My name is Nathalie Grolleman, I was born in 1971 in The Netherlands where I grew up. My husband and I have three children, our son Friso and our two daughters Anna & Emily. I had three completely different birth experiences. Our first two children were born in the hospital, whereas our third child was a home birth. People describe me as warm, loving, enthusiastic, devoted, caring and compassionate coupled with maturity & responsibility. I get along well with people from different ethnic groups, social statuses and lifestyles. I am in good health, comfortable with touch and a good listener. Because of my nursing background (I was an ICU/Cardiac Care nurse), I have the experience and flexible to work in a variety of birth settings with changes of staff & care providers.
In my spare time, I like to hike with our dogs, with friends or my husband, I cycle (road bike) , I like to socialize with friends and I love reading a book. I like to explore restaurants, but I am not the best cook (according to my family). We like to travel, to sail and to explore different countries.
For the last ten years we have lived overseas as an expat family. First in Georgia, Tbilisi, followed by Tanzania, Dar es Salaam. In 2016, we moved to Bethesda, MD in the USA for my husbands work.
Being in the USA has given me the possibility to follow my dream of becoming a Doula. I have always been inspired and touched by birth, the mysticism around birth, and how a newborn baby can change the life experience for parents. Meeting a newborn baby for the very first time is still a miracle. I look forward to being part of the beginning of a new chapter in your life.
The birth of our children was a positive and memorable experience for us because I had the right support while in the Netherlands. Childbirth is a life-changing experience which can leave the most joyous and beautiful imprints on those who have experienced it....when it has been a positive, enjoyable birth. When it has not, it can leave scars which remain for a very long time and sometimes never heal.
A birth should be a positive experience. When we moved to the United States, I realized that most of the babies are born in a hospital setting. Nurses often have many patients to take care of. Doctors run in and out while you survive alone with your partner. This can be very overwhelming, especially if it's your first baby. You may be unsure about what to expect and if the things that are happening are "normal". A doula can be the perfect guide. She helps you to navigate through the process, she gives you emotional and physical support and she helps you to be a better advocate for yourself.
I always ask families for feedback after the birth during the postpartum visit
Feedback partners often say:
"You were a lifesaver"
"I could relax"
"You gave us the privacy we needed"
"You helped me be able to help my wife better"
"You made me a rockstar"
"We couldn't have done it without you"
" I could grab a coffee downstairs knowing my wife wasn't alone"
"I could take a nap"
When the baby needed to go to the NICU, my wife wasn't alone
"A doula is like a trail guide, familiar with the path, she keeps you hiking through the hard parts, knowing the view at the end is incredible.”
- Author unknown
WHAT INSPIRED ME TO BECOME A DOULA
Kilimanjaro Climb Tanzania - When we lived in Tanzania, I climbed the Kilimanjaro in October 2016, in six days. It's Africa's highest peak (5895m/19340 Ft) and the world's tallest free-standing mountain. Why did I go on this journey? First of all, I wanted to challenge myself - you can do it! The second reason was our upcoming move to the USA. Climbing this mountain was my personal way of saying goodbye to a beautiful country that will always be in my heart.
Climbing a mountain is a metaphor for giving birth (I dare to say this after my own experiences). It was a challenge; beautiful, inspiring and very tough. So tough at times, that I was afraid I would not make it. I faced a lot of anxieties; about the cold, about health issues (altitude sickness), and not having enough stamina...
This unique experience inspired me to become a Doula for women during pregnancy, labor & postpartum; to guide them during such an important journey in their life.
The key: Preparation & Coaching - What helped me was a good preparation. I did the training necessary to climb this mountain. I made sure I had all the equipment needed and very important, I had two fantastic guides. They were invaluable during my climb. Those guides they coached, encouraged and supported me. They believed in me! They let me walk at my own pace. They showed me how beautiful this journey was and how inspiring. We bonded together: they became family.
On the fifth day we planned on reaching the summit. The guides took really good care of me. They carried my day backpack. They made sure I drank enough water. They rested with me as much as I needed. They even helped me to get my gloves on or off. And when I almost was unable to reach "Stella Point", they pulled me forward to it. When I finally reached the top, I was tired but so proud!