BC Chats with Kristy Zadrozny on her upcoming Birth Doula Training in August
Hi Kristy! Thanks so much for speaking with us today! We are so excited to host you Birth Doula Training this August at Lila Yoga in the Bowery.
Baby Caravan: You’ve been working with expectant families for a while now, what brought you to birth work?
Kristy Zadrozny: As strange as it sounds, I kind of stumbled into doula work. It is an incredibly specific career path, and I think for most doulas, it’s a calling. I always new I wanted to work with women in some capacity, and so as a new massage therapist, I sought out Wellness Centers that could support that. When I started, I was working as a prenatal massage therapist in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, with Orthodox Jewish women. I went from doing one prenatal massage a month to about 8 a week. These women were very confident in their bodies ability to give birth. Birth and children are such a big part of their culture and community that having support for the process is a given. After seeing some of these women, week after week for massage, they began asking me to their births. I did my first doula training in the Community and I went to my first birth within a week of that training. I have been to more than a hundred births since then.
BC: What are you most looking forward to for this upcoming training?
KZ: I think this training will be really special for a variety of reasons. First and foremost my goal is to have more expectant families supported throughout the birth process. And so, with this in mind, I decided to open this training up to not only those interested in becoming professional doulas, but also to the friends and loved ones of expectant families. This is a bit of shift from a traditional doula training because it will really focus on how, together, we can support the expectant family as a larger community. I’d like to see sisters, grandmothers and friends at the training. This training will also give the participants a strong framework for starting a career as a professional doula. For those especially serious about a career path as a doula, I am offering an advanced Apprenticeship program, beginning in January.
BC: Do you have any advice for expectant parents looking to create an enjoyable birth experience?
KZ: A satisfying birth experience is all about feeling safe and supported throughout the process, this includes the weeks and months leading up to the labor and delivery. And so finding a care provider that truly hears you and understands your preferences is SO very important. You want to think about the kind of environment you feel safest in, whether it be hospital, home or birthing center and start from there. If you can’t ask your OB simple questions, about the birth process, without feeling uncomfortable, then that is probably the wrong practice for you. Trust your intuition from the start. Seek out the kind of support where you feel heard and important, seek out support that helps you find your way, not someone who tells you how THEY do things. This goes for doulas, midwives, OB’s and family members.
BC: Tell us more about your Doula Apprentice program. What do you have planned to offer newly trained doulas?
KZ: I am thrilled to start this Apprenticeship program! Just like my clients brought me into birth, the women I’ve trained have asked me for more mentorship. This program will meet regularly throughout the year, I will take the doulas through their certification material so that by the end of the apprenticeship they are certified and have a strong understanding of the birth process as well as actual birth experience. Supervision and thorough processing of prenatal appointments and birth time is fundamental to the development of becoming an outstanding doula. Doulas will have the opportunity to observe home visits, births and postnatal visits with an experienced doula. After successfully completing the apprenticeship program the doulas will have the opportunity for employment with Expecting(nyc) and other doula agencies in NYC.
BC: What’s on your summer reading list?
KZ: Oy! Do I have time?! I have skimmed through Elly Taylor’s book Becoming Us, which is a beautiful preparation guide to parenthood, I’m going to finish Becoming Us at the beach this August. My practice as a doula is mindfulness based, and I find buddhist philosophy and meditation books to be extremely helpful in coping with labor as a professional doula (ha) and also my way of preparing clients for the birth process. Here’s my list for this summer: Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron, Lovingkindess: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg, Turning the Mind into an Ally by Sakyong Mipham.
BC: Do you want to share an herbal recipe?
KZ: A delicious drink to sip this summer for all women is a strong infusion of Red Raspberry, Oat Straw and Nettles. These herbs are better than taking a multi vitamin. Red Raspberry Leaf is a great source of magnesium, Potassium, and a variety of vitamins, including iron. Oatstraw is a good source of magnesium, calcium, chromium, fiber, and a variety of vitamins, it will help with digestion, will calm your nerves and helps you sleep. Nettles, may be an acquired taste, but will resolve anemia and low iron issues. It my first choice for plant based protein, which you need a lot of when you are growing a human!
Ask your midwife or OB if it is safe for you to take these herbs. Many recommend waiting to drink Red Raspberry Leaf until your second or third trimester.
Combine in a Quart sized mason jar, pour boiling water over to the top, cover and seep at least four hours but up to eight is best. Strain and squeeze out plant, compost herbs.
Sweeten with honey and sip, cold or hot throughout the day. You can even make ice pops!
½ cup of Red Raspberry Leaf
1/3 cup of Oatstraw
¼ cup of Nettle