I’m Stephi Anderson (she/her), an experienced professional doula and childbirth educator since 2013. This is what I believe about birth: It matters.
It doesn’t matter whether you want a scheduled cesarean birth under general anesthesia, or an unmedicated water birth in the forest with owls. You should be able to choose the setup that matches with your definition of safety and with your goals. You should also be made aware of how each choice impacts future choices, in a way that makes sense and isn’t overwhelming. You should know what backup measures to have in place. You should be able to understand what is within your control and what is not. You should be able to have collaborative conversations with your care providers, and know that they hear you and you hear them. You should be able to set boundaries around your body, and be respected as a whole, complete human, separate from the fetus you carry and equally valuable.
If any of these are lacking, there can be consequences for your mental or physical health, and those consequences can also impact your newborn. A doula’s primary job is to help ensure that all the pieces are in place for you to feel safe and autonomous. Our secondary job is to help you recover if something falls through. The most important resources I have are the ones that help us find you again after birth. I love when we don’t need them, but they’re always just a text away.
I believe more now than I did when I began that there is no substitute for training and continuous education in the field of birth support. I have trained with multiple doula organizations, including:
- Doula Trainings International
- Bebo Mia
- Birthing Advocacy Doula Trainings
- Cornerstone Doula Trainings
- Labor Enabler Apprenticeship program
- Body Ready Method
Even with my decades of personal and professional experience, I continue to seek out new opportunities and perspectives. As I explore training opportunities, I ask myself crucial questions about what will make a real and tangible impact on my clients’ birth experiences. I take trainings that:
- Recognize and address the racial disparities that exist within obstetric and midwifery care.
- Embrace the infinite ways gender can exist in the birth space.
- Understand what reproductive justice truly means.
Alongside my formal training, I have gained invaluable wisdom by working with truly exceptional birth workers in my community. Their collective expertise has enriched my understanding of birth and reinforced my dedication to providing quality support tailored to your well-being and goals.
When I step into a birthing space, I bring my accumulated knowledge, compassion, and unwavering commitment to your journey. I also bring the product of all of our prenatal time together: a deep understanding of you, your priorities, and what this birth means for you.
I am here to guide you in taking meaningful steps towards an experience and outcome that truly aligns with your priorities and values. Drawing upon my years of experience, I offer you a valuable perspective and a wealth of knowledge as your unique birth story unfolds.
Throughout your birthing process, my role is to empower you to make informed decisions in the moment, ones that resonate with your intuition and leave you with a sense of confidence and contentment. With my support, you’ll feel equipped to navigate each decision point, knowing that you are making choices that truly align with your well-being and personal goals.
It’s important to me to spend time with my clients, over several prenatal visits, talking about the big and the little things. This time together means that in the laboring space, I’ll know what you need before you tell me, both mentally and physically. I’ll also know what support is best provided by me, and what you’d prefer to receive from your partner, family members, or care team. I coordinate everyone around you, so you can labor in peace knowing your space is protected.
I support families in a variety of unique birthing scenarios: unmedicated, high risk, surgical interventions, epidurals (planned and unplanned), home, hospitals and birth centers. I specialize in facilitating communication between you, your family, your support team and your medical team, ensuring you are heard and respected throughout your process.
At the end of the day, I want you to treasure the work you’ve done, not because of the boxes we checked, but because you prepared and you advocated and you never abandoned yourself. As your doula, I will remind you again and again that you and your body are worthy of care. I will show you how to care for yourself through gestation and into postpartum.
I became a parent as a young single mom without a voice. It was lonely, disempowering, and very hard. I worked to build my community, to set boundaries, and to renew faith in my ability to parent on my own terms–to break the mold. Now I raise my five kids with my husband (and we break all kinds of stuff).
I signed up to train as a doula pretty much the minute I accidentally learned what one was–while hopelessly Googling “How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?” and “What happens if you can’t get your baby circumcised?” (This was after 9 years of parenthood and with my fourth newborn crying in my lap; I certainly struggled.) I have birthed with an epidural and without, in hospital beds and in my bedroom at home, with OB/GYNs and with midwives. After becoming fully aware of the support around me as a doula, I was even finally able to achieve my personal goal of exclusively breastfeeding with my last baby.
There isn’t a right way to birth and care for a newborn. I’m here to help you find your way.
That’s my story. I’d LOVE to hear yours.