Sometimes you can tell the genuine character of a person simply from a short conversation or even an email. Drea is enthusiastic and throws her heart into whatever she is doing- whether volunteering, reading a book, singing at the top of her lungs in the car, or supporting families in birth; you know that she is all in. I am a huge reader, so I LOVE that when I asked her about her favorite books she narrowed it down to six AND gave a little blurb about each one.
A native of California, Drea brought years of experience with her to the east coast when she moved to the DC area over 12 years ago. Before becoming a birth doula, she was well experienced in providing postpartum support for her friends and family- well before she knew that a postpartum doula was an actual job! She works with families through the DMV, in hospital, birth center, and home birth settings. Read on to find out more about Drea!
Where were you born?
I was born in Orange, CA
How long have you lived in the DMV?
I’ve lived in Northern VA for 12 years.
Tell me about the moment you wanted to be a doula.
I knew I wanted to be a doula when I had my second baby, via VBAC, and realized how important it is for the birthing person to be in the right head space while facing a difficult situation like my own. I wanted to help empower other women who might be going through what I went through.
Are you a birth or postpartum doula? Or both? Why?
Both! Because the need for support doesn’t stop when the baby is born! I love nothing more than to be present with a family for both the birth AND the fourth trimester. Attending the birth forms a strong bond between the family and I; we become a team! This creates a seamless transition into postpartum support so I’m better able to anticipate their needs and help where it’s most valuable.
What is your favorite book/author/movie/band? Why?
· ‘Cutting for Stone’ by Abraham Verghese, because I love medicine and learning about other cultures. In this case, Ethiopia.
· ‘The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ by Rebecca Skloot because again, medicine, and I like to get a glimpse into the way other people live or lived. I love the family dynamic in this book as well.
· ‘Immortal’ by Laura Hillenbrand because it is pure inspiration. It reminds us of what we are capable of enduring if our minds are strong.
· ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho is special to me because my son and I read it together. Also, the cultural aspects are rich and warm. Reading this novel felt like going on an adventure!
· ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini is a gut-wrenching, soul filling, must talk to a friend about it kind of book. The characters are so very inspiring. It gets in you.
· And of course, ‘The Birth Partner’ by Penny Simkin. The birth partner is hands down, the best birthing book I’ve ever read. I still bring it with me to births and with postpartum clients. It’s incredibly informative and approachable at the same time!
Music is even harder to narrow down than books so, top six, again:
Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Ani DiFranco, U2, Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley. I love all music but these few artists in particular inspire me with their poetry and connection to the bigger picture.
What are some organizations that are near and dear to you? Do you do any volunteer or charity work?
I love Rise Against Hunger because kids at any age can contribute, which gives my family the rare opportunity to volunteer together. I also work with the local chapters of Moms Demand Action and Indivisible 10, as well as our school PTO and community swim team.
Do you have any favorite quotes or poems?
I love anything by:
EE Cummings – ‘I carry your heart with me’ is my fave,
Eleanor Roosevelt – “A woman is like a teabag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put in hot water.” (Isn’t that the truth?!)
or my Grandma Joan – “Life always happens when you’re making plans!”
Do you have any useless talents?
Yes! I am fantastic at memorizing song lyrics – Super useful.
What do you like to do in a your free time? Do you have any hobbies?
I like to read. I love to hike. Being outside makes me happy. I also love live music, so an outdoor concert is pretty much my sweet spot.
If you could have an all-expenses paid trip to see any famous world monument, which monument would you choose?
I don’t think this counts as a monument but I’d really like to travel to the Galapagos Islands to see the sea life that only exists in that one place in the world. I would also really like to hike to the summit of Machu Picchu.
What would you like your doula clients to know about you?
My biggest priority is for my clients to know that I believe in their power and capability, 100%.
What do you hope to bring to a birth?
Every birth is different so my hope is to meet the individual needs of each birth that I attend. Sometimes it’s quiet reassurance and sometimes it’s a strong voice of guidance. A foot massage or a double hip squeeze comes in from time to time too!
What do you like best about being a doula?
My very favorite thing about my job is the look on a mama’s face the moment she meets her baby for the first time. It’s pure magic and it never gets old!
What do you wish that more people knew about birth or pregnancy?
I wish people knew that birth doesn’t have to be terrifying. Birth is a beautiful and natural experience and can even be enjoyed and savored!
Where do you draw your inspiration?
This one is easy. I draw my inspiration from the amazing women I am surrounded by. My superhero, working-mom friends. The talented doulas, nurses and doctors I work with daily. And, most importantly, the inspiring birthing women I am privileged to watch, teach and learn from.
Who do you look up to or idolize?
Penny Simkin. My doula instructor, Nicole Heidbreder. My mom, mother-in-law and grandma. Dave Grohl.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
The ability to fly would really save some time in my day so I would have to go with that!
Author: Renee Corbino
Renee keeps Balanced Birth Support organized and amazing as the Administrative Manager. She lives in Northern Virginia with her awesome fire fighting husband and two cute little boys. She is a breech birthing mama and supporter of empowering births.