I'm Jessica, a doula and natural childbirth instructor.
I began my birth work as a Bradley Method instructor, after having a lovely natural birth with my first son. As I began attending more births as a doula, and taught and heard birth stories for several years, I found that the Bradley philosophy and materials were not an ideal fit for me. I now teach my own 8-week natural childbirth curriculum, which feels wonderful! For the first time, I'm currently teaching two sessions of my class -- my max in one session is eight couples, and right now I have 14!
As a doula, I'm DONA-trained. I attend a fair number of my students' births, plus some from the wider community who have not taken my class.
My first son was born naturally in the hospital, and my second son was born at home (9 minutes before the midwife arrived, into his daddy's hands). I was, and continue to be, so affected by the differences between hospital and home birth. I thought my first birth was an empowering experience, but after birthing at home, I truly had no idea.
I am the owner of a small doula group. We have five birth doulas, and a post-partum doula in training. Things are slow for us right now, but the energy seems to be picking up. I'm also the organizer of a baby and family expo that attracted about 2,000 people last year -- can't wait to see how it goes next month! I also publish an e-newsletter about natural childbirth. Tara, you are still on my list, yes?
I'm thinking about my next steps in the birth world... I have some wonderful opportunities, including possibly pursuing a fast-track to CNM status, or apprenticing as a CPM. I am also meeting with a university researcher soon to talk about a possible research project looking at a new model of childbirth education. And one of my partners has a huge passion for opening a pregnancy/birth/parenting center here with classes and services, so I'm working with her to determine what that might look like in our community. So anyhow, I obviously have some choices to make about which direction I'll be headed -- can't do it all, I suppose!
I'm glad these boards are back up and running, I have always benefitted from the conversation here.