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Meet the Doulas!

We are launching a new platform on our blog that will be interviews with Madison area birth service providers. Our mission is to help moms make strides in fitness, motherhood and life and hopefully these posts will help put you in contact with another service or contact that can help you. First up, meet Lumos Doula Services.

In their words, “We are a safe space. When it comes to options, we encourage you to explore, consider, try on- and we encourage plenty of space to change your mind too. We acre about how you feel about your decisions more than that you find the ‘right’ answer. We know you value your time, and we strive to make this experience stream-lined and personally tailored to your needs. We are experienced. We are organized. We are responsive. And we absolutely LOVE what we do”. Lumos is fearlessly run by a trio of Doulas- Riley, Alli and Lea. We sat down and got to know them a bit better and over the next 3 weeks you will see our interview with them- a few of the questions were gathered from the moms in Our Village!

First off, tell us your name and who you are a mom to.

I'm Riley and live near DeForest with my husband, Bill, and our three kiddos - Miles (7), Ezra (5), and Sylvia (3).

And we start each of our classes with an icebreaker, sooooo, if you could hire a personal chef or a housekeeper which would you choose?

This is a tough question! I think I would choose the personal chef. I like to cook when I have time and it doesn't feel stressful, but that is not reality most days. :)

How did you choose your path as a doula?

I have been fascinated by birth since high school when I had the opportunity to job-shadow a labor and delivery nurse and see a birth. I began working as a nursing assistant in labor and delivery during college and continued to do so (on weekends, holidays, and summers) after I graduated and began working as a Kindergarten teacher. After I had my first baby, I learned what a doula was and knew that was the path for me! This work combines my love of birth with my love of working with families and I feel so lucky to be invited to witness the transformation that families make throughout the pregnancy, birth,and postpartum time.

What training is involved for initial certification and for ongoing continuing education?

The doula training that I took was done here in Madison (we are lucky to have a world-renowned doula trainer living here in Madison!) and was a 3 day weekend of in-person training. Then, I had to do additional reading and writing, obtain evaluations from my first few clients and their care providers, and show evidence of having taken training in childbirth education and lactation. All of the documentation was submitted to DONA International for review and a few weeks later, I was certified! Every three years I have to submit documentation of continuing education in various formats in order to maintain my certification. I am also a Certified Lactation Counselor, which required a 40 hour in person course and a moderated exam in order to become certified, and also requires continuing education hours every 3 years.

How do you and your partners manage your schedules as moms yourselves?

I struggle with managing my schedule just like every other mom on the planet! One thing that has really helped has been working in partnership with Alli and Lea within Lumos. This allows each of us to have every 3rd week off-call, which means I can go out for a walk with my family and leave my phone behind or schedule necessary appointments and know for sure that I am going to be able to go to the appointment. It also helps to know that we have 3 levels of care for our clients so that if I have a sick child at home, Alli or Lea can jump in and we don't have to cancel on a client.

Tell us a little more about Lumos and your philosophy.

Lumos was really created out of the belief that families can really benefit from having a whole community of support around them throughout the childbearing year. Obviously, the work we do during a birth is important, but having support before and after the baby arrives is important, too. Sometimes, the kind of support that is needed is not support that we are qualified to give as doulas, which is why we have partnered with our amazing independent contractors who provide chiropractic care, prenatal yoga instruction, perinatal counseling, lactation consultation, and photography. Our philosophy really centers around our belief that there is no "right" way to birth or parent, but that each family deserves to feel informed, heard, and supported in their own unique decision-making throughout the process.

What percentage of work time is split between pre-birth, actual birth coaching, and postpartum on average?

Oooh, good question. In terms of hours, if a client took full advantage of our largest package offering, the breakdown could be:

~ 70-85 hours of prenatal contact (6-7 group prenatal meetings, 1 in-home prenatal meeting, 1 in-home sleep consult 1-3 hours of office visits, 10 hours of prenatal yoga/month for 6-7 months, 1-2 hours of chiropractic, 1 hour of perinatal counseling)

~ 3-24+ hours of birth and immediate postpartum support

~ 120+ hours of postpartum contact (2 hours of post-birth follow up, 9 hours of in-home postpartum support, 9 hours of overnight support, up to 100+ hours of Moonbeams group, 1-2 hours of in-home lactation support, unlimited attendance at lactation clinic)

How do you recommend clients interview doulas and figure out which one is right for them?

Choosing a doula is a personal process. In my opinion, the biggest consideration is finding the doula (or doulas) that you feel a strong sense of connection and trust with. The perinatal period is an intensely vulnerable time and is fueled largely by oxytocin - the hormone of love and trust and safety. Choosing a doula that you could envision helping you to create a safe, happy, supported little oxytocin bubble is ideal. Obviously, there are other factors that may play into the decision - cost, location, experience level, recommendations, etc. -, but the connection piece is really critical.

What qualities or training should someone look for when picking a doula?This can really vary based on the person looking for a doula. For some people, finding a doula who meets a certain criteria (certified, has attended 'x' number of births, within budget, also provides postpartum support, etc) is really important. But again, if the person who meets that criteria doesn't make you feel that sense of connection, then looking elsewhere is probably a good idea.

If you had to pick one thing, what is your favorite part about being a doula?

I think my favorite part of being a doula is the relationship that we get to build over time with our clients. When a client hires us early in their pregnancy and participates in our Moonbeams group through their baby's first year, we get to hang out for almost 2 years! That is a long time to get to know someone and watch a family grow and change and develop and it feels like such a privilege every single time.

Thank you so much Riley! Next week, we will hear from her partner Alli. Stay tuned!

And be sure to check out Lumos Doula Services for more details about their different class offerings and packages!