‘Helping you do you, in childbirth.’
That’s her motto and she’s sticking to it. Honestly, it always makes me smile when I hear it.
Around the time I began my photography business I heard Olivia, whom I’d met a few years before, was being certified as a labor doula. I emailed her immediately. If she was going to be a doula, and I was going to be a newborn photographer, then it seemed smart for us to sit down and talk business.
Since then our entrepreneurial journey has forged a wonderful business friendship that I truly cherish. We meet regularly to discuss business, our goals, and our dreams. I am so thankful to have her as my business buddy.
When I began this blog series, I knew I would feature this boss biz babe, because she is seriously making major waves in the birthing community. Perhaps you’ve seen her bright pink flyers all over town, or maybe you’ve checked out her Tuesday Tips on social media. You may have even heard about the Parent Trip which she organized with Sarah Fuller of Opus Lactation (If you haven’t, they’re doing another this October!). This lady is making big moves, and I’ve loved watching her grow as a doula and a business woman.
Olivia is one of the most caring, down-to-earth, and passionate people I know. I’m so excited to share more about Doula Olivia on this blog’s Women Warrior series.
The more I’ve gotten to know Olivia over the past few years, the more I see this woman is absolutely meant to be a doula. Her mother told me that when she came home from the hospital with Olivia’s baby sister, she looked at Olivia and said, “this is your baby.” You can see how Olivia took this to heart in a photograph hanging in Olivia’s home. She is three years old, holding her baby sister and looking at her with the most loving and protective gaze I’ve ever seen. It’s obvious she took her mother’s words very seriously.
Olivia’s mother was a doula herself. She was a labor sitter in Santa Cruz in the 70’s. In her own words, she describes it as, ‘hanging out with laboring people and distracting them while they give birth.’
So… being a doula is rooted in Olivia’s upbringing.
Olivia has always been the kind of person that is knocking on her friends’ doors when they announce they are pregnant. She brings food, rubs feet, and provides comfort because she is a supportive, caring human.
People always say, do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life.
What is a Doula anyway?
Doulas, women supporting women through childbirth, have been around for a very long time. And while it may look different today, this practice is alive and well.
The word is derived from a Modern Greek word meaning women’s servant. Doulas help people in labor have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience. Olivia describes her role as supporting people informationally, physically, and emotionally
Olivia is a fount of information about how you can prepare mentally and physically for birth down to which hospitals excel in certain types of care. Most importantly though, Olivia is accessible. The families she works with can reach out to her at any time to ask questions about: braxton hicks, mucus plugs, puking, prodormal labor, diaherra, etc. Being a resource to her clients and providing them with the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves, is incredibly important to her.
During birth, Olivia is in the room providing assistance. She can help position the pregnant person in order to ease the baby’s passage down through the birth canal, make contractions more effective, and help shorten labor.
Childbirth is one of the most emotional experiences in many people’s lives. It’s important that there is someone there prioritizing your emotional well being, not their own. This emotional support extends not just to the person in labor, but also to their partner and other family members involved in the birth.
Olivia’s Doula Journey
Out of college, Olivia worked in theater, managing productions, stage, actors etc. While she stays involved in this field, she knew that there was something missing in her professional life.
It was around this time that Olivia picked up a book at Powells written by a birth worker in the 50s, 60s & 70s. It led her to take a doula workshop where she fell in love with the work. It’s unsurprising that she followed in the footsteps of her mother.
One of the things I admire most about Olivia is her approach to doula care. She firmly believes in doing what is best for each family. She’s not there to tell you what to do, she’s there to support the decisions you make for you and your family.
Olivia says, “There’s this perception that if I get a doula, then I’m signing up for all this other stuff. But, I want to change that ‘if, then’ statement to, if I want a doula, then I should get a doula. And that’s it. Period. End of sentence. It doesn’t need to be a series of dominoes that starts with, ‘If I get doula, then I must have a vaginal birth, or then I must breastfeed, or then I must have an unmedicated birth’ It doesn’t have to have all of those ‘if, then’ statements with it.”
She goes on to say, “there is a doula for everyone. And there is a doula for every kind of birth. And if you are having your third scheduled C-section and you want support around your cesarean birth, then you can have that. It is equally valid for wanting to do. What she tells her clients is, “I provide informational, emotional, and physical support. So If you are having a situation where you could use some informational, emotional or physical support, then you can benefit from a doula.”
Doula Olivia Services
You can contact Olivia at any point during your pregnancy to discuss doula services. Around 30 weeks is the most common.
There are two prenatal appointments prior to labor in which you share a meal with Olivia. Most doulas don’t necessarily do their prenatal visits over a meal, but Olivia likes to share a meal with the families she works with in order to get to know them better. If you are going to have a baby with her, you might as well first share a couple of meals together!
After your baby is born there are 2 postpartum appointments that are scheduled where Olivia comes into your home to help you with whatever you need help with at that moment in time. She’ll wash your dishes, take out your trash, soothe your baby, etc. Again, she’s just here to help you do you. (Check out the photos below for proof!)
Head on over to her website for more information on her services.
Closing Thoughts from Olivia
‘There is a doula for everyone, and there are a lot of great doulas in this city and we are all really really different. If you’ve talked to a doula but just weren’t really sure about it – keep trying – keep talking to people. Because I’m not everyone’s doula. If you interview with someone else and you didn’t feel like you connected with them, then keep interviewing. If you interviewed with me and you didn’t feel like you connected with me. Let me know, and I will send you a list of other doulas. There is someone out there for everyone.’ ❤️
How to find Doula Olivia
You can find Doula Olivia at her website. Or you can find her on Instagram and Facebook @doulaolivia
Be sure to follow along on her social media handles because every Tuesday she puts out a new tip to help you through your pregnancy/birth experience.
Also, make sure you check out The Parent Trip – an awesome FREE event for expecting parents and families of young children, where you can come and meet local practitioners in a low-stakes atmosphere.
Questions for Olivia? Leave a comment below and we’ll get it answered for you!
Please enjoy these photos from one of Olivia’s postpartum appointments that I had the great pleasure of documenting as well as her new headshots I took for her!
Want to read about more Women Warriors in our community? Head on over the the first post in this series featuring Corinne LeBlanc of Portland Pediatric Acupuncture and the second post in this series featuring Ruth Braunhuber of FIT4MOM SE Portland/Happy Valley.