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


No comments: