It is my belief that every human who gives birth should have every kind of nurturing and reinforcement.
Hi! I’m Denise Kennedy, a Northern Virginia based birth and postpartum doula. Being a mother of four and a grandmother of six, I’m highly qualified to understand any new parent’s needs. I know what it’s like to feel apprehensive and anxious for myself and for my child; it is my belief that every human who gives birth should have every kind of nurturing and reinforcement that helps ease worries and provides strength. More than that: not only do I want to provide support, I want to empower birth parents to take control of their experience; I want to give them validation that their story is important and uniquely theirs.
My life experiences have taught me just as much as my textbooks and my DONA training. Having my first child at the age of fourteen helped make me resilient and to foster that resilience in others. It’s sharpened my problem-solving skills and helped me be creative with clients when they needed help on a more personal level. Being a military spouse made me flexible and amenable to change, which gives me the ability to adapt to the needs of any family or birth person. And I have been pleased and proud to watch my family grow, having been present at every single one of my grandchildren’s births. There is something that cannot be captured in words: the feeling of being useful, being the emotional and physical support to a miracle, being a carer for human life… a brand new one and the person(s) who are now responsible for them. In raising my own family, I learned that this is simply something I want to do for others, and I’m continuing to pursue my certifications to that end.
When I’m not working to take care of others, I’m helping to take care of my family! I’ve recently moved from California, where I was born, to Gainesville, and this means I get to spend more time with some of my children and grandchildren. I’m more than just a cool Cali mom and grandma, though: I love to whip up some of the best Mexican food you’ve ever had and I enjoy a mean game of Yahtzee.
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.