Background/Experience that you think is beneficial to Doula work: I am an Army Vet and I am still serving in the Army Reserve. Living a life of service breeds a different attitude, and attitude that is necessary when working with families with newborns because I am not the one in charge. I am there to support, guide, and assist the family as they take the lead on what's best for them and their unit.
What led you to become a Doula?: I wanted to continue to serve after I left military service. After I had my first son, I spent much time with a support group led by a postpartum doula group in Charlottesville, VA. I talked with the quite often about their roles and their work and I realized that this was something that I wanted to provide for military families. My husband is still active duty Army and we continue to move around. Military families are very good at making babies, despite not living around family and often have children at a younger age than the average local family. I felt called to continue my service by supporting military families with new babies.
What are some positive comments made about you by other people?:
I am caring. I am a good listener. I am supportive of the family’s wants and desires and provide relevant resources, information, and references.
What are your favorite pregnancy/parenting resources?: Books and scholarly/evidence based articles. I try not to google but if I do, I've now learned the good versus the poor quality sites for information. I also like the Cochrane database.
What thoughts come to mind when you see a pregnant woman or brand new mom?: I instinctively smile. I sometimes it's probably a little creepy, but I can't help it! I think the first thing I wonder is what number pregnancy is this for her. I think my next though is sometimes a toss-up between how her pregnancy is going and how far along she is. Now, as a postpartum doula, when I see a brand new mom...I REALLY smile. I always wonder how old the baby is. Then I think I wonder how the birth experience was for each of them. Finally, I wonder what kind of help she's receiving - if someone is there at home with her, if she's had help with feeding, if she has over-night help. I've realized lately that I also say a little prayer or thought for the family - something along the lines of "I hope this is a positive experience for you all".
What is the best gift you can give a new mom (as a Doula)?: Non-judgmental SPACE! The space to ask questions, the space to cry, the space to be afraid, the space to talk and share the raw emotions that come up during this transition to life with a newborn. With a few of the families I've supported thus far, I have been the only one to come in without an opinion and I can tell just how much it means to that mom to know that she can just talk and ask questions without receiving a judgmental response from me. Before I started this work, I would have said that my extra set of hands would be the best gift, but I've since experienced that active listening and finding a way to make the mother feel heard, valued, and respected, thus helping her build her confidence and intuition, is probably the best gift I can provide.
What is your favorite TV show or movie?: Hmm...Scrubs!
What is your favorite place to vacation?: Disneyland
What is your favorite food?: Ice Cream!
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?: Wake up early and get my daily exercise out of the way. Enjoy the quite before my kids get up. Then, go on an adventure with my kids. We live near DC right now so there's always a museum or park to go to. Take a picnic or find a place to grab lunch, then come home for my youngest's nap. During his nap, I'll either read or plan something (I love planning!). Then prep a nice homemade dinner while the kids play outside. Once dinner's ready, I'll go outside too.
Who lives in your house?: Husband of 12 years, 5 year old son, 3 year old son, and 7 year old dog!