I believe that Birth Doulas support parents and there decisions to advocate for themselves. I believe Postpartum Doulas help New Parents by giving loving and caring support threw there new journey as a family.
Denise Kennedy, mother of four and grandmother of six, is uniquely qualified to understand any new parent’s needs. Born and raised in Orange County, California, Denise had her first child at the age of fourteen. After living with her mother and spending some time as a military spouse, Denise has been pleased and proud to watch her family grow; she’s been present at every single one of her grandchildren’s births. Denise completed her training as a DONA birth and postpartum doula in California and has recently moved to Gainesville, Virginia to pursue her certification. Denise’s passion is to help nurture new families knowing this special time in their lives can be benefitted by her experience.
Denise attended the birth of my children in May 2008 and August 2014. Denise is a world-class Doula. She started on this path before what we call Doulas now, I worked with her as a Labor companion. With my first birth, I was a military spouse, thousands of miles away from my family. I decided on using Midwifery care for my pregnancy but knew I needed someone who had "done this before". Denise was at my side when labor started. Offering me position advice, food, water, and just held space with me. When it was time to go to the Birth Center, she went with me and worked all night helping me through my surges and explaining what was going on with my body. In the postpartum period Denise light housekeeping, cooked and fed me, and offered lactation support. I don't think I could have mentally made it through my birth and postpartum period without her (at that time) 23+ years' worth of experience in how she raised her family, her knowledge of being a military spouse, and her own personal birth journey. My second birth, we had moved and Denise came to me! I went with a hospital birth this time due to a last-minute PCS (Perminate Change of Station), I was already 7 months. Again she was with me the moment labor started. We fell right back into my first births rhythm; position change, rest, food, hydrate, laugh. When it was time to go to the hospital she went with us. My Partner's Mother was there at the birth and Denise and she got along wonderfully! They talked, told each other their own birth stories, then worked together to help me as I labored. Now in my life, I have a 13-year-old and a 7-year-old. Through my journey of Parenthood, I have decided and am now currently a midwifery student. I credit Denise with the decision. Without her presence, I would not be the Reproductive Advocate I am today.
Denise Kennedy, mother of four and grandmother of six, is uniquely qualified to understand any new parent’s needs.
I grew up in a small town where “everybody knows your name” and I couldn’t wait to get out on my own to explore. Despite that, I ended up going to college in yet another small town and fell in love with all it had to offer. I played volleyball on the women’s team and eventually received my B.A. in English after changing my major from secondary education.
I met my husband during my third year of college through a personal ad that may or may not have described me as having “the voice of a nightingale.” (I’ve had a passion for singing and performing since I was a little girl, but sadly don’t have a lot of time for that these days.) We dated for several years, and in 2001, got married on Halloween after planning our wedding for less than a week (no, that’s not a typo!).
After I graduated, I worked as an associate editor for educational journals in Washington, DC, but soon grew tired of the commute. I took a position in regulatory compliance for an insurance company, but always knew I should be doing something else. I left that position and began working in the regulatory department of another company. I stayed there for about a year, went to school and received my paralegal certificate, and somehow ended up working for a real estate settlement company until the birth of my first son, Sebastian.
I stayed home with my son and we eventually added a daughter, Penelope, to the mix. Right after she was born, I opened a home daycare. For the next eight years, I worked with many wonderful families, and I still enjoy watching the children grow up through social media. While I enjoyed my years caring for them, I knew child care was not my final career path. I attended birth doula training six years ago and when the daycare finally ran its course, I pursued birth work full speed ahead!
Since that initial training, I’ve become a certified childbirth educator, lactation counselor, and postpartum doula. We’ve added two more children to the brood, Maximillian and Cosette, and I have never been as fulfilled in a career as I am when I’m supporting a laboring or postpartum woman. I have had the privilege of supporting so many amazing women as they become mothers. I’ve attended births in hospitals, birth centers, homes, and sometimes the operating room. I’ve worked with clients from professional athletes to politicians, with a diverse mix in between. It has been such an indescribable joy to serve women and families in this way. I’m awestruck every time I witness a birth or help a mother latch her baby for the first time. There’s no better calling.
When I’m not supporting new families, I spend my time on the volleyball court or with my family in the Outer Banks of North Carolina on one of our many getaways. I also enjoy singing in the car, reading, and watching Tom Hardy movies over and over and over again.