When I asked if seeking out a doula would be a good idea as a solo mom by choice, I was told, “It would be one of the greatest gifts you could give yourself.” When I look back, I really can’t imagine going through the wild ride of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum without Cerisse’s support. Cerisse is truly a gift, and one of the best gifts a new mom can gift herself!
I was pretty much ok with the pregnancy thing, but I was terrified of the birth process and had no clue what to expect once the baby was born. All I knew is that I didn’t want to miss out on the once-in-a-lifetime experience of getting to be a mom! Each time I met with Cerisse, I learned something new. And it wasn’t really because she was explaining things to me or instructing me, it was because she had created such a safe space for me to really get in touch with that deep inner knowing- of aligning what I truly valued with the people and places that could offer the support I wanted and needed.
The pregnancy and birth world is filled with people explaining to women what to do and how to do it. Cerisse is a beautiful break from that mentality. If you’re looking for someone who will truly honor and support you, in whatever choices you feel are right for you, Cerisse is your doula! I will forever be grateful and have many memories seared in my brain- of Cerisse calmly listening to me as I explained my anxieties, of her recommending books and resources that helped me navigate my plan of care, of her looking into my eyes and telling me I could breathe and get through the pain, of her feeding me food after the wild ride of labor, of her coming to my house and helping me problem solve breastfeeding struggles… the connection between new mom and doula is special and empowering! Thank you, Cerisse, for all you have done for me and all you do for families in our community!
We met with Cerisse and decided to hire her before she made it out of our driveway after our initial meet and greet. Cerisse’s calming demeanor and supportive information, education, and tips helped us cope in pregnancy and birth. We were pregnant and gave birth during the COVID19 pandemic, and were so grateful to have extra support. If you’re not sure about hiring a doula during the pandemic if your place you plan to birth isn’t allowing doulas in, Cerisse is a great choice anyway and I highly encourage you to have her on your team. Cerisse was there for us in every way she could be, even though she ultimately couldn’t be in the delivery room as we initially hoped for. Our birth took many unplanned-for turns, and Cerisse offered so much heartfelt support and guidance throughout. Her help and support postpartum has been immeasurable, whether it’s breastfeeding questions, support dealing with the emotions and hormones after birth, or just celebrating this wonderful stage of life of new parenthood. Her birthing class was also very informative. For us it was held over zoom during to the pandemic, but we got so much practical information as well as tips for coping with labor, and expectations postpartum and connection between partners was so wonderful. It is worth the investment to take her class AND have her as your doula, it’s like a gold-star package! Cerisse is also very respectful and supportive of queer families. We never once felt judged or made to feel different as a two-mom family. We particularly appreciated her consciously respectful language around gender, pronouns, and various family styles. We could go on and on, but suffice it to say Cerisse’s compassion, calm, loving, supportive demeanor will be an invaluable gift to your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience.
Oh where should I get started? There are countless amazing things about working with Cerisse as our birthing doula. My husband and I still remember our first meeting with Cerisse vividly. In a chilly autumn day, Cerisse struck us as someone who is incredibly warm, kind, loving, trustworthy, compassionate, down-to-earth and nonjudgemental. She listened attentively to our needs, and answered our questions with honesty and authenticity. We both felt safe and relatable to her right away. After we decided to work with her, Cerisse made sure to check in with us as often as we would like, asked questions and provided tips and resources for us to get ready for our baby’s arrival.
We found her support to be an essential source of strength during my late pregnancy, child birth, as well as early postpartum. Cerisse has such a wealth of knowledge about pregnancy, child birth and breastfeeding that I think my husband and I were educated and prepared more than we’d ever anticipated. I know it may sound crazy to describe child birthing as “magical”, but we truly felt that way about this most significant experience of our lives. Cerisse had provided me with tools to achieve my birthing goals and I had a very peaceful birth without any pain relief or medical intervention. We are forever grateful for Cerisse and would highly recommend her to anyone who hopes to experience birth in a calm and empowered way.
We were so lucky to have Cerisse as our doula. She was such a support before, during, & after Kellan’s delivery. Cerisse gave us the peace of mind that allowed us to create a wonderful birth experience. I can’t envision doing it without her!
My family was incredibly fortunate to have Cerisse as our doula for the birth of our son. As first time parents without any immediate family in town we were looking for someone to be a supportive, knowledgeable addition to our birth team. When first meeting Cerisse I was immediately comforted by her calm and warm demeanor along with her extensive doula experience. She truly cared about our wishes and helped my husband feel confident in his ability to help me through the labor process. Cerisse was a calming force in the delivery room and ensured that all of my wishes were met. In addition to making sure every one of my needs (and more) were taken care of, Cerisse provided support and care suggestions to my husband making the two of them my delivery dream team.
Cerisse was an integral part of our birth but even more so a vital piece of our going home process. Without Cerisse’s extensive knowledge and skill, I honestly do not know how we would have made it the first evening at home. We were sent home with a tiny baby who had already lost 10% of his birth weight, a few bottles of donor breastmilk, and instructions to make an appointment with a lactation consultant for the next day. I don’t remember much from our first few days of life with a new baby but I do remember an overwhelming fear that I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to feed my son before my breastmilk came in. Cerisse entered our home and changed that fear to confidence and empowerment. My husband and I will forever be grateful to have had Cerisse as our doula.
I knew I wanted to deliver my baby at a hospital and was hoping to have a natural birth. I knew very little about labor/delivering a baby. My husband and I also took Cerisse’s birth class and it was SO helpful. Cerisse made me feel like a pro. As if I was delivering my second baby and knew just what to do – but it was of course my first.
Covid “hit” and we were informed by the hospital that only one person could come with me. I was so sad but it ended up being just perfect. Cerisse was right there with us working through my husband to help us have the smoothest labor and delivery possible. Everything went so well. It was intense but doable and then the pushing was crazy but only 30 minutes and BAM my perfect baby boy (he looked so big!) was placed on my chest and I was overcome with joy.
After we got home I had an “on call” support person to give me nursing tips and comfort me when I was feeling overwhelmed. When I see Cerisse now I tear up because she helped me bring my beautiful baby boy into this world and I felt supported and informed and thrilled with how everything went. If it hadn’t gone well she would have helped me accept that too. I feel like Cerisse was meant to be a doula. It’s her calling.
Cerisse was first a good friend in Missoula, and about 10 months ago, she also became the strongest supporter of my journey with Matías, my second son. My first son Isaac did not latch, and this was a sore spot for me, which made breastfeeding Matías something I really wanted to do but was terrified it could go wrong. Trying to breastfeed Matías the first weeks was very hard. Like I did with Isaac, I visited numerous breastfeeding consultants but they couldn’t help me. Unlike with Isaac, this time I was weary of forums and groups. I had this painful memory of being called selfish and other things, when, after months of grueling and traumatizing trials for both me and my son, I decided to stop trying to breastfeed and instead pumped my milk to give in a bottle. This is when Cerisse reached out to see how I was doing. I told her, and immediately, she spent hours writing me messages with detail, clear and sound explanations that were very helpful for me and Matías.
But most importantly, and what I am most, most grateful for is that she did not pressure me or judged me. She helped me and supported me whether I decided to breastfeed my son for one more day, one more month or one more year. I think sometimes, in the interest of defending breastfeeding, the psychological/physical health of the mother gets forgotten. Cerisse understood this, and how to navigate a growing relationship between a mother and her child. This unconditional, unjudgemental, unauthoritarian support is something I did not have with my first son and for it I am deeply grateful.
Every day breastfeeding Matías was a struggle and I remember in my mind, I set a date. That I would breastfeed my son until he was at least 8 weeks old. I remember that seemed like a really long time for how painful, hard and complicated it all was. It seemed impossible to conquer. But 8 weeks came and pass, and then four months and then six. At 8.5 months, we finally weaned because of the insanity of my job, (which is another long discussion) We started using formula but also frozen breastmilk I had saved, until yesterday. Yesterday Matías had his last breastmilk bottle. He is 10.5 months old. Much older than I expected and I feel proud and happy that I was able to pull it off until now in the craziest conditions and with the greatest person by my side, Cerisse. Thank you SO MUCH for your gentle, kind and loving support while I needed it the most. You are the greatest!
–Alex (Gettysburg, PA)
As soon as Cerisse walked in the door, I felt safe. She was so easy to connect with and ask anything. She seemed to intuitively get what I was going through. I didn’t realize how hard the postpartum period could be and I didn’t realize all of the questions I would have along the way. Cerisse was great at problem solving and offering ideas to fit my life in a non-judgmental way rather than pushing her opinion. She knows about tons of resources in the Missoula community for every issue that might arise with either baby, mother or father. She was always available, always followed up and always compassionate.
We missed class after it finished and wished there were more sessions! We felt so supported and encouraged and feel like we learned so much.
Cerisse gave Anthony and I the knowledge and care we needed to feel confident about our plan for a natural birth. Cerisse’s 4-week birth class series allowed us to connect with and learn from other expecting couples, share our experiences, and ask questions without any fear of judgement or nonacceptance. There’s something special about Cerisse’s spirit and passion for helping families and you’ll feel it the minute you get the honor to meet her:) We HIGHLY recommend Cerisse and are so thankful to have her in our amazing community!
Birth Essentials is a wonderful childbirth education class. My husband and I both enjoyed it so much and learned more than we could have imagined! I think it really helped us during labor and birth and allowed me to have the experience that I was looking for. I used a lot of the vocalizing and breathing techniques to manage the contractions and pushing. Ultimately I trusted that my body knew what it was doing! We’re already planning to take this class again whenever we’re expecting our next baby!
Birth Essentials was beyond expectation and very helpful for both me and my partner to prepare psychologically for the labor experience.