Practitioner Profile | Charlotte Squires, Founder of The Living Doula

"The fears of survival were outweighed by my fears of being unable to fall pregnant and live the life I had dreamed of for myself."

-Charlotte Squires

Why did you start your practice? / What drew you to do this work?
From a very young age, I have always been fascinated by Mothers. I was raised by my amazing parents as one of six children, a rather 'big' family by modern-day standards. I am fortunate to have memories of my two younger sisters joining our family and how sacred and precious it all felt, even as a child. I always knew motherhood was for me. When the reality of motherhood was feeling closer than ever, I was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer in my mid-twenties. The fears of survival were outweighed by my fears of being unable to fall pregnant and live the life I had dreamed of for myself. Fortunately, after a grueling treatment process, my body healed and went into remission, I fell pregnant naturally and began my journey to parenthood. 

The huge personal transformation I was initiated into through cancer has shaped my practice deeply. I see so many synchronicities between my expansion into a survivor and then again into a parent. There was a surrendering to the process, an opportunity to choose how I was going to stand up for myself, and a trust that I knew exactly what to do in each moment.

Understanding my shadows has allowed me to embrace parenthood with more presence, more reverence, and more joy. I know that my life’s purpose is to support birthing people to explore their shadows as well as their light so they can embrace a fully human experience. Because, when we do this for ourselves we inadvertently do this for our children.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?
The deep connection with other humans, hands down. It is such a privilege to witness other families in these sacred windows of time. The love, the rawness, the 'no filter' way of communicating and being. To be entrusted to hold another in such a deeply vulnerable time is an honour that I will never take lightly. It's incredibly heartwarming and validating to see others prioritize and value themselves in this way too, I just know it's paving a new way for their families' future. 

It can be such a revolutionary act, to slow and go gently during your immediate postpartum, for some it's the first time they've ever practiced in this way. To facilitate this for others, in a world that demands that we don't, is something I'll always cherish and hold dear to my heart. 
When I see a woman claim the care she knows she is worthy of, I celebrate it for her and women everywhere. When one person claims it, they inadvertently give permission for another to claim it for themselves. 

For me, it's the countless moments that I have sat in complete AWE and reverence for the human spirit. Moments that have taken my breath away at the brutality and beauty of life. The generosity of another to share with me their humanness, I have an insurmountable amount of gratitude for these moments of true connection. Treasured moments are often shared between only a parent, myself, and a newly born soul. Moments that to the untrained eye or detached psyche would look like 'nothing'. But to us, whole evolutions and breakthroughs shifted in one conversation. Does it get any better? No, not for me.

Based on your area of expertise, what can you share with our followers around postpartum care? 
My area of expertise is definitely around the integration of transformational seasons of our lives, and what transformation is bigger than the rites of passage that shape and bookend our lives? Birth, life, parenting, illness, love, heartache, growth and death. 

I focus on postpartum because this is where for many of us, it first 'hits', and the principles of integration hold value and importance for our logical mind. There is so much that is thrown up into the air after birth, all ready to be pulled back down with intention and an awareness of what is most aligned to THIS version of you, not the one that used to be. It takes a tender and loving guide to support you through this. 

A postpartum doula is such an asset through a time when practicalities and logistics feel so overwhelming, they can guide you back into the integration, into the unavoidable evolution calling for your full presence and attention. Reminding you of your full power, potential, and vision for yourself and your family. 
My loving suggestion is to value this period where you're walking the duality of light and dark, joy and grief, peace and overwhelm. When we embrace these life upgrades with grace and softness, we are better equipped to rise from these times with more knowledge and confidence to welcome life with all its might and brilliance. To model that for our children is the stuff that I believe will change the future of our world. More humans embracing their humanness and holding deep compassion and kindness for themselves and one another. Ah, what a beautiful vision!

Would also love to hear about Fluid and how it came about.
Fluid is a movement workshop I launched with my sister in September of this year. I have always used movement and dance to connect to my body, my creativity, my femininity, and my JOY. This idea sat in my heart for a long time before I had the space and energy to birth it. I kept craving a space to let go, to be in the community and connect to that high vibration together. 
I could see for so many clients I was working with in my community that they too needed a space to tune into their bodies, find tools to regulate their nervous systems, and connect to others in an inviting and approachable environment. I have a history in social work and facilitation so it felt so right to bring all my years of dance/movement and doula work into this one offering that celebrates connection, movement, and FUN. 

There will be an upcoming summer series of Fluid that will be announced via our website soon. Stay tuned for the dates.

Consider: actionable tips / practices, educational piece, insights into your area of expertise.
Rituals and ceremonies are an ancient way of honouring the rites of passage in a human's life. I consider myself a master at holding respect and reverence for ceremony whilst making it accessible to the modern world. From circle-style gatherings, and parent blessings to closing ceremonies I have held space for so many wonderful humans wanting to acknowledge and commemorate their life transitions. This can be done with loved ones, or on your own but slowing down to make meaning of your life is incredibly important. 

See our Instagram post here.

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