One last thing is important - how I feel about western medicine, doctors, and hospitals. I think we are lucky to live in a country with so much scientific knowledge and access to improvements in care. I also think we have to be careful about intervening in an essentially normal process. Every intervention has possible benefits and risks. As long as you know them, you should be free to make choices from a wide range of options.
Photo by local Long Beach photographer
Lisa Carey Navarrete
I completed a Doula Internship with a local birth center, South Coast Midwifery, so I could intelligently discuss the differences between hospital births and homebirths. Many moms are curious about homebirths, but not sure it's right for them. My doula services are the perfect bridge for a mom who wanted some elements of a homebirth in a hospital, so that your hospital birth is more like a home birth. The reality is that most moms will give birth in a hospital, not a birthing center, and it just makes sense to hire a doula with the negotiating skills to help make that happen.
For a while, my background as an attorney led me to volunteer as the Co-Chair of the Coalition to Improve Maternity Services (CIMS) subcommittee on Informed Consent and Refusal. We published an article in the peer-reviewed journal put out by Lamaze International (I was listed as a contributing author): Journal of Perinatal Education. Sometimes I train other doulas on the specifics of informed consent and refusal so we can better educate our clients about their rights as patients.
For new moms, I recommend reading Ina May Gaskin: Spiritual Midwifery and Guide to Childbirth - lots of neat birth stories written by the moms themselves and the photographs of moms and dads from the 70's are priceless (can you say "free-bush?"). Almost all of my clients take a childbirth education class, and I really liked the Bradley Husband Coached Childbirth course - it is very comprehensive and prepares fathers to participate.
I recommend you fully investigate your options by reading Henci Goer's The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth.
Some moms DO NOT WANT INFORMATION. That's totally cool with me. I have guided moms through birth who read nothing, watched nothing, and didn't talk to anybody about birth. These moms have a specific approach to their birth and do not want any one or anything interfering with that approach. I respect all moms and their methods.
Happy clients have logged on to the web to leave messages for other mamas considering hiring me. Look for them here:
Yelp - most of them have been hidden from view because my clients weren't regular Yelp users. You have to click on the link for "filtered reviews" at the bottom. It's hard to see, because it's in a lighter font.
DoulaMatch.com - if you really feel the need to investigate me. I highly encourage you to check out our chemistry in person because we can't predict whether we will adore each other or not.
I've lived in Belmont Shore, Long Beach for about twelve years, and we are raising our son here.
In 2007 I followed my heart and decided to leave my work as a lawyer for abused kids and start helping families in a different way. My work as a doula actually started in 2007 with sleep training (think of it as really delayed postpartum doula work, when the kid is already over four months old).
I read a ton of books and did it with my son, then started getting calls from friends of friends to help them coach their kid into better sleep. I realized I could turn that into a small business and still be at home with my son, and then my best friend became a doula (after attending my birth and seeing my doula in action)!
I realized I could become like the doula I hired for my own birth in 2006, and follow in my best friend's footstep's by blending advocacy with my hippie upbringing where home births, midwives and even unassisted birth were common. I quickly discovered a lawyer-turned-doula was a huge asset during a hospital birth!
I trained for breastfeeding in 2008. Then I certified as a doula with CAPPA, and DONA, and Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies.
I've been providing breastfeeding support, sleep coaching, placenta encapsulation and doula services since 2008, and I love all of it!
Many prospective clients ask me about my own birth. You don't have to do what I did. Every woman is unique, and every one of her births will be unique. Part of what makes my advice during labor valuable is that I've attended so many births in so many different hospitals with different doctors and nurses. I also read everything I can get about pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding.
However, since my job is so intimate, I am happy to share my own story with you. Briefly, I had a hospital birth about six days after my due date, I started my labor spontaneously, and I labored at home with my best friends for about 20 hours, and then went to my hospital where I had an obstetrician and a fabulous doula. Though I planned a medication-free birth, I got an epidural after 7 hours being "stuck" at 7 cm, so I know how birth plans change and I think every mom and baby has to do what's right for them. I support my client's choices completely.