Q & A
What inspired you to become a doula?
My journey into the doula world began with a women’s biology class. This was where I first heard the word and felt drawn to all things birth. It was also where I began to recognize the huge gap in the care and support that is provided for people during their birth and postpartum periods. I worked in other areas of women's health and reproductive justice and after I had two babies of my own using doulas, I started the training process to become one myself. Joining the doula world after having two doula-assisted births of my own has felt like the perfect next step in living out my passion for helping women and families. It has been a wonderful continuation of reproductive justice work and I believe that informed childbirth is just another key part of our reproductive journey.
What is your birth philosophy?
Birth is a primal, transformative experience that should be supported through respect and informed consent. When families are given the information needed to make clear choices and their beliefs and desires are respected, they can have a birth that feels empowering and positive. Everyone has the right to a safe, healthy, and ultimately satisfying birth experience. As a doula, I am there doing my best to merge my knowledge with my clients and help them feel connected to their unique experience, to their partners, and to baby. At each birth, regardless of any changes in your plan, there is a special opportunity to bring a new life and a new identity into a space that is filled with compassion, love, and respect.
What is your doula style? Do you have any special doula talents?
What I have heard the most from clients is that they felt loving, calm energy when I was there supporting them. I value my ability to be adaptable while maintaining that steady calm that they can always come back to. Dance party? I'm in (but probably as a spotter so you don't fall). Need comic relief? I really enjoy witty banter with clients who find that comforting. I give a mean hand massage and can be your Spotify DJ all night long. I also have the superpower to feed you after the marathon of birth (ok it's not a power, but it sure seems like it after you have been in labor and brought a human into the world).
Do you have a backup doula? How often is your backup doula used?
I have a lovely group of ladies that I share backup duty with. They are all amazing and while I have never had to call them in, I rest easy knowing that my clients would have awesome support if I couldn't be there.
What is your favorite thing about being a doula?
My favorite part would be the moment when that amazing, instinctual rhythm kicks in and allows the body to progress and open. It is pretty powerful. I also really enjoy caring for new parents in ways that are so simple that they often get overlooked. I see you girl, go take that shower.
How do you feel about serving families that may have very different spiritual and cultural beliefs than you?
I feel pretty honored to have the opportunity to work with a diverse clientele. There is nothing like birth to make us vulnerable and able to connect on a fundamental human level. I am happy to serve families that feel I am a good fit for their birth space and helping them incorporate cultural and spiritual practices can be a really powerful tool for labor.
Will my partner feel left out?
My role is just another member of your birth team and I act as a complement to any other partner you choose to have with you. Family/friends provide huge support and value with a shared history, intimate connection, and unconditional love that can be felt and relied on during labor. Where I come in is in helping the partner/family help mom. I work within your birth team to help you feel confident in the labor room with guiding touch, verbal encouragement and really helping loved ones take advantage of times to bond.
Bathroom breaks and snacks are just a plus!
Did your own birth experiences influence your doula practice?
I had two births that I prepared for in very different ways. What I learned from these experiences is that there is no ONE way to prepare for or give birth. It is different for every person and every pregnancy. I try to tell my clients to forget what people are saying you have to know or what class you have to take. What it comes down to is tuning into yourself, finding that source of strength and comfort that is unique and important to you at that time. Birth takes a lot of soul searching and self-discovery... that's probably why it is so transformative.
"I don't care what kind of birth you have...a homebirth, scheduled cesarean, an epidural hospital birth or if you give birth alone in the woods next to a baby deer. I care that you had options, that you were supported in your choices and that you were respected."
- January Harshe (Birthing from Within)