“Her touch and gentle guidance were invaluable.” (Vera)
I am a certified childbirth doula, providing support to women and their families before, during, and after their births in hospitals and homes in the wider Boston and Seacoast area. I have worked both as a private doula, and as part of a hospital team. I trained with ToLabor, a national doula education organization founded in 1977. I have additional training in clinical midwifery, grief and loss support, and herbalism. I consider myself a “full-spectrum” doula, which acknowledges a wide range of experiences related to our fertility and reproductive health, including, but not limited to: pregnancy, the postpartum, miscarriage, and abortion. I provide doula support through all of these.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a doula?
A doula is a nonmedical assistant who provides people with emotional and physical support. I like to joke that if you’ve ever held someone’s hair back while they’ve thrown up, you’ve been a doula; it’s that same energy of patience, care and support that I bring to my clients. I also have specialized training and many years of experience that contribute to how I care, including hydrotherapy and water birth, suggestions for pain management, repositioning a breech or posterior baby, nutritional counseling, and monitrice services (a monitrice is a doula with midwifery or medical training).
Does a doula take the place of a partner?
This is probably the most common question I get, and no, definitely not. In my doula care, I work with someone’s partner to provide an exceptional level of support. There are all sorts of families and couples with all sorts of expectations about how involved a partner will be; all are okay. I often model physical support techniques, offer a chance for a partner to nap, answer their questions, and most of all, I reinforce the normalcy of a situation. Partners sometimes can have a hard time allowing a birthing parent to labor, wanting to step in, “do something,” and take away their “suffering” by suggesting (or even insisting on) medical interventions. It can be very overwhelming to witness birth, and if you’ve never seen it before, then being able to ask questions in real time, or even to just look at someone’s calm face and smile, can significantly reduce anxiety about what’s happening.
Will you judge me if I choose an epidural (or something you think I don’t approve of)?
No. I am here to make sure that you feel fully supported in your decision making. What that means to me is that you understand the full range of options available to you, the risks and benefits of those options, that you are able to make empowered choices free from duress, and that, at the end of the day, you feel confident that it was the right choice. What is right is the right choice for you.
Furthermore, unlike a midwife or obstetrician, as your doula I do not make any medical decisions or diagnoses. However, doulas know birth and can provide information as well as facilitate communication between you and your midwife or OB. A doula helps you understand you options, and supports mothers and couples in their choices.
The benefits of having a doula have been well documented, and include 50% reduced cesarean rates, 25% shorter labor, 60% reduction in epidural requests, 30% reduction in analgesia use, and 40% reduction in forceps delivery (source).
“She knew that I wanted to have as natural of a birth as possible and her unconditional support of my choices played a large role in my ability to give birth without pain medication.” (Allison)
What About Homebirth? Should I Hire a Doula?
Most of the women who hire me seek support for their hospital or birth center birth, but families birthing at home may also benefit from doula support. In short, a doula plays a different role than a midwife. Some midwives or their assistants offer labor support, but many do not, or only offer limited support. Midwives tend to arrive when mothers are further into active labor, and their energies are best spent being attentive to the mother and baby’s well-being.
Having a doula means having immediate, on-call support as early in your labor as you need. For mothers desiring guided relaxation or massage, that’s something that is just as valuable at home as it is in the hospital. Doulas help to keep the space calm, to reinforce the normalcy of birth, to support the midwives in their roles, and to provide support for partners and older children.
My Services & Fees
I offer three services: childbirth doula support, combined birth and postpartum support, and baskets of herbal goodies for mamas. All potential clients receive a free half hour consultation session.
Your Birth $900
- Two 90 minute prenatal meetings. We use this time to discuss your expectations and hopes for your birth, your birth preferences, and past birth experiences. We can also explore relaxation exercises and tools for birth, such as labor and birth positions, relaxation techniques that your partner can easily perform, how to prepare for a smooth postpartum transition and more.
- Continuous availability by phone and email to answer questions and provide resources before and after your birth
- Continuous availability two weeks prior to your “guess date” until the birth
- Continuous personal support during labor and up to three hours after your birth
- One 60 minute postpartum meeting. During this visit, we talk about your birth experience, explore the challenges and rewards of the immediate postpartum, and discuss resources that might support you and your family.
Your Birth + Postpartum $1000
- Two 90 minute prenatal meetings. We use this time to discuss your expectations and hopes for your birth, your birth preferences, and past birth experiences, to explore relaxation exercises and techniques, and to create a postpartum plan to prepare for a smooth and rewarding experience in the weeks after baby arrives.
- Continuous availability by phone and email to answer questions and provide resources before and after your birth.
- Continuous availability two weeks prior to your “guess date” until the birth.
- Continuous personal support during labor and up to three hours after your birth.
- One 90 minute postpartum meeting. During this visit, we talk about your birth experience, explore the challenges and rewards of the immediate postpartum, and discuss resources that might support you and your family.
- Four hours of postpartum support care to be used as you wish!
Herbal Goodie Basket $75
Treat yourself to a basket of pregnancy and nursing teas, a healing sitz bath, a lavender massage oil safe for pregnancy, labor, and for the newborn, and other goodies. All herbs are organic and ethically sourced. This makes a wonderful gift for pregnant mamas!
I believe that women should have access to support regardless of their economic situation, so I am willing to explore sliding scale and barter, and can help parents seeking low-fee and volunteer support to locate a doula.
To discuss birth and postpartum care, please fill out the contact form below.