I was inspired to become a doula after my first daughter was born at home in 2010. During pregnancy, I remembered that I’d had a passion for birth stories since adolescence (at age 12, I was fascinated by a birth book that I found on my mother’s shelf). My daughter’s birth was empowering, affirming and mind-blowing. After the dust settled, I realized that a big reason I felt so satisfied with the experience was the skilled, loving support that had surrounded me during labor and delivery. I decided that I wanted to offer that kind of service to other people, in hopes that more women could enter motherhood feeling pretty great about themselves. After all, taking care of a baby is a serious challenge—why not face it from a place of confidence and pride?

A year and a half later, I completed doula training with toLabor in Richmond and began attending births. My experience has taken me on many journeys alongside my clients: quick births, prolonged ones, smooth births and those with many surprising twists, births unmedicated and otherwise, at home and in four different hospitals. I’ve witnessed a planned Cesarean and I’ve had clients who were committed to birthing naturally. I’ve had clients change their minds. I’ve worked with first-time, second-time and tenth-time mothers; sexual assault survivors; married and single moms.

I continue my doula education through constant reading and study, networking with the many other wonderful doulas in our area, and through teaching free classes to pregnant moms and partners. I also attended the Acupressure for Birth Attendants workshop through toLabor in Richmond, September 2014.