Death Doula

My work experiences in brief:

Professional dancer. Finished at 18.

Range of part time work while in 6th form and college: Waitress, barmaid, factory worker, shop assistant.

Left college, went into care work for several years. Worked in Nursing home, the Residential home, then hired privately for a couple in their own home.

Left because of low pay (and needed more money as I was getting married), so worked for my dad in an office. Knew it wasn’t for me, wanted to go back into care but with better than minimum wage.

Started nursing degree. Got pregnant, had my first boy. Went back to nursing. Got pregnant again, had second boy. Exceeded amount of maternity leave I could have (course changed from a feb cohort to april cohort so by the time I rejoined end date had been pushed forward two months, which meant I would finish third year longer than 6 years after I’d started… anyway, its complicated.) so had to leave it completely at end of second year. Favourite moments: A and E placement-particularly day I worked with suicide victim, volunteering in HIV charity, working in Special Needs school, watching Surgery, my Midwifery placement, watching the autopsies and my cardiac placement. Worst moment: elderly care ward. Soul destroying.

While at home with boys, trained as a breastfeeding peer supporter. Helped run a group and led breastfeeding portion of antenatal groups.

Got divorced. Realisation that I had to support my family hit hard. Needed a job with pay, but something where my experiences would be useful. Trained as an antenatal teacher with NCT (Medical+person centred care+breastfeeding), but just before end of course funding got swept from underneath me; I couldn’t come up with £4000 to pay for it myself, and so I had to leave again before finishing.

In need of cash (always about the money), have gotten a job in an office again (minimum wage, 0 hour contract. Thanks, Tories.) as a part time finance assistant, and am an office cleaner too.

So, I’ve a mix of NCT training which empowers people to choose their own care and control their own destiny; NHS nursing, which has grounded me in reality and given me a basic understanding of health and disease; care work, where I’ve walked with many people to the borders between life and death; and I’ve also had a dab hand in many walks of life with many sorts of people in all my part time work too.

And here I am in my thirties having effectively wasted my entire life so far. Where can I go? What can I do? Where will I be useful? Where are all my skill sets needed?

Anyway, I found out that death doulas are a thing. I may have found a spark of hope.

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