Who We Are
We are a Doula Family Mother and Daughters family owned legacy business, we have served over 4,000 families since 1980
20 Legacy Lessons: I didn't start with the end in mind.
In the 1970's I didn't start with the end in mind.
If I don't share my story then why I do what I do, wouldn't hold any substance. Without knowing the story behind the story there will always be a gap in understanding.
Carol Wachniak, CEO Founder wife and mother of eight, and grandmother of 18. Doula Family is a 40 year, legacy family business, serving over 4,000 families. I didn’t start out with the end in mind. It started with a black hole of contrasting life events with many forks in the road, twisting and turning the good, the bad, and the ugly. Have you ever wanted to run away from your own story? Being vulnerable is not comfortable. I discovered, if I don’t share my story then my why wouldn’t be grounded in the truth of my experiences and hold any substance to build upon.
Lesson 1. Tell your story, often someone needs to hear it, to have the courage to share theirs.
On the last day of school 3rd-grade teacher, Ms. Cherry asked me to come up standing in front of the class. With a creepy smile on her face, she said to my class “You are never to talk to Carol again.” They were all looking at me, she continued on, “Carol, you have no business being here, you do not belong in this room with the new 4th graders. I’m flunking you, leave the building immediately.” I and my friends were in total shock, no one said a word. Feeling sick, hot flash waves of shame washed over me. I was publicly shunned and humiliated, my whole world came crashing down. Violated by the very person whom I was told to respect, whom I could trust and be physically, mentally, emotionally safe with.
Lesson 2. Don't fear The Good, the Bad, and, the Ugly
I walked home all alone. I had no idea I was flunking, it was a double wham of shame. Earlier that year I had been sexually assaulted by someone else who I thought loved me whom I could trust. Fear of angry people and shame kept me from telling anyone what happen. Anger, belittling, and shame was used to control me. I never wanted these bad and ugly secrets out in the open to ever be publicly hurt again, because it meant that I was unfriend able, bad and ugly. This trio had a stronghold over me, they remained as a dirty secret eating away at my confidence for years.
Lesson 3. No one has the right to hurt you.
My mother proceeded to have me tested at a feeder college-prep elementary school near Northwestern University. I passed and was accepted. The problem was my opinion of myself was really in the pits. I accepted the cruel words of Ms. Cherry as a truth of who I was, unfriend able, unlovable, unwanted, and certainly not valued.
Lesson 4. What someone says negatively doesn’t have to become your reality
Something changed for me at my new school. I had a wonderful loving teacher who spoke life into me. My new classmates were from all around the world. I learned a valuable lesson a life-changing gift of hope. Through the eyes of how my new teacher and friends saw me, I slowly began to embrace a different point of view of myself. By changing schools, changing my environment, changing my association and friends, all of these changes helped me heal and crack open the door of opportunities that I didn’t even see coming. With international friends, the world became my classroom. Never again was I going to keep quiet. I will tell my story so others feel safe to tell theirs. I will never again be near people who are not trustworthy, supportive, or speak life into me or others with whom I care about like Ms. Cherry. No one can steal my dreams, my life, or tell me who I can be friends with. Mastering and understanding the true value of friendships, I’ve developed a skill in how to build great long-lasting friendships. I have over 10,000 personal global relationships on my phone.
Lesson 5. Change your environment, change your association when you do God has a plan and brings unlimited possibilities
If these events hadn’t taken place I would not have been available to what was about to happen next.
My mother became a volunteer at an adoption center near my new school. She would go pick up the babies being put up for adoption from the hospital, these newborn babies would come and stay at our house for a few days until a nurse would arrive to deliver the orphaned baby to the expectant Adoptive Parents.
Lesson 6. Go out and find someone to help, someone who needs you
One day, I went with my mother to pick up a baby boy at the local hospital. What I noticed was the nurse was extremely angry and was handling the newborn very abruptly. There was a piece of white cloth tape on the baby's back with a number on it. Suddenly this angry nurse decided to rip the tape off the baby's back and with it came flesh.
Lesson 7. If you see something wrong tell, tell, and tell, until you’re heard.
The baby screamed out in pain and blood now dripping down its back. The nurse said, “Oh shut up you’re fine.” My mother was furious. I was scared of that nurse so I hid behind my mother. I thought to myself, that this baby’s mother would never have given up her baby if she thought or knew that this was going to be this baby’s first experience in life.
Lesson 8. No one has the right to speak this way.
My mother’s arms reached out like a momma bear taking the screaming baby out of the hands of this irate nurse and into hers, she severely reprimanded the nurse and we left. My mother’s attention went to the baby her gentle nurturing loving voice began to soothe this newborn baby as she spoke to him. What a contrast I saw in only a few seconds.
Lesson 9. Fight for the small, weak, and helpless, love them
We left the hospital immediately, back then in the 1960s, we didn’t have car seats so it was my job to hold this newborn, to soothe and comfort him, as we drove home. I remembering looking into his innocent eyes, they looked sad and empty, the little sparkle of light was missing. He was all alone, unwanted, unloved, and certainly not valued at least by the cruel example of the angry nurse. These emotions rushed back into my memories of my old school teacher.
Lesson 10. If something shows up again it’s an opportunity to heal you and help someone else
During the little time, he was with us, I witnessed something profound between the orphan and my mother, she poured her heart into him with unconditional love, passion, compassion. She wanted to make sure he felt loved, wanted, and valued, his eyes started to come alive again. These were life-giving moments, his human basic needs were being met and he started to thrive. All humanity needs to know they are loved, wanted, and valued.
Lesson 11. Pass this on: You’re Loved, Wanted, and Valued
This event made a lifelong impression an impact on my life. I remember thinking, “I’ve got to do something when I get older. This wasn’t right, this mother I’m sure really wouldn’t have given up her baby if she had support, and I knew in my heart the baby wasn’t the problem.” It was what and how adults thought about an unwed mother and baby.
Lesson 12. Planting the mustard seeds to your legacy happens when you’re not looking
After I became a mother myself, my firstborn a little girl was a vaginal frank breech, the significance that is all my friends who had a breach was automatically a C-Section delivery. In the ’70s C-Section rates went sky high for any breach presentations, except for a few practitioners. The bottom line is the surgeon made more money for the delivery.
Lesson 13. Don't focus on how to keep your promises My Birth Work began right where I was.
My next two births were boys, I broke my tailbone during their delivery because I was restricted from choosing a more supportive upright position, instead of lying flat on my back. It took months for the broken tailbone to heal.
Lesson 14. The character development plan was full of contrasting moments, I thought would look different.
It was during my fourth pregnancy, I was trying to find an OB/GYN who would allow me to deliver on my hands and knees. Instinctively I knew I wouldn’t break my tailbone again if I could insure delivering in that position. I couldn’t find any practitioner who wasn’t under the rules and regulations of the hospitals they worked in they all said, “No”
Lesson15. Don’t take No for your answer when you know in your heart it’s your truth
I met a Certified Childbirth Educator who was also a Midwifery assistant working with a Certified Nurse Midwife, an instructor for the CNM Program at Loyola medical school. They guided, nurtured, supported, and assisted me through my birth journey. They knew what was possible, they held the space for me until I could hold it for myself. I took Childbirth Classes, read the books they suggested, consulted with my backup physician. I became an informed consumer willing to take full responsibility for my decision to have a homebirth. My homebirth was life-changing for me, knowing the self-empowering feat I took responsibility, applied my faith to action, and didn’t break my tailbone.
Lesson 16. Celebrate your victories large or small
This is when I made a decision that everyone should have the opportunity that I had. So, I became an entrepreneur as an independent Certified Childbirth Educator and Doula. Beginning with speaking, hosting Childbirth Film nights at our local library, then held childbirth classes at local churches. Eventually, we had continual classes 4 times a week for 12 weeks per class. My birth work evolved, I formed a non-profit and began hosting local, state, and national conferences with experts in their field.
Lesson 17. Be in a space of allowing, for you to grow
The requests to attend births followed quickly behind the ever-growing class loads. Unwed mothers began attending my classes, their personal challenges and predicaments became very apparent. The orphaned newborn baby years before with my mother, the memory came flashing back. Now here I was, would I respond, take action or stand by and do nothing. Watching these sad and heart-wrenching choices of survival. Homelessness because parents decided to throw them out of the house. Boyfriends ditched or were too scared or was only a fling. How to support themselves, finish school, all added up. Forcing these women into making an unthinkable choice of giving up their baby just to keep the approval of friends and family, a roof over their heads, and so much more.
Lesson 18. Stay true to your values and the Golden Rule
We opened our hearts and doors, mothers would come before the baby, during labor, or stay up to three weeks after mom had the baby. The magic that happened was amazing taking the fear out of the equation, brought an opportunity for safety, love, compassion, and a sense of belonging to take roots. Mothers, babies, friends, or families were able to get acquainted their hearts melted. You could see it in their eyes, in their body language, tone of voice and so much more.
Lesson 19. By grace, be open to being willing to forgive, it’s a gift we give ourselves, and open your heart to give and receive love
Our core values include: feeling loved, wanted, and valued. That you are important and you have a greater purpose. The most important part of you is YOU. “You were made for such a time as this.” You will be the spokesperson of your brand and your legacy. This is my why for my past, present, and future, my next steps are hosting Doula Family Retreat, for mothers, grandmothers, doulas, midwives, and birth workers retreat. Coming up in the fall I've developed the CEC Doula Family Certification Program, speaking, and teaching, and writing: “You can deliver anything.”
Lesson 20. Birth is a lifestyle, you are a natural creator, go out and create blaze a legacy trail others can follow.