Today we’d like to introduce you to Enza Lilley.
Enza, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In 2005 I found myself like many women my age and in my stage of life, wanting to know that there was more to my life than cooking dinner, scrubbing pee off the back of toilets, and carpool. My youngest had just started kindergarten and I so desperately wanted to do something outside of the home. I was a medical assistant before kids and although I loved OB/GYN, I knew I would not be happy going back to medical assisting. But it was then that I decided I would take my love for women’s health, babies, and birth and put it into action. Did I mention I was almost 40 by that time? Research into a planned midwifery career was pointing to nursing studies something I thought I was too old and tired to accomplish. A midwifery friend of mine who knew I was struggling pointed me to possibly becoming a doula. I had never heard of the word doula let alone that there was a profession. I immediately went home that afternoon and researched doula. I found that in the Greek it meant woman caregiver or woman slave. It meant offering physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual support to woman and their partners in labor. My profession was found!!! I found a certifying organization right away and attended a workshop. In 8 months I had completed the necessary reading, essays, and certifying births. In October of 2006, A Mommy’s Friend Doula Services was born, although it would be a few years before it actually got its name!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My biggest struggle was that my husband was in the service which required us to move every 3-4 years. Every time I would settle into a new town it would take about 6 months to build my clientele back to about 3-4 clients per month and by the time my business was booming, it was time to move again. It also meant beginning a new rapport with new midwives, nurse, and doctors as well as other doulas in the area.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about A Mommy’s Friend Doula Services – what should we know?
I started my business in 2006 providing physical, emotional, educational, and I also provide spiritual support (to those who request it) before, during, and just after birth. Physical support consists of massage, counter pressure, and any other touch that we decide as a team that mom finds comforting. Emotional support consists of verbal encouragement and working through any emotions that may be hindering her ability to give birth. I remind her to stay focused and remind her of her birth plan. Educational means staying on top of evidence based practices by attending birth related workshops or seminars and educating the parents so that they can make educated decisions. Spiritual support means I offer prayer and guidance in a biblical manner according to Godly principles. One of the things I think I am well known for is that I am part of a team. I work alongside the parents, midwives, nurses and doctors. I don’t overstep my authority and I remember that this is not my birth. I am most proud when clients hire me for their second and third births. That to me says, “I trust you to be by my side!” I really believe that my relationship with Jesus Christ sets me apart from others. My business is not a business but a ministry that I provide to women from all races, ethnicity, and economical backgrounds.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My husband Mike is number one. He is my biggest supporter. When I say, “I can’t!” he says, “You can!” When I have a particularly hard birth, he is there praying for me. When I haven’t eaten in 24 hours, he brings me dinner. When I have been at a birth for over 2 days and I am too tired to drive home, he is there to pick me up even if that means driving into Boston at 2:00am. Next would be my friend and mentor MaryBeth. We met in Maryland as doulas but became friends. MB as I affectionately call her became my confidante not only in the doula world but in the real world. There was nothing that I couldn’t tell her and she still loved me when I was done. She taught me so much about births and keeping a sacred space for moms. And finally here in Massachusetts I have been also blessed in the “sisterhood of doulas!” I have three that I call on regularly to vent or process and I am not sure what kind of doula I would be without their constant encouraging and honesty with me. Laurie and Lauren (The Baby Mavens) or as I secretly call them Thelma and Louise are two that keep me sane. They make me laugh, give me pizza, and wine and let me breathe when I need to breathe. Janice is the one I call when I need to process a birth. She lets me cry, vent, and make a fool of myself and then calms me down with her presence. She’s not afraid to cry with me or tell me that I am over-reacting and/or paranoid.
- 800.00-1200.00 depending on hospital, travel time, etc includes 2 prenatal visits, labor/delivery, and postpartum visit
- Address: Serving the North Shore and surrounding area
- Website: www.amommysfriend.com
- Phone: 978-561-1688
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenni Lind Photography