Monday, February 7, 2011

Doula Spotlight- Pati Garcia

1. Tell a little about yourself outside of the doula/birth realm

When I'm not working as a birth doula, I'm teaching workshops on women's health, including facilitating self-examination. Frequently I'm invited to speak and present at universities, community centers, and conferences on a wide range of topics related to holistic wellness, sexual health and body autonomy. From home I maintain a private bodywork and somatic sex education practice in Highland Park; offering consultations and bodywork sessions. 
I love to dance and laugh. I'm a DJ by night at a latin pop club in Downtown LA. Swimming and taking baths are my favorite forms of meditation and relaxation.

2. How did you become interested in doula work? 

I had just completed workshop in Women's Sacred Anatomy Workshop where we learned pelvic floor massage and how that tension translates into difficulties during birth.  During our closing circle, one of the practitioners told me she believed I would make a great doula. I was stumped because I had never heard of the term. When she described it, I was even in more shock because I had never thought of being at births. That day I went home and did a search on the internet and signed up for the upcoming birth doula training. 
I had also taken an introduction to Cranial-Sacral Therapy and learned about how the cranium is shaped during the birth process. Which led me to understand how important it is for pregnant families to have ongoing support throughout pregnancy and labor.

3. Can you tell a little bit about your training and experience?

I received my professional birth training from DONA Doulas of North America International. My doula practice is dynamic; it incorporates my shiatsu, cranial sacral therapy, and women's sacred anatomy training. My interpersonal communication skills come from working at a reproductive health clinic and counseling women on birth control options. All these areas of work support me as a doula with a strong sense of reproductive justice, confidence in women's potential and self-empowerment. I trained as a birth doula in August of 2007, in April of 2009 as an assistant midwife through the Farm in Tennessee with Ina May Gaskin and Pamela Hunt, and became certified in Neo-Natal Resuscitation with Karen Strange. Since these trainings I've been a part of 37 births as a birth doula or midwife's assistant. Every time I'm present at a birth I get a deep sense that I'm at the right place in my life, something that I rarely felt at other jobs.

4. How do you view your role as a member of a family's birth team? Do you have any specific strengths/skills?

I view my role as a gatekeeper for the baby. Listening to the concerns of parents without judgement, being able to reflect back to them, offer information from various angles in order for them to make informed decisions, is what I'm best at. By facilitating this process, I feel that the baby(ies) gets a better chance at a gentle, loving welcome into the world.  

5. Do you have an interesting story to share?

The birth that inspired me to leave my 9-5 as a social worker was a life-changing experience.  I had been asked to be the doula just 2 days prior and had my interview scheduled for 3 days later.  I received a call at midnight saying her water broke but no labor. I came in the morning when her labor had come on strong, and before I knew I was in the middle of ahome water birth with midwives. We knew there was a chance this baby was coming breech, mom had prepared herself well and the midwives knew exactly how to handle this variation of normal.  As a doula, I stayed calm and had full faith that this was possible for this mom and baby.  She used Hypnobirthing for most of her labor and by 1p her daughter came through, right butt cheek first.  The entire time I felt a strong buzz through my body that I was not to return to an office job, and this was a normal but nowadays a rare birth. To this day, that birth is a marker in my life. Giving me the knowing that we are so powerful, and we are here to preserve that power. 

8. How can families contact you? 

Families can contact me directly by calling 510-363-0160 and e-mailing me at


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hangin' with Carrie at Park Day

Carrie Martin-Vegue took class with me almost 3 years ago when she was pregnant with her first son Drew. She's now a mother of two little boys and is a new Bradley instructor in Adelanto. She loves birth and even studied midwifery for a short time. She is a joy to be around and I know she will be a gift to couples looking for natural childbirth options in the high desert. To contact Carrie call (909)957-1179

Park Day: Each Thursday morning from 10am-noon moms gather at Memorial Park in Claremont to let our kiddos play and enjoy adult conversation. This group is mostly comprised of past Bradley students but really anyone can come and play! If you are interested in joining this group click on the link to join the Yahoo Group.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Next class series begins Friday, March 18th

If you or a friend is expecting a baby in late May, June, or early July then this would be the right series for you. Class will be held at No Sugar Added in the Claremont village area.

Bradley Method classes teach natural childbirth techniques, teach the husband or partner how to be a labor coach, and cover the full range of childbirth choices that can present themselves during the childbearing year. Included is a full breastfeeding class where mothers will learn how to latch the baby, establish a good milk supply, avoid problems and we'll cover other topics key to breastfeeding success. This is an in-depth comprehensive course.

To register or to ask questions please send an email to

Have a great day!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why a good childbirth class is so important

I'm on a bit of a high after hearing the news of two babies born this week, Lucca and Rebecca. Lucca's mom Josephine was told at 30 weeks that she should schedule a c-section because her baby was measuring big. She continued to question this advice, and when again at 38 weeks she was advised to schedule her cesarean for 39 weeks she did what most won't do; she sought a second opinion and switched doctors. She went into labor 3 days past her due date and vaginally delivered her 9lbs+ baby boy in an uncomplicated birth. Rebecca's mom Crystal had a little bit of a different story. She was never offered a cesarean, but she also did what most won't do; she stayed pregnant for 42 weeks and 1 day past her due date. She went into labor 15 days past her due date and delivered her little girl 7lbs 10oz in an uncomplicated birth.

I know that Crystal went drug-free, but don't know yet about Josephine. But the point that I'm always trying to help people understand is that a good childbirth class is about so much more than the epidural! In both of these cases, these mothers could have easily had births with very different outcomes. Few women would know to question a doctor's opinion that a cesarean was necessary. If not for Josephine's knowledge and self-advocacy, she would not have experienced labor much less birth. As for Crystal, few women have the confidence in their bodies to go so far past an estimated due date. But she knew that inducing a labor before the baby is ready can cause a long difficult labor and she knew based on non-stress tests that she and her baby were healthy. Her waiting was an act of advocacy and I'm so proud of her for that.

I also need to mention the husbands here. It is not easy being a dad whose only concern is that his wife and baby are safe. But they had knowledge too, and their knowledge helped them to be supportive when their wife was facing these decisions.

I am proud that the Bradley Method is a comprehensive childbirth class that helps women and their partners not only know how to handle actual childbirth, but know how to handle all of the CHOICES that present themselves so that they can truly make informed decisions for their health and the health of their babies.