DOULAS AND PARTNERS
a dynamic team
A doula does not take the place of a partner. I am a support person for both the mother AND her partner. If Mom doesn't remember much about me at her birth, but she remembers the wonderful support her partner gave, my goal will be accomplished. A few ways I support partners:
suggest ways to support mom
ask timely questions to prompt discussion at important moments
encourage self-care so that the partner can continue to provide good support for the long haul
allow respite when the partner needs a quick break--Mom never has to be alone
reassure about aspects of labor that may seem worrisome but are actually normal or even a positive sign of progress
help interpret what is going on medically if there is confusion
Partners need support, too! You know Mama, and I know birth. Together, we can make a great team.
HOW I PRACTICE
You are the decision maker.
My goal when I support families as a doula is to listen, provide options, and supplement resources, so that you can make the best choices for you. Some things I help with:
Finding evidence-based information
Exploring benefits, risks, and alternatives to different medical interventions ahead of time and during labor
Exploring all available options
Facilitating communication with the healthcare team
Learning and practicing techniques to enhance comfort and progress in labor
Making suggestions about comfort and progress techniques during labor
Validating, encouraging, and supporting you through all the possible twists and turns of childbirth
There are some things that I don't do:
Give medical advice or perform medical procedures (This is not within my training.)
Tell you what choices you should make (This takes away your power and autonomy--the opposite of what I want for you.)
"Fight" with your provider (I hope that you have a provider you feel safe with and not someone you feel you may need protection from. I want to help you find your voice, so that you are prepared to speak up for yourself if needed. )
In the end, my hope for you is a birth that you can look back on in satisfaction. It isn't always possible to get all of your "wishes" for your birth, but when Mom is is supported, is the decision-maker, she can look back on her birth with contentment.
CERTIFIED LABOR DOULA
I chose Childbirth International because it was a good match for my philosophy. They emphasize evidence-based care, informed decision-making, and reflective practice.
Childbirth International 2015
Skills Training, January 2019
Spinning Babies training has been one of the most useful things I have done for my doula practice. It helped me to deepen my understanding of the physiology of birth and how to support it.
MIDWIFE ASSISTANT TRAINING
Since Alabama began issuing licenses to homebirth midwives (CPMs), there is a growing need for people to assist them. I had an opportunity to train as an assistant, and I took it. I feel like it's always better to have more skills, and I would love to be useful to the growing midwife community.
Fruitful Vine Services, August 2019
TENS IN LABOR TRAINING
I am very excited to be able to offer my clients the use of a TENS unit as one way of coping with their labor.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: LEGAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN CHILDBIRTH
It's so important to know what legal and human rights my clients have when they give birth and how to help them access those rights.
Birth Monopoly, January 2020
STILLBIRTHDAY BIRTH AND BEREAVEMENT STUDENT DOULA
I am currently engaged in a training course to prepare myself to support families who face difficult outcomes or loss.
Stillbirthday Academy--In Training
MY SERVICE AREA
I mostly serve families who live in and near the Opelika/Auburn, Alabama area, but these families may choose to give birth in a variety of locations, generally within about a 2-hour radius. Some of the places I may attend births with my families include (but are not limited to):
East Alabama Medical Center (Opelika, AL)
St. Francis Hospital (Columbus, GA)
West Georgia Medical Center (LaGrange, GA)
Baptist East Medical Center (Montgomery, AL)
Regional Medical Center (Anniston, AL)
Recently, Alabama passed a law to provide for the licensing of Certified Professional Midwives to legally attend out of hospital births, and the Board of Midwifery has begun issuing licenses! I am so excited to be able to support families giving birth with a Licensed Midwife!
Never stop learning
How I got here...
A BIT ABOUT ME
After the birth of my second child, the nurse who had cared for me told me, "You should teach those classes!" With a newborn to care for and hopes of having another child within a couple of years, that wasn't something I was immediately prepared to look into, but I filed it away for a later time.
A few years down the road, after many efforts, it looked like that longed-for third child would not be coming. So I thought about what I would like to do with myself if my childbearing season was over, and I decided I would like to teach childbirth classes. I looked at all the different certifying organizations, and chose Childbirth International as being the best fit for me. It emphasized informed choice and evidence-based care, two things that were very important to me.
When I enrolled, I had the opportunity to obtain a dual certification as a childbirth educator and a labor doula, and though I had not considered doula work previously, I thought it was a good opportunity and enrolled. The course was rigorous and satisfying. I ended up finishing the doula certification first, and began attending births.
After attending only a handful of births, I became pregnant with my daughter. I was delighted! I had hoped for another child. Being pregnant and then having an infant to care for, however, made doula work problematic for me. Teaching childbirth classes was more manageable, however, since they occurred on a regular schedule and could be planned for, so I began teaching childbirth classes.
I first taught independently, and then joined forces with the amazing Ashley Lovell (of Strong Mama Birth and Alabama Prison Birth Project) to form the Birth Village Comprehensive Childbirth Education Class. We have been teaching that class for a few years now, most recently being joined by the awesome Erin Brown (also of Strong Mama Birth and the Alabama Prison Birth Project). In 2019, I taught the Birth Village Classes on my own as Erin and Ashley focused on the important work of the Alabama Prison Birth Project. In 2020, Sarah Doyle of Joyful Birth began teaching with me, and we plan to teach together through the first half of the year, after which, she has another exciting project to focus on.
In 2017, I realized that my life had reached a place where I could attend births as a doula again. My children are older and I have more flexible resources available to help cover my bases when I leave for a birth. So I have re-entered doula work! I am excited to be available in this way to the women of our community!
To date, I have assisted at 17 births. I have learned from every one of them.