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As soon as seeing that positive line on the pregnancy test, woman immediately start planning their prenatal care and all things birth related. Lots of moms may begin looking for a Boston postpartum doula and a birth doula. I interviewed the wonderful team at A Golden Birth. They are a birth and postpartum doula team consisting of: Bethany Leclerc, Becca Schillaci & Colleen Andrade.
First up, you’ll meet the birth doula team Bethany and Becca. They work together to provide superior doula services to Boston, Central Mass, and the greater Worcester areas. I asked them a few questions to get to know them and what they provide.
Describing all the different things a doula does for a pregnant person is difficult and actually impossible in one sentence. We support, guide, educate and hold families as they navigate pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. During pregnancy a doula is the guiding light in an often too dark tunnel. A thousand years ago, maybe more we all used to see each other give birth. Men, women, children, fathers, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and uncles. It was a process families were involved in.
Nowadays it all seems mostly a mystery until you’ve been through it. Most pregnant people are whisked off to a hospital and only nurses, and providers see the rest. What’s mostly alarming about this is pregnant people need support during this entire process and most are left to navigate it alone. There is much to learn, and be supported through. From the day one sees a pink line to sometimes many years postpartum.
Birth doulas have a unique viewpoint by working within locations and with providers all over Massachusetts. With this inside scoop they are able to help families plan and receive the type of care they envision. We offer referrals and experience with providers, hospitals and options surrounding where to give birth and also provide recommendations to the various options for breastfeeding, childbirth education and newborn care classes. We also give referrals to businesses offering birth and newborn photography, acupuncture, chiropractic care and prenatal massage and yoga. Our network is endless and it is all to provide the best and most beneficial options available to growing families.
Our birth support begins with our prenatal sessions. We go over your birth options as well as management of labor and birth. We talk about protocols at a family’s chosen place of birth, options surrounding those protocols and the risks and benefits associated with these. All the information we provide is evidenced based. Opinion and judgement do not have a seat at our table. We help create birth preferences, which are important for helping a birth giver learn and feel knowledgeable and empowered and to communicate with their care team their desires for a positive birth experience. Oftentimes, our bodies and babies have a story all their own but a birthing person should always feel they are a part of the process of any decision making throughout their journey. Knowing what to expect and options around management enables families to feel like the process is happening with them instead of to them.
Becca and I of course spend quality time on management of labor. Regardless if a birthing person would like an unmedicated or medicated birth, knowing how to help the labor progress and manage the intensity of contractions both mentally and physically is vital. Becca and I go over pelvic dynamics, spinning babies and the different ways counter pressure, TENS, rebozos and many others tools can relieve discomfort. These conversations also include the role of the partner and how they can best help and support a birthing person. We are not solely there for a pregnant person.
During labor and birth we are the constant for both birthing person and partner, especially in a hospital system where you never know who the nurses, midwife or OB may be when you arrive.
We help families know when to get to the hospital and either join them for emotional and physical support at home or at the hospital. Labor is not a spa experience but we do strive to make the environment as calm as possible with music, tea lights and affirmations. We are there to be the solid support of information and knowledge so we can advocate together for what a birthing person deserves including Informed consent, trauma informed care and an empowered birth. After the baby arrives, birth doulas stay to help with the first latch of breastfeeding, or maybe to simply hold space and be with the new parents as they recover, find nourishment, and admire their sweet babe.
Bethany: Oh so many favorite aspects of being a doula. Maybe one that is jumping out is getting to know so many incredible families and being with them during one of the most transformational moments in their life. It never ceases to amaze me how many amazing families there are out there who I not only have the pleasure of getting to know but have the gift of supporting and holding up when they need it. It is a blessing. Becca: I love birth support so very much because it is a time to be still, to be purely in the moment. While supporting birth I get to ignore the busy world and pay attention instead to the birthing person’s breath and tension, to support this family in their needs only. It’s hugely meditative and a terrific honor to be fully present.
We offer our birth and postpartum doula services through central, metro west and the Boston area. We support families in any birth place of their choosing – hospitals, birth centers, or their home.
We book out as far as five months in advance, or sometimes earlier. It’s never too early to get a doula, they begin supporting and helping families from the moment they are hired.
Bethany: My story of becoming a doula came from an empowering birth story. I had a long, and difficult labor but in the end I had never felt so triumphant. I had a good care team and ultimately fell in love with birth. My passion was seeded while I was pregnant and entering into this birth world I had never been introduced to before, but blossomed when my first son was born. After I gave birth I immediately told my husband I wanted to be a midwife and he gently suggested maybe I should go to a few more births other than my own. I then attended a doula training and my passion exploded as I learned how much I didn’t know.
It was fascinating to me how much there was for a birth giver to learn and yet they had little time and no knowledge of where to start. I wanted to help families navigate all this unknown. I learned what I could have done to make even my first birth, which I loved, even better. Once trained, I became certified and after my second son was born I took on the role full time, seven years ago. I love being a doula so much, getting to know and support families throughout the entire process, that I don’t have the passion I once had to become a midwife. I am right where I should be.
Becca: I too had a wonderfully positive first birth experience, guided by my older sister both prenatally and during labor and birth. After the birth of my son, I wanted to talk about it all the time and learned that so many people did not have positive experiences. They instead felt scared, alone, or unsupported.
Then one day I was at a baby shower for a colleague and was the only one there who’d given birth. The pregnant colleague was asking me lots of questions about my experience and I was excitedly sharing all the resources I’d used and loved. Another person scoffed, “Geez, what’s the big deal? It’s only one day. Is there that much to think about?” I couldn’t get her comment out of my head. Birth matters! How people feel about their birth matters! I knew then that I wanted to give people the support they deserve for their amazing transformational day.
Many people don’t even realize that hiring a postpartum doula is an option, I honestly wish I had know about their services after my births! I learned that they will come out to your home and help with all sorts of things to ease your postpartum journey.
Our doula style is based on information to make our clients feel empowered. We provide information on options, benefits, risks, and how our minds and bodies work together to help baby into the world, and information on movement, breathing, and mental stability through labor. The team holds no visions on what we feel your labor and birth should look like. We solely strive for families to feel like they knew what was happening and felt loved and supported throughout the entirety of the process.
Now, after birth opens the whole world of postpartum. There’s so much healing and care that needs to be taken into consideration. I asked Colleen about how she can help as a postpartum doula.
HOW DOES A POSTPARTUM DOULA HELP A PREGNANT PERSON?
As a postpartum doula and lactation educator, I help provide information, resources, and instruction to aid in preparation for all that is to come once the baby arrives home. Learning the soon to be parents’ needs and goals for their growing family, alerts me in the areas where I need to focus my attention and support.
Whether it is teaching soothing techniques, steps and best tricks for successful bath time, how to use and/or swaddle, teaching breast/chest feeding techniques and positions, as well as prepping and organizing the home to function in the most optimal way, are just a few examples. Once the baby arrives home, we put those into practice. In addition, I help by taking on household organization and tasks to allow for rest, recovery, and family bonding. It is important to make sure each family member, immediate and extended, knows the uniquely special role they play. Always being available for any questions leading up to the birth, builds trust and their confidence, which is needed during a time filled with anticipation and uncertainty.
WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF BEING A POSTPARTUM DOULA?
There are so many things that make being a doula the best, especially baby snuggles, sharing successes, and helping to build the parents confidence, I could go on and on! The absolute best though, is knowing the significant positive impact my presence makes in their postpartum experience.
WHAT LOCATIONS DO YOU OFFER YOUR SERVICE TO?
We offer our birth and postpartum doula services through Central, MetroWest and the Boston area.
HOW SOON SHOULD SOMEONE BOOK YOUR POSTPARTUM DOULA SERVICES?
When they are ready and confident in their decision that I would be the best fit to support their family. The earlier a family books my services, it increases the likelihood of securing their preferred support schedule. Also, my support begins as soon as services are booked, providing reassurance, resources, and guidance prior to birth. It is also the perfect opportunity to discuss any questions and concerns, and to chat through all that is to come!
WHY DID YOU BECOME A POSTPARTUM DOULA IN MASSACHUSETTS?
When asked by a birth doula if I ever thought of becoming a postpartum doula, as she said I would be perfect for it, I began my research. After learning what it entailed, coupled with my vastly different experiences during pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum for both of my boys, I realized this was what I was meant to do. Helping others during such a vital time offering the support I wish I had, is so rewarding. My training solidified all the why’s and I could not be happier helping families as they grow!
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR POSTPARTUM DOULA STYLE?
My doula style is ever changing. No family is the same and I align my support according to the needs and goals of the family on their journey. I have an outgoing personality but can shift that in a moment’s time to be the calm, soothing and reassuring support needed. I am an organizer that simplifies life for the new family so they can focus on the more important things like rest, recovery, and family bonding.
To contact the team at A Golden Birth Click Here!
To learn all about the in home newborn session process, Click Here!