WGSS Major, 2010
Birth Doula, Prenatal Yoga Teacher, Child Birth Educator
I am living and working as a Birth Doula, Prenatal Yoga Teacher, and Child Birth Educator in Monterey, California. A birth doula is a professional member of a woman's birth team. I support the birthing mother and her partner in all aspects of child birth: prenatal education, physical and emotional labor support, medical advocacy, and helping with any postpartum needs. As a Child Birth educator, I teach local couples about the science and culture of birth, what their options are for care providers and birth locations, what interventions they are likely to encounter, what their rights are as parents, and most importantly how to access and interpret evidence about these different choices.
Since I don't have children yet, many people are curious as to how I became a birth worker. I largely credit my experience as a WGS major at F&M. I view birth as a social justice issue. It is safer to give birth in 49 other countries than in the U.S., even though Americans spend the most money on obstetrics. There is a culture of fear that surrounds birth that we see in movies and TV shows that promotes the idea that childbirth is scary and not a natural event. Women are routinely given medical advice and care that is not evidence based; for example, they are often denied food and water in labor. Informed consent for procedures in the labor room is also rare and medical decisions are made to seem daunting and confusing. My first insight into how our culture treats birth was watching a documentary about natural childbirth titled The Business of Being Born (2008). I watched it a year after I graduated from F&M and it really awakened a passion for the subject. It took a few years but I am finally a professional in the field.
Recently, I became the president of the Birth Network of Monterey County, a 501c3 non-profit that works to support local families in accessing resources and provides networking and professional development for birth workers. My husband, Drew Hutcheon '11, also serves on the board for the network, as the treasurer (when he's not studying at the Naval Post Graduate school). It has been fun to work together and I have really loved my new career. I feel grateful for all I learned at F&M that helped me follow this path.
"Since I don't have children yet, many people are curious as to how I became a birth worker. I largely credit my experience as a WGS major at F&M."