I am a doula, childbirth educator, mother, and abortion nurse. 

This is not a contradiction. My work and my life is about honoring the lives, health, and choices of pregnant people. I am honored to serve my community in this way. I am grateful that I was able to grow my family when I was ready, on my terms. Every person deserves that freedom, and that’s why I do what I do.

A Few of Her Favorite Things….

1. “Keeping her up late sometimes. I recently went to a Patti Smith concert with her—she was strapped to me the whole time and holding glow sticks in each hand til 11 p.m. By the last song she was asleep on my back.

2. Her breath in the morning

3. Her two bottom teeth

4. Feeding her water from a glass

5. The funny made-up songs my husband sings to her

8. Watching her fall asleep

9. Watching her love”

anonymous asked:

Hi :) I have a question about labor and sex. It's about making noises when birthing with husband. I've heard lots of things about men being "traumatised" by assisting birth and feeling repelled. I know he can not look down there, just be there but. What about moaning and whipering? I mean, they're usually sexy bedroom noises and that's awesome but what when he'd hear it for hours clearly associated with pain? [tbc. 1/2]

[2/2] I mean, is it possible for a man to hear all those sounds during birth and then associating it with it and so being repelled by it later in bedroom? How can I prevent that? I know we should discuss it and so but I’m scared it may happen on subconcious level he can’t control that much. What do you think/advise?

Soooo, I almost didn’t answer this because I feel so vehemently about it, but I’ll do my best not to hurl any curse words :)


Birth is incredible.  It is one of the most amazing experiences for birthing people AND their partners.  It is a time in which your body transforms entirely and your mind changes entirely and you bring the fetus that has been growing inside of you out into the air and give it life.  Literally, you are creating a human in that moment and doing it with ALL of your sweat, tears, and blood.  Partners recognize that when they see it happening - anyone would recognize it. 

Laboring people look different than people in pain - they’re on an entirely different level of focus, determination, commitment.  They’re surrendering to their bodies, they’re joining generations of people who’ve done this before them.  Moans don’t sound like sex, they sound like coping.  Whimpers sound like pain, like contractions, like losing control for a moment.  

I have seen partners crying in amazement at the birthing person’s strength, I have seen them with wide eyes slowly shaking their heads, astonished by what their partner is achieving.  One of the most amazing births I took part in was one where I had the husband help me birth the baby and pass it up to his wife - he sobbed in such joy and happiness saying, “You’re amazing!  You’re so incredible!  Oh my god you’re so strong!”

Please talk to your partner(s).  Encourage them to support you, encourage them to be with you in the birth.  The two of you created this human, and the least your partner can do is help you to bring it to life.  Encourage your partner to look at your vulva as your baby is coming out - it is an incredible sight.  Encourage your partner to massage your back, to bring you water, to talk you through contractions.  

To start, maybe buy your partner one of my favorite books: The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin.  You read through it first and highlight the sections that sound good to you.  You can start the conversation by saying, “It sounds very calming for me to have you standing by my head, giving me a hand massage while in early labor.  Is that something you feel like you could do?  See the illustration down here, I love the idea of relaxing back onto you while I’m pushing.  Would you be okay with that?”

Birth is not sexual, but it is inherently human.  It is a primal, basic thing, and it is amazing to behold.  Your partner will never look at you the same way again but they never should.  They will always remember your strength and your sheer ferocity when it came to giving life to your child.  They will remember the joy, the love.  It will strengthen your bond significantly.

Poster purchases from the wonderful Birthmark Doula collective

Ancient Indian Birth depiction. When I was in southern India I saw a lot of uplifting birth imagery. The birthing mama here is positioned on an incline using the midwife to prop her top leg into a squat creating more space in her pelvis for the baby to move down and out. “Apana Vaiu” Sanskrit for downward outward energy flow is the energy that governs the second phase of birth. The birthing goddess is surrounded by women “doulas” a support network of women who are guiding her to cross the threshold into motherhood. Women traditionally delivered the young and women supported women during childbirth. #Doulas strive to keep the legacy of women supporting women alive and thriving. #India #art #birth #mamaglow #doula #midwives #blissfulbirth #naturalbirth #labor #yoga #women #glowpower #empowerment #motherhood (at Mama Glow Land )

Childbirth Education Weekend Intensive ~May 9th and 10th, 11am-5pm Both Days

Those days don’t suit?

June 6th and 7th

July 25th and 26th

August 22st and 23nd

Class Description:

At Carriage House, we have culled our shared birth and postpartum experiences and training to develop a strong, interesting and fun classroom experience. We believe that it is best to fill your birth tool bag with as many options as possible, therefore we teach what is most useful and use what we feel are the best elements from the various laboring methods that are out there today. Whether at home, in a hospital or birth center, we believe that good birth outcomes happen when fear is replaced by confidence and understanding of the mother’s body and the very normal experience that is pregnancy and childbirth.

Our Intensive Childbirth Education class is a 10 hour, one weekend (Saturday, Sunday) commitment. It offers families the same full curriculum as the six-week version just condensed.

Class covers but is not limited to:

* Anatomy and Physiology of Pregnancy and Birth
* Physical and Emotional Stages of Pregnancy
* Physical and Emotional Stages of Labor
* Pain Coping Techniques – from visualization to hands on, water and beyond
* Birth Preferences and Birth Planning
* Pain Medication Options
* Labor Support–who to have at your birth
* Interventions and Induction
* Cesarean Birth
* Your Postpartum Body and Life

This Intensive is $350 per couple #carriagehousebirth #doulas #childbirtheducation #doula #pregnancy #pregnant IMAGE by the lovely @girlsjustwannahave

I became a doula by default. I had Seven naturally, at home, and a couple of years later I was traveling through Europe, and one of my best friends, Afya, who is the wife of from dead prez, went into labor. I just wanted to be there with her, so I rerouted my flights and came to Brooklyn. She had already been in labor for about 10 hours, and the whole labor ended up lasting 52 hours. No anesthesia, just pure willpower and whatever else the midwife who was there had to offer. My main focus at that moment was to bring her some kind of peace and strength and will to push forward, because I know how hard that is. I ended up staying with her for 42 hours and I wasn’t sleepy. I naturally knew what to do, and it was then that I figured out that this was something I can do that makes me feel so fulfilled.

After all, we don’t know where these babies are coming from—their souls, or their spirits of mind, or if they’re born wholly as soon as they get here—but whatever it is, I just want the environment to be one of tranquility for the mom and dad and everyone involved. A home birth is about being able to create exactly what you want, because it’s such a violent moment inside of the body that you want everything else to be as beautiful as it can be. So I started studying to be a doula and got my certification in 2011 and now I’m in training to become a midwife. I’m almost there and before I know it I’ll be able to open my own practice, if that’s what I desire.

My work as a doula also extends all the way to the end of life. I sit at the bedsides of people who are passing on in hospices or nursing homes, for the people and families who want that kind of thing. When people are going on to the next plateau of whatever this thing is called life, I also want them to breathe easily, even if it’s the last one they take here with us. I guess I’m the welcoming committee and ushering committee.

anonymous asked:

how did you know that you wanted to become a midwife?

Many of the midwives I know have great stories about accidentally having to birth a baby or being at their younger siblings births…. I have no such story.  To be totally honest I think that I really felt it the way people speak about having a “calling”.   In high school I was 3000% certain that I would be a writer or an English teacher and even though I was part of my school’s Peer Sex Educator’s group I told myself I really didn’t want anything to do with women’s health or feminism.  (ha!)  When I started college I took all writing and photography classes and had to do a single Human Biology class and who could blame me for doing my final project on something as interesting as birth?

A doula friend of mine gave me a copy of Spiritual Midwifery for my birthday in June when she found out that I was starting to learn about birth.  I read the book cover to cover, thinking, “Oh.  This.  This is it,” and by July I was trying to talk myself out of becoming a midwife.  It just felt so right, but I had no background in it and I’d never even thought about being anything other than a writer/teacher before.  By the next semester of school, though, I was taking midwifery school pre-requisites and loving every minute of it.

As soon as I learned more about birth and midwifery I knew it was what I was going to do with my life.  Feminism, bodies, love, hard and physical work, changing lives – it’s the most incredible career.  I make people feel better, I help them when they need it the most.  It’s a deep, emotional bond that I share with my patients and I love it.  I’m able to help them make huge changes in their lives, I’m able to help them make things better for themselves.  If any of you, dear readers, are trying to figure out if midwifery is right for you, I strongly suggest shadowing a midwife or helping out as a doula.  You will be amazed.
Doula Support For Pregnant Women Could Improve Care, Reduce Costs
Doulas provide emotional support for a woman through pregnancy and childbirth. A study finds that women with doulas are less likely to have cesarean or preterm births.

Childbirth historically involved a support system of women who assisted a woman from her pregnancy through the birth and in the immediate postpartum period afterward.

Today, obstetricians and midwives provide prenatal care and help a woman deliver her baby. Doulas continue to fulfill the historical role of emotionally supporting a pregnant woman through labor and childbirth, helping her advocate for herself and communicate with her caregivers.

A study published online Thursday by the journal Birth suggests that offering women the support of a certified doula could save Medicaid and perhaps private insurers real money — nearly $1,000 a birth — by reducing cesarean and preterm births.

Previous research has shown lower rates of cesarean births, more satisfaction from mothers and better newborn Apgar scores — a measure of a baby’s condition at birth — among mothers who use doula care. In fact, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says in guidelines for safe prevention of cesarean births that doula care is “probably underutilized.”

Let’s all support one another today and every day. No matter what we go through, we all just want to be healthy to take care of our families. #thefitnessdoula #care #support #doula #BestofBothWorldsDoula #baby #business #birth #pregnancy #fourthtrimester #ILoveWhatIDoula #LetsDoulaThis #family #love #children #motherhood #RaleighMom #girlboss #mompreneur #TeamCollins #Raleigh #NC

@Regrann from @maternalmentalhealthnow - Take part in Bringing Postpartum Out of the Shadows. Ask your congress member to #LoveAnotherMother. Click the link in our profile for details! #postpartum #ppd #postpartumdepression #takebackpostpartum #mom #momlife #change #speakup #speakupwhendown #family #Regrann

Birth #6

This was another long, very hard one. I got the call to come to the hospital around 11:45pm on Thursday night. They had already been admitted after a non-reassuring NST and the mom was on cervidil. When I got there it was obvious that labor was still very, very early. She was having some coupling contractions and already talking about wanting an epidural. We all worked hard together though, and she labored naturally throughout the night, mostly in the bath/shower and using a birth ball. It seemed like she was making a lot of progress. From how often her contractions were coming and how long they were lasting, it seemed like she was well in active labor by 5am. I remember around 8am her husband asked the very experienced L&D nurse how far along she thought she was, and she said she thought she was at least 5-7cm dilated. Around 9am she started acting like she was entering transition. She had been coping well, finding spontaneous rituals, keeping a great rhythm, using good low vocal sounds, and then she started calling out for help and acting like none of the things she was doing to cope worked anymore. The midwife came not long after that and was really pleased by the apparent progress. She said she wanted to wait a bit before checking her so she could give her “good news.” When she did check her about an hour later, she was only 1cm, 80% effaced. It was shocking to all of us, to say the least, and difficult to recover from.

From that point it became a puzzle to figure out why these contractions which were close together and lasting longer than a minute weren’t causing dilation. The mom was absolutely adamant that she not receive any pitocin, but it was pretty obvious she wouldn’t progress without it. . She was afraid that the pitocin would cause too much pain, so she was demanding an epidural first. The midwife wouldn’t let her have an epidural at only 1cm, since the medication would likely stop her contractions altogether. From about 10am-12pm the midwife sat with her and tried to reason with her about accepting the pitocin, but she wouldn’t budge.

By this point I was pretty checked out. I had been with them for 12 hours, hadn’t slept a wink, hadn’t each much more than a few granola bars, and had been giving her a lot of counterpressure, so my arms and shoulders and chest muscles were all so tired and sore. The midwife told me I should leave and get some rest, because I was obviously no use to anyone in that state. I knew an epidural was coming, so I at least wanted to stay until then. The midwife thought it would be a good idea to leave the two of them alone to talk about getting the pitocin, so we all stepped out. As I was walking down the hall to use the bathroom, I was fighting back tears. I was so tired and there was no end in sight to this situation. The L&D nurse who had been on since 7am called me over to her and asked how I was doing, and I just burst into tears. Then the midwife walked up behind me and gave me a huge hug. The nurse said that she had been a doula for 15 years, and a nurse for even longer, and that this was objectively a very hard situation. The midwife said that she would be crying too if she, and I quote, “wasn’t such a tough old broad.” Doula work is just so hard. You hear talk a lot these days about the “emotional labor” that women are expected to bear, and this is “emotional labor” in a professional sense. It’s physically demanding, it can be psychologically rough, and the hours are long and inconsistent with no real designated quitting time. This is the third birth I have been to so far where I often found myself thinking that maybe I’m just not cut out for this. I also found myself really envying the nurses, who got to work in shifts. I know when I signed the contract for the doula who attended my births that there was a part in it that said that if the birth lasted longer than a set amount of hours (I think it was 10?) she would call in a backup doula to give herself a break. When (or maybe I should say “if”) I start doing this is a more official capacity with contracts and the like, I should definitely work on finding backups and allowing myself to bow out after putting in 10+ hours. It’s just too hard to keep going for that long.

Anyway, I decided I had to go. I felt so shitty about it. I felt like I was abandoning them. But at this point it was just a matter of time before she had an epidural and my hope was that she and her husband would just sleep and not need me anyway. It had been decided that she would take a dose of fentanyl, then get the pitocin, and hope that the fentanyl covered the pain and the pitocin improved dilation, so that she could get the epidural. Also contributing to the difficulty of the situation was the fact that Andrew had decided to take the kids to work with him. I’ve made a few contacts with other birth workers to swap childcare, but Andrew thought it would be easier for him to just to take them with him and try to keep them happy at his office than to take the time to drop them off somewhere else really early in the morning. So they were at work with him and starting to get pretty antsy. I left and went straight to pick them up, then drove us all home.

Win fell asleep in the car and didn’t really transfer. I was hoping I could sleep while he napped, but that didn’t happen, so I put on Sesame Street and dozed a bit while they watched it. My plan was either to take them to one of the birth worker’s house around 3pm if the couple needed me to come back, or I would wait until Andrew got home from work around 6pm. 

I stayed in contact with them, getting in touch every few hours to see how things were going. Epidural and rest. Progress was happening. I was so, so glad to be home with my kids and (kind of) resting, but I was also wracked with guilt that I wasn’t there with them. When Andrew got home I offered to come back, and they said the midwife had suggested that everyone keep trying to sleep until she was completely dilated and ready to push. I went to bed around 7:00 and slept a few hours. At about 10pm I got the text that she was at 9cm, so I decided to go back. I was still SO tired. Like, shaky and nauseous tired. I let the husband sleep for an hour, then I “slept” for an hour (laid on the hard couch with my eyes closed). We traded off like that. She was checked about every hour. Progress seemed to have slowed. By the early AM hours the midwife was saying things weren’t looking good. The pitocin was way up, contractions were strong, but baby was OP and just not descending. She was stuck at -2 station. The OB was called in and she quickly decided a csection was in order. She was wheeled away at about 4am. I left to get some sleep. I couldn’t managed to stay around for the few extra hours to see the baby. 

It’s hard for me to critique myself on this one. When I was working with the mom the first night, I felt like I was really “on,” in a doula zone. I felt confident and like I was really contributing. But after that I felt like I let them down and failed them by not being more of a continuous support figure. It was just really hard.

I definitely still need to improve the childcare situation and my self-care. I need to pace myself better and be less hands-on in early labor. I need to be more open to taking naps and tag-teaming with the father/partner. I need to eat more. I need to sit more. 

Also, my track record with epidurals is so terrible. I’ve been to three births with epidurals, and they all ended in surgical births (two c-sections and one vacuum assisted birth). All of the babies were also OP and apparently very “stuck.” I know there are compounding factors, but I’m starting to get really freaked out about epidurals in general. 

I was feeling so down about myself and my future after this birth, but luckily I got a big pick-me-up. I met with the mom from birth #5 for our postpartum check-in, and she and her husband gave me a card with some very sweet words and a check for $500. I had agreed to be their doula for free, but they said they felt like my role was so important that they wanted to compensate me. So that felt pretty good. 

I’m still not 100% for sure I will stick with doula work because it is so much  harder than I ever imagined, but I’ve got two more births lined up, so I guess I will just try to take it one step at a time for the moment.


We are recruiting volunteer full-spectrum doulas to become part of the Doula Project, located in NYC!

People who are passionate, caring, and committed are encouraged to apply. Any experience in doula work, reproductive health, rights and justice work, abortion counseling, health service, or personal experiences can be helpful, but isn’t necessary. Many of our best doulas have had no professional experience, but a dedicated attitude and a desire to learn more and be a part of the Doula Project.

We strongly encourage people of color, people with dis/abilities, trans* or genderqueer identified folks (especially transfeminine folks), queer-identified folks, people born outside the USA, Spanish speakers, people living with HIV/AIDS, and people of faith to apply. People with flexible/free weekdays are ideal.

We are accepting applications until midnight on June 20, 2015. The mandatory training for new volunteers will be on August 7 (6-9 pm), August 8 (9 am-5 pm), and August 9 (9 am-5 pm). Full application is here!

Speaking of amazing Carriage House Birth doulas here’s Kat from Los Angeles @littlebirddoula LOVING this sweet shot of her & her youngest babe, Ever. So grateful that we crossed paths. #ittakesavillage *Pease email us at to inquire about birth and postpartum doula services in NYC and LA. #carriagehousebirth #carriagehousebirthla #doula #doulas #motherhoodrising