I am a young mother, and I am a doula. Birth work got introduced to me young through my mother. On the weekends we used to watch this show on TLC that followed women through their pregnancy called A Baby Story. This was my first glimpse at the process of creating and bringing new life into the world. At the time I learned births happen in hospitals and that having a baby hurt a lot. It wasn’t until I had my daughter at 20 that I knew working with pregnant mothers and infants was my passion. As soon as I found out I went straight to google and downloaded the first pregnancy tracker app I could find. Prior to getting pregnant I never really had any experience raising a kid and had no idea what lay ahead of me for her birth. What really transformed my whole birth experience was my family nurse who I would consider my doula. Although he was a male nurse, Thomas was helpful in getting me connected with information I needed to know to prevent a bad birth experience. For example, we had prenatal appointments that went over the benefits of breastfeeding, stages of labor, and what my plans for postpartum was. Going into my birth I felt really at peace with myself that I feel like I wouldn’t have gotten if I didn’t have my family nurse or a doula. What helped me was knowing what to expect during the birth, my options birthing in a hospital, and the confidence that I gained from knowing what my body was about to do. Being a young mother inspired me to help other parents have satisfying birth experiences and to help those that could relate to growing up while raising a child too. There’s a lot of pressure on young parents from social stereotypes where our parenthood is often looked down upon. I started to look into doula trainings and came across a young parent doula program in Oakland. Hatch Community birthed me as a doula in 2017, a year after my daughter was born. After my positive birth experience and completing the doula training, I really grew into my role as a community doula for young parents. I was going to where young parents lived and provided free doula services to foster youth, at-risk youth, and POC [people of color] youth. Being in the field and community doing doula work helped me gain a lot of respect and appreciation for the work that I and other birth workers do. Supporting young parents is special because not only are you empowering them to be great parents, but you are also helping them create a critical lens about the world and how they want to provide for their family. Aside from pregnancy and birth education, I always have a conversation with young parents about what their hopes and dreams are for themselves. A big part of being a young parent is learning about how to raise your child while also learning about yourself. Discussing this with young parents plants the seed in their mind that their lives don’t end when they have a baby. I’ve learned young parents look to me and other young parents to be an example and guide them on their parenting path. This is why I suggest all young families get into a prenatal group because it's easier to learn with and from other parents who are experiencing the same things. While becoming a doula I was also a student at CCSF [City College of San Francisco] working towards finishing my AA [Associate of Arts degree] and transferring to a 4-year university to get my BA [Bachelor of Arts degree]. I am working towards becoming a nurse-midwife and am on an academic track to applying for the UCSF MEPN [University of California San Francisco Master's Entry Program in Nursing]. As a doula I was providing informational, emotional, and physical support to my clients. As a midwife I would be able to deliver babies which I felt was missing from my work as a doula. Looking back, once I committed to becoming a birth worker it felt like the universe was giving me signs that I had made the right decision. Within the last year I now have a job as a community doula with the San Francisco doula network, SisterWeb. Being my first job since getting pregnant, I feel so blessed to be a part of a revolutionary organization that pays doulas to support the Black, Pacific Islander, and Latin communities in the city. In the Bay Area and around the country less and less POC families are being able to afford a doula so it is very important that doulas who serve these communities are compensated for the work that they want to continue to do. I am so blessed to be a young parent, doula, and future midwife because at first it seemed impossible to create a better future for my daughter and I. Now I am hopeful that I will be able to provide a good life for her and all it took was finding what I love to do and sticking to it to create opportunities for myself. If you have something that you are interested in and can’t imagine yourself doing anything else then that is what you should be doing. Being a young parent and doula has helped me evolve as a woman and mother beyond whatever I imagined myself to be. YUP! Expert and young parent, Maile