Brief Bio in a Nutshell
Thanks for looking! I became fascinated with the miracle of birth when I was 10 years old, and I have enjoyed spending the past 30 years of my life working with and helping pregnant women. I am a CAPPA certified childbirth educator and have taught childbirth, postpartum and breastfeeding classes for over 30 years, and I began serving as a doula and labor assistant about 20 years ago. As a DONA certified doula, I use acupressure, massage and other techniques to help birthing women feel as comfortable as possible during labor. As a certified lactation counselor (Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice, Center for Breastfeeding), I provide breastfeeding education and assistance. I am also certified with Healthy Moms Fitness as a perinatal fitness instructor. As a wife, mother of five, grandmother of two and a breast cancer survivor, I enjoy drawing from my life experiences to help encourage pregnant and postpartum women as they begin the life-changing adventure of motherhood! As a Christian, I hope to always express the love and compassion of Jesus Christ to those I meet, and I cherish the opportunity to be a part of God’s good and perfect gift of life!
Want more details? Here’s the longer version:
I’ll never forget the breezy summer evening in 1970 when I skipped into my childhood bedroom and discovered the most fascinating book lying on my pillow. It was called Facts of Life and Love for Teens, and even though I was a few years away from being a teen, I poured over the section dealing with gestation and birth. The other chapters were interesting, too, but none grabbed my attention as much as those line drawings of tiny babies growing in their mothers’ wombs and the incredible process that brought those little ones out into the world. Thus began my fascination with the miracle of pregnancy and birth!
Years later, as I was preparing for the birth of my first child, I delved back into the childbirth arena and read everything I could get my hands on that dealt with pregnancy, labor or birth. My childbirth instructor recognized my enthusiasm for the topic, and she quickly realized that I was an eager student.
After my baby was born, she asked me to substitute teach one class for her due a family emergency. That turned out to be a life-changing event for me. As I sat in the floor with the expectant moms and their partners, my heart pounded with excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to be an encouragement to others who were exactly where I was just a few months before. Thankfully, the class passed along good reviews, and my teacher called me a few weeks later to ask if I would be willing to work with another couple who could not afford to pay for childbirth classes. My instructor thought my love for the subject and the satisfaction I would receive from helping that couple would be enough compensation for me. She was right! That opened the door for me to begin working with couples who could not afford to take childbirth classes, and I quickly gained a reputation as the “childbirth teacher who would teach for free.” And the rest, as they say, is history!
I’ve enjoyed spending the past 30 years working with and helping pregnant women during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I was originally certified with the Academy of Childbirth Educators (ACBE) and I’m presently certified as a childbirth educator with Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association (CAPPA). In the 1990’s, one of my former students contacted me from her hospital birthing room. She was in the midst of her labor with her third child, and she asked if I could leave “right then” and go assist her in labor. It was an unexpected call, but I quickly joined her in the hospital and thus began my adventure as a doula!
Over the next several years, more and more of my childbirth clients asked me to assist them in labor, and my experience as a doula grew. By the time I became a certified birth doula with Doulas of North America International (DONA Int), I had logged quite a variety of births, serving as a labor assistant and on-the-spot educator. Drawing from my own five unmedicated births, with long labors and some unusual presentations thrown in the mix, I utilize comfort measures and positions that were helpful to me as a birthing woman. I also study new information, attend seminars and learn from the women I serve.
Breastfeeding was treasured part of my relationship with my babies, and I breastfed all five of my babies for 2-3 years each, for a total of about 13 years! It’s amazing long a gal can continue to produce breastmilk, huh? As a certified lactation counselor with the Center for Breastfeeding, I enjoy helping new mothers have a fulfilling breastfeeding experience.
When I was diagnosed with an aggressive, invasive ductile breast cancer at age 39, I wondered if I should set my time as a childbirth teacher and labor assistant aside and just focus on my cancer battle. My own children were between 5 -15 years old at the time, and I also homeschooled them. My husband (who taught martial arts) had encouraged me to organize martial arts classes for homeschooled students in our area and the classes had just gotten underway when we learned that cancer was found in a lymph node and chemotherapy was in my immediate future. Wanting to keep our lives as normal as possible, I decided to continue taking martial arts classes with my children, and I did so throughout the 8 months of my chemotherapy and for two years beyond! My precious Korean grandmaster would say to me in his broken English, “You mind is strong; you body…I not so sure.” LOL! I agreed! I wasn’t so sure either, but by golly, I was going to give it my all! I know that studying martial arts during chemotherapy helped me mentally, physically and emotionally. I gratefully earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do after years of study.
Just as I was thinking about retiring from my work with pregnant women that year, I received a call from a young woman who was expecting her first baby. She’d received my name from a friend and wondered if I could work with her and her husband. Well…I heard the call of the wild once again! I knew I couldn’t say no to that couple. I showed up at their house in the middle of winter, with my little bald head sporting a fuzzy purple cap, and I explained to them my situation. From then on, our classes proceeded as usual and I remain friends with that dear couple to this day. Thanks to them, I continued to teach throughout my cancer treatment, taking other clients as they contacted me, and as it has turned out, I have never stopped teaching or working with preggies and new moms since 1985.
I was always an active person, but cancer treatment took its toll on my body, and I began to experience some bone fractures. In 2006, I began working with a personal trainer to develop a weight routine that would help me rebuild my weakened bone. As I experienced the physical and emotional results of personal fitness training, I became interested in becoming a perinatal fitness instructor. I was excited to achieve that goal in 2009 when I became a certified perinatal fitness instructor with Healthy Moms Fitness.
I would like to conclude by saying that I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, and as a Christian, I hope to always express the love and compassion of Jesus Christ to those I meet, and I cherish the opportunity to be a part of God’s good and perfect gift of life!