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About Me

In general (bio)

I was born in 1980, in Utrecht, where I studied for several years (medicine and social sciences) after growing up in the surrounding forest area. Part of my academic years I spent in  South-America, where I also traveled, learned to dance the tango and perfected my Spanish.

 

Upon coming back to The Netherlands I moved to Amsterdam, where I finished a master's degree in Media & Culture, and worked in various jobs related to culture and education, before meeting my Uruguayan partner Gerardo in 2006.

 

This led to a period of extensive self-development. I participated in an intensive clown course in Ibiza, Spain, and did a training in energy work and  healing, while accepting work that brought me what I needed in the moment, thus creating, as it were, my own school of life.

 

Between 2013 and 2019 Gerardo and I have had three children together. About a year after the third, I started my work as a doula.

How I became a doula

A wise woman from Mexico once told me that a midwife will become ill when she refrains from accompanying births. I am not sure whether this is true, nor if it also applies to doulas, but for me this statement was spot-on.


When I was pregnant with my third child, I was hit by a depression so heavy that the doctors thought it necessary that - during several months - I be admitted to hospital. A short time before the birth I was allowed to go home, where my son was born.
 

I was lucky enough to have a young, but very dedicated midwife assist me with my  pregnancy and birth at the time. It was she who at some point said to me: "Shouldn't you become a doula?"

I had played with this idea after my second pregnancy, when I was reorienting myself with regards to work, but somehow I had found all kinds of reasons and excuses not to choose that path. For who was I to think such a lovely profession could be mine? Or actually: was it really necessary to have a doula at one's birth?

Well, strictly speaking a doula might not be necessary, for many women are perfectly capable of giving birth on their own, but incredibly valuable: yes! That is what I experienced when a year after my son's birth I did a training and started to work as a doula. I was delighted about how meaningful I could be to clients. About how I could contribute to them being and remaining in charge during their births. About how I could contribute to their pain being bearable, or to them finding the strength to bear it. How I could help women and their partners make choices they felt good about. I was delighted about the love, the faith and the security I was able to offer them. This was who I was.

My vision

Having worked as a doula for a while, I started to understand why it had been so difficult for me at the time to answer to my calling. I think that in our culture there is still a lot of fear of the creative female forces that - as I see it - pregnancy and birth essentially are. After all, it is no small thing to be able to create new life and to bring it into the world.
 

I believe that in our society we tend to approach birth in a paradoxical way. On the one hand we often present it as something immense that needs to be managed and controlled externally, thereby conveying the message that mothers are unable to own and canalize their own creative forces. On the other hand we systematically downplay the magnitude of birth and the effect it may have on our lives by communicating that we are deviant if we need emotional support and time to process, integrate and heal.

A doula's job then, I think, is twofold too. On the one hand it is about making sure the forces of birth are respected. It is to ensure that a birthing person remains the centre of gravity of the birthing process and the one who ultimately decides what happens (and what does not) to her own body.

On the other hand, the doula's work is about making sure there is space for people to be vulnerable, without being judged as incapable. It is to ensure the birthing person is honored and given credit for their huge achievement and acknowledged for its impact.

 

In a time in which many women still experience their birth as a traumatic event because they feel they are not heard or seen, this is radical work which requires courage and persistence.

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