Doulas- Soaring to New Heights
I have been asked by many of you to share more of my life, travels and thoughts so that you have a deeper understanding of my background, my personal journey and how my commitment developed to transformative, pleasurable, ecstatic and orgasmic birth. I have had a long journey with birth, as just recently my oldest son turned 29. Yikes… it’s hard to believe time has flown and he and his lovely wife have made me a grandmother or Nonna as I am called. Sharing their birth with them was one of the most amazing births of my life, as it was his pregnancy that began my journey to explore my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother’s births and question our medicalize system of birth. I read Spiritual Midwifery and Immaculate deception and found strength and wisdom in myself and from the females before me that literally changed my life and my lives passion. I hope you will read my birth stories in our new book, Orgasmic Birth: Your Guide to a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience.
I began studying with local midwives in 1984. I became a childbirth educator and soon starting attending births with anyone who would invite me. I would take photos, hold hands, whatever I could offer women and if they had partners, their partners. In 1987 I was reading Mothering Magazine, my monthly food for my mothering soul when I read an article about a doula. I remember saying outloud “ I am a doula” There is a word for what I am doing. I quickly called information and found Cindy in Rhode Island whom the article was about. Yes, this was before the internet, no email, google, just good old telephone. Cindy was receving many calls and she kept a list that she shared with all who called. She connected me to a doula in Westchester, NY – Jane Arnold. I was living in NJ, so this was a short drive across the Tappan Zee Bridge. The memory of meeting Jane is forever etched in my mind. She was having a picnic on a warm summer day with her 4 young children and several other doulas who were working with her in a business she called the Mom Service. She was a glow. She shared her vision to go to college to become a nurse. To work in an inner city hospital, to become a midwife and bring midwives and doulas together in underserved communities. Wow, I was just trying to figure out how I could be a doula and expand my role in my community and her vision was so expansive. How would she do this with 4 young children. Well she has done this and more. I will write more about her another day, as our stories of how we have worked together as a Midwife and doula are incredible. Yes she has followed her dream and more.
So, why did I go on like this? I am flying now to the DONA International conference in Albuquerque New Mexico. After meeting Jane and learning more about doulas, Jane and I were a part of the very first doula meeting in the world in 1987 in New Jersey. Yes, New Jersey! About 30 women attended from around the U.S. After a great day together we formed the National Association of Postpartum Services. So in 1992 when DONA was forming, Penny Simkin invited me to attend to represent NAPS as a sister organization. On October 30, 1992 I drove to Boston to be at the very first DONA meeting, not anticipating I would be gently be encouraged to join their first board of directors and be a part of the history of DONA. I served on the DONA board as the Public Relations Chairperson for 6 years. As I fly to the conference today, I am remembering my journey as a doula, and the honor and privilege I have had in seeing myself grow as a doula as well as helping to share the doula sprit around the world as one of DONA’s International Doula Trainers.
I am looking forward to seeing many old friends, welcoming some of the doulas I have worked with this year in Greece, Hungary and beyond and meeting many new doulas who are beginning their journey into birth. If you are a doula, please share your story of how you came to be a doula and how you’re growing your birth business. This is my secret tool…