A doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides non-medical support to birthing and new families through evidence-based information, emotional availability and counsel, and physical comfort assistance during labor, birth, and the postpartum period. Doula support has been studied to reduce the use of medical interventions during birth, to increase the rates of breastfeeding, and most often results in a more positive overall experience for the new family. And all of that is really just a fancy way to say "Doulas bring the love, and the love makes a difference."
The doula does not replace a partner, loving friends and family members, or a great midwife/obstetrician, but as someone whose only priority is the wishes of the birthing family, can often help guide other supporters to serve in their own best roles. We don't bring our own baggage, agenda, or anxiety to the birth party. We don't have a shift change or a call schedule. Our hopes are whatever your hopes are. I have experience with homebirth, birth centers, hospital birth, VBAC, high-risk pregnancy, unmedicated and epidural-assisted birth, and planning for a positive family-centered Cesarean Birth. I have also worked as a midwife assistant and bring that trust, intuition, and warmth to each family I support, no matter where or how they are choosing to bring their baby to the world. I advocate for the normalcy of birth and breastfeeding but also respect and honor any differences that may arise.
"You were an absolute perfect partner for me to have during labor. I was so thankful that you were there alongside me, and your emotional reactions and understanding were exactly what I needed during that time. Just a quick look over to you to see your smile was enough for me to know and feel confident that everything was going well." -Penelope's Father
"Hiring Mary Catherine was one of the best decisions that my wife and I have ever made. After first meeting Mary Catherine I was supremely confident that my wife would be in great hands. It was obvious that she would offer not only the physical support, but perhaps even more importantly, the extra emotional support that my wife needed for the successful VBAC that was her heart’s desire. I am so happy to say that she met and exceeded all of my expectations. She was everything that my wife needed her to be and more. Having her there was such a relief for me as well. My wife is one of the strongest people that I know but it’s still very stressful to see her in pain. Seeing Mary Catherine work with Brooke through every contraction and encourage her through every moment of doubt and frustration over the course of 16 hours of labor made that stress load so much lighter. Mary Catherine was truly our rock from the beginning of the day until the time our precious daughter was born. I can’t imagine not having her by our side for our future births!" -Grace's Father
My doula support includes
- A free informational visit to discuss your needs for support and to determine if we are a good match
- 2 in-home prenatal visits to explore your options and express your preferences for labor and birth
- Access to a helpful lending library of pregnancy, birth, and parenting books and DVDs
- Phone & email support throughout your pregnancy and postpartum period
- Continuous physical, emotional, informational, and partner support during your labor through 1-2 hours postpartum
- 2 in-home postpartum visits to process your experience, address any newborn care or breastfeeding issues, and assist as needed
I am also available for placenta encapsulation service and additional lactation counselor visits if desired.
As I begin midwifery school this Fall, I will be working with a very small number of doula families in 2016 and beyond. I would love one of them to be yours. Please be in touch early with interest to secure support.