Meet Erin- Postpartum Doula DC, Virginia, Maryland

erin hughes postpartum doula Virginia DC
I like to tell new parents, never say “I will never…” when it comes to parenting. I hold no judgment when it comes to parenting and believe that just like each infant and child is special and unique, each pregnancy, each labor and birth, and each post-partum experience is also special and unique. I believe there is no “right” way to parent. There are countless ways to parent-all equally perfectly flawed, and parenting children is always just an experiment at the end of the day.

As a post-partum doula, I see my role as a guide to help with your transition into parenthood, or transition into having multiple children at home. As a post-partum doula, I make suggestions and provide my personal perspective. However, ultimately, my goal is to instill confidence in and help you find your own rhythm and techniques over time. I have extensive experience, knowledge and training in newborn care, baby wearing, sibling introduction, infant developmental stages, lactation and feeding, post-partum mood and anxiety support, sleep routine guidance, and what many of my clients call the most amazing soothing technique they’ve ever seen! I am also a childbirth and infant care educator and have a certification in Spinning Babies comfort measures and techniques used during pregnancy and childbirth. More importantly I am a good listener, my clients report that I provide a relaxed, laid back, calm, reassuring environment for them to confidently grow in their abilities as new parents. I grew up in Indiana, a Midwest girl, wanting to be a veterinarian and my first job in high school was an assistant at an orthopedic veterinary clinic. I went on to work in several different veterinary clinics over the next few years and on into college as a pre-vet student at Purdue University and then transferring into the University of Maryland and graduating with a BS in biology. I also spent many years throughout high school and college in ballet and modern dance and enjoyed drawing, painting, and sculpting. While working at a private biotech company in the dc metro area that happened to be sequencing the human genome at the time, I applied to Virginia Tech vet school, came close to getting accepted but did not, so decided to take the offer from the biotech company I was working for to pay for a Masters degree in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. During my master’s degree program, I decided the vet school time commitment and debt was not the future I wanted for myself. After finishing my Master of Science from Johns Hopkins, I spent the next decade with a successful career as a regulatory scientist in the field of bioethics, science policy and legal/regulatory work, working alongside the FDA and FDA-regulated biotech companies. As much as I enjoyed my career in regulatory science, it wasn’t until I became a parent to two daughters that I found where my strengths really shined. I took to parenting very easily and although the post-partum period with both girls was rocky at times with bouts of post-partum depression, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the overall transition to parenthood was fascinating to me. I found my own babies and infants in general to be enchanting to watch and there is a lot to see and learn if you slow down to look. Many of my friends had babies the same time as me, and told me at the time how helpful I was to them during their post-partum periods, keeping them calm, focused, and being supportive. However, it was my personal experience with birth, coupled with a passion to care for other women, that strongly influenced my desire to pursue a very different career path in helping to empower women and all families by providing support, guidance, education, and advocacy during pregnancy, birth and the post-partum period. Although my husband and I took Bradley Method classes and felt well prepared before the birth of our first daughter, we were not at all prepared for the 50 hours of labor I experienced before finally giving birth. We decided to hire a birth doula for our second daughter's birth which went much faster and more smoothly than the first. For that, I give much of the credit to our birth doula who amazed us with her ability to be a quiet, yet strong, constant supportive presence by our side. That experience with our birth doula stayed with me and I knew becoming a doula was something I needed to do. A few years after the birth of our second daughter I left the corporate world and suit behind for a far more fulfilling career as a DONA trained birth doula and shortly thereafter as a post-partum doula, and childbirth and infant care educator. Becoming a doula and infant/childbirth educator allowed me the time and flexibility to focus on other passions in my personal life such as learning about various parenting techniques, becoming a foster fail over and over until we now have a small zoo in our home (a dog, 2 cats, and 2 free roaming house rabbits who run the place), volunteering at animal shelters, taking spontaneous road trips with my two girls, with whom I am very close. I am a born nurturer; parenting techniques fascinate me and I have constantly educated myself since the girls were little and in a co-op preschool where parents served as aides in the classroom and where I learned so much about how to interact with children. I have extensive personal experience in play based, child-led learning techniques, as well as homeschooling for academic purposes and in the form of group learning via classes and activities at museums, libraries, collectives, learning centers, etc. Traditional school has always been a choice in our house and we have largely homeschooled our two girls over the years for educational purposes using child-led learning. Those baby girls are now 12 and 14 years old and our youngest tried school by choice for the first time this year, heading off to public middle school and is really enjoying it so far and brought home a 4.22 GPA her first quarter! Our oldest daughter just made the choice to take the PSAT 8/9 to test into a high school Sci/Tech program next year and also would be her first time going to school. I love children of all ages and they seem to be equally taken with me. You can always find me surrounded by a group of kids. These days it happens to be teens and tweens instead of preschoolers, and I am so honored they enjoy hanging out and talking with me. When I’m not taking care of children or animals, I am usually meeting up with friends where we are laughing loudly at something, listening to podcasts and music, reading books, and occasionally I may draw something to remind myself that I do have some talent left. I strongly believe that meeting children where they are developmentally is important and understanding that children are much more capable than adults give them credit-this applies to infants, toddlers and preschoolers as well!