Today we’d like to introduce you to Cate Wiggins.
Cate, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
A month after my daughter blew out the candle on her first birthday cake, I began exploring the idea of becoming a doula. Due to the incredible experience we had with a doula at our second birth, I was inspired by the work. Encouraging others of their strength and abilities has always come naturally to me and since becoming a mother in 2012, my soul had been stirred with another passion, birth.
In the spring of 2016, a dear friend of mine and I were chatting about her pregnancy. I mentioned to her that I was considering doula training. That evening, she sent me a text saying that if I wanted to go to training, she would love to hire me as her doula. That night, I signed up for training and haven’t looked back. Since training in April 2016, I have attended almost 30 births and each unique one has inspired me to keep going. I finished my CAPPA certification in January 2018 and continue to add new packages to better serve my clients.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
For the most part, growth has happened organically. Once I found the courage to put my name out there, clients began falling into place quite easily. My second year started off with a string of difficult births. I missed births due to illness or precipitous labor, and most of the ones I attended resulted in unexpected cesareans. I took it pretty hard. I felt like I had let my clients down. After seeking advice and encouragement from more experienced doulas, I refocused on the purpose of this business — to be there for my clients, supporting them in all circumstances. I am not God, I cannot control the outcomes. All I can do is show up, encourage my clients, and remind them of their options. The rest is up to them, their care providers, and ultimately their baby and their body. As soon as I realized that, the weight of being in control released and I was able to fully come into my role as a doula.
Please tell us about First Spring Doula Services.
As a labor doula, I support women and their families before, during, and immediately after birth, by offering physical comfort, as well as emotional and informational support. I meet with my clients 1-2x before labor to get a better idea of the type of birth they desire, what kind of environment they envision, and how I can come alongside the rest of their birth team to best support them.
I am most proud of how quickly my clients seem to be able to trust me. It is very rare for me to join a family in the birth room and not feel like we have known each other for years. I interact with my clients as old friends. Obviously, I have a professional contract to uphold and personal boundaries, but when it comes time to support my clients, I want them to feel comfortable to get in whatever zone they need to get in to cope with their labor. I feel the relationship between doula and client works best when clients feel 100 percent comfortable and confident with every person in the room.
I am so excited to offer my newest Photography plus Labor Support package. At the beginning of 2018, I decided it was time to add my love of photography to my doula work. I began noticing a trend with my clients and with pregnant women in general. It became clear to me that many women felt they had to choose between hiring a doula and hiring a birth photographer. Whether for financial reasons or privacy, women were stuck making the choice of photographic memories or extra support. This felt wrong to me. Clients delivering in 2018 can choose to add birth photography to their labor support package at no extra charge. This provides me with a chance to build my portfolio and gain confidence in switching between the role of doula and photographer. I am thrilled with the reception and excited to continue offering this extra service to my clients. There will be an extra fee for this package add-on beginning in January 2019.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I could go back, I would have gotten help organizing the business side of my business earlier. Being a doula comes easily for me, relatively speaking. Being a business owner is overwhelming, scary, and, honestly, kind of boring. If it was possible, I would do this work for free because the relational side is what I live for. Unfortunately, life isn’t free and I do need financial gain in order to keep functioning. Which means I have to keep up with miles, expenditures, taxes, etc. I wish I would’ve been smart to research organizational tips in the beginning.
- Labor Support – $900
- *Beginning in 2019 – Birth Photography Add-on – $500
- Belly Binding – $125-175
- Website: www.firstspringdoula.com
- Phone: 205-317-4911
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/firstspringdoula
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/firstspringdoula
Alex Shelley Photography, Bree Linne Photography, First Spring Doula