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It wasn’t supposed to end this way. Here is how I envisioned the end of this chapter in my life.

At the end of January, I submitted my two applications for the Warman and Martensville area Business Excellence Award (WMBEXA) for New Business and Micro-enterprise of the Year. I had my fingers crossed that, like last year, I would be a finalist. Because I had big plans for the women of Warman and Martensville who I have come to know through my work as a postpartum doula!

In my vision, I was going to rent the OK Tire passenger van, gather two tables of women to attend the gala with me, and celebrate the shit out of each other. Win or lose, I wanted to celebrate the friendships I’ve made and the support I’ve received since I became a postpartum doula in 2016. We would get dressed up, we’d eat great food, drink some wine, and then file into the van and head to Saskatoon for a night of dancing. I was even going to rent a hotel room and basically party all night. Unheard of when you’re a 39-year-old mama but it was going to happen, I could see it so clearly.

I was going to take that evening as an opportunity to thank all of the people who have supported me on my journey of becoming a postpartum doula and growing my business over the past three and a half years to include moms groups, workshops, in-home doula services, and birth story books. I was going to thank the women who have shared in moms groups and trusted me with their deepest, darkest moments and also their greatest joys. Many of these moms were going to be out dancing with me, so it would have been the perfect opportunity to toast each of them for the important part they play in my life. I remember when two of them (looking at you, Breanne and Kat) invited me out to supper with them one random Saturday: I was so happy to feel like I finally had friends in Warman; for a long time, I didn’t feel that connection and hardly knew any other moms (a common refrain heard at moms group!). Cheers to Brooke, Jessica, Amber, Shannon, Jillisa, Jess, Mary, Katherine, and so many more women.

First we met at moms group. Now we’re friends. Forever grateful for these women (who are so in sync they buy the same birthday presents for my son!).

I was going to thank all of the women who trusted me and invited me into their homes after they had babies. It was such an honour to be there in your most vulnerable days. Thank you for the visits and baby snuggles and letting me support you. An extra special thank you to Kristin Quinney, who was one of my first doula clients. She became one of my best friends. She knows me so well and loves all of me. And also Jessica Dutchak, another dream client who became a close friend.

I was going to thank people like Erin Francais who has been my friend before I moved to Warman, was my friend when I moved here and didn’t know anyone and felt so alone, and continues to be my friend and colleague to this day. She does incredible work for my business! You need a brand design, you go to her, now. Same if you need a website or photos. Remarkable. She is who pushed me to take my business up a notch and it worked.

If I had won at WMBEXA, I would have given a shout out to fellow women entrepreneurs in Warman and Martensville: we have such a strong contingent of women kicking ass here. We support each other, and I’m honoured to be a part of this movement.

I would have also thanked my spouse, Doug Ramage. He gave me the gift of our son, who was the inspiration behind becoming a postpartum doula, and that’s what led me to where I am now. He has taught me to dream big and follow those dreams, even if you think they’re crazy – maybe especially if you think they’re crazy. I used to think he was bananas for thinking this way. He’s not. Dream big. Believe in those dreams. Believe in yourself. He has always believed in me, sometimes more than myself. No matter what it means for him or our family, he has encouraged me full-stop to become the truest version of myself.

There would be so many other people to thank, these are a smattering of the people who have been in my corner.

I had no idea when we met that Kristin would become so much more than a client: she’s now one of my best friends.

As we know, the COVID-19 pandemic hit our province like everywhere else, and large gatherings couldn’t happen, so the WMBEXA gala was postponed. The celebration I envisioned didn’t happen, but I’m hopeful it can happen at a later date. I had one more piece of news I would have shared that evening; since it didn’t happen, I will share it now.

I’ve done a lot of self-reflection since the start of 2020, and part of this has included who I am as a woman and what I want in my life. That is probably multiple blog posts but for the purposes of this blog post, the short story is this: my time as a postpartum doula has come to an end.

It was a really beautiful chapter in my life that fulfilled me perhaps as much as it did the women I served – that is why I wanted that evening together, to celebrate friendships formed, moments shared, some really powerful memories. We will still do this.

Like every story, there is an ending, but it doesn’t mean goodbye. It means we’re moving on to the next chapter. I’m not going anywhere, and once we are able to gather again, I look forward to attending an evening moms group, not as the facilitator, but as your friend. I am confident all the amazing women in Warman and Martensville will still gather for moms groups without me setting it up! You don’t need me. You have the power within you to create those meaningful connections.

Part of who I am, the very fiber of my being, is a writer. That will never change. And in the next chapter of my life, my professional focus will be on telling your stories. This includes your birth stories, but it includes other stories as well – everyone has a story to tell. I hope you will follow me on this journey. I have so much more I’d love to share.

Until then, remember that even though motherhood can be hard, you’re not alone. And all of your defining memories and moments — yes, even the hard ones (maybe especially the hard ones) — can one day be transformed into a timeless legacy. You get to choose what that legacy looks like: it’s your story.

Being a postpartum doula was a really beautiful chapter in mine. Now we turn the page.

Much love and light,

Darla

 

 

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