Anchorage Alaska Birth Services
DO YOU KNOW THE DOULA?
Hi and welcome!
I’m Shanna. It rhymes with Hannah, not Donna… and nope, not Shannon. My sweet mom saddled me with a name that’s a pain to explain. Anyway, enough of that. I’m so glad you’re here! Whether you’re pregnant and considering a birth doula, interested in postpartum doula support, or looking for information on becoming a doula yourself, I’d love to meet with you and encourage you on your journey. Let me tell you a little bit about me and why I’m a doula, and why I love being Alaska Birth Doula, and owner and operator of Anchorage Alaska Birth Services.
First and foremost:
I absolutely love supporting women through pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. It is my passion; breath and life to me. It makes my soul sing, and I still can’t believe I get paid to do this amazing work.
It is an honor. A privilege. A blessing.
- I was inspired to become a doula when I was pregnant with my second child, in 2006. I had read the “birth bible”, Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth and recognized through the beautiful stories that the support of someone who knows and is comfortable with the natural progression of labor during birth is priceless. The soothing words they would speak, and the physical support through massage and touch were obviously so beneficial to the laboring women. I knew I wanted to experience that.
- My first doula baby was born in 2009. I had dipped my toes into birth work, inquiring with a doula friend about her experience, and I was asked if I’d like to shadow another doula as she supported a laboring mother with her first birth. While I had experienced 3 births of my own at that point, I’d never witnessed someone else giving birth in person, and to be truly with a woman, breathing with her, speaking words of encouragement and peace to her, bawling along with her when her wet and wailing baby girl was placed on her chest… I was never the same. I had to do this work. I was made to do this work!
- My own four births shaped me as a woman and as a mother. Birth matters. The way we are made to feel when we experience birth matters. It is important that a laboring woman be given the information she needs to be in control of the many decisions to be made during her birth. We may not remember every detail of each birth, but we will always remember the way we felt; whether we were supported, listened to, trusted, and empowered.
- I believe in birth. ALL birth. Natural birth. Medicated birth. Vaginal birth. Cesarean birth. Hospital birth. Birth Centers. Home birth. I believe women are uniquely, intricately, wonderfully designed to give birth, and I also believe in a woman’s right to decide she wants to birth with augmentation or medication. I will provide information; benefits, risks, advantages, and disadvantages. Ultimately, I believe in supporting women energetically, emotionally, physically, and with the information they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their babies.
- I love being woken up to attend a laboring woman. Yep. I’m on call most of the time. That means no wine with dinner (or just a sip!) Having my cell phone on at all times and never being without it. Making sure camping spots are within an hour’s drive of my client’s birth space, and that I have phone service! (Oh, Alaska…) Having my doula bag packed and with me. I get a thrill every time I get a call that starts out “I think I might be in labor…”
- Last but not least, I love coffee with lots of cream and sugar. And chocolate, especially when it’s surrounding or coupled with peanut butter. And wine — my favorite way to celebrate a birth, right before I take a nice long nap!
I am a doula. It’s not just what I do. It’s who I am, and exactly what I was made to be.