Jessica Buell, CHOICE Apprentice and Monitrice, Birth Doula, IBCLC Intern, Placenta Encapsulation Specialist
It has taken me quite a long time to figure out my path as a Doula. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing with a minor in Sociology from Otterbein College in 2004. I then moved to Canterbury, England to study Women European Writers and Political Propaganda in WWII, receiving my Master of Arts in European and Comparative Literary Studies in 2006. However, I have been involved indirectly in childbirth, homeopathy, breastfeeding, and childcare since I was a toddler. I was raised in a household that is fully supportive of natural ways of living and absolutely believes in a woman’s ability to birth babies naturally. When I was 2 years old, my mother even apprenticed as a CHOICE midwife until she found her calling as a Lactation Consultant. I have been exposed to and have learned much about birth and breastfeeding through my mother’s business. I remember fielding phone calls from her Lactation clients and setting up appointments for breast-pump rentals when I was 8 years old. Throughout my life, I have always been someone that my friends (and friends of friends) have come to for information about the female body and reproductive system. I find educating these women very fulfilling. I am passionate about the need for this kind of education and support because society seems to have moved so far away from knowing how the human body works. However, it was the birth of my daughter in 2007 which led me to begin thinking that this might be my path. She was a planned CHOICE homebirth, but after many hours of intense labor, I felt that I could no longer cope and I decided to transfer to the hospital. It turned out to be a blessing because of complications after her birth, but it was also very traumatizing for me. Through putting the pieces of my labor and delivery together and becoming educated about all of the ways in which women are demoralized and traumatized by the standard of practice in hospitals, I decided that I wanted to make a difference for women in childbirth. This decision led me back to CHOICE, where I began volunteering in August 2009 and took the DONA Birth Doula training in December 2009. Through my research of different Birth Doula training programs, I discovered that many families need extra support in the postpartum period. I decided that my care should not end at the birth of the new baby. In order to do this, I took the ICEA Postpartum Doula training in October 2009. This training allows me to help families in the postpartum period by offering support in the home. I help with light housekeeping, infant care, older sibling care, errands, meal preparation, breastfeeding, and education about parenting choices. I find this work very fulfilling, as it is a much needed source of support for new and expanding families. I am also currently working on an apprenticeship with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I am excited about this work as well because I think it is another area of support that is lacking in our community. Current birth practices and the lack of breastfeeding education amongst labor and delivery nurses make for a difficult start to successful breastfeeding relationships. I believe that having access to an IBCLC is important and I look forward to being able to offer this service to my clients. In my free time, I enjoy getting together with family and friends, cooking, baking, knitting, watching movies, and travelling. I am currently learning about herbs and how they can be used for lots of purposes. I am also very interested in learning how to homebrew beer.