I am a DONA International certified Birth Doula, ICEA (International Childbirth Educators Association) Childbirth Educator, and Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. I have advanced breastfeeding training and am an accredited La Leche League Leader. Additionally, I have training in acupressure for labor and birth, have completed the workshops necessary to become a Dancing for Birth™ Instructor, and have a variety of advanced doula skill trainings, including rebozo use for comfort and relaxation, mindfulness, and hypnosis for childbirth. I am well versed in the Hypnobirthing (Mongan) and Hypnobabies methods of self-hypnosis and guided meditation for childbirth, and personally used both methods when I delivered my own children. An experienced and seasoned doula, I enjoy mentoring new doulas and teaching advanced doula skills workshops. I'm a frequent guest speaker at area Babies R Us stores, helping moms learn the basics of labor choices, comfort measures, breastfeeding, and newborn care. I am the President of the Mt. Diablo Doula Community Board of Directors, a member of the Birth Alliance of Central California, founder of the Delta Valley Childbirth Collective, and the doula trainer and mentor at the Modesto Doula Group (and it's subsidiary, the Harmony Doula Group).
My Birth Philosophy:
I believe in the innate nature of a woman’s body to bring forth a baby. I also believe strongly in the power of education. As a doula, it is my responsibility to provide the best evidence-based information available to my clients so that they, in turn, can make informed choices that best serve their needs. I hold a PhD from Stanford University in History. My work as a doula compliments my work as a historian and archaeologist, because birthing women, whether in the modern age or the distant past, are all connected and empowered by their shared experience as mothers. I believe that every woman has the right to understand her body and the labor process -- to know what each stage and phase of labor entails, what it might feel like, and what her choices are. The old adage that knowledge is power is as true in the birthing process as it is in other aspects of life. Yet, for most first time mothers, the only exposure to the labor process they have had comes from movies and television, in which the birthing mother is rarely depicted as anything other than distressed and in intense pain. Giving birth is hard work, to be sure, but the better prepared one is physically and emotionally, the easier it can be. Most everyone fears the unknown, but fear is not beneficial to a laboring mom. Few people would ever consider running a 10K marathon without training their body and mind for the event, yet birthing mothers are often expected to meet the challenge of labor with little or no advance preparation. I advocate strongly that birthing mothers and their partners take an extended preparation course, whether they have chosen relaxation and breathing as their primary techniques for managing the pain or discomfort of labor, or whether they have decided to use medication.
As a mother of two, I have learned from experience that a woman in labor deserves to be nurtured, to be heard and respected, and to be free to surrender herself to the birthing experience. If she wants to be loud, she should be loud; if she wants to be quiet, she should be quiet. For most women, giving birth will be unlike any experience she has ever had and it may completely change the way she views herself and the world. As a doula, I am therefore honored any time a woman has allowed me to share that journey with her.