Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Kelli Brus
Many of you may know I have a personal passion for supporting women before and after birth. That is why I became a Certified Postpartum Doula! Kelli Brus shares the same passion and is the owner of DSM Doula. She is a birth doula here in Des Moines, Iowa. Learn more about why and how she became a birth doula, her Des Moines favorites, and her fun parenting tip!
Give us a little background of your family and personal life! How many kids do you have? Have you lived in Des Moines all your life?
I am married to my college sweetheart, Erich, and we have two girls: Elia who is almost 9 and Violet who is 3 1/2. We’ve lived in the Des Moines area for 13 years. I grew up in a small town in Iowa called La Porte City and met my husband at UNI. We spend much of our free time exploring the great parks, libraries, and community events that Des Moines has to offer! I started my career as a school psychologist with Heartland Area Education Agency and early childhood special education teacher with Des Moines Public Schools. In 2016, I took a big leap and changed careers entirely!
What is your business, and what do you do?
In the summer of 2016, I became a birth doula through Doulas of North America (DONA) and I LOVE my job. Supporting women and their partners during pregnancy, birth, and shortly after birth is an absolute honor. As a birth doula, I help couples plan and prepare for birth and postpartum during our prenatal visits, and I provide emotional support, physical support, and guidance in making decisions on the day of birth. Sometimes, there is confusion about the difference between a doula and a midwife: when hiring a doula, a woman sees a medical provider, such as a midwife or doctor, while the doula provides additional (non-medical) support and guidance, such as suggestions for labor and birth positions, massage or other comfort measures, breaks for the birth partner, and help as the new family get settled in after birth. I’ve also begun doing some birth photography while I am at births. I consider myself a beginner in this area, but I love being able to offer this service and have been able to capture some great moments on camera!
Why did you become a small business owner?
My interest in birth and babies began long ago, with childhood memories of playing with pregnant Barbie dolls and pretending to give birth, complete with a pillow baby bump. I obsessively watched “The Baby Story” in college, and would love to hear stories of birth from my best friend who became a labor and delivery nurse. When expecting my first child, I prepared a lot. We took a great childbirth education class, read the books, and watched birth documentaries. While our daughter was born healthy, I ultimately felt very alone in the process and there were many things that most likely wouldn’t have happened if we’d hired a doula. My expectations of what my husband and I would be able to do on our own during birth were very unrealistic.
In between the birth of our first and second daughters, friends of mine started having babies and hired doulas. I became fascinated with the idea of the type of support doulas provide and knew we would hire a doula for our second birth. Our doula was fantastic and I started seriously considering the idea of becoming a doula myself. The stars really aligned for this dream of becoming a doula to become a reality.
Three years and 60 births later, I’ve absolutely loved being able to provide this service for expecting parents, and also to set my own schedule, choose my workload, decide how my services will be provided, and what services I offer. Being a doula is a wonderful fit for our family and I love going to births, which doesn’t feel like “work” at all. My ultimate goal is for my clients to have the best possible birth experience and allowing them the time and space for each birth to unfold. My clients have given birth in hospitals, homes, and birth centers, with medication and no medication, intervention free and full of interventions, planned cesareans and vaginal births after cesareans… and while my doula support differs every time based on the circumstances, I know that my presence makes a positive impact in their experience.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play indoors?
My daughters and I are book worms, so we spend a lot of time at the public libraries in town. We especially love the events offered at the Clive Public Library. Water Tales and Hot Dog Dinner Theater have been a huge hit with my girls this summer!
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play outdoors?
We love Jester Park! We can make a whole day out of visiting the Nature Center, taking a hike around the pond, visiting the natural playscape, watching the bison and elk, and then swinging by the equestrian center to visit the horses. My husband and I like to golf at their par 3 golf course, and my girls love their mini golf course!
Parent’s day/night out. Describe your perfect parent only day/night out in Des Moines.
My perfect date night would be dinner at Centro, a movie at Fleur, then dessert at Creme. If it’s daytime, my pick would be a hike at Ledges or golf at Waveland, then lunch at Gateway Market and probably Thelma’s ice cream sandwich while we’re there!
What are some tips on juggling parenthood, working, and personal life?
It’s messy, it’s hard, there will be mistakes, and you’re not alone. It will look different for every family and for every season of life! Making time for yourself, taking good care of yourself, and carving out time with your significant other seem to be the most important things I’ve learned as a parent so far.
What is your number one parenting tip?
Keep a notebook specifically for jotting down quotes from your children. You think you will remember them forever, but you won’t. Looking back at the hilarious, insightful, and odd things your kids say is the best. And hugs…you can never hug your children enough!