As a college student traveling in Madagascar, I had the fortunate opportunity to arrive at a village health center on an afternoon when a young woman was in labor. The midwife assured me that I would be welcome to observe the birth, and with some trepidation, I followed her. I had no idea what a transformative experience that would turn out to be. The shocking miracle of birth, the tender strength of the new mother, and the compassion and good humor of the sisterhood that rose up around her provoked in me an awe that has never dissipated.
Inspired to pursue a career centered on mothers and babies, I worked for ten years in the field of international public health on child survival projects with a focus on newborn health. My public health training taught me to look to scientific evidence to understand what care is most effective and how to best deliver it to populations most in need.
When I became a mother myself, my attention naturally turned towards the maternal and child health landscape in my own country. I saw that a lack of qualified support during the first tender weeks of a new baby’s life could send both mother and baby into a tailspin. Alternatively, mothers who felt physically cared for and emotionally supported adjusted to their new role more easily. I saw that breastfeeding could often succeed or fail based depending on whether a mother received compassionate and well-informed support within the first few weeks after birth. I still believe that the scientific evidence helps us understand how to provide effective care for mothers and babies. A little bit of knowledge, coupled with genuine compassion, applied at the moment of need, can relieve anxiety and help an overwhelmed new family adapt and thrive.
I live in the Navy Yard neighborhood of Washington, D.C. with my husband and three children. Thanks to the support of my mother, family, and dear friends in the same stage of life, my transition to motherhood was a positive experience. I count it as a privilege to provide the same for my clients.