Or, how I walked away from the dissatisfaction of a career as a researcher and lecturer towards my dream career as a doula and childbirth educator
By Dr. Nina Bogerd
My Early Days
In my youth in Slovenia and later on when living in Switzerland, I had always aspired to become a lecturer and researcher working at university. I was passionate about sharing my knowledge, inspiring students and guiding them towards finishing their studies. Seeing them graduate gave me immense satisfaction. It was my biggest reward and reassurance that I was good at my job and I was giving something back to the community/ society.
My Life in Limbo
However in a family, the priorities of our partners need to be considered too. I am sure this feeling resonates strongly within all of us. All of us have had to adjust, at one time or another, so our family can function at any time, any place. So I tagged along with my husband’s professional career and seven years ago, I found myself in Delft with my 2 year old son and being pregnant with another one. I found myself a “typical highly educated expat wife” struggling to make a home whilst navigating a new culture away from friends and family. The flat Dutch landscape and gray, rainy weather made me homesick for the mountains and sunny skies of Slovenia.
The boys not only spiced up my life, their presence shifted my priorities from my career towards motherhood. I ended up juggling the need to grow in my career, spending enough time with my family and making an impact in the lives of refugees. Despite organizing our family lives efficiently, nothing seemed good enough to me. At the end of the day I was left exhausted and unsatisfied. Specifically, the volunteer work in the refugee camps forced me question the positive impact that my knowledge has on our society. Let’s face it, to see children fighting for food even when you want turn a blind eye makes you question yourself, “Does my way of life truly benefit anyone?” My answer was “NO”. Ahh!! That was my moment of truth. I decided to give my life a new meaning.
Despite organizing our family lives efficiently, nothing seemed good enough to me.
At the end of the day I was left exhausted and unsatisfied.
Finding My Way
I looked for career coaches who specialize in working with highly educated expats. I found my match in Magali from UDiverse. In her, I found a combination of a direct work approach while understanding the importance of my emotions such as compassion. During the first few sessions we formed a clear vision of my dream career and defined the path forward. Looking back, there was one simple exercise that stood out and made a striking impact on me. “Without thinking while being aware that anything is possible, note down your dream careers”. Interestingly, only one vision was related to my past career. All the rest involved providing emotional, educational, physical and material support for women before, during and after giving birth . These included foreign women and their partners in the Netherlands as well as refugee women in refugee camps.
However, how do you leave 15 years of an international academic career? As odd as it might sound, I mourned. I sent an email to three key people who had propelled my career towards my last position at TU Delft and consciously bid gratitude and farewell. From envisioning my dream career we transitioned to defining what profession would embody such a career. The answer was clear: doula and childbirth educator for expats. I enrolled for a certification as a doula at InBloei Doula in Rotterdam. At the same time I started training to become a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator – The Mongan Method.
Only one vision was related to my past career. All the rest involved providing emotional, educational, physical and material support for women before, during and after giving birth.
These included foreign women and their partners in the Netherlands
as well as refugee women in the refugee camps.
Within 6 months of working with Magali the career coach, I formed Birth My Way – Doula and Birth Education for Expats. At Birth My Way we provide emotional, educational and physical support to expat mothers and their partners during pregnancy, birth and beyond. Why do we excel at it? Because we take the time out for you to passionately dive into your particular situation. We understand of how emotionally challenging it might be when you are expecting a new family member away from your family, friends and familiar health care system. Knowing your situation in depth, your cultural background and emotional needs we tailor our doula support for you, so you birth with calm, confidence and joy.
Our ultimate goal is to create beautiful birthing memories that will empower you for life.As the name suggest, you can expect nothing but non-judgmental support to the way you want to birth. Through Birth Your Way in collaboration with DelftMaMa, I continue my philanthropic efforts by providing pro-bono support to refugee women and their babies residing in Delft.
Rebuilding my professional career has brought back passion to my career and sweetness to my life. My days are now filled with enthusiasm of supporting my clients. Visiting or talking to them when they need me, day or night. Supporting them through their birthing journey and visiting them afterwards. Spending weekends giving individual or group birth preparation courses. Nevertheless, these long hours are filled with gratitude and happiness. I have created a job that is rather a way of life that I am passionate about. If you ever find yourself unhappy, drained with your professional career do not hesitate to take the leap into the unknown. It will lead you to the most beautiful destinations. I can vouch for it!
If you ever find yourself unhappy, drained with your professional career
do not hesitate to take that leap into the unknown.
It will lead you to the most beautiful destinations.
Born in Slovenia, Dr. Nina Bogerd lived and worked in Switzerland before moving to the Netherlands. She now lives in the Delft area with her sons, Neo and Njal, and her husband Niels. Nina has a curious mind and a compassionate heart. She is an outdoor enthusiast and philanthropist. Nina’s scientific research background is in physiotherapy, physiology and human movement science. She is the owner of Birth Your Way where she provides doula and birth education for expats. Visit her webpage to gain more information on how she can support you and your partner through pregnancy, birth and beyond in the Netherlands.
Hi Nina, your story is very inspirational. I myself have undergone a major shift in my career because I wasn’t happy doing what I was doing. Now I may not be earning as much as I used to, but I find myself much more happy and at peace.
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