Aside from the usual tomfoolery on April 1st this day holds significance for the doulas of National Capital Doulas for another reason. National Capital Doulas (NCD) was born on April 1st, 2015. Likely due to the current state of our world I’m feeling nostalgic and reflective today so come along with me while I take you back through how we began and our journey to now.
Originally NCD was an idea sparked between two solo doulas. These doulas met each other very early on in their doula careers and right away clicked due to shared interests, approaches, and perspectives about doula work and how it could be done differently. These two doulas were Amie Scharfe and Danielle James. The relationship as colleagues and friends continued to grow through our days as solo doulas. We backed one another up. We shared ideas, and later shared roles as regional representatives for DoulaCARE* (now Association of Ontario Doulas) for two years. During our time as reps there were many conversations about the strain doula work had on family life, on health, and on quality of life for the doula. We also felt that changes could be made to make it more accessible for families, and to provide the highest level of care possible to them. Ideas began to form and the conversations took on a new life.
In the late winter of 2014 these conversations became more serious and developed a direction forward but we knew the way we wanted to proceed meant needing a third doula to join us. Our attention and thoughts turned to Kamerine Gardam. We met Kamerine through DoulaCARE, we liked her, we knew she had solid training as a doula and felt she had a lot to offer. A conversation and a decision later and NCD was on its way.
We worked together to build and develop our business model. Names, taglines, logo and branding all came online. Back end systems were cultivated, many of which still stand today. Social media blossomed, a webpage was developed, resources were built and compiled, clients were signed, trainings were taken and new services were offered. We were doing it. Our vision of team focused care in doula work was born and it thrived. Our client families loved it. We could provide them with a different level of care and guarantees that aren’t possible when working solo. NCD was our baby – crafted out of trust, heart, and a desire to do better.
As often happens in life sometimes we come to a place of having to choose. Sometimes those choices are hard, but necessary. Kamerine was with us until the end of 2016, then returned to her position with the federal government. Knowing that her absence would change how we operated Danielle and I decided to make the leap we had been toying with and we brought on other doulas as independent contractors and officially became a doula agency. The first of its kind in Ottawa. We continued to grow, we were busy, Danielle and I had to outsource some of our workload and we continued to tweak how we supported our client families. Again, life changed direction and Danielle moved away from NCD in the fall of 2018.
Amie is now the sole owner of National Capital Doulas. The NCD of today is a team of four birth and postpartum doulas. We offer a number of services that are tailored and crafted to best meet the needs of our client families. We’ve weathered some storms along the way to come out the other side stronger, more determined, and focused. COVID-19 is another of these storms – which we will weather. We rally as we always do and move fast and focused behind the scenes to adapt what we do to keep pace with the ongoing changes. One thing has never changed throughout all of this – those original three women and the women today are all deeply committed to what we do. Every choice, every decision is made with the needs of our families, our client families, and the doulas foremost in mind.
Together with the current team, Andria Bell, Jennifer Cameron, and Norah Lynn Paddock we continue the legacy started by those three women with an idea and a great vision.
*DoulaCARE was a provincial non-profit for doulas in Ontario. It served as as registry and also as an educational and advocacy body for Ontario based birth and postpartum doulas. The organization was subsequently rebranded to Association of Ontario Doulas and serves the same mission currently.