In celebration of International Women’s day which was March 8th. I wanted to interview who I felt was a strong woman making a difference in her community. Through her work she defines empowerment. She empowers others to stand strong and love themselves. So let’s celebrate this beauty along with many other superwomen around the world past, present, and future.
So, I am here with Valerie Garcia.
Hey Val, what do you do?
I am a Certified Birth Doula. I help support mommy and partner through physical, emotional, and informational support before, during, and after birth.
Can you tell me the responsibilities of your job? From the time you meet mom to the end of labor?
My general responsibilities are to educate mom, partner, and anyone else who will be supporting them during the labor process. I educate them on all their options; what may or may not work for them. I present evidence-based information on how different things may affect the birthing process. I follow whatever it is the couple desires for their birth experience, which varies greatly. Each couples’ desires are different. Often times we go through practice runs; physically practicing some of the ways she can be proactive in labor while helping her body progress and how her support system can physically help as well. Then, of course, the day she gives birth, I am there the entire time from when labor pains begin to when the baby arrives. I provide help with nursing and schedule a postpartum visit a week after the birth which lasts for 2-3 hours
What made you want to become a Birth Doula?
So, since I was super young I’ve always been obsessed with everything pregnancy and birth. I remember as far back as my high school days when I would get home and all I would watch was back to back episodes of A Baby Story on TLC. I’d ball my eyes out every time. I was so obsessed with birth! I couldn’t wait to be a mom! Once I became pregnant and gave birth, I absolutely loved and was fascinated by pregnancy and the birthing experience which eventually became my passion.
Can you give me some pros and cons about your job?
- I get to do what I absolutely love! I get to help empower women and their partner’s in preparation of such a life changing moment. They say that the most common way that people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. I am there to witness such an amazing time in a woman’s life. I love it!
- I am on call 24/7. So, it can be Christmas day and I would have to get up and leave my family. Also, it can be physically exhausting having to stay awake and physically assist a woman for 24 to 48 hours at a time.
Say God forbid there was a still birth or there’s complications. How do you help mom get through a difficult situation such as that?
If it’s a still birth, a lot of times the mother decides to still go ahead and deliver the baby even though it’s still born. They have the option of choosing a C-section or vaginal. Some do feel like it is important to their process, their grieving process, to vaginally birth their baby. They would still go through the physical labor that birthing entails and I would still support and doula them through that process. The emotional support becomes that much more important when you’re dealing with someone who is going to be receiving their still born baby.
You didn’t start as a Doula. What clicked in your head to finally be like okay I’m going to start this now?
I raised my children as a stay-at-home mom for 10+years. I devoted 100% of my time during the first part of my adult life to my children. I got married at 17 years old and had my first child at 18. My identity was immersed in being a mother and a wife. Once my youngest began school full time, I had to find myself, find what I wanted to be in life outside of my home. This was a rough time for me. But with God’s divine direction, I found myself through my passions. Once I began to follow my passions, it led me to looking into becoming a doula. Actually, someone mentioned to me once that, “you would be a great doula because you love birth”. I had no idea what a doula was or what they did. Once I started looking into it, I just fell in love with it! That was the beginning of that.
Since March celebrates International Women’s day. What is it about your job that empowers you and makes you proud to be a female?
Funny that you would use the word empowerment. The business that I am starting as a doula is called Feel Empowered Doula Services. I feel empowered when I empower other women. My job description is to empower women to know that they have what it takes because our bodies were made to do this. Every step of the way they have choices, they can be well informed of their choices, and be empowered.
Where do you see yourself in your Doula business in the next five years?
I have this great big vision of starting a doula empire and having other women who want to work in this way to empower other women join my team. My team right now consists of myself and my back up doula, her name is Adi Martucci and she is currently still in training. We began this journey together. In five years I see a big group of doulas working together, being each other’s back up, growing together, motivating each other, and becoming better at what we do together by going to seminars and continuously furthering our education in everything birth, mommy, and baby. Somewhere in the future, I don’t know if it would be within five years, but I’ve even tossed around the idea of opening a birthing center.
Empowerment is the ability to strengthen something or someone. Whether it is physical, mental, spiritual, or educational; equiping them in a specific area(s) resulting in a positive, encouraging, and motivating outcome.
How do you empower your daughters and how do you teach them to become strong women?
The biggest way, just like I do while being a doula, that I empower my girls, is through information. I inform them on what is happening in the world, my personal views on them, and what I want them to understand. I feel like as they are informed and educated on what is happening, on what we stand for, and do not stand for, they are able to take a stand, and decide for themselves what they want for their lives. My way to continue empowering them is by helping motivate them to explore their gifts, talents, passions and see what it is they want to pursue now and in their future.
Name one woman in your personal life that has impacted you?
It’s going to have to be my momma, LOL. She has positively influenced my life, especially recently. I say that because most recently she has been learning to own up to her mistakes, recognize her mistakes, identify weaknesses in her character and personality, and being up front about them. She has recently, in church, been very forth coming about any struggles that she has had with the end goal of uplifting people. I think that is something that we don’t realize as women. It is so taboo to share our weakness in front of one another. We are so scared of being judged that we are always trying to give a good front and portray perfection. There is so much expected from us. We feel like we can never let our guards down and show our true colors, saying, “I need help. I am struggling in this area.” My mother has always been an inspiration. I’ve always said that she has done an amazing job mothering us, even though her upbringing may have been difficult. Even more so now she inspires me. The fact that she is able to put down those walls, that front, and say this is really me: no, I am not perfect, yes I have made mistakes, I make mistakes constantly, these are what they are, and I need help just like everyone else. She always seemed to be superwoman in my eyes. Which has been a good thing and bad thing because I always looked up to her growing up but I also felt like her status was unreachable. It is very much reachable because of the fact that I now know she is not perfect and she allows me to see that. I love her so much for that. I hope to be that way for my children.
Do you want to shout out mama Toni?
So, mom if your reading this, I love you so much! Thank you for everything you have always done, are currently doing, everything that you will continue to do, be for my life, my family, and for the kids as their grandma. You are an exceptional woman
Another exceptional woman is a fellow blogger. Her name is Asya McDonald, her blog Caution District and digital magazine Spotlight highlights Woman who empower others for her March issue. Showcasing a few strong-willed beauties who are making a difference in their platforms. She is an inspiration to others and through her blog Caution District she gives tips on fashion, beauty, and lifestyle. You can’t deny she is a beauty, but she is all brains as well. She goes deep into societal topics in her blog as well. Check out her newest Spotlight March issue….I’m featured in it! : )
Thank you to all the strong women past, present, and future who have and continue to make a difference in this world. YOU GO GIRL!