Grace Van Bruwaene (she/her)

Becoming a doula was never something I envisioned growing up. Birth was something I knew about in the abstract, and as far as breastfeeding, well, let’s just say that at one point I wondered how babies were fed before bottles were invented and leave it at that. An unplanned, crisis pregnancy changed all of that. As I frantically researched pregnancy, birth and parenting before the birth of my first child, something unexpected happened. Instead of just becoming informed, I became passionately invested in the world of birth. After being in midwifery care for my second pregnancy, I realized that what I really wanted to be when I grew up was a midwife. Once my third child arrived, my husband recommended trying out doula work as a preliminary step. As I progressed through doula training and began to practice, I realized that supporting families through pregnancy, birth and postpartum as a doula was the right fit for me.

While I fell madly in love with birth, my personal experiences with pregnancy, birth and postpartum were challenging. My first pregnancy was a traumatic experience which unexpectedly impacted my second pregnancy. Because my husband and I were so excited to welcome a new member to our family, neither of us understood why my mental health took a dramatic plunge off the deep end as the visceral memories of my first pregnancy took over. Shortly after my second child was born, the intense fog of postpartum depression descended and didn’t lift until he was almost 18 months old. Not long after, I became pregnant with my third child. Although this pregnancy was better, it was still challenging, especially when the birth experience was traumatic. My third child was also my most challenging to breastfeed.

As I began my doula journey, something interesting happened. Rather than getting hired by clients expecting their first child, most of my clients had at least one child and chose a doula because their previous experiences had been less than positive. Combined with my own experiences, this started my practical journey of providing support after trauma. Whether it was a traumatic pregnancy, birth, postpartum or breastfeeding experience, I began to build tools and develop the skills to help individuals and families have a healthier, more positive experience.

Support makes a difference. As my children have grown and developed, I’ve realized how much doula type support is needed beyond the initial postpartum period. Whether it’s surviving the toddler years, preparing for the transition to school or dealing with difficult situations, such as managing mental health challenges, navigating bullying or difficult peer situations, or just plain figuring out gentle parenting, having someone solidly in your corner offering emotional, informational and practical support makes it a much better experience. Parenting can be hard, but you don’t have to do it alone.

I offer birth and postpartum doula services, as well as breastfeeding and parenting support. My original birth doula certification was through CAPPA Canada, and I now hold birth and postpartum doula certifications through CBI, from whom I also took breastfeeding counselor training. Additionally, I was a doula trainer with CBI for three years.

I offer birth, postpartum, and parenting support. If you have questions or would like to connect further, please send me an email.