It all started on October 6th, 2010. I was invited to witness my first birth, a home birth. It changed my life forever. It was then that I realized how normal and natural birth can be. And when birth is honored, it can be a sacred and holy experience for the mother. I spent the next 2 years learning everything I could about pregnancy, childbirth, and labor. I watched all the documentaries, read all the books, and talked to any willing mother about their experiences. I attended 4 births in those two years, both hospital and home births.
My level of passion only increased when I became pregnant in 2013. On November 7th, 2013, I birthed my daughter into this world in the comforts of my home. It was a long, four days of labor but I fought to have my baby all-natural at home (You can read my birth story here). Having experienced birth firsthand, I gained a whole new level of appreciation for what women go through in labor and it made me so excited to share my experiences with other women so they could have an empowering birth. I knew through that process that this was a field I wanted to professionally explore.
I am a trained and certified doula through DONA (Doulas of North America).
“Merrill was fantastic. My birth experience was so much more than I anticipated and I don’t know that I could have pushed through without her. Merrill gave us the perfect amount of support and encouragement and really made my husband and I feel confident in what we were doing. When things were getting intense during labor, hearing Merrill’s voice in my ear encouraging me was like having a calm port in a storm…a place where I could mentally escape and rest even if it was only for a moment.” – Jeni, July 2014
“I chose to have a birth doula because I knew I would need a lot of support, encouragement, and reassurance. Since my husband and I had never been through this before we knew the support of a doula was essential, especially one that had personally been through a natural birth herself. I met with one doula, but quickly realized she wasn’t a good fit. I sent Merrill an email and she said she would be honored to be my doula. She sent me the story of her natural home birth of her daughter. It was such a beautiful story; I was almost in tears reading it. Afterwards, I was overwhelmingly inspired and felt so much more confident in my ability to give birth naturally. We met at a coffee shop shortly after and within just a few minutes I could see how passionate she was about helping women through labor and birth. I also loved her honesty and genuine answers to my questions. She was so down to earth and easy to talk to. I felt so comfortable with her and our conversation flowed as if we’d been friends for years. I told Merrill right then that she was “it”! We got together a couple more times so she could meet Steven and discuss the ways she would help me cope with labor. She had all kinds of aromatherapy oils, massage techniques/tools, a rebozo, and most importantly she was willing to do whatever it took to make me as comfortable as she possibly could. Another thing that was a huge encouragement was in the last few weeks before our daughter’s birth I had lots of questions and unknowns and every time I would ask Merrill for advice she would give such reassuring answers. She helped me feel empowered and gave me the sense of “I can totally do this”. Looking back, after it was all said and done I am so incredibly pleased with my decision to have Merrill by my side. I would not have had the same amazing experience without her.” – Erin, May 2014
“Having Merrill as my doula helped me get through the hardest moments of my life. When things did not go as planned, she was able to help me and my husband by letting us know what to expect and by calming our nerves. Merrill was so great at keeping us focused on our baby and doing the best to keep us encouraged. Even though I had to have a c-section because my baby was breech, Merrill helped me achieve a beautiful birth experience.” – Lauren, May 2014