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.

About Cerisse

Missoula was where I landed 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.

I came to doula work after the births of my own three children – each of them born in a different way, each birth a big, visceral, transformative and core-shaking experience. Curiosity about the art of walking with families in birth and the newness of parenting led me into doula training in 2015. Since then, I’ve attended more than 100 births, and supported many other families through childbirth education, lactation care, and during the postpartum transition. This work weaves together many of the strands I carried into my own birthing and parenting – my work as a biologist and fascination with innate physiology and the way humans work, building community and support after many moves across the continent and over oceans.

Interested in knowing more about the way doula support for you and your family can look? I provide compassionate, affirming, calming care to all families in pregnancy, birthing, and into the months after a new baby arrives. Supporting your self-determination, your vision, comfort, confidence, and resilience is at the heart of my practice as a doula. Please be in touch if you’d like to talk about the ways I have supported families like yours, in hospital, birth center and home births, unmedicated and medicated labors, VBAC, planned cesarean, multiples, pregnancy after assisted reproduction, and on journeys with loss or grief.

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Specializations & Trainings Lactation counseling and breastfeeding support; certified birth & postpartum doula (DONA International); birth art for guided self-inquiry (Birthing From Within); perinatal mood and emotional wellbeing; Spinning Babies for ease in pregnancy and birth; fetal position and labor progress; rebozo comfort for pregnancy, birth & postpartum; holding space for loss and grief; options and planning for birth after cesarean/VBAC; childbirth education (ICEA).

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.