Ashley is one of our outstanding doulas here at Doulas of Capitol Hill in Washington DC! She is kind, funny and laid back, and we are happy to have her on our team. Learn more about her below!
1. When did you find your Passion, or when did it find you?
I think a part of me has always known that birth and babies were my passion. Nothing has ever felt more right to me than when I'm caring for others. But it wasn't until I had a rough birth with my third baby that I realized how important it is to be supported in birth. Your birth story becomes one of the most important and significant days of your life. And if I can play a small part in making sure it gets off to a supportive and empowering start, then that's truly an honor.
2. Walk me through step-by-step the process that you went through to get where you are today.
I was born and raised in Falls Church. I grew up in an upper middle class family. My parents were always supportive of me and my aspirations and I had a really amazing childhood. After high school I went to West Virginia University where I studied fashion design and merchandising. In my junior year I got pregnant and she was born that July. A little less than two months later I went back to school to finish my senior year. With a ton of support from my family and boyfriend I was able to graduate on time with my class. We moved back to Falls Church and worked on building a foundation for our daughter. While I had high aspirations of New York, Paris, and fashion week, it didn't feel right for us at the time. We got married in 2014 and had our second baby in 2015. And then a little over a year later we were surprised by our third little one. It's been a crazy road and it hasn't been the most traditional, but we love our little people and we credit them for shaping us into who we are today. I very much feel like we are still at the very beginning of our story.
3. If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?
It sounds a little cheesy, but some of the best advice I've heard is from the new Cinderella movie. 'Have courage and be kind.' Have courage to face your fears, to step out of your comfort zone, to reach for your goals, to be your most genuine self no matter what others may think. And always, always be kind. We all struggle, and we all hurt, and we all have demons. It's so incredibly important to show kindness even when we may not think its deserved.
4. What would make you proud of yourself?
I think I talk about it a lot but I'm very proud of myself for finishing school. It would have been really easy for me to just quit or take time off. I had people from all over telling me that I shouldn't go back right away because raising a baby is hard. But I know myself pretty well and I knew that if I took time off I wouldn't have gone back. There was only one more year left. Two semesters. So I pushed through and graduated with my class, on the deans list. Even if I never put my diploma to use, just knowing that it's there and that I didn't give up when times got a little hard or didn't go exactly like I planned, I feel really good about that.
5. What do you love about your life?
It's probably a really obvious answer, but I love my family. I don't have a traditional family, and if you were to dissect it we may appear to be a little crazy, but it just makes me love them more. I have the most amazing parents and siblings, and my extended family is wonderful and supportive. My children are my everything and I'm lucky to have a husband who took us all in without so much as a blink.
6. Occupation you wanted to be when you were a kid?
A marine biologist. I wanted to work with dolphins and sharks and discover the world below the surface. I'm still very passionate about marine life (especially sharks!)
7. What are your top three values?
Trust, humor, kindness.
8. Tell me about your favorite book or movie.
My all time favorite move ever in the history of movies is '10 Things I Hate About You' It has two strong female leads, Heath Ledger (RIP), Heath Ledger serenading a strong female lead while dancing on the bleachers. It's thought provoking (I like my sketchers, but I love my Prada backpack) it makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it's everything. Also, Heath Ledger.
9. Who is your role model and why?
I keep wanting to answer this with Taylor Swift but my husband says that's not acceptable. So I guess I'll go a different way. My role models are all the momtrepreneurs out there. The woman who so gracefully juggle their successful businesses with raising their beautiful families. I know it's not always the rainbows and butterflies that social media can often portray, but the ability to push through the hardships is just one more reason to look up to them. They are strong and passionate in all of their rolls. They build empires and strong foundations for others to climb. Being a mom is one of the hardest and most demanding jobs. So to be able to fill that roll with grace and care and also be the owner and leader in a successful small business, that's what I aspire to be and do. Those are the women who inspire and empower me.
10. If you had any superpower, what would it be?
I once joked that it would be the ability to get dressed and have my hair and makeup done in the blink of an eye. But jokes aside, probably teleportation so that I can be like 'brb going to have a cocktail in Bali real quick'- yeah, that sounds pretty amazing.
11. What was the last seminar, class, lecture, or workshop you attended?
My ProDoula training. And I loved every moment of it. I forgot how good it felt to stretch my mind and be surrounded by amazing and empowered women (and a man).
12. What do you know about the day you were born?
My mom tells me this story a lot. It was August and it was hot! I was her third baby and she knew she wanted to put off going to the hospital until she really needed to be there. She hated being hooked up to the monitors. So her and my dad played cards while she labored at home through contractions and her water breaking. Eventually my dad said 'do you think maybe we should go in?' She had me almost as soon as they arrived. I like to think that the laid back ease of my birth reflects on who I am as a person.
13. How would you describe your (doula) style?
I tend to be very optimistic. I like to find the silver lining in every situation. I'm calm and grounded while being supportive and nurturing.
14. Describe yourself in 5 words:
Optimistic, sarcastic, maternal, creative, nonchalant.