As far back as I can remember, science, especially biology and physiology, have fascinated me. When I was 12 years old I decided I would channel that passion into becoming a veterinarian. With a single-minded focus, I pursued that goal and after I completed vet school, I went on to complete an internship and residency in small animal internal medicine. I really loved my work and thought I would practice for my entire career. Then I had a baby and my life changed.
Giving birth was by far the coolest thing I had ever done. Even though the birth didn’t go as I had hoped and I required medical interventions that I had not planned on needing, it was an amazing experience. Then I had ANOTHER baby 2½ years later. Again, it did not go as I had planned, but it was seriously the coolest thing I had ever done! My husband was my sole support and the experience of birthing and parenting together deepened our commitment to each other and at the same time stressed our partnership in ways we could never have dreamed.
I went back to work and was enjoying parenting my two lovely babies but I just couldn’t shake the birth bug. I wanted to talk about it, read about it, heck if I could have bathed in it I probably would have! Finally, I had to do something about it. In the summer of 1999 I took a sabbatical from my position as an associate veterinarian in a local practice and took the childbirth educator training through CEAS (Childbirth Education Association of Seattle….now Great Starts)and the Labor Support Training through Seattle Midwifery School (now the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Professions at Bastyr University). I accepted a position at Evergreen Hospital teaching childbirth and early parenting classes and began attending births as a labor support doula.
Now, 20 years later, I have taught hundreds of childbirth preparation classes and thousands of hours of early parenting classes. I also facilitate a support group for families struggling with post partum adjustment and mood disorder and teach the Bringing Baby Home Workshop (based on the research of John and Julie Gottman about how to smooth the couples’ transition to parenthood). In addition, I have had the privilege to attend nearly 350 births in local hospitals, birth centers and homes. This work is my heart. It is how I make a difference in the world, one family and one life at a time. The only thing in my life that has rivaled the satisfaction and joy I experience as a doula and an educator is the satisfaction and joy I get from parenting my own fabulous kids. I can’t imagine doing anything else.