Finding my Calling

When I came to Germany in January 2000 to be with my then fiance, my professional goals were just as unclear as they were at the beginning of my university studies, four years earlier. I had a bit more critical thinking skills, a bit more ability to convey my thoughts clearly, but a meaningful career was long off.
I believe the saying goes “Life is what happens while you are making plans”.
My “plans” to learn German and find a job in Berlin took a sharp detour upon learning I was pregnant with my first child, only a few weeks after arriving in Europe.
I went into the birth of my first daughter very naive. I read a few books, chatted with other expat moms who were also expecting, and those who had recently given birth. I did not want to over analyze what I believed to be a very natural process. Nothing I gleaned from those books and conversations could have prepared me for the intense three-hour birth of my daughter.
The most difficult aspect of this unexpected, lightning-fast birth was that I was left alone in the hospital receiving room during most of the process. None of the attending midwives believed that I was progressing as quickly as I did and they did not take my pain and fear seriously. Lacking German language skills and unable to communicate made my experience even more difficult.
The after-care experience was unfortunately not much better. Rushed visits, albeit in English, made me anxious. About a week after our visits ended, I called my midwife in an awful state, seeking help for an elevated fever and engorged breasts. I told her that I suspected that I was also suffering from postpartum depression. I asked her what I could do. She answered ”I don’t know” and hung up the phone. It was one of the worst moments of my life.
Looking back on the birth of my first daughter and the following first few weeks and months, I see now how desperately I missed my family, comforts of home and how much I needed a guiding hand from another woman who had experienced this rite of passage.
This experience is the reason I became a Birth and Postpartum Companion.
My extensive education at the German Association for Birth Preparation (GfG Berlin) has made it possible for me to emotionally support mothers and fathers-to-be in a value-neutral manner, providing the most up-to-date information on baby and new family dynamics, as well as providing for their physical needs such as an extra pair of hands and home cooking.
My calling to this profession is reaffirmed each time I consult a family, support a birth and or care for a new family’s postpartum needs. My life is filled with purpose, meaning and an abundance of gratitude to bear witness and support their process.
Enjoy watching.
See you soon, Goddesses!
Laurie Reinke
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