Mandy and her husband, Griffin, in the Amazon Jungle
I was backpacking around the world when I decided that I wanted to become a doula. As I floated through the Amazon Pampas with two European midwives, our conversation turned toward their work. I was immediately captivated by their birth stories and the culture of womanhood that they spoke of. As I traveled on through South America, Europe, and Asia, I was able to witness motherhood in a different light than I had before. So many women along the way seemed exceptionally in tune with themselves, their bodies, and their ability to bring forth life! I began researching how I could learn more about the miracle of motherhood and childbearing. Sitting at an Internet café in India, I ran across the term, "doula" for the first time, I knew this was a name I wanted to claim for myself!
Mandy with a client at a hospital birth
I had been a classroom teacher for many years before becoming a doula and I truly loved what I did. My passion for education broadened as I studied the miracle of birth, and motherhood. I soon realized that I had been trained to think of childbirth as a terribly traumatic experience. Before I was even a woman myself, my mind was filled with images of hospital doors bursting open in front of a screaming pregnant woman confined to a gurney, nurses hollering, and finally the doctor rushing in to save his poor patient from the worst pain imaginable. I believed that pregnancy and labor were a woman's curse. Now I know that my negative outlook about childbearing was, for the most part, conjured up by western society and subtly imparted to me by our culture.
Mandy assisting during labor at a birth center
I now look at a woman's ability to grow another life inside of her as nothing short of a miracle. Women were indeed created perfectly for this work! As a doula, I support women in their efforts to discover this for themselves and know that the act of giving birth is more than just an isolated event in a mother's life, it is realization of an empowerment that many never realized existed. I believe that giving birth can open the door to a life more empowering and peaceful than ever imagined!
Amanda (Mandy) holding a newborn at a postpartum session
As a globally minded individual, I chose Childbirth International as the program through which to gain my doula certifications. CBI’s program offers a multi-cultural approach. Here is what Childbirth International writes about their doula training;
Mandy with her students in the Himalayas while living abroad in India
Childbirth International and Cultural Diversity
Childbirth International is a truly diverse international training organization. With students in 53 countries, from every corner of the globe, we celebrate the differences, similarities and uniqueness of each culture, religion and race.
We believe that with knowledge of different cultural groups, particularly in the field of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, we can all learn from each other and eliminate intolerance and prejudice.
Childbirth International courses explore cultural differences and different value systems, enabling students to become more aware of the rich variety of women and families that they will be working with.
For more information on training with Childbirth International, take a look at our website or contact us.
Mandy's Perosnal Birth Experience
I gave birth to my daughter in 2009. I prepared for my birthing by using the fantastic Hypnobabies program. I gained so much through this process- like approaching my birthing time as a fearless, empowered woman, how to better bond with my baby while it is still in the womb, and how to relax and let my body do what it needs to during birth. I was also attended to by a birth doula- and no, I wasn't my own doula! My birth was the single most amazing event of my life. I believe that women should birth where and how they are the most comfortable and secure. My safe place was in my home with a midwife and my comfort measures were my husband, my doula, hypnosis, and a gorgeous pool of pain-dissolving water!
Mandy relaxing in her La Bassine birthing pool (left) and meeting her 9lb baby for the first time- it's a girl! (below)
Photographs of my birth by Naomi Solomon, professional birth photographer Contact Naomi to photograph your birth!
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