People often ask, "What made you decide to become a doula?". My journey to becoming a doula began when I was a young child though I wasn't aware of it until I was grown with my own children. My mother was a volunteer doula serving low income and at-risk mothers through a county program. It wasn't unusual to wake up & have my dad making breakfast because my mom was "helping a mommy have her baby". In fact, it was surprising to me when my friends relatives had a baby & I asked, "well, who is helping?" and they replied, "The doctor??". My mom attended all the births of my cousins (I'm the oldest of 10 cousins), and countless other women.
At my encouraging, my mom became a doula while I was pregnant with my twins in 2005 and was a full time, practicing doula until recently. In 2010, I attended the birth of my niece as a support person, and the birth of my best friend's second child as a support person for her husband. These two events moved me deeply, and in December of the same year I decided to become a doula myself. In January 2011 I took the Birth Doula Skills Training at Bastyr and have been busy "doula-ing" ever since.
I am also trained in disability advocacy by the ARC of King County, and as a Parent Trainer through the Finding Your Voice program of the Washington State Education Ombudsman. I have founded several parent support groups for parents of children with disabilities. Having experienced a late-pregnancy loss of twins and being the mother of a child with multiple disabilities, I use these experiences to help empower others to advocate for themselves and their children during their birth and in years beyond. I also work as Penny Simkin’s administrative assistant, and am President of the Board of PATTCh, a not-for-profit dedicated to the prevention and treatment of traumatic childbirth.
I live in north Seattle with my nine year old twins Hank & Lily, and my forty-something singleton husband Todd. I studied Sociology at the University of Washington, and I bleed purple and gold. Despite being a rabid UW Husky fan, I don't discriminate against Cougars.
Education & Training
January 2011 -- Birth Doula Skills Training, Simkin Center for Allied Birth Professions at Bastyr University
February 2011 -- PALS Advance Doula Training: When Baby Dies
March 2011 -- Northwest Doula Conference
March 2011 -- Advance Doula Training: Birth Story Medicine for Birth Professionals with Pam England, Birthing from Within
June 2011 -- Apprenticeship with Sharon Muza, New Moon Birth
July 2011 -- PALS Apprenticeship with Alissa Wehrman, SUNBirth Services
September 2011 -- PALS Advance Doula Training: Supporting the Journey, Avoiding the Obstacles: Working with VBAC Clients
September 2011 -- PALS Advance Doula Training: Ready, Set, Rebozo! Rebozo Uses for the Childbearing Year
November 2011 -- DONA Seminar on Third Party/Client Insurance Reimbursement for Doula Services
November 2011 -- Advance Doula Training: TENS in the Toolbox - Safe and Effective Use of TENS to Reduce Pain in Labor
November 2011 -- Advance Doula Training: B.R.A.S.: Breastfeeding Resources, Applications, and Skills for Doulas
November 2011 -- Advance Doula Training: Supporting LGBTQ Families
February 2012 -- When Survivors Give Birth 2-day workshop with Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus
February 2012 -- InJoy Webinar: Extraordinary Babies, Extraordinary Support (supporting premie babies and families) with Michelle Kinne
March 2012 -- REACHE Annual Conference: Birth, Baby, Breast, Business: What you don't already know!
April 2012 -- PALS Advance Doula Training: Traumatic Birth, PTSD & The Doula with Penny Simkin
May 2012 -- Passion for Birth Childbirth Educator Training with Teri Schilling and Sha ron Muza, a LAMAZE based training
July 2012 -- Placenta Encapsulation Training with Carrie Kenner
August 2012 -- NW Area Childbirth Educators Forum (NACEF) Conference (Portland, OR): Childbirth Education - More Important Than Ever!
November 2012 -- Great Starts Childbirth Educator Training with Janelle Durham, an ICEA-approved Childbirth Educator Training
May 2013 -- Midwives Association of WA (MAWS) Spring Conference.
Informed Consent: When Autonomy and Beneficence Collide - Keynote from Andrew Kotaska
Decision Fatigue in this Time of Informed Choice and Complex Maternity Care - Penny Simkin
May 2013 -- Powerful Prenatals with Carrie Kenner
November 2013 -- Certified Doula with DONA International
November 2013 -- Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator
March 2014 -- Praeclarus Press Webinar with Christine Morton: Doulas and the Medical Management of Childbirth
May 2014 -- Simkin Center Webinar with Penny Simkin: New ACOG Guidelines on Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery: Do They Raise More Questions Than Answers?
September 2014 - Lamaze/DONA Confluence, Kansas City, MO
Preventing the First Cesarean: Highlights and Recommendations from the February 2012 NICHD Workshop on First Cesareans - Katharine Wenstrom, MD
What Listening to Mothers Can Tell Us about the Future Challenges in US Maternity Care - Eugene DeClerq, PhD
The Confluence of Childbirth Education and Doula Care within a Shifting Landscape of “Evidence-Based” Maternity Care - Penny Simkin, PT
Let's Stop Trying to Turn Men into Women: Meeting the Real Needs of Pregnant and Laboring Fathers - Amy Gilliland, Ph.D., BDT(DONA)
A Birth Plan for Your Business: Writing a Business Plan to Launch or Grow your Birth Business - Deena H. Blumenfield, E-RYT 200, RPYT, LCCE
Views of Doulas, Childbirth Educators and Labor and Delivery Nurses on Each Other; Emotional Burnout and Quality Improvement: Results from the Maternity Support Survey - Megan M. Henley, PhD Candidate and Christine H. Morton, PhD
Evidence-Based Care: What It Is, What It Isn't, and How to Help Families Find it - Rebecca Dekker, PhD, RN, APRN, ACNS-BC
September 2014 - Breastfeeding Beyond the Hospital Stay: Understanding the Implications of Breastfeeding and Marijuana: Is there a Difference Between the Grass and the Weeds, Roger Dean RPh
October 2014 - Undisturbing Birth Workshop with Sarah Buckley
October 2014 - Northwest Doula Conference
February 2015 - Webinar: Maternity Care Practices and their Impact on the Microbiome, Penny Simkin
March 2015 - REACHE Conference: Preventing the Primary Cesarean: Your Role Within the New ACOG Guidelines
March 2015 - Webinar: What’s New in Postpartum Depression Research with Kathleen Kendall-Tackett
April 2015 - Webinar: Providing Culturally Sensitive Care to LGBT Families with Kristin Kali
May 2015 - Webinar: Boomers, GenX, Millennials & GenZs: Birth Trends & Tomorrow’s Babies, Penny Simkin
May 2015 - Welcoming Black & Native Families to Your Practice, Sherry Payne and Camie Jae Goldhammer