Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Delaney.
Hi Heather, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My stumbling upon birth work and advocacy for families in their pregnancy and parenting journey is purely happenstance. I became a parent in 2012 and found the entire process disorienting, anxiety producing and frustrating. I quickly sought to connect my current profession of teaching to the empowerment of parents by certifying to become a labor doula in the spring of 2014 when I was pregnant with my second child. Practicing at first as a solo doula, I quickly gained momentum and was turning away more clients than I ever imagined! At the heart of my work is the philosophy that everyone has their own path and needs; there’s truly no wrong way to have a baby! I joined together with a group of like-minded colleagues and Maryland State Doulas was born in 2016. Providing education, labor and postpartum support surfaces, sibling care for families needing on call child care for the birth of subsequent children, and connections to resources and wellness providers such as lactation support, pelvic floor therapy, mental health services and more, Maryland State Doulas has become the community that I desperately needed when I was a brand new parent navigating a new season of life.
I never thought I would be an entrepreneur. I didn’t go to business school – which is created some comedic situations as well as grit and anxiety as I learn through failures and successes as I grow and as our business grows! I couldn’t be proud of our little business and we truly seek to remain small enough to remember our roots and that at the heart of our support services is the community care model. Truly I can’t imagine doing anything else now that this is what I’ve moved into.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Birth and on call work is very unpredictable, which makes creating sustainability and self-care in a schedule kind of problematic! In any profession where you are providing such a compassionate service and taking on the weight of vulnerability and caring for others, it’s critical to continue to have moments of calm so you don’t crack. I’m not necessarily the greatest at scheduling in self-care and times that are lulls; luckily birth work does provide ebbs and flows that I see as the universe telling me it’s time to slow down and focus and concentrate on myself to avoid burnout! In the last year with the pandemic raging, there was a lot of uncertainty especially for my team and for families who had already secured doula support for their birth and postpartum experiences. I would go to bed nightly concerned about my team and their ability to sustain their own income and clients, for my own family, and the life of our business, and most importantly for our clients. I do have a bit of survivors guilt; 2020 was our busiest year yet, and we have only picked up speed moving around the bend into 2021!
Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
Don’t be afraid to do something outside of your comfort zone! Meet with people who you think are outside of your league and ask questions that you don’t even dare them to answer. Price yourself in the category of your time and worth. Know that you will fail many times!! Failures allow us to reexamine where things are working and to always continue growing and evolving.
- Labor Support $1500+
- Postpartum Support $35/hour
- Consulting at $100 a session
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.marylandstatedoulas.com
- Instagram: @marylandstatedoulas
- Facebook: @marylandstatedoulas
- Twitter: @marylandstatedoulas
- Youtube: @marylandstatedoulas