So, over the course of the next few months, we will highlight a different doula for you to get to know more!
We are going to begin with Hope Lien!
Q: Tell us about yourself.. married? Children? Did you have a doula for your own births?
I'm married to an amazing guy that I met in college, who is my best friend and partner in crime. He helps me to mellow and remember that there's more to life than perfection. I have one 18 month old daughter who is adopted. We had the privilege of attending her birth. We had offered our birth mom the option of hiring a birth doula, but she declined. I wouldn't think of attending the birth of our daughter and the amazing gift our birth mom gave us without offering to give her massage and some aromatherapy, candles, and other comfort ideas. I was in a sense her doula. I also knew going into the birth that I would need my own doula. She had also given her blessing to allow me to invite my best friend, the birth photographer and MY doula (her births were the first I attended as a doula, and she had doulaed at other births after her own). I knew she would be the perfect person to help me keep my cool-- given all of the emotions involved in this process. I was so thankful to have her there to support Zach and I.
Q: What made you decide to become a doula?
As the oldest girl in my family, mothering has always come naturally to me. I always loved playing house and swaddling up and "nursing" my dolls. Fast forward 20 years, and I finished college and set out to find a job where I could empower women. When I discovered that doula's "mother the mother" and serve them as they birth their babies while simultaneously empowering them with choices and options, I was all in. I love nurturing new families and being there for them during such a huge transition in their lives.
Q: How old were you when you attended your first live birth?
I was 25. My best friend and her husband were expecting their first baby, and I knew about all the amazing benefits. I told her she should have a doula at her birth, and she told me, "I don't know about hiring someone, but if you want to come to our birth you can." I was so honored to join them. At the time I didn't really know anything at all, but I loved having the privilege of being with them through the process and being a witness to them becoming a family of 3. I also learned what an important role I could play in supporting them that no one else on their team could do.
Q: What is one thing that people don't know about you?
I love food. No seriously, I REALLY love food. Particularly tasting flavors from around the world. This seasons favorites are Vietnamese and Ethiopian. And also, I induced lactation to nurse my adopted daughter for 18 months now:)
Q: What is your favorite part of the birth process,-if there is one specific thing?
I think my favorite part of the birth process is being there to witness when people turn the corner. That's lots of different things in different scenarios. Getting through a few more contractions for that momma who desperately wants an unmedicated birth, trying those moves that help a baby rotate and things really start moving along, working with a mom who is given all the time space and patience she needs to do what her body needs to do, seeing a VBAC momma achieve a vaginal birth, watching a dad who thought he would be majorly grossed out by the sights of birth be completely blown away by the strength of this woman and all that her body is capable of.
Q: Do you use or have any special tricks or trades that you use when you attend a birth?
I like to do a combination of lots of things. Mostly I try to follow the lead of the momma I'm working with. That's something different at every birth, and at every stage. I use a lot of Spinning Babies techniques with my clients, and I love creating a peaceful atmosphere wherever the momma is birthing, and helping her find her groove and be more comfortable. There are really so many options so I try to keep offering new ideas to the family I'm working with throughout the process. I also look to the partner as my teammate in serving this momma well as they know this woman best.
Is there anything else you want to add?
I also work as a postpartum doula and lactation counselor through my own practice called Held By Hope which I am also passionate about. I have a vision that one day, moms with low or no milk supply everywhere would know that they have the option of trying to nursing their baby if they want to. I hope I can continue to educate mommas on ALL of their options.
And also, I love working with moms SO MUCH. I count it a privilege every single day.