About the Contributors
While Nancy Abbott, CD (DONA), was pregnant with her first child in 1971, she trained and certified as a Lamaze labor coach. She has since been recertified by DONA. Now as a mother of six, and a grandmother of six (so far), she continues to offer emotional, physical, and informational support to women in labor. She is familiar with HypnoBirthing, Mindful Childbirth, Birthing From Within, the Bradley method, and Lamaze. She uses a combination of all of these while she watches miracles happen. After attending hundreds of births, she continues to have a profound respect for the strength of a woman’s body, and the soundness of her spirit. Nancy lives in Derry, New Hampshire, with her husband and youngest daughter.
Laurel Wilson, IBCLC, CLE, CCCE, CLD, and Tracy Wilson Peters, CLE, CCCE, CLD, have over 40 years of combined experience as pregnancy experts who support mothers and the professionals who work with new families. Their best selling books, The Attachment Pregnancy: The Ultimate Guide to Bonding with Your Baby and The Greatest Pregnancy Ever: Keys to the MotherBaby Bond unite evidence-based information with heart and mind science to give mothers the tools they need to feel deeply connected to their pregnancy and their baby. Additionally, they offer BOND University, which trains perinatal professionals to enhance the motherbaby bond during pregnancy. More information can be found at www.theattachmentpregnancy.com and www.bonduniversityonline.com.
Amy Wright Glenn earned her MA in Religion and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught for eleven years in The Religion and Philosophy Department at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, earning the Dunbar Abston Jr. Chair for Teaching Excellence. Amy is a Kripalu Yoga teacher, prenatal yoga teacher, (CD)DONA birth doula, and hospital chaplain. She is the voice for “Motherhood, Spirituality, and Religion” for Philly.com and blogs for Attachment Parenting International, Doula Trainings International, and The Birthing Site. Amy is a regular columnist for Holistic Parenting Magazine and recently published her first book: Birth, Breath, and Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula. Amy teaches private meditation classes via Skype to students across the United States. She also teaches prenatal yoga classes, Mommy and Me Yoga classes, and Breath and Movement Birth Preparation workshops in south Florida. To learn more: www.birthbreathanddeath.com.
Amy Mager MS, LicAc, apprenticed for two years with Raven Lang, OMD, midwife, and acupuncturist. Amy studied extensively with Dr. Miriam Lee, highly respected acupuncturist and author. She has been published in the book Parenting from the Heart and the magazines “Natural Jewish Parenting” and “Stepping Stones.”Her eight years of professional education include a four-year MS program at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a degree from the Post-Graduate Institute of Oriental Medicine in Hong Kong. She became a birth educator and birth assistant through Informed Birth and Parenting. Amy is a trained lactation counselor and has worked with nursing women for 22 years. She continues to expand her knowledge through continuing education and her work with patients. Amy lives in Springfield, MA, with her husband Dan Garfield DC. She has birthed six children, nursed for sixteen years, and is grateful for each of her precious ones. She can be reached at 413.222.8616 or AmyMagerHealing@gmail.com. Her website is www.WellnessHouseNorthampton.com.
Kristen Avonti is a homesteading mama to four beautiful children, living in the hills of Shutesbury, Massachusetts. She has had a passion for natural living and the plant world since a very young age, growing up in the gardens and the kitchen, working side-by-side with her father. Kristen received her Bachelor of Arts from Hampshire College, with a focus on Psychology and Herbal Medicine. She went on to complete an herbal apprenticeship and birth doula and midwifery education. Her studies have continued through workshops, conferences, online courses, and self-study. Kristen received her Reiki Master-Teacher certification and is studying Shamanism on an ongoing basis with her mentor. Currently, Kristen is also studying with Aviva Jill Romm in her Women’s Herbal Health Educator program. Kristin founded Tree of Dreams Sanctuary on her land in Shutesbury, MA. Tree of Dreams Sanctuary is a holistic healing educational center and healing arts practice dedicated to community and individual healing, education, personal growth, and the preservation of medicinal plants (www.sacred-earth-wisdom.com). Currently, Kristen teaches a variety of workshops, courses, and apprenticeship programs, both on site and throughout New England. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Massachusetts, where she teaches courses in shamanism and herbal medicine. In addition, Kristen operates a healing arts practice where she sees clients for herbal consultations, women’s health services, pregnancy support, Reiki, and shamanic healing. Kristen’s work is fueled by a passion for healing, a dedication to carrying forward the medicine ways, and a deep love and connection with the natural world.
Teresa Howard, wife to Dallas, mother to three grown children, and doting nana to four grandchildren, has been a labor doula and educator for over 20 years, attending more than 600 births! She is a certified labor doula and lactation educator with CAPPA, a certified instructor and trainer with BOLD,TM instructor with Dancing for Birth,TM and a retired La Leche League leader. Teresa owns Labor of Love Doula and Childbirth Services, Inc., a group of doulas and educators who serve the metro area of Atlanta (www.alaboroflove.org). She loves her career and really feels being a birth professional has been her calling.
Tara Campbell, CD(DONA), BDT (DONA), LCCE, is a DONA International birth doula and birth doula trainer, and a childbirth educator. Eleven years ago, she founded Birthing Gently, a Boston and New York City-based birth doula service (www.birthinggently.com). Birthing Gently serves low and high-risk women, and includes a volunteer birth doula program staffed by forty volunteers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women’s Hospital. Tara only accepts high-risk mothers with serious medical issues who are delivering via cesarean birth at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is currently working with the physicians, nurses, and midwives to implement family-centered cesareans. Tara’s first baby was born vaginally and her other four were via cesarean because they were high risk. Two of her children have serious medical conditions–one from a birth injury, the other from congenital heart disease. She gravitated towards high-risk birth because she’s definitely “been there, done that.” She loves the challenge of being in a hospital environment, particularly the operating room. Tara’s doula style is similar to a personal trainer’s: direct, analytical, and not so touchy feely. She presents information to clients in a straightforward no-nonsense style, with humor and a twist of sarcasm.
Tara is unbiased about pain medication and believes an epidural birth can be just as satisfying as an unmedicated birth. She will support a mother no matter what her choice, and encourages women to write their birth plans in pencil, so they can edit them. For some women, relaxation comes in the form of an epidural, for others it means a warm bath, massage, and verbal affirmations, and for a few, it comes in the form of cesarean birth. As a doula, she has to put on her chameleon skins to adapt. Her message to all new doulas is be yourself! Many new doulas worry about what clients will think of them, that they won’t be taken seriously, they’re too old, too young, or too inexperienced. What it boils down to at an interview is the personality match. Parents decide who they trust and want to be a part of that intimate moment in their lives. Be yourself and let the client choose, do not take it personally. She’s had prospective clients turn her down. She knows she’s not for everyone and is OK with that. And you should be, too. She hopes through her writing to be able to express a small fraction of what she has learned through her journey.
Robin Gray-Reed has been passionate about promoting women’s health and supporting growing families for over a decade. She has worked as a doula, childbirth educator, birth photographer, international board certified lactation consultant, registered nurse, sexual assault nurse examiner, and certified nurse-midwife. Areas of special interest include working with LGBT individuals and families, helping facilitate breastfeeding in special circumstances, promoting mindfulness-based and trauma-informed approaches to care, and supporting survivors of trauma (www.robingrayreed.com). She lives in the Puget Sound in gorgeous Washington State with her two cats.
Kim Bradlee has been attending homebirths as a midwife for over 20 years. She is also a hypnotist, childbirth educator, breastfeeding counselor, and mother of three. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with family, especially her 95-year-old grandmother, Frances Cohen Paone. You can reach her at Alternative Birth Care (alternativebirthcare.com).
Ann E. Tohill, CLD, CPD has been a stay at home mom in the Mad River Valley of Vermont since 2009. She has a BA in English and Irish Literature, and studied Latin and Ancient Greek at Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA. While living in Vermont for fifteen years, Ann has been a preschool teacher, an editor, a restaurant owner, and a vegetarian chef. Being a doula at Mountain Mama Doula allows Ann to turn her passion for cooking, as well as birth and family care, into a rewarding and fulfilling career (www.mountainmamadoula.com). Ann has the immense honor and privilege of caring for Vermont families prenatally, during their births, and during the postpartum period. She loves supporting families in welcoming their babies into the world, and then caring for them in their homes, offering postpartum support with breastfeeding, household management, baby-wearing and comfort techniques, and her absolute favorite, caring for the whole family with meal preparation. She lives with her husband, two children, a couple of cats, and a happy little flock of Bantam hens and roosters.
Jenny Everett King is a CAPPA certified childbirth educator and also a doula, as well as a prenatal yoga teacher, birth photographer, blogger, and homeschooling mother to four. She holds a BA in Liberal Studies in the Great Books from Saint Anselm College and has practiced and taught yoga since 2002, studying primarily in the Iyengar and Anusara methods, with a special focus on women’s reproductive health. Jenny’s interest in pregnancy and birth has been a lifelong passion, but her journey to birth work began in earnest with her first daughter’s birth in 2006. This experience helped her discover that birth has the potential to be empowering and transformative for families. Her approach to pregnancy and birth care is rooted in the idea that childbearing is not only a physical process, but an emotional journey, as well as a spiritual high point for many women. Jenny is the co-owner of DeviBloom Wellness & Birth, LLC, (www.devibloom.com) and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy L. Gilliland, Ph.D., BDT(DONA), is an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator, a psychology faculty member at Madison College, and a DONA International birth doula trainer. She has a certificate in Pre and Perinatal Psychology and has conducted workshops on attachment and infant mental health for UW Extension. Dr. Gilliland has conducted research on men and labor support, and worked with hundreds of families during the perinatal period. Her research has been published in JOGNN, Midwifery, Journal of Perinatal Education, and the Wisconsin Medical Journal. She also publishes the influential blog, Doulaing The Doula. For more information, please go to www.amygilliland.com.
Rachel Hess is deeply committed to improving the lives of children and families in the greater Boston area. In addition to her work as a postpartum doula (rachelhessdoula.wordpress.com), she runs prenatal and new parent groups at Mama & Me. Rachel worked at ReadBoston, where she helped develop and implement a brand new program focusing on supporting literacy skills in babies and toddlers. She also worked as the Training Coordinator for Samaritans, a suicide prevention non-profit. Rachel is a CAPPA Certified Postpartum Doula. Rachel received her Master’s Degree in Language and Literacy Studies from Wheelock College and her bachelor’s degree in African American Studies, with a minor in Gender and Women’s studies, from Oberlin College. She lives in Jamaica Plain with her wife, her two children, and a large cat.
Rená Koerner is a mother, wife, friend, daughter, doula, and business owner, not necessarily in that order on any given day. She is a certified labor doula, certified postpartum doula, certified childbirth educator, certified Happiest Baby instructor, and a Reiki Practitioner. She holds dual certifications with CAPPA and DONA, and is also an author and speaker. Her goal at Integrative Childbirth Services (www.intergrativechildbirth.net) is “Bringing Knowledge and Compassion to YOUR Birth.” She is the co-founder of Doulas for Surrogacy (www.doulasforsurrogacy.com) and works to help the birth mother and the intended parents get the support they deserve. She is the owner of the Lullaby Lounge, a local resource center for expectant and new families. She also volunteers as the President of Doulas Association of Southern California, and is the retired Chair for the banquet that brings together the entire birth community for a night of recognition. She sits on the board of the Doulas of South Bay, a doula co-op in Southern California.
Darla Burns has always been fascinated with birth and babies. She began supporting women in labor in 1990, but only realized in 2003 that there was a name for the work she was doing. She immediately took a training to be a labor doula, and then continued on this path and became a postpartum doula, childbirth educator, Happiest Baby on the Block Instructor, infant massage instructor, and a lactation educator. In 2003, she created her first company, In Due Time Doula Services, which offers support throughout the perinatal period. In 2007, her dedication to this work led her to become postpartum doula faculty for CAPPA, where she trains women on how to best support postpartum families. From 2009 to 2013, Darla served in a volunteer position as CAPPA’s Executive Director of Postpartum Doula Programs, where she managed the Postpartum Doula Program and Faculty in the USA and Canada. In 2012, she co-Founded Doulas for Surrogacy with Rená Koerner to better support families through the surrogacy process. Darla has contributed to several books, has been quoted in publications and magazines, serves on the advisory council, and was interviewed for the upcoming documentary After Birth Project. When she is not doing her professional work, she spends time with her husband and two wonderful children in Southern California. For more information on Darla Burns and the services she offers, go to: www.douladarla.com and www.doulasforsurrogacy.com.
Kay Miller has been working with expecting and new families since 1998. She joined CAPPA in 2008 and holds certifications as a labor doula, childbirth educator, lactation educator, and teen educator through CAPPA. Kay serves as Executive Director of Operations on CAPPA’s Board of Directors (since 2010) and is CAPPA faculty. She was the Region 6 Representative for CAPPA from 2009-2011. She is a nurse and a HUG Your Baby Instructor, and is currently working towards her IBCLC. Kay is passionate about educating and supporting women during pregnancy, labor and birth, and postpartum (www.heavensentsupport.com). She encourages women to receive education, do research, and talk openly with their providers. Her desire is to present positive, evidence-based information to families, so they can make the best choices possible in their specific situation. Kay has two amazing children–a son born in 1996 and a daughter born in 1998. She homeschools her children, and she and her children are very active in their church and community.
Vicki Elson, MA, CCE, CD, is a mother of three children, a grandma of two. She’s a volunteer childbirth educator and doula with The Prison Birth Project (http://www.theprisonbirthproject.org). She has been a childbirth educator and doula for 32 years, and she offers a streamlined, accessible childbirth educator training called Childbirth Education Essentials. Her award-winning film Laboring Under An Illusion: Mass Media Childbirth vs. The Real Thing is shown worldwide. She has interviewed hundreds of mothers from all over the world about what REALLY works for labor, and the results are available as an illustrated downloadable e-book at her website, www.birth-media.com. She’s working on a new film on the same subject.
Rivka Cymbalist has been involved in different aspects of women’s health care since she was a teenager. She has extensive experience in first aid, herbalism, maternity care, health education, and volunteer work. Since she began working as a doula in 1997, she has witnessed hundreds of babies coming into the world. Of these, fewer than twenty have been C-sections, several have been twin births, and 95% of them have taken place in the hospital. She is director of Montreal Birth Companions, a volunteer organization that provides free doula services to refugee and immigrant women (www.montrealbirthcompanions.org). She has been training doulas since 2004, and regularly accepts apprentices in her practice. Rivka is also interested in organic farming and lived for many years on a small mixed farm in rural Italy, where she was the co-founder of WWOOF Italia, a volunteer organization that promotes organic farming. She was born in Africa, and loves to travel and read. She is married, with five sons, and lives with her family in Montreal and Italy. Her book, The Birth Conspiracy, Natural Birth, Hospitals, and Doulas: A Guide, was released by Curioso Books in November, 2011 (www.thebirthconspiracy.com).
Kimberly Bepler is the owner and founder of ABC Doula Service (www.abcdoula.com). She is a Certified Postpartum Doula and Postpartum Doula Trainer with CAPPA, a Certified Postnatal Educator (ICEA), and a Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Kimberly founded ABC Doula in 2001, working with a passion for newborns and their families. In 2003 she incorporated into a group and loves the collaboration of the team that has come together (serving over 1100 families in the past 10 years). Kimberly teaches breastfeeding, newborn care, and twin/triplet classes, as well as facilitating new moms groups within two hospital systems, and offers beginning and advanced doula trainings through CAPPA. Her joy is in helping new parents and new doulas, so this is truly her dream profession! Kimberly is the mother to two lively school-aged kids. She enjoys the support at home of her husband Mark, who manages the web and accounting aspects for ABC.
Julie Brill, IBCLC, CCCE, CLD, has been running and marketing WellPregnancy, her birth business, for over twenty years. She strives to keep current with what works and what doesn’t in today’s market. She is passionate about people, especially women, being reimbursed for their time and expertise, and emphasizes marketing when she mentors new doulas and childbirth educators. Julie finds that the women who are drawn to doula work are an amazing group, and she feels blessed to be able to mentor, learn from, and work with them. Doulas’ desire to support women during the childbearing year, pursue continuing education because of their drive to continually offer better services, and work unknown hours at unscheduled times is the inspiration for Round the Circle, her first book. Julie is the mother of two teenage daughters. She has been homeschooling since 2001. For more information on Julie’s work visit www.WellPregnancy.com.
Lois Brown Loar has been married to her best friend Bob for 39 years. They are the parents of 12 children, ranging in age from 15 to 38, and are currently grandparents to 17. Lois graduated from the University of Toledo with an associate’s degree in health technology and worked as a medical assistant in an obstetric/gynecology office before her marriage and the subsequent births of her children. She is a homeschooling mom, with two teenaged children still left in the home. As she saw the days of full-time mothering waning, she sought to find the best use of her skills and experience. At the suggestion of her oldest daughter, a labor delivery doula, she researched becoming a postpartum doula. She is currently working toward certification.
Charlotte Scott, NCLTMB, CLD, is a licensed massage therapist and body worker, a certified yoga instructor and certified labor doula, and a childbirth educator, teaching holistic practices to pregnant couples. She has been teaching holistic education and wellness practices, and working with women in prenatal and postpartum care for eighteen years (www.charlottescottdoula.wordpress.com).