Hi, I’m Kendra!
People often ask me, “What kind of doula are you?” In reality that is an immensely detailed response, but I like to say, “The nurturing, empowering, educated, and you better kegal or you’ll wet your pants laughing kind!”
For me, becoming a doula was a process that began with the pregnancy and birth of my first child. Like many, I was a first time mom who researched and read, joined online mom forums, Facebook groups, and attended classes until my eyes crossed. I felt informed and ready for my natural childbirth I had planned.
Like many, I also was a victim of obstetric abuse and forced into an unnecessary cesarean section. I was told horrifying statistics and lied to about the health of myself and my child. Placed in a position of fear and under the cohesion of what I believed to be authority figures, I was wheeled to the OR with no other options. I was told not to cry and was so heavily drugged I could not hold my baby after my surgery without support from a nurse and my husband. My baby was taken from me, and against my wishes to breastfeed given more formula than a newborn stomach is capable of handling. As the cascades continued my daughter was also found to be slightly premature and was admitted to the NICU.
All of these events and many others over the next few months were all due to a lack of support and advocacy in the moments I needed them the most. Over the next few weeks we struggled with breastfeeding, exhaustion, panic attacks, and flashbacks of my treatment in the birthing process. People told me, “At least your baby is healthy!” over and over. I felt broken and I just pushed forward and tried to be the mom I thought I had to be.
After about 6 months of worsening flashbacks and extreme bouts of anxiety, I sought a therapist and began to heal. I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety (PPA) and PTSD from the birth experience I had. I had never heard of these conditions and was given no information from my care providers about them. I felt lost, confused, and alone in a process that I thought I had done all the right things to avoid.
Fast forward to two years and two months from the day of my daughter’s birth and I was proudly smiling over my son. This experience was vastly different and a very healing VBAC! So many things attributed to my birthing experiencing being so different, from the midwifery care, to my bad ass doula, my involvement in ICAN Central Florida, and finding my own voice to make choices that felt right for me.
The support I had in my second birth is what made all the difference in my experience. Realizing that a doula and the right team makes a birth made me choose my career path in birth work! My own births created a doula.
Today, I’m a DONA trained doula and a certified Hypnobabies® doula. I have an immense passion for those birthing to finding their voice and power. I believe mothers should feel a certain bliss during birth. When creating my company, Happy Waves Doula Services, I knew there was another way to give birthing people that support to create their own ideal birth!
“Happy Waves” are what birthing people experience during their birthing time. They are powerful surges of happiness that bring a baby into a new parent’s arm and change their life. Being a doula allows me the privilege of serving these people in their journey. That privilege is my passion and my mission.
As a mother of two, I also enjoy baby wearing, cloth diapering, am an extended breastfeeder, birth-nerd, a total nutrition nut, chocoholic, and coffee lover! On a normal day I can be found listening to birth podcasts as I drive to the beach, in the kitchen making my famous lactation cookies for a new mama, or out for a run with my littles in the double jogger to keep my body strong and healthy! And if I am not doing my mama bear gig… you better believe I am out supporting someone in their birth or loving on a new family as they navigate their new normal.
I not only love serving families in their pregnancies with research and evidence based care, I also enjoy allowing my birthers long luxurious naps, long hot shower, great home cooked meals made with clean ingredients, and time to relax as I do some lite cleaning and chase around their kiddos. Having a child takes a village. As your doula, I join your village on day one, and am part of your village for the rest of your life! I got you!