Meet Kelsey, our newest Certified Postpartum Doula!
1) What did you do before you became a doula?
I have always secretly been a doula, just in other facets. Before becoming a doula, I ran a mental wellness day center in northern California, and I also worked at an emergency youth shelter looking to reduce rates of domestic violence, child abuse, and human trafficking.
2) What inspired you to become a doula?
I have an educational background in both holistic healthcare and Western medicine, and when I learned about doulas, I considered the role a bridge between the two worlds. I was taken with the concept, and the doula community was supportive as well as informational about how to get involved.
3) Tell us about your family.
We are spread far and wide throughout the country! I’m fortunate to have nearby friends and a community with whom I am very close, including living with two elementary school teachers who I’ve known since college. I’m an only child, raised by my father after my mother died at an early age.
4) What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
Toss up: I recently rediscovered my affection for the desert (think Horsheshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Zion), but I think my ultimate retreat is intruding upon the silence of the redwood forests.
5) Name your top five bands/musicians and tell us what you love about them.
- Nahko & Medicine for the People: While I enjoy also his style of music, he’s my number 1 because his message is deeply aligned with many of my personal visions and values.
- Maps & Atlases: They’re one of those bands that has stuck around with me through the years; I enjoy their unique sound and style. While I don’t listen to them much anymore, they’re like coming home to distant family.
- St Paul and the Broken Bones: One of my favorite memories is dancing to them live at a music festival in Napa Valley. They are such a fun and lively bunch of humans, and they are willing to go into those deep feelings with levity at heart.
- Tank and the Bangas: I guarantee if you watch their NPR Tiny Desk concert (it’s on YouTube), you will understand.
- Miguel: He might not actually be one of my all-time favorites, but his music just gives me all of those lovey-juicy-gooey feels and I’ve been really enjoying dancing to it lately while unloading the dishwasher.
- Bonus: To be transparent, I believe I have to admit here that my guilty pleasure shower singing go-to is Ariana Grande.
6) What is the best advice you have given to new families?
Pace yourself. I definitely didn’t come up with this pearl of wisdom myself, but I think it’s a very important reminder to new parents. There are voices coming from so many different directions, asking how soon things can happen, and it can be distracting (and sometimes disheartening). When that ungrounded feeling begins, it’s important to notice it, sit with it, and take a step back so as not to lose ourselves in the rush of transition.
7) What do you consider your doula superpower to be?
Being a communications jedi! It can make all the difference in a conversation when another person is present to listen and reflect back; I think doulas bare the gift of being able to pull out deeper truths in many conversations because they are reading how you say things as well as what you’re saying.
8) What is your favorite food?
Favorite?! I could never! I like Indian, Thai, Lebanese, Spanish, Eritrean; whatever I can find. After living in a co-housing community for a few years, I also came to appreciate cooking like an American farmland hippy.
9) What is your favorite place in West Michigan’s Gold Coast?
Grand Rapids, though I’m still exploring! I lived in Allendale when I went to Grand Valley, but moved away quickly after graduating. Upon my return to the Gold Coast this fall, I’ve noticed an abundance of growth and development throughout the city; I love exploring all of the neighborhoods’ new-to-me treasures.
10) What are you reading now?
“Natural Health after Birth” by Dr. Aviva Romm. I have much admiration for Dr. Romm’s newsletters and podcasts, and her postpartum information does not disappoint! I find her information is based in both holistic healthcare and Western medicine.
11) Who are your role models?
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Alan Watts, Paul Hawken, Elizabeth Davis, Amy Gordon, Elizabeth Gilbert, Alex Atala & my Sonoma County doula sisters.