Steph’s Words : Passionate Real AF Open
Steph’s Story :
I feel like my story is constantly ebbing and flowing. It’s a rollercoaster. I’ve talked a lot about my
surrogacy journey, so we’ll skip that this time 😉
Recently I’ve been starting to explore a new part of myself, one that has been locked away for
quite some time. A part of my life that has, no doubt, sent me on the path that I am on today. I
think I’m ready to talk about it.
I grew up with an alcoholic father.
This affected me deeply in ways I don’t even understand yet.
In fact, I don’t have many memories of my childhood to even tell you what life was like then.
Here’s what I do know:
At the age of 6 or maybe 7, my mom fled with my brother and myself to safety.
We moved to a newbcommunity in Courtice, ON and, at some point, started that classic schedule of seeing our dad
every other weekend. It wasn’t until I was 16 years old that I realized my dad’s drinking was becoming increasingly more dangerous to our safety and that it was a thing – a thing called alcoholism.
I started to pull away from spending time with him with a million confused feelings, afraid for my younger brother but not sure how to help because I was leaving for university. In the first few months of my amazing new life as a student at Trent University, I popped over to my dad’s house to grab something and found him on death’s door: an almost suicide (if that’s a thing?) by drinking himself nearly to death. Given up on life, he was gaunt and unrecognizable.
It was basically a scene from a horror movie.
Thank god my mom had driven me there and was still in the driveway to help me navigate that situation.
Later I would also thank the universe that it was me, and not my brother, or older brother (from my dad’s previous marriage) who found him, because that shit was traumatizing.
He was hospitalized. I was done.
He currently lives in a nursing home nearby.
I don’t know which one, I’ve never asked and I don’t want to know.
He has no short-term memory function so if he met me, he wouldn’t know who I was or be able to answer to the incredible anger and hurt I feel.
I just started working with a therapist to uncover this trauma, bring back some memories, work through some big feelings and get some peace. I’ve never been in therapy before so it’s all new to me, but I’m enjoying feeling validated by a neutral party and I am learning A LOT about myself.
I am asking lots of questions to my mom when it feels right to do so, and chatting with my brothers slowly but surely about our past.
I am so grateful to the friends in my life who support and love me.
I know “my story” shapes the way I raise my own family but what I didn’t realize is that it 100% has brought me into my doula work.
I have always loved working with children, but doula work is mostly about supporting parents – babies are the fun, and friggen adorable, bonus. Fertility, pregnancy, birth, and parenting are some of the most vulnerable and life-altering times in our lives.
These are identity forming experiences.
I can see now that those feelings I had as a child (and as a young woman), of living alone with conditions so earth-shattering, were things I never wanted anyone else to feel. So that’s what I try to do as a doula and that is the foundation of Hello, Baby!.
It’s hard to let someone brand new into these incredible times in our lives, but you need someone in your corner! Jenn and I are there for you even if we’ve never met you before. You are important, your experiences are important and how you feel about them is, also…important!
I hope our work as doulas can change the landscape for families in Peterborough so they walk away feeling positive and empowered.
Now I’m nervous to put this out there!
Even as I write this, I’m not sure how many people know this part of my past, but…I also believe it’s so important to share and TALK about these issues.
Having these hard conversations can literally change lives, or save a life. Maybe this bio can help somebody else?
When I’m not spilling my guts out on the internet, or working with Hello,Baby!, you can find me hanging out with my chosen family, enjoying the new Saturday market, watering my garden, and chasing the chickens.
My children, Elsa (4) and Rowan (5), are my everything and I know my partner Matt and I are creating a happy, loving home for them