Updated: Sep 7, 2018
Birth advocacy goes back a long way for me. As a young child I used to beg to watch cows give birth at the cattle farm managed by my uncle. Despite my careful monitoring of the pregnant cows, most of the time they would give birth quietly on their own and I would only discover the long-legged, wobbly result. My uncle often reminded me not to disturb the cows because intervening would only slow down the process. (This was not an easy lesson for a 5- and 6-year-old to learn!) Occasionally there were complications and my uncle needed to intervene to ensure their survival. Poor Uncle Chuck patiently tolerated my strict instructions that he be gentle whenever I was around to watch him help a troubled cow. Still, from time to time he would call me to the barn or even wake me up at night so that I could go to the barn and watch the miracle of birth. My time on the farm taught me two important lessons: 1) that birth is a natural and normal process that is best left to unfold on its own, but 2) there are occasional complications which require intervention. As doula I try to maintain appreciation and respect for these two truths as I work with families. Read about my birth philosophy.
As a teenager I became very interested in natural living, which inevitably led me to readings about gentle childbirth. I decided early on that I wanted to have my children as naturally as possible. I briefly considered taking nursing with the hopes of becoming a nurse midwife. However, I ultimately chose a degree in family studies to focus on prevention and education. I believe that I knew instinctively and from working as a CNA that I wouldn’t enjoy the nature of medical care, with its emphasis on pathology and pressure to be efficient. This is why I have a great deal of respect for all the nurses and doctors who find a way to provide respectful, flexible care while operating under a great deal of pressure and liability. Read about my approach to working with the medical community.
I later became aware of doulas after I graduated from college while working as a parent educator with pregnant women in the social service field. After working with these women for several months leading up to their births, I sort of wished them luck at the hospital and then came back to their homes a couple of weeks later to hear their positive or (more often) difficult and traumatic birth stories. I was struck by the notion that there was a gap in the care I was providing. I talked with these mothers for weeks and sometimes months about healthy pregnancy, creating a birth plan, options during birth--all about empowering them as women--but when it came down to it these women went off alone to the hospital without the support they needed. So I started referring my pregnant clients to doulas and saw positive results. I quickly fell in love with the idea of doing it myself!
In 2010 I completed my training with DONA International and began my doula journey. I had a very busy doula practice from 2010 to 2014 when our family relocated to the Louisville, KY area. From 2014-2018 I took only a few births while I focused on raising our two girls and finishing graduate school. Throughout the past 8 years I have deeply enjoyed providing comprehensive doula support with a focus on the psychosocial needs of childbearing women.