My Journey into Birth Work

For as long as I can remember I was drawn to the miracle of birth. Like my grandfather (a prominent OBGYN in Philadelphia) I wanted to deliver babies, but daunted by the path to medical school, I pursued a career as a high-school English teacher instead, received my MA from Middlebury College and focused on helping adolescents find their voice in the classroom and navigate life’s challenges.

When I became pregnant with my first child in 2011, I was determined to have a natural birth, eager to fully experience what I believed my body was designed for. I attended HypnoBirthing® classes, hired a midwife, and educated myself as much as I could. While I had a calm, hospital HypnoBirth, my birth did not go as I had planned and I ended up with several interventions that I had hoped to avoid. But, as they all say, “Healthy mother, healthy baby: that’s all that matters.” But what about a healthy and *happy* mother and baby?

When I was pregnant with my second child, I decided to have a home birth. I trusted my body and baby, and wanted to allow my labor and birth to unfold naturally. In March 2014 with the help of two lovely midwives, I had a wonderful, peaceful water-birth in the comfort and privacy of my home with my sleeping toddler upstairs. It was the birthing experience I had always wanted: uninterrupted, quiet, private, and natural. I felt empowered, joyful, and completely satisfied.

After the birth of my daughter, my family moved and I decided to take some time away from my career to stay at home with my two young children. As friends became pregnant and started having babies, I kept hearing of birth stories categorized by pain, horror, disappointment, and sometimes even trauma. Instead of embracing the experience of labor and birth, more and more women seem to fear it and to see it as something to survive, quicken, and numb… but at what cost?

I decided to pursue certification as a HypnoBirthing® Practitioner (HBCE), as I loved HypnoBirthing®’s philosophy of birth and can’t imagine my birthing experiences without it. I soon realized that while I loved childbirth education and preparation, I really wanted to be there when it matters most, so I pursued my certification with DONA International to be a birth doula (CD(DONA)). In this type of work, one credential tends to lead to another… In my experience as a birth doula, I quickly realized that my mothers needed breastfeeding education and support, so I trained with the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice to become a certified lactation counselor (CLC).

Founder and owner of Joyful Birthing, LLC, I firmly believe that proper education, preparation, and doula support during labor and birth can make all the difference and can lead to what I always wanted for myself: an empowering and joyful birthing experience. It is an honor to be a part of such a transformative, intimate, and sacred time in a couple’s life. Each and every birth I attend– whether natural, epidural or Cesarean– humbles me. Time and time again, I am awestruck by the beauty of birth and so deeply proud of the courage, love, and perseverance of each and every mother.

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