BECOMING A DOULA IS NOT AN ORDINARY CHOICE...
Most of us have a story to tell of how we found our way to birth work, and why we feel so called to work long and unusual hours. Between my work as a birth doula over the past 20 years, and having trained over 700 doulas, I hold a lot of family stories close to my heart. I hope by sharing a bit more of my story here, it will help you understand my role, and the countless ways in which we as doulas can help shape our birth culture.
I attended my first birth at the tender age of 16. It was amazing and powerful, I was hooked! This experience sparked a strong desire in me to have a larger impact, helping other people feel empowered during childbirth. I have been a DONA International Certified Birth Doula for 20 years and have supported over 300 families. I went on to become a DONA-Approved Birth Doula Trainer, training more than 600 high quality doulas who have provided skilled labor support to countless of families. I am a Certified Lactation Counselor, CLC and a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, LCCE. I’m very active in my doula organization, having served on the Board of Directors as Treasurer and currently serving on multiple committees.
I’m very proud to have been lead coordinator for a March for Moms and Improving Birth Rally, in May 2018 one of over 50 sister marches held nationwide. It was a peaceful, family oriented rally to bring attention to the maternal health care crisis in this country. Were you aware that maternal mortality rates in the U.S. are higher than any other industrialized country and rising, with women of color dying at 4 times the rate of their white counterparts? One in seven will suffer depression or anxiety postpartum, the number one complication of pregnancy. Doulas improve outcomes and can combat these unacceptable numbers.
I am the mother of 5 children, most of whom were born at home with the assistance of a skilled midwife and attentive “doulas”. One birth, however took me on a new, unexpected path. My personal journey through the unexpected in birth has helped me to better support local families both through predictable birth, as well as challenging ones. I also strive to train doulas who can confidently support families as integral parts of a supportive birth team in all types of birth including those that have taken a detour from “the plan”.