The Life of a Calgary Doula
I often get asked about my life...what is it like being a Calgary doula? A childbirth or lactation educator?
Well, in short, it's pretty awesome! Being a doula in Calgary is hugely rewarding. I have the honour of attending births at all four Calgary Hospitals: The Peter Lougheed Hospital, The Rockyview General Hospital, the Foothills Medical Centre and the new South Health Campus. I'm also lucky enough to attend home births, or deliveries at the Arbour Birth Center, and I even head down to the High River Hospital every once in awhile.
While I get to travel all over this beautiful city, I also meet with some amazing people as well. I’ve had clients from all walks of life. Everything from stay-at-home parents, families new to Calgary or Canada, bank CEO's and oil rig workers. These people may have different jobs and different postal codes, but they all have one thing in common—they want support and education for their upcoming birth experience and new addition to the family. They want the best.
Calgary is home to some of the most skilled doctors, nurses, and midwives around. Families can be rest assured that their baby will receive the best care possible. The medical professionals on their birth team are working toward a happy and healthy birth experience for every baby, mom, dad, and of course every family as a whole.
As an accomplished birth doula I get to be a part of that team! I focus on the overall experience and help parents find good resources and facilitate communication between each family and their health care provider. My role is to enhance the experience for all, and it's a role I cherish.
As an experienced postpartum doula I get to help parents find their own strength and knowledge. Often new parents are scared to do something wrong, but I help them see that they are already quite qualified and are the experts on their baby! I help them access resources, transition into their new family roles, and sometimes I even get a quiet nap during a long overnight shift!
Offering private prenatal classes is one of the most rewarding roles I love to fill. I get to help families work within their current day-to-day lives to access amazing, evidence-based childbirth education to help them prepare for becoming mothers and fathers. I can tailor a class or schedule to meet their needs! I love getting into the nitty-gritty and helping new parents feel ready for a baby.
Breastfeeding support is something I can help with along with the amazing support given by the public health nurses. While they can help with the medical needs, assessing tongue ties or establishing a feeding plan; I can come to you, in your home, be by your side, and help you to relax and be calm when it's time to feed. I can help with latch challenges, positioning, sore nipples and help you access other lactation resources in the community.
Basically being a doula in Calgary is a rewarding and often strange job! Some days I'm at the hospital for 18 hours straight, some days I'm cuddling a 2-day old newborn while parents sleep, and some days I'm catching up on paperwork waiting for the phone to ring. The one thing that never changes is that every moment I go to work I get to see miracles happen, I get to see people fall in love all over again—I not only get to see new families born, but I get to see Calgary families thrive.
Heather Crossan is a certified DONA birth and postpartum doula certified Lamaze childbirth educator, certified breastfeeding educator, as well as a certified Henna artist. She has been an active doula in Calgary for the past eight years, is the past-president of the Calgary Doula Association, and was the former provincial representative of Alberta (SPAR) for DONA International. Heather is also a birth doula trainer and the owner of Doula Essentials. She is well-known within the international doula community and greatly respected by the medical providers in the city of Calgary and surrounding areas. She takes great pride supporting her clients through the entire journey.