Birth Doula and Educator
Nothing inspires me more than watching the birth of a new family. It is an amazing privilege to share in this time of life. I believe there exists in every birth the potential for a transformational experience for the woman and her partner. Most women remember details of their births for the rest of their lives.
My experience around the birth of my first child planted the seeds that led to me pursuing a career in birth work. I know that, in my case, the support I received from my care team (my husband, my doula, and my medical team) prevented greater complications from occurring. I felt the power of a loving community.
My second birth taught me to trust the process of birth itself, and it showed me the difference it can make when a mother is not only well-supported, but also well-educated, proactive, and ready to make decisions that are best for her and her family.
I know from experience that positive medical outcomes are not the only factor in achieving a satisfying birth. When a family receives comprehensive support, they’ll start off their new chapter in a way that will lead to a greater sense of satisfaction and success.
What I Do
I offer physical, emotional, and informational support to birthing families in order to help them achieve their healthiest, most satisfying birth possible. I support a mother as she gives birth the way she wants. I stay with the mother the whole time—at home and at the birthing location, even if the birthing location might change. I prefer to begin meeting with clients in the second trimester, and we meet at least three times before the birth and three after. I also support the foundations of breastfeeding (if that is what the mother chooses).
Doulas make one big promise: to be there. That’s the number one thing. I offer continuous, in-person support to a laboring woman starting from the time she wants my presence (usually by the beginning of active labor) through at least a couple of hours after delivery. I offer assistance in coping with labor pain, often using physical touch including massage, counterpressure, position changes, and movement.
In the doula world, we talk about “holding space” for a birthing woman. This means I give you room to express your wishes and exercise your autonomy. I’ll help you sort out your feelings without adding my own. I strive to listen deeply as you tell your story. I promise to never be disappointed in you, and I will never judge you. It is my goal to help you feel safe and empowered as you give birth.
One of my primary goals is to help the family prepare to make decisions regarding their care. This may entail education about the variety of choices that lay ahead of them. Sometimes this means helping new parents write out pros and cons lists, obtain more information, or brainstorm ideas. We might practice ways of communicating clearly.
A good doula is, among other things, an expert on normal birth. If a family desires, I offer a casual course on normal labor, birth, bonding, recovery, and breastfeeding. We talk about expectations and common procedures. I do not cover all of the “what ifs”—the variations and complications—but rather help the woman feel prepared to ask appropriate questions of her medical care provider.
WHAT I DO NOT DO
I am not a medical provider. I do not diagnose, perform clinical tasks, like vaginal exams or blood pressure checks, nor do I offer medical advice.
I do not speak for you. I try to keep my advocacy more subtle. For example, if I sense a care provider moving away from the mother's wishes without enough discussion, I will speak to you in front of the care provider, "You had some concerns about this procedure when we were talking earlier. Do you still have those concerns?"
I do not push you to make any particular choice or to birth in any particular way. I support your decisions. Period. The only ones who have to live with the decisions made in the birth room is the birthing family.
I do not take over the role of your partner. Whether it's her husband, mother, or best friend, every birthing woman needs a partner in the birth room who knows her intimately, can speak to her in her love language, and can help her make decisions that are right for her and her baby. It's my goal to enhance what your partner brings, allowing him or her to assume the role that will enable you both to have a satisfying birth.
I work within the DONA code of ethics and scope of practice. Click here for more information.
I live in Bremerton, WA, and serve families throughout Kitsap County as well as parts of Mason, Jefferson and Pierce Counties. I will travel to Mason, Pierce or Jefferson Counties for planned births and farther if the birth location changes.