Why I Became A Doula
I became a Doula in 1990, shortly after the death of my mom. She acted as my Doula, even though I had no idea what that meant as she was doing it. I was a teen mom and she was there for me. To guide, model, and support me in the raising of my first daughter.
I believe that one of the many reasons I do this work, is to honor what she did for me….to support me in motherhood with love and non-judgment. This is what I aspire to do for the beautiful, strong and powerful women that hire me as their Doula.
As the years have gone by, I have worked with many new moms and have watched them as they have used their incredible power to push out their babies. Or if not able to, for whatever reason, to endure the surgery and recovery of a Cesarean section. These women all became wonderful moms to their babies. It has been such an honor to have been with them during the births and/or to help them learn how to care for their new ones. In my mind, there is no better work than to witness new life and help it to blossom by guiding the parents through the transition of going from couple to family.
Over the years, I have found myself drawn to working within certain areas. These areas, I feel, need someone that has strong feelings about helping them be successful. I have special expertise in working with the following:
- VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) Births
- Assisting women that have had previous traumatic birth experiences
- Birth and Postpartum Assistance for women having twins
- Night Postpartum with multiples
- Breastfeeding Support
I am also a Photographer and love to record your birth experience through photos and/or video.
- Birth Doula Training -- Full Circle Midwifery, Anne Fuller - 1991
- Founding Member of Volunteer Doula Project at Berkeley Primary Care Clinic - 1991-1992
- (Supported low income, underinsured, and teen moms that were cared for by Midwives and delivered their babies at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley, CA
- Co-Founder, Black Women Birthing Justice
- Co- Executive Director, Mothers for Mothers Postpartum Justice Project
- Owner, Waddle and Swaddle Baby Boutique and Community Resource Center - 2000-2009
- Community Advisory Board Member, UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative
- Newborn Care Instructor for Kaiser Oakland and BirthWays
- Sibling Class Instructor Kaiser and Alta Bates
- CPR Certified by Red Cross
I am the mother of two amazing daughters, aged 55 and 34, and the grandmother to two incredible young men in their thirties, a six year old granddaughter and a two year old grandson. I also have a great-granddaugher and three great-grandsons.
I am a proven self-starter with interests in photography, travel and the empowerment of women.
Since 1990 I have been the owner of “The First Six Weeks – A Doula Service”, as a birth support and postpartum professional, assisting pregnant and postpartum women and couples. I have supported nearly 1000 women through the labor and birth process at home and in hospitals. I have assisted at home births and attended births at Alta Bates, Summit, Kaiser (Oakland, Walnut Creek and Vallejo), Cal Pacific, St Luke’s, UCSF, John Muir, and Marin General Hospitals. I have provided in–home support to over 500 couples in caring for and understanding infants. I am a “twin specialist,” working with parents of multiples, primarily at night. I have also trained many other women in the career of Birth and Postpartum Doula.
In 2000, I founded “Waddle and Swaddle" Baby Boutique and Community Resource Center, in North Berkeley. As the owner and operator, I ran this retail store/community resource/referral space. We became a cornerstone in the community for shoppers, parents and birth professionals in the East Bay. The store was very unique in that the employees were either pregnant women or new moms with babes in arms. It was my dream to provide such a place, so that pregnant women and new mothers would have a place where they could be educated, empathized with and listened to. Luckily, it became just that. The store closed at the end of 2008.
From 1993 to 1998 I was a volunteer and board member for “Newborn Connections”, a home visiting non-profit agency in Contra Costa County. I was a volunteer home visitor to low-income new mothers. I worked with each mother for a period of a minimum of 3 months to help her understand parenting her newborn and provide referral information to various government agencies. I was a boardmember, and was the liaison for Newborn Connections in West Contra Costa County. I guided the planning and implementation of the home visiting program there. I handled the recruiting, training and scheduling of 10 volunteers, interfacing with the hospital administrator at Brookside Hospital in San Pablo, California where the women included in the program had given birth.
Before this time I held varying positions within Xerox Corporation in Rochester, NY, Leesburg, VA and Oakland, CA for 12 years.
After leaving Xerox Corporation in the early '80’s, I “dropped out” for three years and cruised from San Francisco to Pensecola, Florida on a 32 foot sailboat. Stopping in Mexico, living in Costa Rica for 1½ years and then on to Panama and Honduras.
Upon returning home, I had my second daughter, which ultimately lead me into my career as a Doula.
Sistahs of the Good Birth https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sistahs-of-the-Good-Birth/135547989837752
East Bay Postpartum Doula Circle http://www.eastbaypostpartum.com/
Black Women Birthing Justice http://blackwomenbirthingjustice.org/
Roots of Labor Birth Collective http://www.rootsoflaborbc.com
UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative Community Advisory Board Member https://pretermbirthca.ucsf.edu/
Oakland/Alameda Magazine - 10/6/15
The Nation Magazine - 3/6/17
San Francisco Magazine - 01/19
Medium.com - Birthing Justice Through Story and Collective Healing - 01/19
Whole Mother Show - 07/19