I’m a PC” commercials. Apple clearly understand’s its WHY.
And, after a bit of thought, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on mine. I’ve always been able to explain why I became a postpartum doula. My inspiration, my path, and why I’m doing this. But I think I kept that analysis pretty superficial. So, over the past few weeks, I’ve thought more about my doula WHY. Why do I doula? Why am I doing this? What is my doula WHY? Why does From The Start, Postpartum Doula exist?
I’ve spent a decent amount of time thinking about just this recently and I think I can sum it up in a few words.
serve the leaders of the family and coach them into their best parenting selves
Lots of key words there for me, but let me expand upon those two verbs.
First is serve and service. I learned about and started my journey in service many moons ago through a variety of activities and opportunities. But, my connection to service and giving to others really took shape in high school. My high school motto was (and still is) “Not Words, But Deeds.” And years after graduation from high school, here I sit living this motto stronger now than ever. After high school, I attended a Service Academy for college and immediately began my military service upon graduation and commissioning. When I left active duty and pondered what my future profession would be, it always centered around service to others, helping others, giving to others. Once I found the postpartum doula profession, I was hooked. That was it! As a postpartum doula, I am there for the family, with no agenda. With no intentions. With no missed opportunities of my own that I am trying to relive through them. With no emotion other than love.
The second verb is coach. It’s only been within the past year or so that I’ve realized this is exactly what I do as a postpartum doula. I am a coach to parents with newborns. I am a compass in the hand of the point man - sometimes heavily referenced and relied upon and other times only used for an azimuth check. I help them become their best parenting selves and parenting team. I’m right there with them, from the start.
On November 1, 2018, I temporarily changed my logo for Veteran’s Day. Same image and words, just different colors. But, as you may have noticed, that logo has turned permanent. And I don’t expect it will go anywhere anytime soon. I love the simplicity and the balance and the symmetry. I love that it has baby’s feet and not a pregnant belly, since I work with families when those teeny tiny toesies are earthside and wiggling. I even love that the font for From The Start is called Paprika, a seasoning used throughout the world and often used to add color and compliment a dish.
I didn’t love my original colors though. Purple and gray seem to be trendy birth-worker colors and, for those who know me, let’s be honest, trendy is not a word in my lexicon!
But a flag of the United States of America. Heck yeah. Hell yeah. That’s my jam. Nothing represents service more than Old Glory. And since my husband and I are both still serving in the Army, I think the flag is spot on.
The new letter colors though…I’m about to share an unknown secret here. Ready? I used a picture of the yellow side of my Jumpmaster armband. That’s right! So, let me explain this. Back in my day…my first duty station as a shiny new butterbar 2LT was Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Home of the 27th Engineer Battalion and Home of the Airborne. I worked hard at it and after a relatively short time, I trained and became certified as a Jumpmaster and earned my Jumpmaster armband. The armband is yellow on one side and red on the other. It’s a rough, durable, tight-woven material with a lot of hook-pile tape (aka velcro) to keep the band on even when your arm (or you) hangs out of an airplane. Jumpmasters wear the red side out when they are actively serving in one of the four jumpmaster positions. Otherwise, certified and current jumpmasters wear the yellow side out, indicating they are certified, current, and ready to help anytime the primary jumpmaster needs help.
Kind of like me as a postpartum doula - certified, current, and ready to help whenever the primary care giver(s) needs help.
I also chose yellow because yellow ribbons, though traditionally used to symbolize deployment, have become synonymous with military spouses. And I am damn proud to be a military spouse!
So now you have a pretty good understanding of my WHY. And you have an understanding of my logo and hopefully can see the correlation between the two.
I’m so happy to have done this deep analysis and thought as to why I do what I do. I think this will help me to make better business decisions. I think it will also help me make better technical decisions. I spend a decent amount of time thinking about what else I can and should be doing to better my postpartum doula career and provide the type of care and support and service that I feel called to do and I know that having a newfound clarity on my WHY will only improve my support and my business.
I look forward to serving you and your family in 2019 and beyond!