Trade Tales – Kadie and Susie

This is a story about Kadie and Susie and their unique trade.
(22 April 2014)

Being pregnant for the first time can be quite a daunting experience, more so if you’re an ocean away from family and close friends – this is where Kadie found herself just 6 months ago. She had heard about doulas but didn’t know what role they played in a birth. After doing some research she learned that a doula is someone who provides emotional and practical support to a family during pregnancy, childbirth and after their baby is born. She determined that she’d like to have one present at her birth, but there weren’t many doulas in Wellington to choose from. Then, she saw an offer for a doula through the Wellington Timebank.

Susie had been a time bank member for a while and had responded to offers, like feeding pets whilst people were away. She had also joined the Timebank Steering Committee. However, she had never put up an offer. She had been training as a doula and wanted to offer her services to more families and thought, “I just need to put myself out there.” So, she posted her first offer on the time bank site: to be a doula.

It was perfect timing with mutual benefit.

Kadie was about 6 weeks away from her due date when she contacted Susie. She and her husband had a casual meet up with Susie, where there was no pressure to start up -- but they had such a great connection. Kadie and Susie met up weekly and got more comfortable with one another. During that time, Susie learnt more about Kadie’s history and also went to a few appointments with her. With Susie’s knowledge and perspective, Kadie felt that she was able to ask more informed questions at appointments with her mid-wife.

And so the big day(s) arrived. Though she was having labour pains, Kadie was not hospital-ready after almost 10 hours of contractions. And so early in the morning, Susie was called in to relieve Kadie’s husband and mum from an exhausting night to provide the soon-to-be-mum with much needed support. 20 hours later the baby arrived. “Susie was fantastic at the birth!” Kadie recalls. “It was helpful to have a support person not only for me, but also for my husband.

With such an intimate trade, their relationship grew and blossomed into a friendship. For Kadie, she sees Susie as not only a support person for her, but also for her son as “another person who also supports him and knows him.”

Susie has met a lot of new parents through Kadie and has built her network. She was also able to connect with another time bank member who is also a doula and they have provided support for one another. Susie has been thrilled with the follow on effects of offering her skills and encourages other time bank members to “Put yourself out there!”