Crowning Lotus was established in 2007 when Juliea Paige embarked on her journey to change the world through providing women and parents with honest support and encouragement to be the best them they could be in hopes that this would ripple out into the world and create peace.
As a troubled youth who has experienced everything from abandonment, sexual trauma, foster care and juvenile facilities, Juliea saw very clearly that something was wrong with people. It wasn't that people were “bad”, it was that many were unloved, uncared for and unsupported. The people society considered no good had much of the time simply not been shown compassion or a good example to follow, and this seemed to trickle down through the generations. And, she knew without a doubt that it wasn't only the people, but, the "system" that was broken.
Determined to create change, she chose to overcome her own patterns and habits while working to expose these issues of the world around her. She explored new ways of living and loving - refusing to be a victim of her own circumstances. Her goal became breaking the cycles of abuse and addiction that had troubled her own family for generations and become an example for people everywhere that how we live and what we do with our lives is always a choice, regardless what we have done or what may have been done to us. Becoming a mother at 16, she had to make these choices sooner than most - understanding how easy it would have been to fall into the patterns of the generations before, she funneled her anger and pain into fuel for a fire that burned brightly within. That fire turned everything around her into potential for change within herself and her world.
Through the years Juliea developed close friendships and became a person who others gravitated towards to find strength and inspiration. She was often that friend to call or go see when you needed someone real to talk to. These qualities are what eventually led to her being asked to attend births for some of her friends. Back then, she didn't know what a doula was – she just knew in her heart that it felt amazing to be able to help set the tone for this new life. Not only the new life of the baby, but the new life of the mother and father. She thought, 'What if someone had been there like this for my mother? Would things have been different? Would she have felt more of a connection to me?' The connection between how we approach our bodies, our births and our babies began to become the connection to true change on this planet – something she had been fighting for and desiring her whole life. However, it wasn't until years later that she realized what to call what she was doing – but as soon as she discovered the word “doula” she never looked back.
The first thing she did (besides read as many books as she could get her hands on) was think of a name. She thought about what it was that she wanted her doula business to stand for, who her perfect clients were, and, what kind of impact she wanted to have. The image of the lotus came to her and she thought the words “Crowning Lotus”. It was perfect. Her whole life seemed to be all about taking the muck, the deep, dark shit that life seems to throw at us and turn it into fertilizer. Fuel for change. All of the people who had hurt her as a child and throughout her life had actually given her a gift – instead of remaining their victim, she chose to learn an grow from her experiences and to allow herself to become stronger because of them. In many ways, these people were showing her how to rise above the darkness to seek out the light - which is exactly what the lotus does. Rising through the murkiest of waters to emerge the most beautiful flower who simply floats upon the surface of it all. She saw how this and so many other things in life mirror the journey of pregnancy an birth. How it all seemed to strip us down to our core and then right when we think we can't go on, we are given the greatest gift. She realized, we are all Crowning Lotuses.
Once her name was chosen, it was time to chose a path of training. She really didn't know how to start “being” a doula, so, getting certified seemed like the logical next step. She chose DONA mostly because they were the longest standing and most reputable organization out there (and their trainings were the most accessible). Training through DONA she dreamed of all of the amazing midwives and doulas that she would get to know along the way. Excited to join a community of empowered women and help change the world was all she could ever hope for.
Unfortunately, her training seemed somewhat hollow and didn't seem to actually teach her much that she hadn't already learned on her own. There was also no real sense of community, no mentors to guide her. Basically, it was a case of “pay us money, read these books, take these workshops and classes - then go practice on women”. Something about that didn't feel right, but, she was determined to finish what she had started, hoping that she would connect with others doing this work within her community and that would be where she would find her community.
As someone who had spent years vending as an artist all over Michigan, she thought the best way to get that ball rolling would be to plug herself into parent/birthy events as a vendor. What she found was not exactly open arms...more like cold shoulders. She felt like the new girl in the cafeteria no one wanted to sit with. Something was seriously wrong with this picture...so in true Juliea fashion, she decided to find a way to create the world she desired. She would build her own community based on loving support and a hope that together we could help create real change.
It wasn't until 2011 that she decided to begin building a team of doulas. So many women would contact her and ask about becoming a doula and many of those women would say “I emailed everyone I could find and no one would respond except for you!”. She was unable to understand why birth workers were so resistant to reaching out to aspiring birth professionals. Were they competitive? That didn't make sense – there could never be enough doulas or midwives! Were they simply private about it? Too busy? It just didn't seem to jive well with her philosophy that we are all stronger together and that our differences are what make us all so wonderful. So, she did something about it. She began by mentoring and supporting the women who wanted to do this work. She did talks at Elder & Sage called “So, You Want To Be A Doula?” where women could come and get a picture painted for them of what being a doula actually looks like and would provide them with resources and information on where to go from there if it was something they were drawn to doing.
For the women who seemed to really fit in with her philosophy and 'vibe', she simply asked if they would be interested in training as her assistant. It was the very best move she ever could have made as working as a team within this work has fulfilled her and her work in more ways then anyone can count. Coining the term "bEARTH Doulas" because she knew that this work went much deeper than rubbing backs and informing individuals of their options and rights - this was about healing the Earth and it's people on every level.
The rest is history in the making.