I am a bit of an anomaly in the doula world. I have never given birth, became a doula at the age of 42, and am the Founder and CEO of a multi-million dollar company (The Fantasy Box). I speak fluent English, Spanish and Portuguese. So, I thought I’d share a little bit of my backstory:
I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from UC Davis and promptly began a 10-year career in finance. In my 20s, I completed 8 marathons and an Ironman triathlon. I went back to school to get my MBA at UC Berkeley, where I was President of my class. I then moved to Brazil for a few years to work as a Management Consultant with McKinsey & Company, the #1 strategy firm in the world. In 2012, I founded The Fantasy Box, an online date-night service for couples (more on the baby-making side of things), which I still run (though, mostly, my incredible team runs the day-to-day). So, how did I become a doula?
In 2016, at the tender young age of 39, my husband and I started trying to have children. We were unsuccessful and moved on to IVF when I was just shy of 41. After a very auspicious start, we ended up with horrible luck (a second trimester miscarriage that required a surgery which ruined my uterus). We decided to hire a surrogate (who also miscarried). In the process of reconciling my emotions about not being able to experience the miracle of birth myself, I realized that I didn’t have to give up on my love of birth- I could pay it forward and help other women birth the way they wanted to. But, how was I going to become an expert in something I had never experienced? Short answer: research :)
I listened to over 400 hours of The Birth Hour podcast (which, if you’ve not listened to it, start immediately). I read 40 books on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, postpartum, loss, and nutrition. I began volunteering as a birth doula at our local birth center, Sutter Davis Hospital, where I attend multiple births per month. That program, however, is essentially a labor doula- I meet the birthing person when they are in active labor. I love it and believe firmly that every woman who wants a doula should have one, however I missed the ability to get to know my clients before the birth, help shape the birth vision, educate both partners on what to expect and comfort measures, and to be able to help with breastfeeding and follow-up after the birth.
So, to fulfill my love of the “before and after” birth roles, I pursued certification with DONA International for both Birth and Postpartum doula designations. I completed an additional 60+ hours of breastfeeding education, both classroom and practical training, culminating with a board exam, and was awarded the Certified Lactation Counselor designation (with a 95% exam grade)! I joined Evidence Based Birth as a Professional Member so that I can always stay up to date with the latest birth research. And, I became a Bereavement doula, to help families who are dealing with pregnancy or infant loss.
I tell you all this so that you can get an idea of who I am as a person. I value knowledge, I work hard, I am motivated by being of service. I’m strong but I know how to listen and be a part of the team. I am an effective communicator and respect the roles of each person in the birthing team. In my free time, I enjoy reading, running, walking, spending time with my husband, my family and our animals (a French Bulldog, German Shepherd and a cat who adopted us).
Becoming a doula is something I feel I was called to do and it would be a true honor to be a part of your journey.