Virtual Birth Doula - tracy hartley

How long have you been a doula?

Since May 1996.

Why did you decide to become a doula?

It was a calling! As I was getting ready to go to work one morning, there was a segment about doulas on The Today Show and, before the brief segment was over, I knew that I was going to be a doula. It’s been an amazing journey and I feel as passionate about the work now as I did that first day I heard about doulas.

What are your hobbies, passions, diversions, etc.

My family and extended family, my friends, listening to music or audible books, reading, sewing, being entertained by my dog and cat, working in my garden and, of course, talking about, reading about and attending births. I enjoy being active and involved in life. I’m also a bit of a computer geek and spend way too much time on the computer in my ‘down’ time.

What is your philosophy about birth?

My job is to help a pregnant person and their partner achieve the birth they want and to support the couple’s wishes and goals. I don’t make decisions for my clients and expect them to give birth in any particular way — I give my clients the information they need to make good birth choices and support their decisions.

I make 3 promises to each client: I will not let you suffer, I will always tell the truth, and nothing you can say or do in labor will disappoint me or hurt my feelings. 

The partner is the most important support person at a pregnant person’s birth, and my job is to help the partner be comfortably involved in the support process. I understand that a pregnant person’s memory of their partner’s participation is extremely important. 

A little something about your personal life:

I have two adult children and three mostly adult grandchildren. My son, Derek, is the co-host of the Derek & Romaine Show formerly on Sirius OutQ Channel 109 and XM OutQ Channel 98 and now the host of the Derek and Romaine 2.0 podcast. Derek & Romaine were named in the OUT Magazine list of the 100 most influential people of 2010. My daughter, Tiffany, is the mother of my three beautiful grandchildren; Alia, Echo and Kyler. She is an amazing high-end word processor and, in her spare time, crochets gorgeous beanies for adults, children and babies.

I was my daughter Tiffany’s doula at the births of my grandchildren — my 2nd, 196th and 240th births as a doula and the highlights of my doula career. If you’d like to see the cutest 11 second clip of Kyler, please go to his You Tube video.

I am a Motherless Daughter, adopted at birth and again when my adopted mother died when I was five. I have been happily reunited with my birth mother and my wonderful birth family.

Since early childhood, I have been an inventor and have created a few products for doulas. I also believe in sharing information, which accounts for the many handouts on my Resources and Links page. These handouts are available for all doulas to use with their clients.

Helping new doulas is very important to me. I have mentored several doulas through the years and offer a discount to clients who will allow a new doula to attend a birth with me.

For 15 years, before becoming a doula, I trained dogs to work for people with disabilities other than blindness. I have a special interest in working with women who are deaf or hearing impaired and used to know ASL pretty well, but if you don’t use it, it lose it!


I am a SAG member and do extra work between births — I’m always open to small roles and can be available at a moment’s notice (if I’m not at a birth or expecting to go to one soon). Perhaps you saw me in “Knocked Up” playing the role of the Lamaze Instructor or in a coffee shop scene in some episodes of “Samantha Who.”

I am the former webmistress, President, Secretary, Treasurer and am currently the Director of Membership of the Board of Directors of DASC (Doulas Association of Southern California).

What are your specialties, unique qualities, whatever... what might make someone want to hire you specifically?

I specialize in hypnosis for childbirth and have been trained by Marie “Mickey” Mongan of The HypnoBirthing Institute, Michelle Leclair O’Neill of the Leclair Method, and Timothy Trujillo, a wonderful local hypnotherapist.

I have attended almost 700 births since becoming a doula in 1996. I founded Birth Empowerment Support Team (B*E*S*T) to help pregnant people and their partners find the support they need to give them the best possible chance of achieving their birth goals.

Why do you spell your name in lower case letters?

When I was doing calligraphy, I learned how to write my last name as an ambigram — it looks the same rightside up as it does upside down! I had my name legally changed to all lower case letters when I was in my 20s.


tracy hartley