Background/Experience that you think is beneficial to Doula work: Life. All of our past experiences influence the direction that we’re going. Parenthood is more than just the act of welcoming a baby. All of your past experiences influence how you feel about yourself as a parent. I know motherhood changed me, for sure.
What led you to become a Doula?: The truth is that I had a rough reaction to the breech cesarean birth of my son in 2009. I thought about it a lot in the early days postpartum. I researched ways I could be a better advocate for myself if I were to birth again, and discovered the definition of a doula. I studied and trained at first as a way of healing my birth trauma. I had to take a significant amount of time to myself before I started seeing clients to ensure that my experiences would never play a role in the care that I provide to them.
What are some positive comments made about you by other people?:
I hear that I am motivational and ambitious. I interpret those as compliments. I’ve had clients tell me that they couldn’t have labored without me. That’s a common thing we hear as doulas and we have to remind the mothers that they did all the work. People often tell me that I am fair, have a good heart, and often see all sides of a story. My favorite compliment ever was, “You are the most real person I know.”
What are your favorite pregnancy/parenting resources?: I’m pretty eclectic in my tastes for information. I like to look at several angles when I think about my parenting choices. I love books. Any time I develop an interest in anything for more than ten seconds, I buy a book about it. My favorite birth book is The Birth Partner because it is quickly informative and inclusive of the entire birth team. I love Ina May Gaskin’s books because she is hilarious. My best resources are an honest and authentic conversation with a person. There’s something about really connecting with a person face to face and seeing their facial and hand expressions that gets me really excited to learn their story. And when I just want to know about cool diaper bags, I watch Youtube videos of nursery tours, baby hauls, and weekly pregnancy updates.
What thoughts come to mind when you see a pregnant woman or brand new mom?: When I see a pregnant woman or a brand new mom, I’m usually pretty excited for them. I have a lot of respect for pregnant women. It’s such a life-consuming change to welcome a new baby. There’s a lot of excitement and changes that take place. Pregnancy affects the entire life of the new mother – physical changes, emotional changes, a better connection to their body, assessing their plans for their next few years, and so on. I think motherhood is a super brave time in a woman’s life. They’re going to be stepping on legos before they know it. That involves bravery.
What is the best gift you can give a new mom (as a Doula)?: I think holding a new mother’s hand (in both a metaphorical and literal sense) as she enters the new world and community that is motherhood is the best gift I can give. Every woman needs to know that she isn’t an island, isn’t alone, and doesn’t have to be alone. It sounds pretty rational on the outside to know that, but in the throes of birth and the time early postpartum, it becomes easy to forget.
What is your favorite TV show or movie?: My favorite TV show is Grey’s Anatomy. The way those characters get knocked around and stand right back up is motivational. Shhhh…don’t tell me it’s fiction.
What is your favorite place to vacation?: The beach. Hands down. There’s something about the way that the ocean gets erratic and then calm that reminds me of lifecycles. I feel at peace when I’m at the ocean, but I also feel challenged to be and do more.
What is your favorite food?: Carbs. That about sums that up. There’s nothing quite like a really amazing slice of pizza with your kids after you all survive a PTA meeting.
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?: My favorite way to spend a day off is swimming. I love the feeling of knowing that my responsibilities are met so that I can really be lazy about the swimming without worrying about the time. I also love to go to bookstores and take an unreasonably long time to look at them all – even when it involves sitting on floors or climbing ladders.
Who lives in your house?: Chaos. Chaos lives at my house. But in the best of ways. I’ve been married to my oil & gas guy for five years. We both have kids from previous marriage. We’ve currently got three generations under one roof. It’s a wild ride!