What is a doula?
“Doula” is a word borrowed from ancient Greek, and it describes a role that’s often missing in modern life – a person specially trained to care for families during pregnancy, birth, and in the postpartum period. Doulas are passionate, caring, and nurturing professionals who provide emotional, physical and hands-on support during this time of transition. A doula’s role is non-clinical – caring for your emotional and physical well-being while your clinical providers attend to the heath of you and your baby (or babies).
Birth vs. postpartum doulas?
Birth doulas focus on the journey through pregnancy and birth – a journey that is uniquely different for each person. However your birth unfolds, your doula is a source of continuous physical and emotional support through labor, birth, and the first few hours after baby is born. This support begins in pregnancy, with reliable information and comforting care to help you prepare for the challenges of birth. Throughout, your doula strives to enhance communication between you, your chosen partner, and your clinical care providers. Because your doula works for you, and supports your choices, birth doulas support all kinds of birth – whether you choose to birth in the hospital, at home, or at a birth center, and regardless of whether your birth is intervention-free, medicated, vaginal, surgical, challenging or orgasmic.
Postpartum doulas focus on what happens after a new baby enters your family, in the first few weeks and months postpartum. This time of bonding and adjustment can have long-lasting impacts on the wellbeing of the entire family. A postpartum doula helps ease this transition, supporting your physical and emotional recovery from birth, and providing information and hands-on assistance to remove the pressures of daily life and promote family bonding. Above all, your postpartum doula nurtures, listens, and supports you in finding and carrying out your personal goals for parenting and family life.
Every birth and every family is unique. Every family deserves support, and as a birth and postpartum doula and lactation counselor, I support you during pregnancy, birth, and into the months after a new baby arrives. I believe passionately that supporting your self-determination, empowerment, and confidence during times of transformation is at the heart of a doula’s work.
I came to Missoula for my first job out of school, excited to move back west and live among mountains again. And I’ve been lucky to choose this place as home more than once – my partner and I returned here after a five-year stint working and traveling overseas, expecting our first baby. Missoula was the warm and welcoming community we remembered. But the experience of being newly born as parents, while at the same time having just changed everything about our lives and being far from our own families, was big, visceral, transformative.
My doula practice is shaped by those transformative life experiences and by my own experiences in birth. Each of my three children was born in a different setting, under very different circumstances, all with a doula by my side. The caring, sensitivity, and support she wrapped around my partner and me allowed us to participate fully in the most joyful and positive moments of our lives, despite challenges and circumstances that made me feel extremely vulnerable.
To support families in birth and new parenthood (whether this is a first baby or you are a seasoned parent already), I have trained as a birth and postpartum doula (with DONA International), with extra training in support and care for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (with PSI), and certifications in lactation support (with The Healthy Children’s Center for Breastfeeding) and childbirth education (with ICEA). These organizations all emphasize empathetic and nonjudgemental guidance, providing reliable, evidence-based information, and meeting people wherever they are on their own journey. Every family is different – whatever your goals for birth and parenting, my goal is support you. I serve Missoula and surrounding areas, wherever you plan to birth, whatever your birth intentions.