Last weekend I turned up the tunes, set my curls free, and donned my party dress: it was my business’s first birthday!
To celebrate I invited all of my past doula clients to join me in the playroom at Hammer and Jack’s toy store for an afternoon of cupcakes and baby cuddles. I asked my friend/business sister Ashlie of Ashlie Behm Photography to come along and take pictures. I made an adorable invitation. Looking forward to this birthday party made my entire week. When I woke up on Saturday morning itself, I had that familiar excitement in the pit of my stomach – it really felt like a birthday!
I threw this party for a few reasons. Obviously, I wanted to see all my clients again and see how their babies (and families!) have grown and changed since our professional relationship ended. I also felt strongly about the idea of giving back to the families who have given me so much: their time, their stories, their trust. And lastly, I wanted to celebrate. Really celebrate. Not just toast-a-drink-at-dinner-with-my-husband-celebrate but Throw A Party Celebrate! I wanted to eat delicious Saint Cupcake cupcakes, dress nice, smile big, hug tightly.
When I look back over the last year, I feel a lot of pride in what my little one-woman enterprise has achieved. I served twelve families in 2018 and spent two hundred hours in various delivery rooms across the city. I really put myself out there, asking anyone and everyone involved in birth work to get coffee with me. I now have a robust referral network (and some honest-to-goodness friends) to show for it! I asked for help from my existing Portland community, and they showed up for me in a big way – sending my name to their pregnant friends, introducing me to their own practitioners. I really felt the love of my people around me in those first few months of Doula Olivia.
I took a big leap when I left my cozy long-term nanny job. I spent a lot of last spring anxious and afraid. I was a planner without a plan, and that was hard for me.
I’ve been thinking about it and I don’t have any wish to go back and pep-talk my March 2018 self. She needed to feel all those feelings, and no advice from a future self would change that. She needed to take a risk, to lean on her community, to talk to strangers, and to believe in herself. And she did. I did! And that is definitely worth celebrating.
Outside Hammer and Jacks
Saint Cupcake is my favorite spot for a reason…
My own mama and me! (The only guest I invite aside from my clients. She seemed like the right addition, what with all the parents and their babies)
Two my clients (both chemists) got me an oxytocin necklace for my birthday! A doula’s favorite molecule.
(And now that you’re drooling, I’ll say again: all photos by Ashlie Behm Photography)