1. What brought you to becoming a doula?
Tina: My sister asked me to attend her first birth in the doula capacity, and without hesitation, I said yes. That experience had me question for the first time what the role of a doula actually is, and how to be an effective doula. It also shed light on the major gap in birth + postpartum care we have in our current society. When I found myself at a doula training in 2018, it hit me that my mission right now is to advocate for birthing people, hold their hand, normalize it all, and with my whole heart!
Danielle: I didn’t grow up knowing I wanted to do birth work, and never heard the word “doula” until my early twenties. I grew up socialized to value intellectual work over intuitive care work. So I actually tried to do the whole law school thing (only to realize “nope! definitely not meant to be!”) In school I volunteered as a crisis counselor for a community org’s crisis hotline. That work involved providing nonjudgmental, emotional and informational support; it was personal, intuitive and trauma-informed, and I felt far more suited to that than to legal practice. My friend Charlotte, a physician and doula suggested I look into becoming a birth doula. What a revelation: an avenue for intuitive, loving people to be companions and advocates through a profound life transition. After graduating in 2019 I moved back to NYC and immediately registered for birth and postpartum doula training. Whew! Thank goodness.
2. How has becoming a doula affected your life?
Danielle: Without a doubt the most empowering decision I’ve made in my adult life to date. I gotta be honest, the absence of a robust infrastructure in the US for a career as a doula is daunting. But trying to squeeze myself into the more familiar path of “lawyer” burnt me out before I’d even left school. Becoming a doula is revitalizing. I’m finally doing work and building community in line with my authentic personality, strengths, and values.
Tina: Becoming a doula has enriched my life in an activating way. Birthwork reflects back to me where the world is lacking. It’s brought me into a space of being a forever student by learning from my clients, other doulas, and midwives who have been doing this way longer than I have, and most importantly; having a greater awareness of the systems we exist in. The number one way becoming a doula has affected my life as a white cis woman is by guiding me towards becoming actively anti-racist, opening my eyes to racial disparities in childbirth, and the general lack of accessibility to healthcare + resources for all marginalized groups of people.
3. What are some of your favorite experiences so far as a doula?
Danielle: Building trust not just with my clients, but with their partners and children has made supporting those births even richer than I anticipated. I’m not at all competitive, but, earning the trust of partners and skeptical toddlers while they watch me physically support my client through labor and birth feels like a massive victory!
Tina: Feeding a blissed-out client soup in their bed while their baby latches for the first time, at a homebirth one month into the covid-19 pandemic.
4. How do you work together as a team?
Danielle: First and foremost, my doula partner @t.i.n.a.r.u.s.s.o RULES. Next, in terms of working as a team, Tina and I are navigating our partnership with a mutual commitment to consistent and honest communication. Every week we check in over Zoom, which is proving to be very grounding. We create and hold space for each other, which allows both of us to be our full selves. Also, Tina laughs at my jokes. And ultimately? That’s the kind of validation I need from a partner in any context.
Tina: With respect to each other’s time, our own time, and our clients’ time. We honor boundaries. We are nonjudgmental. We remain open to change. Our values couldn’t be more aligned, but personality-wise, our differences illuminate each other’s strengths. It’s been quite a partnership so far!
If you’re interested in booking Tina and Danielle (one of our beginner level teams), please go to https://www.nycbirthvillage.com/tina-and-danielle-beginner and book your free consultation.