Jessica began her interest in birth work as a young girl, listening to her mother’s stories. Her mother worked as a labor and delivery nurse for decades, and this instilled in Jessica a respect and awe of birth from an early age. The very first births that Jessica attended were with her mother while doing medical service work in Honduras, the impact from witnessing that power and beauty, in those conditions, has changed the course of Jessica’s life forever.
What sets Jessica apart?
Jessica specializes in the intersection of trauma and birth. But what does that mean? Many people have previous traumatic experiences throughout their lives, and these can strongly affect the emotional and even physiologic process of birth. Fear and stress cause physical and cellular changes, but with the support of a knowledgeable professional, we can bring so much calm and healing to those tender spaces. Jessica believes it is a critical skill for doulas to know and understand the larger framework of social factors, know possible triggers, use a trauma informed model, and have real tools to support clients not just “survive,” but Thrive and Heal during their birthing process and as they enter parenthood.
Jessica is a trained crisis counselor, and educates and trains birth workers and healthcare workers around the state on understanding past trauma, preventing future trauma, and most importantly, HEALING. Many of these trainings have an emphasis on serving marginalized communities, reducing the racial disparities in birth outcomes, working with immigrants and refugees, and connecting to the LGBTQ community.
Your doula should know how to be an advocate! Some doulas believe this is “out of scope” and therefore do not develop this skillset, but Jessica promises to not just witness your power, but to provide support and protection if necessary. A vast amount of the clients Jessica serves belong to marginalized communities. In our current birthing system, all folks may face challenges, but when there are additional identities and experiences that intersect, having a skilled advocate by your side makes ALL the difference. It is critical to have a doula that knows how to utilize skills to ensure that fully informed consent is the standard of care from every professional in the birth room. Jessica has a background in politics, including serving as a County Commissioner for the Frederick County Commission for Women. Jessica understands the birth system on a deep level, with a breadth of experience with public healthcare policy and activism. Through this work, Jessica has honed her advocacy skills as a powerful tool that her clients may access to empower them for the absolute best outcomes for their birthing experience. In order to heal, that space must be protected and safe enough to do so, and Jessica facilitates this opportunity.
Jessica trained and certified as a labor doula with The Matrona, and trained as a postpartum doula and infant specialist with ProDoula. Jessica uses her varied backgrounds of social work, women’s studies, and birth work to provide the best care to the women and birthing people, families, and babies she serves. Jessica brings a deep passion for improving birth, supporting and empowering birthing people, and building community to her work.
Jessica is also a La Leche League volunteer, and serves as the President and Executive Director for nonprofit The Birthing Circle. Jessica founded The Birthing Circle with the goal of letting more families know that support is available for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, and teaches others how to build community. This work is more than just a career for Jessica, but is a deep calling to serve and empower families not just during birth, but their entire lives. Jessica brings this passion to each and every one of her doula clients.
Jessica has been nominated for multiple awards, including the “Best Person of the Year” by the Frederick News Post, and the “Do-Gooder” of the year for her work with The Birthing Circle and many other causes in Frederick.