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  • michellehaskellbir

My Initiation into Birth Work


I’m delighted you’re here! I feel like the beginnings of blogs are always a little weird. It’s awkward to dive into something new. My intention is for this to be a source of support and trusted information for clients and not-yet-clients alike. I’m excited for a space to share more about the things I love – birth, compassionate evidence-based care, and supporting families.

To start things off I want to talk about myself (don’t we all love doing that?); I need to share what brought me into this work I love

I became a mom in March, 2014. I was SO excited to give birth. I was prepared: I knew all about birth. I’d taken the classes, done all the research, and formed a birth plan. Unfortunately, my body and my baby had other thoughts, and most of my desires disappeared before my eyes. My beautiful daughter was born 8 weeks early at a hospital where I hadn’t planned on birthing, surrounded by a care team that I hadn’t chosen. I had a brief moment with her before she was whisked to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and it would be another day before I had the chance to hold her again, several days before I could do skin-to-skin. She was surprisingly healthy for her gestational age, so we were spared from a lengthy stay (thanks, modern medicine!).

Over the first few months and years of her life, the trauma of her birth would affect me in different ways. When I was pregnant with her brother a couple years later, my entire pregnancy was clouded by the fear that it would happen again. I didn’t know about doulas at that time, but I worked to arm myself with evidence-based information so I could hold onto pieces of my birth plan that had been needlessly sacrificed during my first birth (I didn’t know I had options then; I thought I had to follow every suggestion made by a care provider or I would be putting my baby in danger. Turns out that was so far from the truth!). I prepared my husband to be the fierce advocate he always is for me, letting him know the pieces I needed to preserve and how he could help ensure the experience would be better. In August, 2016, I was able to have a beautiful, incredibly healing birth.

As I recovered, I reflected my experience and wished that everyone could receive the compassionate, respectful care that I had just experienced. I wished that I could help others achieve beautiful births where they feel loved and cherished and valued, more than just a vessel for a baby. Then I discovered doula work and realized that I could provide that care!

I offered informal doula support to family and friends as I awaited and attended training to become a birth doula. I started reaching out to my community and supporting strangers soon after, and from the very first birth, I was hooked. It is lifechanging to witness new life entering the world. It’s a special place to be standing beside birthing people and new families as they, too, are born into a new role, into parenthood. Helping families learn how to step into these new roles, how to and grow together, how to advocate for themselves and grow in their confidence is such an honor.

As a birth doula, I get to know the families I work with intimately and quickly. Whether we have six months or six hours to get to know one another, birth has a way of creating a unique bond. I get to support you throughout your pregnancy, learning about your unique preferences and needs, and helping you navigate your options. I join you while you labor, and I have the privilege to remain by your side throughout your birth experience; I provide physical and emotional support, and hold space for you in this special time. I stand guard over your first moments as a family and assist with initial bonding and breastfeeding. When things slow and everyone is ready to settle in, I slip out and leave you to enjoy your new family. After you return home, I love to follow up with a postpartum visit where we can reflect on our journey together, process anything you need to process from your birth, and have an opportunity to ask questions or get resources. The end of our postpartum visit is the end of our time together for this service, but I love to keep in touch with my clients. Text and email updates fill my heart with joy, and often clients become close friends as we all grow.

To my clients, thank you for trusting me to support you, for inviting me into your most intimate moments. Please know I cherish these times and hold a special place for you all in my heart. To my future clients, I am excited to get to know you. I can’t wait to support you in these precious moments as your family grows.

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1 Comment

Jan 09, 2023

Thank you for sharing the personal story of your own birth experiences, Michelle. It makes me appreciate the care you gave me and my family postpartum even more. Birth is a transformational experience no doubt!

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