CarolAnn Braun, CD(DONA)
1. How long have you been a doula?
I became a certified birth doula (through the Doula Organization of North America-DONA International) since January of 2006. Although I am not a certified postpartum doula, I have also supported new families in baby care and breastfeeding since 2006 as well.
2. Why did you decide to become a doula?
Well, I can honestly say the reason why I become a doula was because I was blessed to have smelled that whiff of passion everyone talks about when they decide which career path to walk down. It was like the smell of freshly baked bread…unmistakable and undeniable (fellow food lovers know what I’m talking about). Spread a pat of life experience, and wha-lah…I’m on the road to LOVING what I do.
Since I was a small, inevitably I was the “pregnant Momma” during pretend play…and it’s no wonder, I grew up in a large Italian family and was constantly surrounded by expecting aunts or cousins. I don’t remember learning about how babies were born, but during a fun session of “house”, I would be the one shoving my stuffed monkey up my shirt, prancing around big-bellied and pretending to “Puuuuuush!” the baby out, feet in the air and all!
Fast-forward to 2004 when I knew I wasn’t walking the right path for me (Social Work, although it’s helped me base my doula practice upon a strong foundation), I stumbled upon the word “doula”. After devouring the DONA.org website, I couldn’t have signed up for the certifying workshop any faster!
3. What are your hobbies, passions, diversions, etc.
This question tends to make me giggle these days. Since my son was born in 2009, my hobbies have been on somewhat of a sabbatical. So besides play-dates and parks, I love to explore new places and hike/camp out. My husband and I always enjoyed seasonal sports, like snowboarding and wakeboarding. Traveling with family is always wonderful. My quiet hobbies would be reading, knitting and maybe doing a little gardening. And I can’t forget about tending our 3 chickens; Henley, Peep and Pearl. They are three funny broads to watch in action!
4. What is your philosophy about birth?
I believe pregnancy and birth are special times for a woman and her family. Every woman has her own unique and personal needs in terms of labor support, so I adapt my services to meet those needs. I am not (nor should any good birth doula be) opposed to medicated births. I believe each woman has the right to choose her own birth plan. My goal is to help her trust her instincts and “inner voice”, feel safe, and strive for a positive birth experience. I am present as a constant witness during her labor, offering reassurance, guidance, and support. I am especially careful that I am not there to take the place of her partner or others whom she has invited to her birth, but rather to facilitate everyone’s optimal involvement.
With regard to my postpartum philosophy:
I always like to start where the family is at and enjoy weaving my services into where the support is most beneficial. My ultimate goal is to gently guide new parents into their role, cultivating a sense of empowerment and confidence with their infant care. I truly feel every family is unique, meaning; the “one-size-fits-all” philosophy is just not my style. My own son drove that lesson home for me!
Mostly, I believe with all my heart that I am there to remind a woman in labor that what she is doing is amazing, that she herself is amazing, that birth is normal and natural and beautiful, and that she can do it.
5. A little something about your personal life.
I was born and raised in New England, then lived in Colorado where I met my husband, got married in California and have been in Los Angeles since 2004. We live near Toluca Lake and our son was born in 2009. He’s a pretty cool kid, if I do say so myself! Summertime is my favorite time of year when we travel to New Hampshire, where my family is blessed to have a beautiful lake house.
6. What are your specialties, unique qualities, whatever... what might make someone want to hire you specifically?
I’m just a really down to earth and flexible person. I can be very professional when appropriate but I’ve been told by previous clients that it’s my relaxed energy and considerate nature which makes them feel like we’ve known each other for years already. Although I have studied the different specialties we may use during the labor and the postpartum period (hypnobirthing, breastfeeding knowledge, acupressure/massage, etc.) I find clients hire me because they truly feel a connection with me.
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