I am passionate about births, and am greived that many women go through labor and birth filled with fear and awe for the doctors, when they should be focused on the miracle and passionate energy going on in their own bodies. Our goal is not the ‘ideal’ natural birth, but instead a embracing of the process, replacing fear with joy.
I am a 36 year old mother of 3 children (currently ages 9, 7 and nearly 2.) We have recently moved to Albany, California, in San Francisco’s East Bay. I have been working as a doula for over seven years, in three different countries. By now I have a wide range of experiences, and perspectives, having wittnessed a wide variety of birth practices.
Raised in a small remote Alaskan village,my family immigrated to Israel when I was 20, where I acheived a dual BA in English Lit and Education, and passed my fluency exams for Hebrew at the Mt Scopus Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I then married a British man and lived in the UK for 5 years where I trained and practiced as a doula through British Doulas. When we returned to Israel in the spring of 2007, I took a medical ulpan to adjust my language skills for my new occupation. I worked as a doula in Israel for 5 years, until we moved to the San Francisco Bay area in October, 2012.
As a teenager I was already interested in becoming a paramedic, after discovering that I maintain a clear head in emergency situations, complimented by an instinctively nurturing personality. It wasn’t until the birth of my first child when the epiphany struck that my skills are perfect for midwifery! As a doula (as opposed to a midwife) I have the luxury of spending one on one time with the laboring mother, giving her my undivided attention and continuity of care that has proved to shorten labors ¹ and lessen the need for epidurals, cesarean sections and postnatal depression (more quotes). In some hospitals in the States and in Ireland a woman is ASSIGNED a doula on admittance to the labor ward, because in the end, it saves the hospital money! Amazing.
With my first pregnancy I read every book I could get my hands on, wrote my birth plan, had a supportive husband. But when labor hit me, I still felt powerless and lacking in tools to cope with the reality of contractions. I felt cowed, and that the birth was happening to me and there was no way to escape. Staff changeovers and the business of the hospital environment ment that I was left on my own for hours at a time, with no one to give the comforting word I craved. My son’s birth was still an exciting, beautiful experience – however when I had the pleasure of giving birth a second time, this time AFTER my doula training, and the difference between the two births was enormous. Thanks to intensity of my doula studies I really finally had the knowledge and tools to understand and embrace the experience, and the confidence to know I could do this. I gave birth at home in order to be as far away from the monitor belts, needles, infusions, cold lights and hard floors as possible. I wanted to have as few new faces around as possible, and feel freer to move as I had the urge, without asking permission. There were no drugs to work their way out of my body afterwards, and as soon as my daughter was born I felt present, fully aware, and alive with joy.
Homebirths are not for everyone, and I believe that no matter what the circumstances, complications, or choices that a woman makes for her birth, it is most important that she feels free to make the decisions. It is a basic need to feel cared for, listened to, comforted. To be reminded of the exciting rarity of the event, no matter where or how it happens, and to be given the age-old tools passed down from generation to generation of wise women over the ages, the ability to cope with this ground shaking event that brings every single human being to life.
¹Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub2. – Current research that proves that the presence of a doula shortens labor.