Background/Experience that you think is beneficial to Doula work: I am a cisgendered queer-identified parent, and have experienced pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, labour, birth, and postpartum anxiety in my own body. I feel this breadth of personal experience, as well as being called upon by friends entering their own pregnancy journeys, has influenced to me support pregnant people and their families. I have completed OFIFC's Cultural Competency training (2014) and San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety training for health care professionals (2017) to build awareness of Indigenous culture and inter-generational trauma. My full spectrum doula teachings come from Ode'Miin Giizis (Strawberry Moon) Full Spectrum Doula Collective and I have been formally trained as a Labour and Postpartum and Infant Care Doula.
What led you to become a Doula?: Over 5 years, I had the pleasure and privilege to provide administrative support to registered midwives - notably supporting the birth and continued operation of the Toronto Birth Centre. I often joked that my work as a medical admin was akin to being a doula for midwives, and I deeply enjoyed being immersed in natural birth culture while also seeing the clinical side of birth through charts, lab reports, and data analysis. My fondness for reproductive justice was further enhanced when my partner and I set out to make a baby of our own through artificial reproductive technologies, and were privileged to experience pregnancy and labour supported by midwives in 3 different locations (home, birth centre, and finally birth in hospital). It was not long after I returned from my maternity leave that I pursued doula education and broke out on my own first as a postpartum , and then a labour, doula.
What are some positive comments made about you by other people?:
“We’re still not sure how to wean ourselves off of you!” – J+K, parents of newborn twins and a 2.5 year old
What are your favorite pregnancy/parenting resources?: Childbirth Without Fear - Grantly Dick-Read, Birthing From Within - Pam England, The Birth Partner - Penny Simkin, Who's Your Daddy? And other writings on queer parenting - edited by Rachel Epstein, The Wonder Weeks - Frans X. Plooij and Hetty van de Rijt
What thoughts come to mind when you see a pregnant woman or brand new mom?: I don't assume anything about who they are or what they want. I recognize that pregnant people may self-identify as women, men, genderqueer, or agender. They may be single, or coupled, or polyamourous. They may intend to parent or not. This may be their first pregnancy or their 15th. This may be the only pregnancy they will carry to term - by choice or because of loss. It is out of great respect for human diversity that I see a pregnant person, not only as a pregnant person, but for who they are and who they are becoming through their personal right of passage.
What is the best gift you can give a new mom (as a Doula)?: I strongly believe there are thousands of ways to parent WELL, and only a few pretty obvious (abusive) ways you can screw up. It is my greatest gift as a birth worker to guide a new parent into their new role gracefully and with confidence in their abilities to parent in the way that is best for them and their family.
What is your favorite TV show or movie?: Offspring is my favorite TV show right now. There are just too many good movies to name one
What is your favorite place to vacation?: Quintana Roo, Mexico
What is your favorite food?: I want to say it's a brown rice bowl full of steamed greens and ginger dressing... but, also, coffee and brownies
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?: I love swimming with my family, having a picnic in the park, or just lounging in warm socks and sweaters at home.
Who lives in your house?: My partner, our 3 year old daughter, and a sassy yellow lab cichlid named Agador Spartacus.