I like to say that my Doula journey began before I was born
Because to say I am obsessed with all things pregnancy & childbirth related, the word obsessed does not fully encompass the breadth of my constant and infinite devotion.
Birth has been at the center, that steadfast core, of my life since before I could form memory. I was always playing and pretending to be pregnant, or give birth, or be a Mama, OB, or Midwife.
Beginning when I was two-years-old, I would regularly get my new baby sister out of her crib to cuddle on the floor and try and nurse her. When five and another sister was on her way, I pressured my Mom to let me attend all her prenatal visits, and begged to attend the birth. I started to become friends with neighborhood kids just because their Moms had given birth at home. I turned my backyard into a birthing center where I made a special tent underneath a slide and invited kids to come deliver their doll babies. Whenever I played Barbies, they all lived in a special community where they were always pregnant (so many balls of rolled up toilet-paper!) giving birth, and helping one another raise their babes.
When I learned to read, I spent long hours at book stores researching anything that was available in the children's section on birth & pregnancy.
This evolved towards more advanced textbooks as I grew up. The introduction to the internet in my mid-teens offered the opportunity to watch grainy birth videos in the computer lab with the sound turned down so to keep my obsession private from my peers.
To say I am obsessed does not feel like the right language
My greatest vow and dedication to life is tending to birth, and birthing women/people
While I flirted with the idea of becoming a Midwife since I was sixteen-years-old, after some major life detours, I finally pursued a Doula certification in 2009. I attended my first birth in 2010 while in collage at Western Washington University, specifically Fairhaven Collage, where I created my own degree studying reproductive justice, woman's rights, midwifery, and the intersection between science, embodiment and intuition.
Please scroll below to my education section to read more
After attending births as a Doula (and assistant Midwife) for a few years, it was my turn. The birth of my son in 2013 not only shattered my identity as a human/woman, from maiden into Mama, but my identity as a Doula as well. Very little went as planned. And I took the pain of healing from a traumatic birth and used it to inspire and catapult me into an entirely different way to support and advocate for my clients.
Read about my birth philosophy, beliefs and the meaning behind my business name here: What is the Language of Birth?
Outside of my life as a Doula, I live "unconventionally" and have found the nuclear family model has never fit my way of being well. Instead I joyously live with my nesting partner and her two children, and together we raise our three kiddos together in a home we named Mama Haven.
I love to be with my family, our community, lift weights, go on long mythic walks, hike, dance, sing in choir, meditate with Bellingham's Insight Meditation Society, try and learn the violin, play DND and board games, explore with many mediums of art, and listen to books that range in topics: from behavioral science, to Buddhist teachings, to Clarissa Pinkola Estés, to science-fiction/fantasy novels, to somatic psychology, to works by adrienne maree brown.
Shows I binges are typically Sci-Fi & Fantasy, and include What We Do in the Shadows, OA, Sense8, Stranger Things, The Sandman, The Magicians, 1899, Warrior Nun & I Am Not Okay With This. I also love Call the Midwife, Sex Education & Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness
DONA (Doulas of North America) certified
Doula education curriculum, taught by Kerri Kenner of Big Belly Services
Western Washington University
Studied under Dr. John Bower & Dr. Leslie Conton
Independent Projects: Cross-Cultural Rituals and Traditions with Placentas
Senior Project: Internship at the Northern New Mexico Birth Center
Acting as Assistant Professor to 'The Cultural & Biological Perspective of Pregnancy & Childbirth' Course, Winter 2012
Co-founded and helped run WISE Birth Doula Collective, a non-profit centering on serving marginalized communities, such as low-income, Native, Queer/LGBTQA + and incarcerated peoples in the Bellingham, Washington State area
Northern New Mexico Birth Center
Taos, New Mexico
From August - October 2012 acted as assistant midwife to over 20 births. Largely assisting the Tiwa Native Pueblo People, and Latinx Community. Attended prenatal appointments at clinic, postpartum visits at home, and births at the center and at clients homes.
Practiced with taking heart tones, blood pressure, fetal heart tones, fetal measurements, vaginal exams, charting, and provide emotional presence & guidance and physical comfort
Workshop taught by German/Peruvian Midwife Leonie Lange
Studied practices by indigenous peoples of Peru, such as herbal remedies for birth, and how to address complex births such as pre-eclampsia, abnormal presentations, postpartum hemorrhage and shoulder dystocia under circumstances when there is little to no medical help
Skills in Sifting Workshop taught by Spinning Babies instructors
Workshop taught by Whapio Diane Bartlett on the Holistic Stages of Birth, Birth as an Altered State of Consciousness, and how to support Physiological Birth in Hospital
Neonatal Resuscitation for Birth Workers by Karen Strange, CPM
Blood Born Pathogen Training
ProDoula Business Course
Non-Violent Communication Course
Spinning Babies with Kelly Dungan, RN, BSN, RNC-OB
Co-Hosted Spinning Babies with Kelly Dungan, RN, BSN, RNC-OB
Birth Advocacy Doula Training (BADT)
Full Spectrum Doula Course with Sabia Wade, centering activism & birth work, Black perinatal & maternal health, food insecurity, Queer & Trans birth & trauma-informed care,
Reclaiming Sex & Intimacy After Trauma Workshop with Eri Guajardo Johnson
Somatic Attachment Therapy Certification for Health Professionals
The Embody Lab, 60-hour program
Counties: Whatcom & Skagit
Locations: Bellingham Birth Center, Birthroot, St. Joe's Labor & Delivery/PeaceHealth Childbirth Center, Skagit Regional Health, Mount Vernon Birth Center, and your home
Cities/Communities: Acme, Bellingham, Blaine, Birch Bay, Deming, Everson, Ferndale, Glacier, Kendall, Lummi Island, Lynden, Maple Falls, Nugents Corner, Sudden Valley, Sumas, Van Zandt, and Burlington & Mount Vernon