Scholarship Winner: Steps to Motherhood Through Education

Posted on September 22nd, 2016


Amanda Russel

Hi, I am Amanda Russell. In my former life, I trained to be a school psychometrist – IQ testing, and  tests for learning disabilities were my forte. Then, in 2004, my sister and brother-in-law invited me to attend the birth of my niece, who was the only survivor of triplets. I fell in love with birth, then and there, and I fell hard. I also knew that there was a call on my life to serve women in joy and sorrow in birth work. Bless my sister and brother-in-law for deciding I needed to experience birth at least once. Since I was in graduate school at the time, I thought maybe I could be a doula one day as a hobby, but thought no more of it and dove back into papers and presentations.

Fast forward to last year, in April, I signed up for a doula course. The doula course snowballed into a Midwifery course (I am almost 2/3 finished), and that is what my bonus dad calls my “midwife crisis.” In October, I began a bereavement doula program and certified as a Still Birthday Doula. Part of my life call has been fulfilled, as I have attended a happy birth and a loss birth since my certification. Although I have not had children of my own, or ever been pregnant, I understand loss in a unique way. Due to past health problems and medications given for my survival, my ovaries took a beating. I had a 19% chance of my cycles returning, and an even lower chance of conception (this was one of the reasons I was at my nieces birth). I had wanted to be a mother my entire life, and infertility diagnosis was terribly upsetting.

Amanda RusselNearly three years ago, my parents gained custody of  two boys, a 9 day old, and an 18 month old. They are the most beautiful part of my life. Hopefully, by the time I finish building my career as a doula and midwife, the boys will be available for adoption, and I hope to be their mother. Perhaps I already am a little bit. They are 2.5 and 4 years old now, both incredibly smart and sweet, and at times infuriating. They are learning the bones in the head and face now, because I learn best by teaching, so both can point out their mentum and occiput.

It may seem that I literally have no time to breathe, but I do have time. In addition to past health problems, I have an arrhythmia that has rendered me unable to work. Until August, I was unaware that there was a cure. I had thought I would need to be on medication for life (for the last 8 years I have been on it). I will hopefully be having the surgery within the next few weeks. Once I have the surgery, they say I will have more energy, I won’t need as much sleep, and perhaps best of all, I will be able to exercise again! I hardly remember what life was like before. I have taken naps when the boys do since they came to live with us…it was a sad day when 2 naps turned to one a day, and 3 hour naps turned to 1 hour. But I don’t mind, really, I have hope now.

I wanted this scholarship because I want to be as broad in my training as possible. I want to build a birth service business that will serve women in all stages of pregnancy and postpartum, to someday include Childbirth Education and Placenta Encapsulation…in due time. Even after I certify as a midwife, due to the laws being what they are here in the US, I will still be doing mostly doula work. I have taken free workshops online from Bebo Mia in the past and always wanted to learn more. I am excited to expand my skill set to include Maternal Support Practitioner. I am also excited to join a community of others who are interested in and called to the birth profession. I look forward to getting to know everyone better and learning from each of you as well. Thank you to Bianca and Natasha for this amazing opportunity! I am blessed beyond measure.

FREE TOOL: Be in the know for all the doula 'birthy' days!

FREE TOOL: Be in the know for all the doula 'birthy' days!

Ever feel like you are finding out about different birth and postnatal important dates too late, like when you are scrolling through your Instagram feed and notice your doula friend's memes?! I know we felt like that alllll the time. So, we put together a FREE tool that has all the year's industry dates to remember!! Notice one that you think should be included? Let us know and we will add it for 2019. 

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