As the oldest of eight to a single mother, I was always around babies and young children. I attended my siblings' births and each time it was an incredible experience. From caring for my brothers and sisters to my job choices, I grew up with a strong passion to help people. My first job was as a Certified Nursing Assistant in a nursing home, comforting the sick and the dying while doing my best to comfort their families. I loved the job but working so closely with people who were going to pass away was never easy. Each time someone passed away, I went home in tears. It became clear after about 2 years that while the job was important and meaningful, it wasn't something I could spend my life doing. Soon, I began working as a Youth Development Counselor with troubled teens in a residential setting. Some were abused or neglected at home and forcibly removed while others had drug abuse issues, theft or gang involvement. Every teen was different but one thing stayed constant...they all taught me life lessons. Those young men and women taught me so much about the strength of the human heart, the willingness to push past fear to grow and accept help, and love can come from amazing places if you're willing to be open and accept it. I stayed in that setting for eight years before I realized my calling.
I can't say much about my philosophy as every birth is unique. My goals change with every client so that I can best serve their needs. The needs of a client planning a homebirth is going to be very different from someone planning a gentle cesarean birth. Since birth is so unique, each family is supported as they make decisions that best suit their needs. Ultimately, my goal is for the laboring mother and her partner to feel loved, supported, and empowered throughout their journey. My skills and experience are used to enhance the knowledge, skills, and comfort level of the client and her partner. I want you to have the birth that makes you feel safest. I am a member of Plus Size Birth, who offer size friendly doulas to clients all over the world. I am also going to be beginning my studies as a Childbirth Educator and as a Certified Lactation Educator with the hopes of eventually becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Recently, I started a local pregnancy and infant loss support group (Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss, Inc..) chapter in Springfield. Along with my co-facilitator, we have monthly in-person meetings as well as an active online support presence. Everyone that has grieved the loss of a pregnancy, a baby born still, or a little one who passed shortly after birth is welcome to attend.
I love being outdoors and experiencing nature. I also am a self taught baker. I've made everything from gender reveal cakes to wedding cakes! I am married to a wonderful man who I have known since 2005. Sadly, we do not have children yet, however this is not by choice. In 2007, we were devastated by a miscarriage that was really hard for us. In 2017, we went through IVF. We were delighted when we were blessed with 4 embryos. We transferred 2, got pregnant, and miscarried. About 3 months later, we transferred another one, got pregnant, and miscarried again. We still have 1 in the freezer waiting for us but we are still healing from our losses and trying other things before we transfer our last little miracle. We firmly believe that we were meant to be parents and we know that it will happen for us. I love being a doula. I love that this is a profession that will never stop teaching me. With every birth, I learn something new. This profession will continue to challenge me and will keep me wanting to grow and learn throughout my career. Until it is my turn to experience this most sacred right of passage, it is my hope that I can be a source of strength and comfort to other women who's lives are being forever altered by childbirth. And, for now, I am content to learn and to grow as a woman and as a doula.
"She answered any baby related questions we had and has really made our 1st baby experience a smooth and easy experience. My husband and I definitely recommend her! I had such an amazing birth and I think it had a lot to do with being able to stay focused...and it's all thanks to her! My son recommends her too- because by keeping me calm and helping me through labor....My son was able to have a smoother birth. Thank you Kirstin!" -Y
Shanti Birth Services welcomes all families regardless of race, sexuality, gender, family structure, class, country of origin, religion, age, and/or ability.