Local Doula Spotlight: Karen Schultz launches Filia Birth Services
I have this wonderful platform to share when my friends do great things–and I get to share it with you, lovely readers! My girlfriend Karen is one of those warm souls you meet and immediately want to just go to get a hot cocoa with and talk and talk. She’s mellow but passionate, gentle but intense, and happens to have been a practicing doula for quite a while now.
She’s officialled herself as Filia Birth Services (not a word? sue me!). We got to do a little Q&A about what she’s up to, what this is all about, and why you want to contact her when you’re expecting for her expert & loving guidance through the birth journey.
With no further ado: I give you: Karen.
Tell us a little about your new venture of Filia Birth Services. How did it come to be? What drew you into the birth world?
Over the past several years, many friends have had babies, and I’ve had the privilege of walking alongside them and learning from their experiences. What I’ve found is that regardless of the circumstances of labor (e.g. how long or short the labor was, or whether they had a natural or medicated birth, or whether they welcomed their baby vaginally or via C-section) their overall perception of the birth and of themselves hinged on one factor–how supported they felt in labor. A labor may have been long and arduous, but if the mama was surrounded by a loving partner and one or two knowledgeable, compassionate labor companions, the overall experience left the her feeling capable, beautiful, and strong.
Conversely, a labor may have been short and without major complications, but if the attending provider was curt or if an intervention was pushed without giving mama and papa a real chance to consider their options, the mama was left feeling essentially “less than,” as if her thoughts and her intuition about her body and her baby didn’t really matter. Over time, I began to file these experiences away in a corner of my mind, and slowly began to perceive a need in our culture for wise, compassionate women to offer support to other women in childbirth.
I just wasn’t sure how to fill that need! I considered studies to become a midwife, but my busy career teaching high school science didn’t really afford me the time to think that option through.
It wasn’t until I returned to my home state of Minnesota to be closer to family that I had the time to consider working in the birth field. I began to be drawn to work as a doula, because it allowed me to be solely focused on the needs of mamas, trusting medical staff (e.g. OBs, midwives, and nurses) to monitor the health of mamas and babies.
I took my certification course in the fall of 2012 and attended my first birth that New Year’s Eve (a beautiful Hypnobirth). I was hooked! I realized that as a doula I really could “mother the mother,” and be part of a movement that brings about happier births and stronger families. What a gift!I also came to learn that while the women I serve come from totally diverse backgrounds, our one unique bond is that we are all daughters who benefit from the loving presence of a doula during labor. Filia, the Latin word for daughter, thus became my business name–and my mantra!
What do you bring to a birth that’s uniquely you? What’s in your doula trick bag?
What I hear most often from my clients is that they value my calm, gentle presence. We know, scientifically as well as intuitively, that fear in labor only slows down the birthing process, causing stress for mom as well as for baby. I think my presence at labors–through my touch, my voice, and my suggestions of movement or changes of position–offer necessary reassurance to both moms and dads during the birthing process.
Every birth is different because every baby is different and every mama is different, so my “tricks” (e.g. Hypnobirth relaxation, massage, counter pressure, essential oils, the Rebozo, etc.) change frequently depending on what the situation demands. But one “trick” that never changes is my calm and constant presence.
How has attending births affected your perspective on life in general? What else will you incorporate into your love of life?
Ah, great question! Whenever I leave a birth I think I carry with me an awareness that the world has been made new again. A life that began in the womb enters the world so full of hope and promise. It gives me so much hope to bear witness to those moments, and to know there is more love in the world after a birth than there was before–how great is that!
It is with that hope that I am pursuing a couple of other goals: I will begin studies to become a certified Natural Family Planning practitioner in the fall. NFP is a beautiful way to space pregnancies according to our own rhythms of fertility. I also intend to become certified as a lactation consultant. I grew up with a proud La Leche League mama and believe every woman should be offered support and resources to nourish her baby at the breast.
How can families contact you and learn more about the unique services you provide?
I welcome the opportunity to meet a mom and her partner for an informal “get-to-know-you” meeting so that they can learn firsthand about the services I offer and determine whether or not we would be a good fit.
Many thanks to my dear friend Nell and the Whole Parenting Family blog for allowing me to share my story! Blessings to you, mama!
I’m so happy to be able to share about your great work with our birthing community!