A Bit of Background
Through all my life, I have had a strong connection and passion for reproductive health. Having family in the medical community around birth and pediatrics have helped to form this passion at a young age. I am the daughter of Christy, an IBCLC and mother of 6, the granddaughter Patricia, postpartum doula and mother of 8, and the great-granddaughter of Lucile, a mother of 3 and midwife. Having a large family pulled me into being with babies and pregnant people. I think, because I was the oldest of 20+ grandchildren, there was an ease around talking about a variety of reproductive health as I was growing up. Thinking about it now, it almost feels like its what I was raised to do; support people through the transition into parenthood.
What I do and Why
I currently serve the King and Snohomish counties of Washington State as a Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, Midwives Assistant, Pregnancy Release Doula, Wise-Woman Herbalist, Reiki Master, and Prenatal Yoga Instructor.
The choice to carry a pregnancy comes with a unique set of joys and challenges. The experience and care should always center around the birthing person. It is their journey they have chosen with hopes of bringing life into the world through their body. That is literally awesome! The changes and shifts that happen throughout pregnancy, culminating in labor and birth are so intricate. The body that houses the baby goes through so much change across their systems throughout pregnancy, labor, and postpartum periods. It is often invisible labor to grow a human, the exhaustion and emotional shift happening can seem so big at times. It is a time to be gentle and kind with oneself, a time to focus on self-care and connection. It is incrementally life-altering, and at the end you have a tiny human. It’s my job to ease that transition and to keep in mind the family’s comfort and emotional needs.
I am in support of the whole family, which includes partners, and siblings alike.
I often get asked about the ways in which I support partners. The first thing I like to affirm is that I do NOT replace a partner in any way, no one has the intimate knowledge of the birthing person like their partners. Getting to know your unique relationship dynamic helps me to know where I can support you, as a family, in each parents unique journeys into parenthood. This provides me the insight to offer gentle reminders during labor, when emotions and hormones are at a unique high. I can point partners back to a grounded state, often by normalizing the labor experience, where they can focus inward to find that distinctive way they can support their laboring partner. Parents are born at the same time as the baby. Often, I give partners a gentle reminder of their personal needs, such as naps, eating, or stepping outside for a breath of air. It seems to be easier when folks know that their significant other is being tended to with skill, compassion and empathy.
I am also a sibling doula, which is a doula for your older children while they are present for your birth. This is a separate role from birth doula. I am there for your older kiddos, to let them know what is normal and what is happening. I have an early childhood education background and worked as a teacher in a Montessori preschool for 5 years, 2 of which was while I was starting my Doula practice. Sibling Doula work was a natural service for me to provide for families.
The postpartum period can be filled with just as many unique twists and turns as your pregnancy. Or perhaps you are bringing home a baby who grew in your heart, but not your body. No matter how your baby arrived in your arms, the first several weeks of a babys' life comes with distinctive learning curves. I have helped parents who have never held a newborn, to families who are welcoming their 4th into their household. Every baby is unique in so many ways. Creating space and time for you to get some solid rest, or other forms of self care, can really help to reset the energy for the entire family. I can tend to the baby, do light meal prep or tidying, guide you in infant care routines, and often my most powerful work is as a sounding board to hear and hold your experiences of being a new parent, and either normalizing, or offering further resources as needed. It has made a world of difference for many families that I have supported throughout the years.
I’m humbled by the unknown of every birth and every families journey postpartum. In my years of experience, I have happily supported VBACs, HBACs, LGBTQ families, high-risk pregnancies, surgical and cesarean births, non-medicated vaginal deliveries, medicated/epidural vaginal deliveries, water births, and many home births. I support all individuals regardless of gender identity, sexuality, race, faith, marital status, and age.
My advice as you navigate this new terrain:
Breathe and release that which you cannot control. Let go of tension and allow for the inner knowing to be heard. This is the time for you to feel safe, supported, and empowered to face birth with the mindset of a peaceful warrior.
You got this!
We are blessed in the PNW to be surrounded by so many resources for pregnant people and birthing families. Its important to know the care options; it is one of the biggest ways in which pregnant people are able to advocate for themselves.
~You have all the power~
The birth of a baby is the birth of many things: parenthood, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. It’s the birth of a family, the birth of a new citizen, the birth of potential. It can be a wonderful time for those expecting, filled with excitement, but it also comes with some distinct challenges like navigating the uniqueness of each labor and finding the tools to remain flexible during an enormously transitional time.
That is where I can come in and help!
Birth Doula Training (Carrie Kenner), NW Doula Conference, Breastfeeding Support (Carrie Kenner), Rebozo (Carrie Kenner), and TENS unit (Carrie Kenner), An Undisturbed Birth (Dr. Sarah Buckley), Abortion Doula Training (Full Spectrum Doulas), NRP (UW/ Children’s Hospital and Karen Strange), VBAC Your Way for professionals (Sharon Muza), Northwest Birth Assistants Training, Acupressure workshop (Nick Olow L.Ac.), 8 Limbs Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training (Megan Sloan), Providing Culturally Sensitive Care for LGBTQ Families (Kristin Kali LM, CPM), RIE Foundations training, AHA BLS Provider class (CPR Seattle), Spinning Babies (Tammy Ryan), Power and Privilege (Wendy Gordon CPM, LM, MPH), Pandemic Doula Training by DPRA