When did you find your Passion, or when did it find you?
I decided to become a doula based on my own birth experiences. My son was born via C-section which was a horrible experience for me and I ended up with postpartum depression. When my husband and I decided to get pregnant with my daughter, I knew I was going to do everything differently. I wanted to have a VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean,) so I hired a doula, started seeing my chiropractor….all the things. My daughter was born vaginally, and it was the most perfect birth experience for me. It was then I decided that I wanted to help other women have the same birth experience I did with my daughter. I wanted to educate them on their options and help them learn what they can say no to, and become advocates for themselves. So I became a doula. Later, I opened up Doulas of PG County with Emily to serve black women like myself who are dealing with maternal health disparities and racism in birthing spaces.
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?
Life goes on. I have found solace in these three words many of times. When life feels like it’s going to swallow you whole, one thing remains true about it... It goes on. Think about that when you want to give up, you are heartbroken, or can’t find your way. Tomorrow is a new day.
What do you love about your life?
I love that when I stop and reflect, I realize that I am happy everyday of my life. Maybe not all day but every day and I have my husband, and children for that. I have created a life for myself that brings me so much joy and it’s not lost on me that God has made it all happen.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer and a mom.
How do you like to be told you’re doing a good job?
My love language is gifts.
Who is your role model and why?
Michelle Obama because she embodies the very essence of elegance, persistence, grace and beauty.
If you had any superpower, what would it be?
How would you describe your (doula) style?
Educational and warm with a bit of sarcasm.
Describe yourself in 5 words.
Loyal, blunt, trustworthy, optimistic, Integrity.
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When did you find your Passion, or when did it find you?
I knew I liked health subjects way back in high school when I found Anatomy class absolutely fascinating! That continued throughout college as I got my degree in Kinesiology and began to work at government fitness centers in 2007 when we first moved to DC. Fast forward to the birth of my first child and a career switch into Public Health policy. As I began to hear more and more about how the biggest differences being made in health was when there was one-on-one support, my love of health, birth and support all combined in a huge AHA moment of my life. I wanted to work in a field I knew would bring joy and fulfillment into my life. I love seeing parents change from being nervous about what to expect and then settle into their parenthood journey.
What makes you proud of yourself?
I am proud I am showing my kids that work can be exhausting but incredibly rewarding. My favorite birthday card was one from my daughter telling me she loves what I do. It was reaffirming that even though this job sometimes takes me away from them at odd hour, it’s worth it. I’m proud that I work on teaching them you shouldn’t depend on other for your own happiness and having resiliency in life is important. I’m proud that some day they will see you’re never too late to follow joy and passion in your life. I’m also proud that I am always wanting to learn and continue on a path of creating authenticity in my life.
3. What do you love about your life?
What I love about my life is it’s always teaching me new things. Growing and stretching can be painful but getting on the other side can be rewarding. I of course love my husband and children, parenting is hard and humbling work but the moments of pure joy can sustain for a while. And I love wine. And coffee. I’m a cliché but there is a reason they exist!
4. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I can’t even remember! I think they always involved some type of service (teacher, nurse, etc.). I also look back and realize there wasn’t a lot of discussion of what options were available when I was a little girl. I hope to keep changing that conversation with my kids.
5. Tell me about your favorite book or movie.
I am a huge reader, always have been, and while my ability to find time to read has changed over the years there is still nothing I love more then going to a book store and buying books. My all time favorite book is “I Know This Much is True” By Wally Lamb. I have re-read many books over the years (shout out The Baby-Sitter’s Club books all through my childhood - the Disney Cruise is their best special book and I am Dawn FWIW) and this is one I try to read every year or two. Since becoming a parent I’ve noticed I read books and watch movies through different eyes and books and movies I either re-read or watch have changed them for me. For example, in Home Alone I now just think how annoying Kevin is and feel the panic of the mom in the movie!
6. How do you like to be told you’re doing a good job?
By being directly told I am doing a good job!
Hearing from clients, whether it’s a week or years later on how they are doing is very humbling to know I was there when they became a family.
7. Who is your role model and why?
Women who keep fighting to find their path and stumble along the way but persevere. It’s hard work and never ending but seeing others keeping to fight help inspire me to not give up my goals and dreams.
8. If you had any superpower, what would it be?
To be able to finish my to do list every day! So freeze time? Work at super speed?
9. How would you describe your (doula) style?
I use humor to help get through parts and honesty I feel goes a long way. Women in labor don’t want to be placated or lied to, they want honestly and authenticity as they go through the humbling experience that is giving birth to your child. Even when a mom is not able to fully communicate how she feeling or what is going on I’m always remembering she is herself and it may be deep inside but speaking to her directly and honestly the entire time is important!
10. Describe yourself in 5 words
Fiery (my mama bear can come out fiercely and quickly!)