Compassionate, non-judgmental support in pregnancy and the postpartum period. Birth doula support, childbirth education and birth story processing, in-person and virtual.
I began my work as a doula in 2006, after the birth of my first child. While pregnant, I was entranced with labor and birth. I find that I still am.
My intention as a doula is to support the mother and her partner/mother/sister/friends. Often this means helping you navigate your options, without judgment or coercion. I am not outcome-focused, meaning I do not consider a birth to be a success by a narrow criteria of unmedicated, or vaginal or fast. The only goal I have for you is that you feel supported, respected and loved.
Sometimes this is a very physical task of massage, hip-squeezes, fetching water, etc. Other times this is informational support of helping you get the details you need to make your choices. Sometimes I offer suggestions for positions or ways to help labor progress. And at times I am simply a calm presence, reassuring you and your partner that everything is normal and good. Often I enable the partner to support you fully by giving him/her breaks for food and rest, so that you have no gaps in your care.
I have supported women in home births, Cesarean births, three-day-long births, births with epidurals, VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), natural births, births after infertility and births after loss. Every one was miraculous.
I teach (and am certified in) the Birthing from Within model. My classes go beyond merely information based. We also cover emotional and relationship-oriented topics. Content is based on what each couple needs and seeks to learn. Much time is spent uncovering what you know and need to know about yourself. I strive to fill in any gaps in your preparation.
Over the course of 15 hours, many topics will be covered. Participants can expect to learn about:
- pain-coping. 30-45 minutes of every class is spent learning, practicing and embodying pain-coping practices. The techniques taught are drawn from yoga, Qi-Gong, and the experience of eons of mothers. They are proven effective over and over in feedback from previous students. Parents practice these techniques together in class to really get a feel for how labor will magnify their personal dynamic.
- awareness. This means knowing yourself (what’s driving you, what helps you, what do you trust), knowing what you can expect from labor and birth (the goop, the sounds, the behaviors, the landmarks, the timing), and knowing what to expect from our modern birthing culture (hospitals, midwives, nurses, doctors, tools, etc).
- Partner work! Your partner is going through this, too. Many classes slide past the partner’s experience as tangential to the mother’s. As it turns out, partners will experience birth from a different perspective, but a very important perspective. All of our sessions will include the partner’s views and ways they can prepare to support and cope with their own experience.
- the nitty-gritty. Stages of Labor, Your body in Labor, Hormones in Labor, Medical tools and interventions, Epidurals, Cesareans, postpartum adjustment, newborn care and procedures
- birth art. One of the hallmarks of Birthing From Within is the birth art. This isn’t about making pretty pictures. This is about accessing the subconscious, emotional mind that will be active in labor. Many couples find that this aspect of class is the most valuable.
- navigating the unexpected. While we address the factors that influence labor, we recognize that we ultimately can not control the outcome of labor. Sometimes the unexpected happens, whether it’s a very fast or very long labor, an unexpected intervention or having the baby in the car. There are ways to communicate with professionals and ways of coping with unwished-for events – we will practice!
- postpartum preparation. One of the most important tools you will take from this class is how to ride the changes from Couple to Family. With careful, intentional planning and examination of cultural expectations, you will have a “game plan” for new parenthood. Soulful preparation is also included in an exercise called “Welcoming Your Baby”.
I offer Childbirth Preparation classes in several different formats and at a few locations.