Brit by accent, US-American by birth, helper by day, dreamer-schemer by night, inquiring by nature, mother of four by hook or by crook, slightly zany by coincidence: I'm Laura.
I'm a serial creator, beard lover, lapsed cloth diaper user, Craigslister and the handy one of the house. When I'm not busy helping families grow, I'm drinking tea, wearing "wellies" in the woods, punching down the pizza dough with excess glee, practicing violin with my kids, relishing the Divine Liturgy at my Eastern Orthodox (Christian) church, joking around with my husband or sitting with my notebook hatching wild ideas.
MA: Theology and Philosophy, Oxford University
Diploma of Higher Education: Antenatal Education, University of Luton/NCT
CD (recognized doula) Birth Consultancy/Doula UK
Trained Peer Supporter, Berwick Breastfeeding Support Group
NRP Provider* (Neonatal Resuscitation), American Academy of Pediatrics/AHA
* I am not a medical caregiver, but this competency would help me facilitate parents' resuscitation of their own baby in an emergency
Further specific training in: massage, baby massage, yoga,
active listening, breastfeeding support, Optimal Fetal Positioning
Member of: Birth Doulas of Racine & Kenosha (co-founder), Beautiful Birth
One of the first things a local person usually notices about me is my British accent. You would never guess that I am a native Californian. My family of origin moved from SoCal to England when I was little and settled outside London. Now that I am married to a native of Racine and we have moved back to his hometown to raise our own children, life has come full circle.
I met my husband while we were both living in Germany, and I've lived and traveled in many other countries as well, from Fiji to Serbia. My exposure to this fascinating array of societies has taught me that, wherever I am in the world, the way things are done is not the only way things can be done.
Each of my four children was born beautifully and simply at home, two in England and two in the States. I am full of wonder at the way in which this happened and at the lasting impact these experiences have left on me and my whole family. I wish that all people had the good companionship and quality information that enabled us to be so enriched by birth. This work represents my efforts toward that reality.
I have chosen birth work because I believe it is my calling, one of the things I was born to do.
My fascination with childbearing sprang alive during my first pregnancy. Like you're doing, I gobbled up all the information I could. What ensued was a magical birth. My labor began in its own good time (at 42w3d!); a Blue Moon provided its light; my husband held me in the birth pool; my sister braided my hair; my midwife caught our slippery nine-pounder; the friends who had loaned their house for a home birth brought food; and the world greeted our newborn boy with a thunderstorm.
If I were a fairy Godmother, I would give all new mothers the gifts that birth gave me: dignity, simplicity, a glimpse of my own capabilities, and a sense of the holiness of the moment.
I began to reach out and share what I had received with others, attending my first birth in 2005 and starting to train as a childbirth educator with Britain's National Childbirth Trust. During the two-year diploma process I realized that, although I love classroom teaching, my role is incomplete unless my help is ‘incarnated’ as a doula. I enrolled in a Doula UK training program and began to assist families outside the circle of my own family and friends. In 2008 I became certified as a childbirth educator, doula and breastfeeding peer supporter.
My practice has since moved to the midwestern US. I now have experience of working with women in many different situations, from uncomplicated home waterbirth to emergency Cesarean birth under general anesthesia, and in several countries.
My birth philosophy
I have enormous confidence in women as they grow, birth and care for their babies – and in babies, with their individuality, desire to thrive and surprising wisdom.
It’s my experience that… … giving birth can be enjoyable, healing, joyful and enriching
… a woman is often the greatest expert in her own body – even better than the pros
… change is always possible. If there are no good options, I can still change my attitude
It’s my belief that… … pregnancy is not an illness but a marker of health
… each person is a walking image of God deserving to be treated as such
… birth is a spiritual, emotional, familial, relational event, not just a medical one
It’s my hope that… … all babies will be brought into the world with reverence and celebration
… doulas will one day be obsolete, replaced by organic sources of skilled care
… all mothers will experience the transformative power of birthing with autonomy, support and respect
These are my own views, and I respect that yours may be different. I am happy to serve with equal respect all people, no matter what their beliefs about life or birth.