In 2011, I received my kids yoga certification from Kaia Yoga, quickly followed by my 200-hour yoga teacher certification in 2012 from Yoga Haven. In 2013, I left my full-time art teaching position after eight years to teach yoga full time. I knew right away that I wanted to teach prenatal, but at the time, the certification opportunity did not line up with my life. So, I asked Kelly if I could simply sit in the back of here prenatal yoga class to watch, learn, and be in the presence of pregnant women. I observed such a magical energy that surrounds pregnant women, and I noticed that the "glow" people always talk about is real!
Coincidentally, around this same time, my cousin was pregnant with her first baby and she was attending Kelly's prenatal yoga class. One day, after class, my cousin said, "You know Jacqui, I think you would make a very good doula." I thought, "What's a doula?" Little did I realize that a seed was planted.
When Kelly offered a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training, I jumped on the opportunity. I certified as a prenatal yoga teacher in 2014. Soon after this training, Kelly pulled me aside and said, "You're going to be my back up doula." "Your what?" There was that word again, but this time I had to dive deeper into it. Kelly and I discussed at length what my new role was, and how to support a woman in labor. I've been working hand in hand with Kelly and apprenticed with her, co-supporting births since January 2015. In February 2016, I attended the DONA doula training which reinforced all the amazing things Kelly has shared in practice with me.
Being an artist, I view the human body as a work of art, and body movements as an art form. The same holds true for a woman in labor. The trust in her own body, to create movements, gestures, sounds that are natural and feel right, just as a paintbrush moves over a canvas uninhibited. The beautiful natural spiral the baby creates as s/he descends.
I love my role as a birth doula, a mother's companion. Sometimes I view myself as an artist's assistant. I simply bring the tools: from yoga poses, to breathing techniques, and simply remind the laboring mom how to use them. Birth is a beautiful process that creates a masterpiece, a newborn child. How magical is that?