An unexpected adventure: from fashion to healing
When Anna Maria Boelskov was a little girl, she never dreamed of working in health. In fact, the multi-talented doula/nutritionist/herbalist/yoga teacher spent the first chapter of her career modelling in Europe, the US and Australia. “As a young girl in Denmark, I was a very fussy eater and I hated food with a passion. I hated having to sit down at mealtimes, I hated the whole thing. I was not a happy eater as a child,” Anna Maria says.
Ironically it was only when she was pressured to lose weight that she got really passionate about food. “I had my agency in the background telling me to lose weight in very strange ways… and I knew that it was crazy, because my entire life I had been told to do the opposite” she says. “I discovered sushi, and Japanese cuisine, and was like, ‘wow, this is amazing!’ Suddenly I just discovered food, and I was in heaven.”
In classic sun-in-Scorpio style, Anna Maria decided to dig deeper and investigate what was really going on. “I realised the body would respond differently to different types of food, and thought ‘Wow, there's a whole science behind this!’ and just totally fell in love with health from there,” she says. “When I found out that I could study to become a nutritionist, it just made me so happy… I went from studying straight into practicing, because I was just extraordinarily passionate. I love it.”
Now Anna Maria juggles modelling and motherhood (she has three daughters - Kieva, Vilja and Mica Sia) with her work as a healer. “Working with women as a naturopath and as a doula is exceptionally rewarding and fulfilling. The work I do with my clients is about addressing the true, authentic nitty-gritty realities of life and helping women lay a wholesome and nourished foundation for their life as a mother,” Anna Maria says. “It's very deep work. To be able to support and help a woman in this incredibly vulnerable and pivotal time in her life is everything to me.” Here she shares the magical evolution of her brilliant career.
You’re a qualified nutritionist and herbalist. What drew you to herbal medicine?
“I have had Psoriasis my entire life. When I was modelling whenever I had to do lingerie shoots and things like that I was so embarrassed. I tried all the medicines and creams, and everything worked a little bit but it would always come back. I realised that I couldn't eat ice cream every day and then also took Chinese herbs, and it really went away. I was sold!”
So, how then did you add Doula to the Repertoire ?
“It was from having a doula I realised there was even such a thing as a doula. I'd never heard of it before. Then I had my second child, and had my doula again. When I’d given birth to her, I had a really strong urge that I had to work more in the birth world. I've always worked with women and pregnancy care, but after her I was like, ‘I need to dive deeper into birth’. Then my best friend asked me to be at her birth, and I was like, ‘that's crazy’, but I was so honoured. I went straight home and signed up to train as a doula. I literally started the next day.”
How did your doula help with your births?
“She reminded me that I was completely capable of giving birth, and doing it on my own. I really was afraid of intervention and was very scared of C-section… I was really scared of anyone doing anything to me. I wanted a natural birth. Mostly because I'm just frightened of medical hospital situations. Having her by my side, someone who had experienced birth, who knew the process and was familiar with the situation to constantly remind me that I could do it, that I was perfectly fine to continue to labour-on was amazing. That was something my partner couldn't do, because he had never experienced it before. She kept me on track, because it took a long time. I think it was a bit more than 24 hours, but I just kept going because she was constantly there with me.”
how is the role of a doula different to that of your partner during birth?
I don't think they ever can be the same, actually. They're actually separate, because you need the love and intimacy from your partner. But at birth you become friends, you become close, but it's not your partner. It's someone who is still professional, yet you have an extra connection to that doula. So they're actually separate jobs. The doula will constantly have new suggestions, new ways to support you. Sometimes your partner just has to kiss you. Your partner holds you, and you know, just makes you feel loved. That's not what a doula does, the doula takes care of you.