Q: What made you decide to become a doula?When I was pregnant my first son I had planned and prepared for an all natural birth and had envisioned a momentous and empowering experience. The birth I ended up with was not traumatic, however it was not at all what I had planned for and was extremely disappointing. I did not have a supportive provider and she did not follow my birth plan at all. I ended up with many unwanted interventions which lead to an epidural and felt very defeated the whole time. I did have a volunteer doula attend my birth but the hospital staff did not call her to come until after my doctor had already begun introducing interventions I did not want. By then the downward spiral of further interventions was already in place. After my son was born I thought to myself how much being a doula would be something that I would truly enjoy and be passionate about. I wanted to be able to help other women avoid the situation I ended up in and to have the birth experiences they dreamed. Whether women wanted an all natural birth or one that included medications for pain relief, I simply wanted them to feel empowered and in control of their births and to help them have the experience they desired.
Q: What is one thing that people don't know about you?This is a tough one… I guess many people assume that because I attend births and am not phased by any part of the birthing process that I also am comfortable with most other medical procedures. The truth however is that I am actually really squeamish when it comes to most other things involving any sort of medical procedure, blood or other bodily fluids (which for some reason do not gross me other during the birthing process), or seeing any internal body part outside of the body (yikes!). I think part of the reason for this is because I (and other doulas) view childbirth as a normal process whereas most medical procedures are done to fix something that is abnormal which makes me more uncomfortable.
Q: Tell us about yourself.. married? Children? did you have a doula for your own births?I have been married to my wonderful husband Jeff since 2010 and we have two boys, Xander was born in December of 2011 and Parker was born just 2 years later in January of 2014!
Q: What is your favorite part of the birth process,-if there is one specific thing..?My favorite part of the birth process is probably many doulas’ favorite part- it is that moment when life is brought into the world and that baby takes it's first breath and cries for the first time and you see the faces of the parents as they instantly fall in love at first sight and their lives are instantly changed forever. That moment causes time to stand still for their little family and it's amazing to watch.
Q: Do you use or have any special tricks or trades that you use when you attend a birth?I can’t say I have or use anything that no other doula has ever used but I do have one item in my birth bag that many doulas have not heard of using which a common item found in many households and extremely easy to use… It is a simple small hand comb (the cheap, small 4 inch black ones) that can be held in one hand a certain way and squeezed to hit acupressure points to help with labor pain.
I have also learned that the power of simply listening to moms in labor should never be minimized. Often times moms will say things like, “I can’t do this…” when they are in the midst of hard labor and the common response from everyone around her is something along the lines of, “You're doing great…” which sometimes makes moms feel unheard by everyone or that no one understands what she is going through. Sometimes simply listening to her and really asking her what it is she is afraid of and helping her work through her feelings is what she really needs to help her regain confidence in herself and make her feel truly supported.
I honestly learn something new at every birth I attend and learn new skills and ways of supporting Moms that I did not know before. One thing I have learned is that every woman is different and every labor is different and that you really need to be in tune with each individual Mom and learn to feel out how to how best support HER during HER labor.
Q: How old were you when you attended your first live birth?Other than the birth of my first child (which was my first birth I attended!) I was 25 when I attended my first birth as a doula.