Updated: Mar 21, 2022
The Weekly Newsletter for Heart of Houston Birth and Wellness Friends and Families
Yesterday officially marked the Spring Equinox and I am here for it! With the exception of today, the weather has been so magnificent that my kids and I are already a few shades darker than we were a week ago. This week is also World Doula Week and you know how much we love doulas around here. In fact, keep an eye on our social media pages this week as we feature all the awesome folks we've had the pleasure to work with so far here at the birth center. While I admit I'm a little biased about doulas, I can say with complete certainty that Houston has some of the very best in the business. You'll get to meet one of my favorites in just a minute.
Y'all, next time Mary and I decide to take a few days off I'll be sure not to publicize it. Since last Tuesday we've had FOUR babies make their way into the world. We'd like to thank each little one for arriving single file and giving our team breaks in between! Tuesday the 15th Mary and Rickie attended the waterbirth of baby number three for one of our sweet families. This little guy is the tiebreaker in his family of five. On Wednesday Bethany and I greeted a little one in the back seat of his parent's car. Little guy had been pretty indecisive about his arrival date...until he wasn't! Papa was able to pull over about 10 minutes from the birth center and guide baby right into mama's waiting hands. I guess he just decided he was ready and nothing was going to stop him, not even Houston traffic! I'm very happy to report that this sweet family of three is doing well, but...their car, not so much.
No two labors are ever the same so baby number three decided she was going to build up some anticipation, you know, because nine months wasn't long enough already. This little one's parents worked long and hard to bring their kiddo earthside and after a few shift changes at TCH, she finally decided to make her entrance Friday the 18th. Finally, on Saturday morning another first time mama came ready to roar her baby into the world only one hour after they arrived at the birth center. Job well done everyone!
Doula are Dope
Obviously I'm pretty biased about doulas having served hundreds of families over my career in birth work as a doula, but let's be honest, doulas are F-ing amazing. As I'm beginning to dip my toes into the world of midwifery I am constantly reminding myself that the roles are worlds apart. Mary Love often distinguishes the roles of midwives and doulas like this: Your midwife is the friend that assumes the role of the navigator. They research and prepare for the entire trip, they know about all the interstate road work you might encounter and the best way around it. Your navigator knows which route to take so you end up at Buc-ee's clean bathrooms. Their goal is to get everyone in the car, driver and passengers, from point A to point B the safest way possible so they are continuously planning 2, 3 and sometimes 10 steps ahead.
The doula is your BFF. She's the one who has the best playlists and podcasts queued up. She know everyone's favorite road snacks and packs all the things everyone else forgot like hand sanitizer, good toilet paper and emergency hair ties. She calms you when your road rage peaks and sings out of tune to make you laugh. She's your ride or die and you will forever remember how amazing she made you feel. So if you're on the fence about whether or not you should hire a doula for your birth just imagine a road trip where you get to your destination safely but it's just not the same without your BFF along for the ride. (Originally from 2021 Bumpdate)
Meet Kathleen Wilson, Labor Enabler
1. Who are you?
Kathleen Wilson, Certified Labor Doula Women's Healthcare Advocate Founding Member of TLC Doula Group Owner Labor Enabler Doula Services Co-Owner Rebel Birth Education and Resource Haven Director Labor Enabler Apprenticeship Program
Mother, Wife, Daughter - She/Her
I am a founding member of TLC Doula Group, owner of Labor Enabler™ Doula Services and Co-Owner of Rebel Birth Education and Resource Haven. I have been a doula since 2003. I have attended over 1200 births and specializes in patient advocacy. I have taken several doula trainings and am also the founder of the Labor Enabler Doula Apprenticeship Program. I love working in all environments and with all care providers to ensure my clients have their best possible birth. I was married in 1997 to my very supportive spouse. I have four amazing children. I love to cook and travel. I am one of the luckiest people in the world. 2. How do you serve/help pregnant and pp communities?
I love helping families navigate the educational component of birth. Knowledge is power and gives you the ability to be an active participant in your birth. Most of my time is spent prenatally educating families for their birth and postpartum period. I first started by completing training with the Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators and then spent some time building a community for myself with TLC Doula Group. Later, I was able to co-found Rebel Birth Education and Resource Haven with Joli Ammons and provide educational opportunities to our diverse community. Finally, I founded Labor Enabler Doula Apprenticeship Program, allowing me to help prepare the next generation of amazing doulas. I love mentoring and educating new and current doulas, so everyone can feel safe and confident, not just while birthing, but while supporting birthing families. 3. How did you get into this line of work?
Activism is in my heart and advocacy was a natural transition. Before becoming a doula I worked as an environmental activist and a healthcare access advocate. After having my first two babies, I started talking to birthing people about birth and what I heard broke my heart. The people I spoke to weren't just dissatisfied by their birth, but broken by it. I heard birthing people say: 'I don't want to talk about it', 'I just want to forget it ever happened', 'They didn't listen to me', 'I was scared', 'I was alone.....'. I didn't think birth needed to be scary, I thought it should be magical, transformative, educational and powerful. I didn't know how to help women, so I started with examining the whole system and that is when I discovered patient advocacy and shortly after that doulas. It seemed magical to me - a job where I couldn't change it all for everyone, but I could change everything for one family. And I was born. I was born into a profession and a passion to help families experience empowerment and joy. 4. What you wish everyone knew about your area of expertise?
It's not magic! There is nothing out of reach to anyone who wants to have an empowering birth. It requires dedication, desire and adaptability. Education is everything. For people wanting to become doulas - it requires so much sacrifice, but it is a career path. This is not a hobby, it's a full time job. You CAN make a sustainable wage and live your passion for helping families. 5. What is most rewarding about your work?
I love so much of what I do, but I would have to say the most rewarding part is when my clients see that THEY can do it. Mostly people expect doulas to do the work, but I am about teaching people how to be their own advocate. Involving yourself in your healthcare decisions, learning to ask hard questions and have opinions means you are taking ownership. The empowerment that comes with that is liberating and joyful. 6. Tell us about something or someone you love. I can't do just one. I love my partners, because they allow me to be me. They allow me to take a breath, to cry, to mourn, to brag, to be joyful and exuberant. Building a team of doulas around you that share your belief and philosophy was the greatest gift I have ever given myself. Without them I would not be able to continue for as long as I have. My gratitude for the doulas who have held me up as I have moved forward with my practice is never ending and I hope they each know what an important role they continue to play in my life. They are my support, professionally and personally. I would like to name all of them here: Amanda Moore, Dorin Jordan, Jessica Gonzales, Rowan Twosisters, Joli Ammons, Rachel Stonebrook and Stephi Anderson.
My family - without the support of my spouse and children, I could never do my job. The encouragement and understanding they offer as I live my life, on call, caring for other families, is immeasurable. I am so grateful every day for their love and support. Dan, Chris, Kota, Gibson and Lola are my world and they wrap me up in love and gratitude every chance they get. My Lily - my first biological daughter, who was with us for such a short time. Born too early, during a crazy storm, with several heart defects. Lily taught me how to be an advocate. It was a skill I didn't know I would need, but caring for her is what allowed me to lean into doula work. I love and miss you every day.
Thank you Kathleen for all the amazing things you do for Houston families, you are so loved.
Postpartum Support Group: Wednesday 3/23 10am-12pm In person at Levy Park.
Postpartum Support Group on Zoom: Thursday 3/24 9:30-11:30 HOH zoom meeting room
Family Fun Day: Sunday 3/27 10am Houston Kite Festival at Hermann Park free and open to everyone. We'll meet on Miller hill by the sculpture and set up camp there. Bring your friends and family.
Pregnancy Group Core Class: Stages of Labor Sunday 4/3 in person. The doulas of Premier Doulas of Houston will join us! 2pm Review the stages and phases of labor and how to support the birthing person each step of the way. Partners/support persons are encouraged to attend.
Latch Clinic: Wednesday 3/30 10am HOH zoom room
Postpartum Support Group: Every Wednesday from 10-12ish and Thursday 9:30-11:30. Zoom link has been sent to all HOH clients and Whole Heart Collective members. Email Jessica if you need more information.
Queer Parent Circle: Second Sunday of every month 3:30-5pm Open to the public!
Birthworkers Circle: Second Sunday of every month starting Jan 2022 time 11am-1:30pm