Before being a doula, birth photographer, Certified Lactation Counselor and midwifery student, I was an Arabic translator and computer forensics analyst!
How does this happen and how can I be your doula?
I am a small-town girl, born and raised in northern Iowa. As long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by “where do we come from?” My mother would take me to the library every Sunday, and I would inevitably scurry into the “sex book” section and pull out A Child is Born by Lennart Nilsson to stare at the beautiful pictures of babies in the womb. I was swept away from the local library at age 17 by the U.S. Air Force to become an Arabic translator. After leaving the Air Force in 2004, I spent quite a few years testing out various careers, such as an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teacher in Egypt, proofreading and dictation transcription, technical writing and editing, and computer forensics (in which I inexplicably got a Master’s in 2008!).
After reading the book Pushed in 2007, I made up my mind to have any future babies out-of-hospital, preferably in water, thanks to a particular episode of TLC’s A Baby Story that moved me to tears as a pre-teen.
I found out I was pregnant in 2008 after receiving several vaccines in preparation for a deployment to Iraq. In a panic, I googled “pregnancy vaccines” and was led to Mothering.com, and I never looked back. Through that website, I found the local birth center and myriad natural childbirth resources, which eventually enabled me to have the waterbirth I always envisioned, despite a few complications that would likely have led to a cesarean with other care providers. It was MY perfect birth, the birth I had daydreamed about throughout my life and pregnancy.
The highest highs of childbirth soon gave way to the lowest lows, as I discovered we were having serious and unusual breastfeeding problems. Through the lactation consultations, weight checks, pain, postpartum depression, and all else that comes with feeding difficulties, I was always able to think back on my empowering birth and look at the birth photos, and regain strength and confidence.
As I became part of local playgroups and met several other new mothers, I was eager to share my brand new birth story with the other moms- I loved hearing birth stories during my pregnancy and was proud to have a story of my own to tell. However, I soon learned that “birth stories” are a sore subject for many moms; so many women I met were not ready or willing to talk about their births, even years later. These mothers had hospital births, birth center births, and even a homebirth. They alluded to “loss of control,” “interventions,” “lack of information and support,” “powerlessness,” “lies,” “bullying,” “fear mongering,” “no choice.” These moms had one thing in common- they did not have doulas.
When I realized that so many mothers do not have the benefit of a positive birth experience to carry them through the tough early postpartum days, or any trying time in their lives thereafter, I decided to start doing whatever I can- channeling my lifelong interest in childbirth into a profession where I can ensure families have choices, support and respect so they can take responsibility for their births and have positive birth experiences, no matter where or how they decide to give birth.
So, other than my lifelong obsession with pregnancy and childbirth, I enjoy my family of 3, reading, knitting, cross-stitching, traveling, yoga, photography, sewing, snowboarding, biking, dragonboat racing, random crafts, eating (but not cooking), home improvement/renovation, binge-watching TV series on Netflix, recycling, and collecting things.