Meet Allie Sakowicz, a junior at Wake Forest. Besides being a Resident Advisor, a member of the Honor and Ethics Council, and a volunteer at the Wake Forest Emergency Department, Allie has maintained a career as a doula since she was in high school. For those of you just as clueless as we were, a doula works with women to deliver babies. Allie informed us that doulas differ from being a midwife in that they don’t provide medical care and treatment. Check out how Allie followed such an interesting pursuit!
HC: What made you interested in being a doula? How long have you been in this field?
AS: I’ve always had a passion for obstetrics, and being a doula was the perfect way to both become involved in the field at a young age, as well as be able to give back to my community by working with teen moms who may not have anyone else by their side during their pregnancy and birth. I witnessed my first birth at the age of twelve and haven’t looked back since.
HC: How does one get certified as a doula?
AS: There are a number of different routes to becoming certified. I earned my certification through DONA International, which was a very rigorous process. It involved completing a reading list, attending several workshops and classes, writing essays, and providing labor and birth support to several women and receiving evaluations from the patient, her nurse, and her care provider, among other requirements. It took me several years to complete the process since I was also a full-time high school student at the time.
HC: What has been the most rewarding part of it? What was the most memorable experience?
AS: I think the most rewarding part is staying in contact with patients and their new families and watching them grow up. I’ve watched young women go from having a baby at 16 and struggling to finish high school to graduating college with honors. The most memorable moments are always attending a patient’s delivery. Oftentimes I become very close to my patients during the pregnancy, and then to witness her transform into a mother in a matter of seconds after the baby is born is an indescribable feeling. I’ve been present at about 100 births in my life and the feeling I have when I witness a new life come into the world never gets old.
HC: How do you balance being a doula while being a student at Wake Forest?
AS: Because of the demanding 24/7 on-call schedule that being a doula entails, I can only attend births during school breaks. However, I am always available for my patients while at Wake. I’ve received calls in the middle of the night many times from patients who have questions or concerns and I do my best to help them while still ensuring that school is my priority while on-campus.
HC: Are you involved in anything else on campus?
AS: I have been a Resident Advisor and a member of the Honor & Ethics Council for the past two years. I also volunteer in the Emergency Department at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
Check out this article on Allie on Oprah.com!