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Alli Mitchell : Intern & Doula-In-Training

posted Jul 27, 2016, 6:37 PM by Lisa Baracker   [ updated Jul 16, 2017, 9:44 PM ]

My name is Alli Mitchell and I am a trained birth and post-partum doula. I was born and raised in the Bay Area, California and participated in DONA and Doulas International training there. Peruvian culture has always been a significant part of my life because my mother was born in Peru. In ancient Peruvian culture, Mama Quilla was the Goddess of the moon and defender of women. For as long as I can remember, I have been passionate about providing support to and being an advocate for women. I chose to become a doula because pregnancy, labor, birth, and motherhood span time and culture. These experiences I believe, are the most profound life events that a woman could have.

I am currently a nursing student working towards my ultimate dream of becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife. To share in the experience of birth and to know that I can provide support, comfort, and education is my greatest honor and pleasure.

Latrell Harris, MA : Doula-In-Training

posted Jul 3, 2016, 9:10 PM by Lisa Baracker   [ updated Oct 24, 2016, 5:06 PM ]

Latrell hails from the Bay Area, California. She is currently working towards her Doula Certification and is a Medical Assistant at a local pediatric office where she's has learned many hands on skills for easing pain and muscle tension throughout the cycle of pregnancy and postpartum. Prior to beginning her doula pathway, Latrell was a Certified Nursing Assistant making her a perfect addition to our Whatadoula family as she is both kind and skilled at caring for women when they need it most. Latrell wants to be a midwife and has a 6 year old son of her own; making for a perfect combination of experience and passion to help parents welcome their newborns into the world.

Ana Rapoport, MSN, CNM, WHNP : Director of Doulas & Childbirth Education

posted May 15, 2016, 2:06 PM by Lisa Baracker   [ updated Oct 12, 2016, 9:06 PM ]

Ana Rapoport began practicing as a doula in 2010 after completing her bachelors in Nutrition Science at UC Davis in California. She actively practiced as a doula for three years together with a partner. During this time, she also volunteered as a doula at the San Francisco General Hospital and worked as an educator and contract specialist at the American Red Cross. In 2013 Ana decided to pursue a bachelor’s of nursing degree and moved to New York City to attend Columbia University. Upon completion, she returned to California and accepted a job as a nurse at the American Red Cross and began to work on her master’s degree to become a certified nurse midwife and women’s health nurse practitioner through a program out of Georgetown University. Upon completion of her master’s degree, Ana hopes to work in a hospital as a midwife, continue to be an educator in the field of women’s health, and integrate her passion for yoga and a healthy lifestyle into her work.

We are very proud to announce that Ana has begun working as a midwife at nearby Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek, CA!!!  We look forward to seeing her at future Whatadoula client deliveries catching babies for our families.

Sara Linnarduci : Doula & Student Midwife

posted May 15, 2016, 1:48 PM by Lisa Baracker   [ updated Sep 8, 2016, 10:19 PM ]

In 2010 I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Spanish with a strong conviction that the work I did had to be in service of the world. I worked at nonprofits and NGO’s in conjunction with the United Nations to advance the rights of indigenous women by advocating for complete stewardship of their land so that their wisdom would be acknowledged and codified as the best practices for the earth they knew so well. After working for a year I decided to take a long bike trip and flew from NJ to Seattle, WA and from there, rode my bike to San Diego. Along the way I met midwives, doulas and people involved with the birthing movement and felt like I had found what I was looking for. At the end of my trip I decided to relocate to the Bay Area for it’s robust birthing opportunities. I was trained by Cornerstone Doula Trainings as a labor and postpartum doula and began volunteering my services at San Francisco General Hospital, The 
Teenage Pregnancy Program and The Birth Justice Project. 

I see my work as another venue for women to use their wisdom of the terrain they have tended to their whole lives; their bodies. My doula work is an opportunity for strong interpersonal connections and, within society, as a social justice movement. I approach doula work with a strong focus on anatomy and physiology with a strong reverence for the unknowable, undefinable aspects of the birthing process. I’m so excited to join Whatadoula and provide doula care for women and their families in the Bay Area.

Since leaving Whatadoula, Sara has been immersed in her work as Program Coordinator for the Mothers and Infants Nurturing Together (Mint) Program in San Francisco, CA.  It is a program for federally incarcerated pregnant folks to leave the prison they are in when they are 7 months pregnant and go live in a halfway house through their pregnancy and 3 months postpartum.  I am fully committed to the abolition of the Prison Industrial Complex I have approached this job as a harm reduction to the violence that is inherent to life in prison.  I have honed my skills as a lactation support person and gained tons of expertise with newborn babies via this amazing work.  Through the MINT program I have had the chance to really see what continuity of care has the potential to look like, and I"ve had the honor of being the primary support person for a lot of the folks in the program.  I has been incredible to learn about supporting a new parent to find their intuitive parenting skills, support breastfeeding and other ways of nourishing babies. 

Next move for Sara will be beginning her midwifery career at Maternidad La Luz in El Paso, TX!  We are so very proud of Sara and all her accomplishments.

Dani Hummel-Sass : Doula Alumni

posted Nov 19, 2015, 10:50 AM by Lisa Baracker   [ updated May 15, 2016, 1:42 PM ]

riginally from the East Coast, I am a student midwife and doula living in San Francisco’s Richmond District with my partner and our two and a half year old daughter. I took the long and winding road to birth work and midwifery‐‐by way of biology, classical voice performance, interior design and architectural history. Obviously midwifery was my next step, right?

I was awakened to birth work and midwifery when we were pregnant; I realized that women needed more choices at this incredible juncture in their lives. I am studying midwifery at the National Midwifery Institute and have had eight months of apprenticeship with a birth center/home birth practice. During this apprenticeship I participated as midwife's apprentice in home and birth center births and attended hospital births (both vaginal and cesarean section) with the patient to act as representative of the midwife and liaison for the patient. Currently, I decided to focus on my academic requirements for school rather than an apprenticeship, so I continue my course work while I work as a doula with the amazing team at Whatadoula.

I have experience working with teen moms, an underserved and amazingly deserving population that I hope to continue working with throughout my professional career. As a member of the LGBTQ community here in the Bay Area, I also have experience with alternative methods of conception and alternative family constellations. My most firm belief is that families should be able to birth how, where and when they want to and that a doula should support and trust the decisions of the family.

Dani continues to work towards her goal of becoming a midwife while living in Ohio with her wife and their two children.
Image Credit: Rachel Hummel‐Sass

Ilana Pearlman, RN, CNM, WHNP : Director of Doulas & Childbirth Education

posted Nov 3, 2015, 12:00 PM by Lisa Baracker   [ updated Apr 27, 2016, 9:28 PM ]

Ilana grew up on the coast in Half Moon Bay, California and has worked with children and families for over fifteen years.  In 2011 Ilana completed Heart & Hands Midwifery Intensive and Advanced training to gain homebirth midwifery skills, with the hope of incorporating the holistic model of homebirth-midwifery care into hospitals. Ilana is a Registered Nurse and received her Women's Health Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Midwife credentials from the University of California San Francisco and San Francisco General Hospital in 2015. She currently lives in Berkeley with her husband and son. 

Ilana's long-term goals include opening a low-intervention wellness center capable of accommodating modern technology (i.e. anesthesia), providing international midwifery education (with an emphasis in Belize), and working on public policy and legislation surrounding midwives, insurance, and licensure. Ilana also has a passion for working in hospice and palliative care nursing, with a deep appreciation for the the entire life cycle.

Ilana is also the mother of a curious and sweet boy, Ezra. "I labored at home with the support of my family and doula for 20 hours before heading to the hospital where my wonderful provider told me to 'reach down and grab my baby... so I did! Even though my son had to have a small monitor attached to him to check his heart rate while I was pushing, I was still able to deliver him myself, right to my chest... this is a perfect example of a combination of minimal interventions and a woman's wishes being respected. My birth experience was definitely empowering and inspired me to help women have similar experiences with me as a Certified Nurse Midwife, whether they are delivering in the hospital, birth center, or at home."

We are very proud to announce that Ilana has begun working as a midwife at nearby Alta Bates in Berkeley, CA!!!  We look forward to seeing her at future Whatadoula client deliveries catching babies for our families.

Brenda Sokup : Doula Intern & Student Physician

posted Nov 3, 2015, 11:55 AM by Lisa Baracker   [ updated May 15, 2016, 2:18 PM ]

Brenda hails from Wisconsin by way of Minnesota. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Physiology and Spanish from the University of Wisconson and can support English and Spanish speaking clients. She is currently working towards her Doula Certification and is a Medical Student at Touro University where she's has learned many hands on skills for easing pain and muscle tension throughout the cycle of pregnancy and postpartum. Prior to coming to the Bay Area, Brenda was a Certified Nursing Assistant making her a perfect addition to our Whatadoula family as she is both kind and skilled at caring for women when they need it most.

As of February 2016 Brenda has returned to rotations in the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program at Touro University full time.  "I enjoyed my time at Whatadoula immensely; it was an amazing 6 months of Doula work and I look forward to seeing everyone's babies grow into awesome children on Facebook. My experience at Whatadoula has made my first rotation back on OB-GYN extra special." Brenda has already started catching babies as a Student Doctor!

Cathy Walters, RN, CD(DONA), LCCE : Director of Doulas & Childbirth Education

posted Nov 3, 2015, 11:51 AM by Lisa Baracker   [ updated May 15, 2016, 2:19 PM ]

I am thrilled to belong to whatadoula as the Director of Doulas & Childbirth Education and to the California birthing culture. Although I've been involved in labor, birth and postpartum support, both personally and professionally for many decades, I feel that supporting each miraculous birth journey is always a wondrous and unique experience.

Apparently the universe had an amazing plan for me when my husband and I unexpectedly relocated to the East Bay in the summer of 2009. We had lived in Pittsburgh, PA for thirty years, where we raised our four adult children who are now scattered across the USA. We have lived in many places - NJ, IN, PR, PA, NY, KS, WV - and welcome each change as an exciting new adventure and opportunity. Our current travels usually involve trips to visit our six precious grandchildren. 

My head and heart centered my life in the role of nurturing provider, both as an Oncology Nurse Specialist, Early Childhood Educator, and Health, Wellness & Sex Ed Teacher. My newest passion has brought me 'full circle' to life's beginnings. I feel honored to offer caring, empowering, informed birth support to women and their partners, whether Whatadoula clients, Homeless Prenatal Program mamas or teen moms at the SF Hilltop School. Becoming a DONA trained and certified birth doula, Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) and completing the Elizabeth Davis, "Heart & Hands" advanced midwifery training, has truly changed my world, just as giving birth your way, will change yours!

Cathy continues to travel the country visiting her grandchildren and enjoying retirement from Whatadoula while living in El Cerrito, CA. She still comes to our playdates and enjoys catching up with Whatadoula Families as their babies grow into big kids.
Image Credit: Kris

Yume Takeuchi, MS, L.Ac. : Doula Associate

posted Jan 23, 2015, 8:28 AM by What A Doula   [ updated May 24, 2016, 10:40 PM by Lisa Baracker ]

Yume is a licensed acupuncturist and doula and the owner of Acu-Doula: Acupuncture & Birth Services in Berkeley. She received her Masters of Science in acupuncture from The American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She attended her doula training at Natural Resources in San Francisco. She is currently getting certified as a Placenta Encapsulation specialist through Full Circle Placenta.

Yume’s skills as an acupuncturist and doula attend to both the body and mind of an expecting mother. She strongly believes in the marriage of Chinese medicine and labor-support, offering a truly holistic approach to birth. As an acupuncturist she is able to provide treatments that focus on women in their third trimester and help alleviate any issues or complications that may arise. She has the ability to help with post-natal care through the use of her acupuncture skills and herbal medicine knowledge. As a doula she is able to support and help prepare women and their partners for the arrival of their child. She has a keen ability to listen and understand what is needed and make those around her feel at ease. With her skills and compassion she hopes to provide an experience one can look back on with empowerment and love.


Ann Owen : Doula Associate

posted Oct 21, 2014, 8:27 PM by Lisa Baracker   [ updated Jul 3, 2016, 9:08 PM ]

Growing up in the Midwest I'm not sure I had ever even heard of the word doula, let alone know what one is or does. 

When I was pregnant we came to the Bay Area and I instantly knew that this area was where I wanted to raise my little one and start my family and my career. I am constantly reading and learning about the birthing process and found that the birth stories in my books greatly differed than that of the typical Lifetime movie. I have also found that birth can be orgasmic, not just through reading but through personal experience.

With the help of daily exercise, teas, meditations and my trusted doula at my side I had a two hour labor and a beautiful and healthy baby girl. This was the most raw and organic experience of my life and I have been passionate about birth ever since. I am excited to be a doula with such a wonderful, unique and dedicated team and to share my own experiences with Mama's to be.

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