I am a DONA-trained birth doula and mother of two currently pursuing my certification with DONA International. My passion for supporting women through their pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding journeys began during my first pregnancy as I learned about the intricate design that knits together a mother and her baby. I was fascinated, and I have not stopped seeking further education about this beautiful process since. My birth and doula experiences quickly taught me that knowledge produces confidence, confidence produces ownership, and ownership produces satisfaction when it comes to birth, even when things don’t go according to plan. I strive to help families access information and support that will allow them to confidently choose the best plans for their births. I do not try to convince anyone to have the type of birth I would want. As I help families to prepare for their births, I am frequently heard saying, “It’s up to you. This is your birth.”
I also received my BA in English in 2012. Writing has been an integral part of my life since adolescence, and I am thrilled to be weaving together two of my favorite things now as a doula: birth and writing. I have the great honor of being a witness to lives changing forever when babies are born, and each family I serve as a doula receives a written account of their birth story as a keepsake. One of my goals in supporting birthing women and their families is to help them craft a story they will want to remember and retell for years to come. I will record your story’s smallest details that make it uniquely yours while also helping you realize the magnitude of your strength in birthing. I will help memorialize one of your most vulnerable yet most powerful moments.
This is your birth. Own it. Tell your story.
Empowering you to do that is why I’m a doula.
So What is a Doula, and What Exactly Do I Do?
Historically, women all over the world have given birth with the help of two or three other women who provide continuous support by their nurturing presence, comforting touch, and encouraging words. In Western culture, surrounding birthing mothers with such rich community has all but disappeared. The professional role of the doula is one way that it is reemerging.
A birth doula is a professional labor companion who supports a woman and her partner from late pregnancy until shortly after birth, with the main part of the doula’s role taking place during labor and delivery. Postpartum doulas help families adjust to the demands of having a new baby by providing lactation support to breastfeeding moms, answering questions about routine newborn care, and helping the family with cooking and cleaning so that the parents can rest as much as possible.
I am a trained birth doula. I provide emotional, physical, informational, advocacy, and partner support. Here’s what that means:
- Continuous support. This is one of the hallmarks of doula care. From the time I join you in labor when you call me, I will not leave your side unless extreme circumstances force me to. Research shows that the non-stop presence of supportive people improves outcomes for mothers and babies and leads women to reflect on their births more positively, even after long or difficult labors.
- Encouragement. You have what it takes to birth your baby, and I will remind you of that whenever you doubt yourself!
- Empathy. I have given birth twice myself, and everything was not perfect in either situation. I have experienced physical and emotional difficulties that are normal to having children and some that are entirely abnormal such as having a preemie who lives apart from you for two months. Having babies is hard work. I can relate.
- Sympathy. Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. Sometimes they are quite the opposite of what you dreamed. I will never shame you for crying or appearing “weak.” It is perfectly ok to be sad when things don’t go your way. I will be sad with you.
- I can provide and suggest comfort measures for labor such as sacral counterpressure, comforting touch, movements to help labor progress or slow down, positions for labor and pushing, etc.
- Basic lactation support for breastfeeding mothers
- I am constantly working to increase my understanding of the physiology of pregnancy and birth, and I can pass on what I learn to you through conversation or recommending print and digital resources to you
- I can provide you with resources to help you make informed decisions
- I can recommend area resources related to pregnancy, birth, and newborn care, including IBCLCs for lactation questions beyond my scope of knowledge, dentists trained to identify and correct tongue tie, pediatricians, midwives, chiropractors and massage therapists skilled in treating pregnant women, and many more.
- I can remind you and/or your partner of your wishes if it looks like the management of your care may deviate from them and encourage you to ask questions
- I can remind you to ask the “Key Questions” at decision points throughout pregnancy, labor, and postpartum
- I will facilitate communication between you and your providers as needed, but I will not communicate with your providers for you
- I can teach your partner comfort measures listed above
- I can provide relief for your partner to be able to grab a snack, use the bathroom, or take a rest
- I will lead you and your partner through exercises to help you form your birth plan together
- I can help bear the emotional and physical toll that comes with pregnancy and birth along with your partner
What Doulas Don’t Do
- Perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and others. I am there to provide only physical comfort and emotional support.
- Make decisions for you. I will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision. I will also remind you if there is a departure from your birth plan.
- Speak to the staff on your behalf. I will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner must speak directly to the clinical staff.