Vanessa & her Birth philosophy
An elder woman once said to me: “I am your mother.” She was not what we'd consider a relative, but I understood her words to mean that human beings are family to each other. I realized that the world is meant to be this way: each new baby is someone to be loved and taken care of by everyone.
I have named my doula practice Collective Minds for the many wise-women from whom I've learned. My studies with Midwives Elizabeth Davis and Juli Tilsner, as well as my 2 1/2 year doula partnership with Amanda Garvey, as the San Francisco Doula Collective, have deeply influenced my understanding of the wide range of normal in birth. I've taken classes in body-oriented practices, such as massage, hypnobirth, and yoga and have supported over 150 births in the seven years I've been practicing.
I became a doula to support women birthing the way that they have chosen, and to support babies in their profound transition from living in a dark, hot, aqueous environment to the society we have made. I respect both mothers and babies for their deepest work in birth and believe in creating a space around them that is honorific and safe.
As a teenager I was fascinated by pregnancy and birth, drawn to the shape of the pregnant body, and in awe of the process of birth. In 2012, a close friend asked me to attend her birth. I enrolled in Cornerstone Doula Training's core doula course. Immediately, I knew that I was meant to pursue the path of a doula.
I have attended many births as a volunteer doula at San Francisco General Hospital and the Homeless Prenatal Program in the Mission, as well as taking private clients. It was an intense period of understanding on an energetic level what it meant to hold space in a birth room, as well applying the comforting tricks of the trade with distinct individuals with distinct birthing paths. I also began to support women experiencing pregnancy loss.
I view birth as the ultimate rite of passage for both mother and child, and I feel honored to witness and support this. I feel completely present breathing in sync with a laboring woman, offering a cold lavender-infused cloth on a forehead, or a sacral massage. I love witnessing couples envision their child's birth, listening to their intuition, and manifesting as a loving team. I love helping create a haven so that a woman can birth feeling relaxed and empowered. I bring no agenda to your birth. It is your birth; although I provide information and can tell you what I've witnessed and experienced, you make the decisions. It is your instinct I follow.
In former lives, I traveled internationally, taught college writing and English as a Second Language, and preschool. I continue to be a reproductive justice activist. I hold a BA in Anthropology and Gender Studies from Bard College and an MFA from the University of Oregon. I have taken classes in: Optimal Fetal Positioning, Supporting Survivors of Sexual Trauma, Supporting a Hypnobirth (with Rachel Yellin), Homeopathy, Clinical Midwifery, Homebirth, Herbs for Pregnancy and Childbirth, Massage, Postpartum Certification, and Elizabeth Davis' Heart and Hands Midwifery Workshops.