Name: Shari Aizenman
Age: Really?
City you live in: Decatur

Number of children you have:
One, that I know of.

How long have you worked as a labor Doula?
25 years

What drew you to the labor doula work?
Prenatal massage clients were asking me to go into the delivery room with them, and I said, “Yes!” Back then, there was no one offering of support of any kind, there were lots of drugs being used to sedate mamas and dads were not routinely in the birthing room. It was a very sterile environment.

What do you remember about the birth of each of your children?
I was gifted my child through marriage, but I did birth my marriage…

Every profession includes “techniques” people use on the job. Describe some of the different “techniques” you use in your work.
As a massage therapist and hypnotist, I have a huge bag of tips, tricks and tonics that I bring into the birthing space. Each mama and each family needs something different, so I suppose I bring creativity and a unique sense of confidence and calm into a birth.

blurry_shari_massage

Describe one of the most joyful experiences you can recall in your work as a labor doula.
I will never forget women who have come to believe, either through internal voices or by some external voice that they cannot do it–then birth their baby and the look of shock and awe when they realize that YES! I DID IT! I AM NOT BROKEN! I AM CAPABLE! My heart just melts!

In most careers, people experience “on the job training” that changes their idea of what it is they do, or creates a perspective shift they would otherwise not have experienced. Describe a time when your work changed your experience on your life or your work as a labor doula.
Assisting an 18 year old through a successful VBAC renewed my faith in women to achieve their highest dreams!

doula work shari

As a labor doula what does it mean to “mother the mother”?
Honoring that each woman comes into her birth with her entire history, ancestry, cumulative life experiences and respecting that space where she pulls on the energies from all of that is how I mother the mother…when she shares this information in her prenatal appointments, I use this information as a guide to hold sacred space for her.

If a woman cannot afford to hire a labor doula, what would be your advice to her and her family as she prepares for her birth?
Find a pro bono doula.  If family and friends are available to support you, I suggest having them read The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin.

Tell one thing you think makes you uniquely qualified for the work of a labor doula.
I have been called to this work as a natural progression in my service to humanity! I don’t have a panic button, rather getting calm when things get crazy for everyone else.

Is there one thing you think every mother should do during her pregnancy to prepare her for labor?
Float in a warm pool. Understand the physiology of birth and read stories of how cavewomen, how jungle dwellers birthed their babies. Know that you are capable and deserving of your empowered birth.

What is the longest birth you have attended?
Five days

What is the time you remember being most surprised during a birth?
A girl came out when everyone was expecting a boy!

shari-baby-massage

Describe the setting of the most unusual, unique, calming, or other unlisted quality of a birth you attended. How did the mother and her support team create this unique environment?
Mama envisioned everyone attending her birth being dressed in white. She made an altar, head pieces and a necklace for everyone attending. She sang and played the harp while in her birthing time. It was beautiful.

If you could tell a mother one thing to meditate on as she prepares for her birth what would it be?
I am a creature of pure love, deserving of peace and calm. I trust an inner guide and trust that myself and my baby are synchronized in this guidance. The word of the day is “open”.

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