Background/Experience that you think is beneficial to Doula work: I grew up in a large Dutch/Irish family (think My Big Fat Greek Wedding large). As one of the older cousins, and the oldest sibling in my immediate family, I have clocked countless hours taking care of newborns, helping aunts/cousins postpartum, babysitting, and hearing about labor, breastfeeding, and all things child-related. I waitressed my way through high school and college, which taught me valuable people skills. I now work as a paraprofessional/teacher's aid at a high school in Kentwood; this job has shown me that if I can get along with high schoolers, I can get along with anybody! It has also helped me learn to balance my natural compassion/empathy with tough love. I have also experienced a miscarriage, so I am able to approach pregnancy, pre-pregnancy, and the postpartum time from that angle. Being pregnant again after a loss is terrifying, and the grief surrounding the loss of a baby is very hard to understand if you haven't been through it. I feel my experience in this area is beneficial to any clients that have experienced or are currently experiencing loss, as I know what to say, what not to say, and what resources are helpful.
What led you to become a Doula?: I became interested in being a doula when the co-owner of an agency in Grand Rapids, whom I babysat for at the time, mentioned that she thought I would make a good doula. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that doula work was place for me!
What are some positive comments made about you by other people?:
-Good work ethic
What are your favorite pregnancy/parenting resources?: -GR Kids for things to do around Grand Rapids -Breastfeeding Made Simply by Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and Nancy Mohrbacher -The other doulas in and around Grand Rapids -The midwives in and around Grand Rapids -My female relatives
What thoughts come to mind when you see a pregnant woman or brand new mom?: "I hope she has women surrounding her to take care of her!" I tend to think of the mother first, then the baby; her job is to think of the baby first, while mine is to think of her. I always worry that she has the support she needs.
What is the best gift you can give a new mom (as a Doula)?: Support and a listening ear! Often family is not willing to give these things, and instead try to force their opinions on the new parents. It helps to have someone in your corner.
What is your favorite TV show or movie?: New Girl
What is your favorite place to vacation?: Anywhere cold!
What is your favorite food?: Pad Thai and red wine
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?: Sleep in, read, go for a run, and maybe venture out to the farmer's market
Who lives in your house?: My husband Adam and myself. In February, our rainbow baby will also live there!