Background/Experience that you think is beneficial to Doula work: I enrolled as a pre-med/pre-vet student at Illinois Wesleyan because I had always been fascinated by anatomy and birth and desired to help people or animals, but realized that my strengths were more interpersonal -- teaching, listening, helping, encouraging. I've taught various ages and subjects, but have found the most joy serving as a birth doula and helping families prepare in their own ways for birth through the childbirth classes I have taught for five years.
What led you to become a Doula?: I once journaled, "I'm a helper, encourager and teacher, but prefer teaching women versus children. Is there a career out there that I can get paid to do/be this?" Soon after my childbirth educator posted on Facebook that she thought our community needed more childbirth class options. I started my training and certification process that month. My doulas had helped me in a variety of ways during my very different birth experiences and I knew I wanted to offer non-judgmental help, education and encouragement to women while also providing financially for my family and demonstrating professionalism and integrity to my clients and my observant children.
What are some positive comments made about you by other people?:
A doula client/childbirth education student wrote this week to say that I was helpful, “the whole package”, and that I gave her husband and her, peace of mind, during the birth. She was thankful for the constant support during labor and the highs and lows soon after birth, and help with finding resources during a challenging time postpartum.
What are your favorite pregnancy/parenting resources?: The resources I could recommend are varied so first I listen well to what the woman is interested in learning or using. Books like The Birth Partners or the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Kellymom.com, some birth videos, and guided relaxation (The Honest Guys on Youtube for example) could be helpful, but the mom decides what she is interested in and I follow her lead.
What thoughts come to mind when you see a pregnant woman or brand new mom?: Such a special time! I'm excited for her and hope that she will find the confidence to listen to herself over the unsolicited and unhelpful opinions she might encounter. I hope she has the support she desires through the ups and downs and that she finds joy and sleep.
What is the best gift you can give a new mom (as a Doula)?: To listen well to her and let her process her thoughts without me offering any opinions. To provide resources and information if she asks. Non-judgmental support in ways that are responsive to her needs and wishes.
What is your favorite TV show or movie?: The Great British Bake Off, Gilmore Girls, Call the Midwife. Currently I'm enjoying binge-listening Friends while I clean the house, but usually I listen to podcasts.
What is your favorite place to vacation?: Virginia Beach and Gatlinburg, TN have been favorite road trips, but when we can't travel that far we have fun meeting up with another family at a hotel with pool.
What is your favorite food?: I love steel-cut oats with apples, stir-frys from Flat Top Grill, Indian food, my mother in law's Korean BBQ and Tex Mex Bowls with all the salsas and veggies.
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?: A walk with a friend on the Constitution Trail, daydreaming about home decor while wandering through Home Goods, or meeting up with another family so our kids can play with us at the park.
Who lives in your house?: My husband Kent and I share our home with our three kids: Sophia (12), Mayah (8) and Josiah (3)