Mission Statement As a birthkeeper, it is my mission to support the birthing community through a lens that supports the sustainability of natural childbirth. In a system which is failing to do this, it is my commitment to educate and enlighten birthers of their innate strength, to nurture and defend both individual and family autonomy, to advocate for reproductive rights, and to reclaim community as a necessary lifeline of healthy mothering.
Prenatal Support My birth services include one free consultation to ensure I am the doula for you, three prenatal visits at your home or location convenient to you, two postpartum visits, up to four weeks on-call for delivery and a gift basket of handcrafted labor essentials such as lip balm and aromatherapy. During our prenatal visits you, your partner and I will discuss your birth plan and preferences including any questions and concerns you have and overview of your maternal history. Your prenatal health is very important to me as it likely determines the outcome of your birth story. I will be available to you 24/7 by text and email should you have any questions or concerns about your health or medical care. I will supply you with a list of local resources upon request such as prenatal massage, prenatal yoga, childbirth classes, water birth tub rental, best strollers, cloth diaper education, postpartum mental health, childcare options, etc. We will also go over labor techniques with your birth partner, particularly ones that help advance labor along and those useful in easing transition pains. It is my hope that if you have a birth partner, they be present for at least two meetings as they likely have questions and concerns too. It is vital to the satisfaction of your birth that your partner be supportive in hiring a doula and be on the same page as you with your birth preferences. The three of us will discuss the concepts of 'Informed Consent' and 'Autonomy'-- topics that are very important to me when delivering your baby in a hospital. We will discuss your understanding of natural childbirth and will likely dig deep into the history, ritual and instinctual nature already inside you to birth your child. We will also go over any postpartum preparation or questions, ensuring that you feel ready to welcome baby and heal your body in your home. As an artist, I like to incorporate a 'birth art' session with your partner into these visits to visualize the birth you desire while overcoming fears and anxieties. Prenatal visits usually last around 60-120 minutes.
During our postpartum visits, I will come to your home with a thermos of homemade tea, dote on you and your new baby, discuss the physical and emotional outcome of your birth, address mental health concerns and offer breastfeeding support. I will make it a point to ensure you feel comfortable, supported and nourished during your transition to motherhood. This can be an incredibly overwhelming and emotional time. Having your doula merely bring you a tea, a snack and hold space with you for a bit can be a much needed relief. These visits can be as short or long as you need and typically happen within the first and third week following birth.
During Labor I believe that childbirth should be of the family; that a pregnancy should be nourished and birthed with total support of a mother and partner's wishes. I feel that the sanctity of this has been lost in western medicine with a misrepresentation of mother as patient and childbirth swarmed by many strangers. Childbirth is nature, not sickness. It is important to me that you feel you will birth your baby as a mother, not as a patient. Even if you and your partner know little of what to expect, I believe your experience should be respected and honored. I know, though, childbirth can be full of many unknowns and an important part of my philosophy is understanding that rarely will a birth go exactly as planned. Regardless of a hospital, home, or birth center birth, my role is to ease those unexpected interruptions with information, advocacy, and encouragement. I will do my absolute best to ensure you feel safe and connected to your birth. Taking simple measures such as making sure you and your partner have energy through food and hydration, dimming lights, closing curtains, lighting candles, playing or changing music, turning on an oil diffuser, putting your hair up, applying lip balm, keeping your face cool, holding your hand, offering verbal encouragement and giving your birth partner rest, direction, and bathroom breaks can bring enormous relief. I can support you first at home and help you and your partner decide when is a good time to leave for the hospital. When your labor is at its most difficult, I will give you as much verbal and physical support or space as needed. This may include massage, relieving and applying pressure, using props, changing positions, helping you in and out of a tub or the shower, holding a shower head on you, helping you to the bathroom, offering positive affirmations and encouragement, and most important, advocating for the birth plan you have hoped for. Should your birth experience have a more medical outcome including medications, induction or surgery, I will give you all the information and emotional support I have.
"She has such a calming, kind presence and treated us with such amazing care. She made the room a peaceful environment and coached me through my most painful contractions. We are so grateful for her. Definitely hire her! You won’t regret it!!" ~Julia G.
Mission Statement In a culture where motherhood, as a rite of passage, has been dismissed, it is my mission as a certified postpartum doula to inspire a mother's restoration in order to sustain her physical and mental health, to evoke a sense of ancestry through nutrition and the art of being still, to sit with her as she grieves her old self and celebrates the new, to counsel her in her necessary pursuit of community and camaraderie, and to respect and support the sacredness of her family's autonomy so that we may reclaim Matrescence-- a profound transition into our strongest and most authentic selves.
Prenatal Support My postpartum visits will focus on visualizing and planning for home life once baby is born. You may schedule as many as you feel you need. During our prenatal visits, we will discuss and arrange what you and your family most need to prepare for baby and for you. This may include organizing a support network of family and friends, setting up a "meal-chain," creating a lose schedule of my postpartum care, organizing and prepping meals, practicing the breast pump and/or discussing how you plan to feed your baby, breastfeeding information, offering you referrals and resources as well as books on the postpartum period, support for overcoming previous birth trauma, making a DIY pain relief kit, assembling a "nesting kit" for nursing, packing your hospital bag and prepping and organizing the house, nest, and nursery. The third trimester can be an overwhelming time of last minute planning and education that is primarily focused on the baby. Often times, we forget to realize the remarkable rite of passage we are about to cross. During my prenatal visits, I will ensure that you have not only prepared a physical space for healing but have held mental space for the innate understanding that our bodies were meant to do this and that life as you knew it will be forever changed.
Postpartum Support My postpartum visits are meant to bring ease and peace to your restoration. I believe new mothers are meant to be still and heal, however I know this may be hard with the happenings of the home. My role is to ease the energy in the home and ensure you are comfortable, fed and warm. My visits may look any way that brings you the most relief. This could be newborn care education, meal prep, cooking, light cleaning, baby's laundry, running errands, grocery shopping, washing bottles, or just general tidying up. It could mean bringing you to your baby's wellness checkups or staying in the car with the baby during your OB/GYN appointments. It could mean you taking a shower while I hold your baby, give them a bottle, or put them down for a nap. If this baby is not your first I can also tend to your other children and offer new sibling support. My visits may focus on lactation support and emotional support. They can also be as simple as making you a tea, heating up some soup and sitting with you while you nurse or hold your sleeping baby. In the event of a cesarean, my visits will focus on much of the same including extra care with your wound, helping you to the bathroom, to shower, bringing baby to you, feeding the baby for you and making you and your family's meals. Our visits can be as personal or impersonal as you like. You have the alternative option to solely focus on nourishment with my meal and tea plan service or include these services with my in-home postpartum care. My postpartum support also includes a gift basket of handcrafted relief such as nipple balm, perineum spray, and restoration oil. I look forward to offering you the support and encouragement you need as you celebrate and heal from your rebirth.
"So thankful for Ashley’s help with postpartum prep. She made me feel so supported and was very available to help me during this transition in whatever way I needed." ~Ginna M.
These visits may take place immediately following discharge, when your partner returns to work or, say, months down the road when you need to prepare your home for yourself returning to work. Currently I am available for daytime support only.