Who’s Your Doula? (My first birth as a doula)

In November 2011, I completed my DONA doula training at BiniBirth. The training with Ana Paula was fascinating. My mind burst with excitement about the new opportunities and ideas that were coming to mind, while my heart burst with joy and love for all the mamas who were about to embark on a journey of a lifetime. Then in January 2012, I became a hypnobirthing© doula after taking a class with Alisha Tamburri.

As I work on obtaining my DONA Doula Certification, I feel that the new knowledge and experience I gained, greatly complement my work as a childbirth filmmaker. Now I can do both or either, and for the first time, I will have BACKUPS for my doula work. What a magical word that is – backup. It’s something I’ve never had as a filmmaker, but as a doula, I’ve married into a huge loving family of women.

The day I completed my doula training, at the DASC Annual Gala.

My first birth as a doula!

Just a couple of weeks ago, Yana Katzap-Nackman, a doula and friend, invited me to shadow her at a birth. I was honored to work with Yana and the young couple who welcomed me into their journey.

Mama was amazing, taking on her surges in full power and with full ownership. “It’s my body, my birth, and my pain,” She announced. She knew what she wanted, wasn’t afraid to voice it, stood for her rights as a woman and mother, and did not allow things to just happen to her. She’s pretty new to the USA, and at times she wasn’t sure what the medical team was saying to her, so she would answer in Hebrew loaded with humor, slang, and Israeli hutzpah. Yana and I were cracking up. I forgot how funny births could be when all inhibitions go flying out the open window. Those were some of the moments that made me wish I was filming the birth because even I don’t remember all the and rich details now.

Papa took on the role of “Director of media and communications.” He had both his and her parents on skype using his iPad. From the home to the hospital, they were there the whole time. I even had a moment to chat with his mother while Yana was in the shower with Mama. Some say that technology stops us from connecting with one another in a real way, but at moments like this, technology became the greatest gift these grandparents could ask for, second only to their beautiful little granddaughter. It also gave Papa something to do, which made Mama very happy.

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The medical team was very supportive of the mother’s wishes. She wanted to go natural all the way if she could, and they did what they could to help her with her choice. There’s this unspoken dance that goes on between the medical team and the doulas, a bit of give and take, which could look like a gentle waltz if done correctly. The other option would be some sort of break-dance I suppose…

Because Mama’s doctor was not at the hospital at the time, we were lucky to get one of the midwives, who I was delighted to meet. Midwives are these precious women who are a gift at any birth.  With the midwife there, the possibilities were endless and the allowances – greater. 😉

Being at a birth as a doula is quite different than being there as a filmmaker, not only physically, but emotionally as well. While filming, I dance around quietly, unobtrusively, my little video camera becomes a curtain of sorts that allows me to do my work and keep focused. As a doula, the dance is WITH the mom, full force, hands-on, no barrier, be it gentle as a feather or powerful and grounded as a sequoia.

Mama did her job, and we supported her journey. She birthed her little girl like the superwoman she is. The pushing phase got intense, there were moments where she thought she couldn’t do it, but she did. Un-medicated and without intervention all the way.

Papa had all the grandparents on hold in the corner of the room, the iPad audio was off, but I could see them eagerly waiting for the birth of their granddaughter. Once she was born, papa resumed the cyber party and proudly showed off his amazing wife and beautiful little baby girl.




Yana asked me if I’ve ever helped a mother breastfeed. I never had. I haven’t even taken a course yet, or read any books about it, but I stepped in, listened to Yana, and remembered all the times I’ve seen it happen right in front of me.  This was all so very different than filming. I just love all aspects of my work and feel so lucky to be able to say that.

Blessings to you all.


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