The ABC Doula History

Kimberly tells how it all began

Kimberly Bepler, ABC Postpartum Doula Service, Portland, OR

Being a doula is a wonderful, rewarding and unique job, and I am often asked how I came to do it in the firs place.  The ABC story started in 2000 while I was still pregnant with my first child. I was a nanny for 2 small children, and I happened to meet another doula at a park with her child. She shared with me about her doula work, and left me saying, “You should be a doula.”

I was amazed. Getting paid to work with infants and their mothers – who knew such a dreamy job existed? Nanny work was wonderful, but babies had always been my favorite, and I rarely could get enough of them!

After the birth of my son in a new city–with no family nearby–I learned the value of postpartum support, and creating your mommy village. My mom was a great ‘doula’ to me, but she only stayed 5 days after my c-section, and then we were on our own, with my husband back to work and me struggling through breastfeeding alone at home with my son. I formed a mom's group that met for 3 years in our tiny home. And when my son was 6 months old, I took my first doula training…and fell in love with doula work.

After working part time for the next year, I was hungry for more. My husband agreed to take on the childcare duties for a short trial to see if this work could support our family (he was a bit skeptical). Surprisingly, it did! Our few months trial turned into years, as my heart grew even larger through my doula work and our unconventional family style was born.

When I could no longer handle all the jobs coming my way we added a team approach to doula care and grew from 3 doulas that first year to a solid team of 10-16 doulas for the past few years. I also added a child to our family a few years into building the team, and had a great team of doulas to support our clients during my early months at home.

Over the next few years, I continued to expand my reach into the wonderful world of moms and babies - teaching at 2 area hospitals, facilitating 3-5 moms groups a week, teaching doula trainings locally in Portland and in surrounding states, and becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. This work is addictive, and the mom and baby field is ever growing and changing. It's a fascinating one to study and serve in.

ABC Doula Service grew out of my heart to serve mothers and their babies. The women who offer their services to our clients, some for 10+ years, are hand-picked and remarkable - both personally and professionally - and I am proud that they choose to share some of their time with ABC.

The Beplers 2015

In 2014, while we were still going strong with our team in Portland, our family moved to AZ to be nearer to grandparents for a season and to take a sabbatical from the wonderful but addictive life postpartum doula and educator.  After that year of rest and contemplation we decided to relocate our family to Whidbey Island to be closer to family year round. I am serving a few families as a lactation consultant and postpartum doula locally on Whidbey, however primarily I am still running the Portland office, and will answer the phone when you call. I just have more limited office hours in order to spend more time with my children, who are growing up rather quickly!

In addition to standard postpartum doula trainings I now teach advanced doula workshops as well, which focus on our specialty, working with multiples.  These workshops have been rewarding and very well-received. I am also offering Lactation Educator trainings with CAPPA and in 2017 I became the Executive Director the the Lactation Educator program, so our local NW doulas and educators will have plenty of options to stay up to date with breastfeeding education through these trainings.

Thanks for checking out our story, and if you are curious about become a doula, check out our Postpartum Doula & Lactation Educator trainings.