“If I don’t know my options, I don’t have any.”— Diane Korte
Proper education is imperative to personal growth, and it all begins with you. But living in the information age, where entirely too much information is at our fingertips, research can be daunting. Making well-educated decisions about our bodies and our families involves reasearch, time and thought, and it isn’t all black and white. It is my passion to help you wade through the deep pools of knowledge, so that you may find an easier path to the information and resources you need and make the best decision for yourself and your family.
Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome! You are here because you want something more than “standard care” when bringing your baby into this world. You want to educate yourself and have the best support possible for you and your family during the process of pregnancy and birth, and you know that mainstream birth may not support all of your preferences. How better to do this than to hire a doula to help you wade through all of the information before you, and help you prepare yourself physically and mentally for that special time? But how do you know where to begin? How do you find the right doula for you? Keep reading…
A doula is basically a midwife, right?
This is the most commonly asked question in my doula interviews, and the answer is NO. My sister is a paramedic, and although we have always shared an interest in the medical field, my interest is informational only. I leave the medical work to her and other amazing medical professionals. As a doula, it is beyond my scope of practice to do anything other than give you informational support and physical/psychological comfort techniques during your birth. You are welcome to read more about what doulas do and do not do, here.
Does a doula replace my partner when I’m in labor?
Absolutely not, unless this is your family’s preference. As a doula, I know birth, and I know it well, but your partner is the only person who knows you on an intimate level, and that intimacy means that your partner is the best source of support you can have during labor. It is my job to support you AND your partner during your birth experience. It is common during labor for a partner to want to help, but not know how to support the mother through the intensity. This is where I step in. I can help the partner better support the mother and give the partner more confidence in their role, as well as offer a break so the partner can take care of their own needs. It is important to remember that on paper, labor is a list, but in reality, it is more of a labyrinth. I can help the partner and the mother understand the confusing options or questions that may come up during birth. It takes a village to bring a baby into the world. It is my hope to work with you and your care provider to help each part of the process transition as smoothly as possible so that you have a beautiful experience.
Doulas only do home births, right? What if I am planning an epidural, traditional hospital birth or cesarean?
There is a common misconception that doulas are only for hippies and home births. In all actuality, the opposite is true. In fact, my job is specifically necessary because of the medicalization of birth that has taken place in the past century. Birth is not a one size fits all experience, and the hospital system was built to fit the birthing person into a box of standard procedure. This does not always work out with a positive outcome. This is why education and support is so important when having a hospital birth, and I can offer educational support in real time. If you choose an epidural, it is important to know that the medical goal of an epidural is 80% pain relief. I can help you with the other 20% through physical and emotional support. If you are choosing a planned cesarean birth, there are ways I can help educate and prepare you for a family centered cesarean, and depending on your care provider and hospital, I can even support you and your partner physically and emotionally in the operating room with breathing techniques, affirmations and acupressure. I take pride in offering unbiased support. Your birth is your birth, it was never mine. My job is to support you 100% in YOUR choices so that you can have the best experience possible.
What is your doula style, and how will you be able to properly support me?
I consider myself to offer nurturing support and am prepared to be as hands on as necessary, depending upon your preference. When entering into your birth space the very first thing I do is assess the energy in the room. My job is to work symbiotically with your energy and needs in order to provide you with the best support possible. I take pride in being an evidence based doula who offers calm and confident support with a simple and straight forward communication style. I support you 100% in your goals and choices.
I can support you through educational resources, physical comfort, such as massage, acupressure and laboring positions and emotionally through positive, affirming language and breathing techniques. How I support you depends on how you want and need support.
I am committed to presenting you with the highest quality resources, and in order to best serve you, my intention is to continue to build the strongest possible relationships within my immediate community of Travelers Rest and the surrounding areas of Upstate South Carolina. Until I can provide a complete compilation, please feel free to reach out to me for any information and I will be happy to share the resources I have.
“What I love about stories the most is the power they have to teach us of possibilities that might not occur to us without them.”— Ina May Gaskin
It is not only empowering, but awe inspiring to learn about the wonders of our bodies, especially the physiology and psychology of conception and childbirth. I have compiled a list of books that I found to be educational, inspirational, and overall good reads.
PREGNANCY & BIRTH
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth — Ina May Gaskin
- Spiritual Midwifery — Ina May Gaskin
- Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn — Penny Simkin, Ann Keppler, and Janelle Durham
- An Easier Childbirth: A Mother’s Guide to Birthing Normally — Gayle Peterson, Ph. D.
- Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds — Cynthia Gabriel
- The Natural Pregnancy Book: Herbs, Nutrition, and Other Holistic Choices — Aviva Jill Romm
- Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering — Sarah Buckley
- Birth As An American Rite of Passage — Robbie Davis Floyd
- The Farmer and the Obstetrician — Michel Odent
- Birth Reborn — Michel Odent
- Real Food for Pregnancy: The Science and Wisdom of Optimal Prenatal Nutrition — Lily Nichols
BREASTFEEDING & THE POSTPARTUM PERIOD
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding — Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman (La Leche League International)
- Breastfeeding Made Simple: Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers — Nancy Mohrbacher
- The Nursing Mother’s Herbal — Shiela Humphrey
- The First Forty Days — Heng Ou
- After the Baby’s Birth — Robin Lim
To my clients: If you are interested in reading or discussing any of these books, you have full access to my lending library.
Websites and Podcasts
This list is a work in progress. Have resources you think I should add? Feel free to email me.
La Leche League of Greenville — the Facebook page for our local La Leche League chapter.
Kelly Mom: Parenting/Breastfeeding — an excellent resource for all things parenting and breastfeeding related.
Jack Newman, MD, IBCLC — world renound pediatrician and lactation consultant who specializes in breastfeeding. There is a link to his articles and organization, which offers a wealth of information.
World Health Organization: Breastfeeding — WHO guidelines and resources for all things breastfeeding.
Childbirth Connection — pregnancy and childbirth resources.
World Health Organization: Maternal Health — WHO guidelines and resources for healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
Evidence Based Birth — an excellent resource for evidence based information on everything involving pregnancy and birth.
Aviva Romm: Natural Pregnancy — a series of articles on natural pregnancy by Aviva Romm, MD.
National Association to Advance Black Birth — “a nonprofit organization that provides advocacy, support and programs that directly help black women and persons throughout the birthing process.”
Indie Birth — “offers concrete knowledge, ancient wisdom and current research so women can make choices with full awareness, from the full spectrum of choices.”
National Perinatal Association — offers information on perinatal mood disorders.
Postpartum Support International — a wealth of information on pregnancy and postpartum mental health.
Aviva Romm Postpartum Recovery — healing herb baths for new mamas.
Finding the Right Doula — “as pregnant black non-binary femme, finding the right doula changed my life.”
Birthing and Breast or Chestfeeding for Trans People and Allies — a great facebook group that is full of resources.
Thinking about Pregnancy as a Non-Binary Trans Person — an excellent article about the pregnancy experience as a non-binary trans person that also includes a wealth of trans friendly pregnancy resources.
University of Leeds, Trans Pregnancy — a great list of information, resources and podcasts about trans pregnancy in media, health and law.
Birthful — covers everything birth. It even offers dads’ perspectives and interviews with medical professionals.
The Birth Hour — covers a vast array of pregnancy topics, including birth stories, postpartum struggles and triumphs and resources.
Evidence Based Birth Podcast — a newer podcast created by the amazing people behind Evidence Based Birth — a wealth of evidence based knowledge involving all things pregnancy and birth.
Happy Homebirth Podcast — is a Greenville based podcast covering all things homebirth. “It is your source for positive natural childbirth stories, and your community of support, education and encouragement in all things homebirth and motherhood.”
Indie Birth Podcast — created by the wonderful people behind Indie Birth, it “offers concrete knowledge, ancient wisdom and current research so women can make choices with full awareness, from the full spectrum of choices.”
Fourth Trimester Podcast — covers all things postpartum.