We know that choosing an educator that you feel comfortable with is important. Here are a few Q/A’s with Melissa that will help you get to know her on a more personal level. If you’d like to have a phone chat with Melissa to get your questions answered, please send a message to get scheduled.
Why do you do this work?
“I believe at my core that birth, and the memories made during birth, matters. I have watched the support of a doula make a signifiant difference in a families life, and I want to be a part of something bigger than me. I find that through serving families as a childbirth educator and doula, and through training more and more doulas, I can make a small difference, but added together, collectively, we can change the world.”
What do you feel passionate about in the field of maternal healthcare?
“DOULAS and CHILDBIRTH EDUCATORS MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Over the past several years I’ve had the esteemed honor of representing doulas across the U.S. as we have marched on Capitol Hill and walked the halls of congress to spread the word about the importance of maternal healthcare and the needed and necessary changes we seek to improve birth for families. Doulas aren’t THE solution, but we’re part of the bigger picture to the solution! Doulas and Childbirth Educators are at the table and a part of the conversation, and I envision a day where support, education, and informed decision making is a part of each and every birth.”
What’s your favorite childbirth quote?
“It has to be Barbra Katz-Rothman….”Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers ~ strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.” “Beach…although we did go skiing a few years back and that was pretty amazing as well. I love any kind of vacation that exposes my kiddos to something new!”
“Oh, too many to list, but if I have to choose a few…..watching people become parents, being present for one of life’s most intense and raw moments, knowing that at times my work makes a difference in the lives of others.
In the same vein, watching people become doulas who then go on to serve lots of families is incredibly fulfilling. What I say before attending a birth or facilitating a doula training is always, “Please let me have today, exactly what they need right now.” “
“There are so, so many, but here are two of my favorites…
Pictured right was a time when I was joined by a “co-trainer” during my workshop. This little one was visiting for a moment during the workshop that was being hosted in her home, and she came right up in the middle of my teaching, plopped down her “birth” ball and started teaching with me, to a room full of at least a dozen new doulas! It was priceless! She is clearly a natural born leader and is now headed into her teen years.
I also am often taken back to a workshop we held in Nashville, TN in 2019. We had just completed a really good, yet hard conversation about the state of maternity care, the health disparity and inequity in US birth among people of color who have higher maternal and infant mortality rates. The conversation was honest and real, and in the end, there were embraces all over the room. There was a true desire to hear one another. Real passionate people, who care and want to be a part of change. We have much work to do to impact maternal health, and together, we can make a difference. This image reminds me of that each time I see it.”
On a personal note…
Favorite Vacation Spot?
“Beach…although we did go skiing a few years back and that was pretty amazing as well. I love any kind of vacation that exposes my kiddos to something new!”
Things you wish you could do more often?
“Visit with family! My kiddos have recently both moved to college, so time together is precious. I have a very large extended family including lots of adult cousins that we are intentional about being in relationship with. I also have a bunch of nieces and nephews and they are just one of my favorite parts of life!! Our big family fills my cup and helps me to do this work of service to others as a doula and educator. ”
How do you recharge?
“Spending time with family,(immediate and extended), cooking/baking in my kitchen, enjoying a glass of red wine (especially with loved ones), and taking bubble(actually salt) baths…to name a few. One of my favorite things to do is to be filled with inspiration is to attend conferences both in my profession and personally. I have had the privilege to attend several birth-related conferences(DONA/Lamaze) and as many faith-based conferences(Mops/Orange/Womenoffaith). I leave these learning opportunities ready to take on the world and be uplifting to those in my circles of influence.”
“Steak, most things Mexican, Tomatoes, all things chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate fondue….(did I mention chocolate?)”
Least favorite foods?
“Almost all condiments! To know me, is to know that I detest Mayo, Mustard, Ketchup, and Vinegar… Summertime picnics can be a challenge!”
What are some things that are on your life “bucket list”?
“Oh, I love this question…it makes me think of all that is yet to come in my life! So- here goes….. learn to play piano; go back to college(midwifery maybe?); fit into a size 6(not likely ); perfect my chocolate cake ;make a mean from-scratch lemon meringue; own a beach house; raise compassionate, well rounded faith-filled kids who grow up to care for others and to make a difference in the world around them; and last but not least- be the best wife, mom, sister, daughter, doula, cousin, niece, educator and friend I can be!”
What do you want people to know about you?
I’m me. 🙂 I value true, real, authentic, loyal, and honest relationships in all that I do. I love this work, I love mentoring others and I feel that what we are doing truly makes a difference. And…I like to have a little FUN!
I feel very lucky to be able to work with expecting families and new doulas, and I own my part in the responsibly to help nurture and grow our industry for the future of maternal healthcare.”
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead