How to do justice to Seena with words on a page? Impossible! I’m so glad that there is the companion video for you to enjoy alongside this post, because the energy, compassion and treasure that is Seena just cannot be captured in mere type font.
I first met Seena when I interviewed her as a prospective member of the Philly Doula Co-op, (from which I have had to retire to being an honorary member but of which she is still an active member.) Seena has so much enthusiasm for the work that she does and that was evident just on the phone, but oh-so-evident when she spoke passionately about her love for birth work upon our first meeting. It’s clear that Seena has integrated the wisdom from her personal life’s journey along with her different skills as a professional to become the kind of person who is such an ideal fit for doula work.
While I’ve sat through meetings with Seena and enjoyed coffee dates with her around Philly, it was coming to her home for our interview together that gave me an even greater appreciation for all that she has to offer. Seena seems to have focused in on the richest parts of life, and pushed them to the front and center. Her home is filled with her own artwork, with books that have taught her along the way, with evidence of the special meaning that her faith tradition brings to her life, with pictures of her family through the many stages of life, down to her own in-home studio where she can teach private yoga classes or hold Soul Collage gatherings. There are things that we *know* are sweet stuff of life, the most important - family, creativity, faith, work & home balance - and Seena’s home shows that she has made these things a priority. I think that’s key to why Seena seems to have so much to give!
Seena is the kind of person who you might describe as a firecracker - a small package, but with lots of energy! She credits the influence of her parents for her ability to tap into both the gentle and powerful parts of herself. She describes her father as “gentle” and her mother as “anything but,” so she grew up understanding the time, place and purpose for when to offer gentleness and when to offer firmness. I can easily imagine someone choosing Seena as their doula because they know she will offer a calm presence, but will also rise to the occasion when fierce & enthusiastic encouragement are needed, or when a firm placing of the foot helps to hold the space for a birthing person to feel protected from unwanted medical interventions.
Being a part of the Philly Doula Co-op gives Seena the confidence to serve her clients well, knowing that if something unforeseen arises that causes her to need backup, she has trustworthy colleagues to rely upon. She will often find herself at a birth reaching out to the other members of the co-op to help give her encouragement, fresh insight or to help troubleshoot a tricky situation while at a birth.
I love how Seena describes her after-birth ritual, which you should just watch the video to hear in her own words. As doulas, we often say to pregnant people that “how you do life is how you will do birth.” That seems to follow for doulas as well, that a wise doula will use all of the best parts of themselves, all of their best strategies from life to apply towards their birth work. Seena’s after-birth self-care rituals of warmth, water, nourishment and rest and holding space for her own recovery all reflect the mindful approach she takes toward life - or what she describes as “sacred attention.”
I’m always, ALWAYS so happy when I hear from one of my birth class students that they have chosen Seena as their doula, knowing for certain that they will be cared for above and beyond.
Check out the links below for more information about how to reach Seena and follow her on social media. Below you'll also find the YouTube link to my in-person interview with her - enjoy!
firstname.lastname@example.org*preferred method of communication
Birth Doula Fee: $1200
Serving Philadelphia, The Main Line and South Jersey
Facebook: Birthing Mindfully
I know no other way to start this post than to express how humbled and grateful I am to be able to welcome Elizabeth Weinstein as the very first doula featured on this blog, and to be my very first live-interviewee. When I first heard of her, I wondered as someone with whom I share a first name, a neighborhood and a profession if people might confuse us for one another. After having the chance to learn more about Elizabeth, to hear about her passions, her particular collection of life experiences, skills and the wisdom she has to offer, all I can think is that it would be utter flattery to be mixed up with her! I’m not sure if there are others who should belong to the “Birth Workers Named Elizabeth Who Live in West Philly” club, but I can’t say enough how great I think it is to make up 50% of the current membership, and to get the excuse of this project to get to spend some time with the other 50%.
Elizabeth first felt inclined to pursue birth work many years ago after reading the book The Red Tent. She describes it as both an intense and clear calling. Elizabeth says, “Birth work for me is deeply about story telling--it is about listening to the stories of women and birthing people, listening to their histories, their traumas and fears, their hopes and visions, listening to their bodies and their brilliance. As a lifelong dancer, I love to find ways to help people feel closer to their bodies, and birth is one of the most intensely physically transformative experiences in the life cycle. As a survivor, I cherish the opportunity to build safe spaces for women and birthing people to be powerful, unguarded, and brave.”
Although she trained as a doula at that time, professionally she has focused most of the ten years in the meantime working as a professional dancer and movement educator. It’s only been in the past two years that she began working full-time as a birth doula, in that time supporting more than 30 births and working towards her certification with Birth Arts International. Those in-between years however had been more of a training ground than a detour, as the experience teaching embodied movement shaped how she would ultimately work as a doula. I love how Elizabeth describes it -
“For me, physical connection, movement, body-based mindfulness practices, and a deep trust in the innate wisdom of the body are essential for ease in labor and transition into new parenthood. Prenatally, I work with all my clients to practice movement strategies for labor that will both create optimal space for baby to find their way earthside as well as offer natural pain relief for the birthing person. I incorporate partners in all of this work so that they can feel equally equipped to encourage and offer movement suggestions during labor or offer soothing physical touch. Mindfulness and breath work are also essential tools that I offer clients. I recently started teaching a workshop with choreographer Leah Stein called "Deep Listening for Childbirth" This is a workshop for expectant parents that offers movement, sounding, and improvisation strategies for labor and childbirth based in me and Leah's years of experience as movement educators.”
I supposed that it’s the way that Elizabeth has surrounded herself with and connected herself to sources of support and demand that have helped her to maintain health and vibrancy as birth worker. She partners with several individuals and groups such as The Philly Doula Co-op, Maternity Care Coalition, Inner Circle Midwifery’s Inner Circle Doula Network and Britt McCollum of Blossoming Bellies to make sure that she’s resourced with the knowledge and back-up support that busy, growing doulas need. She’s giving back what she receives from these sources as she offers her services working as a backup doula for MCC’s Doula Program at Riverside Correctional Facility and offering back-up to her fellow Philly Doula Co-op members, as well as many others in the Philadelphia birth worker community.
Elizabeth performs her work very personally, focusing on the individual people she is supporting, but also with the greater world and future in mind. She says this -
“Birth, in my mind, sits at the intersection of some of the most important struggles of our time--access to safe and affordable health care, reproductive and racial justice, building safe and connected communities, climate change and environmental justice, the effects of mass incarceration on families and communities. I do not mean that birth work for me is only political--it is first and foremost a deeply personal practice. However, birth is our way into the world, and I cherish knowing that my work as a birth worker can possibly help create the change we need for future generations to live healthy and whole lives.”
As all doulas must, Elizabeth is sure to practice especially mindful self-care following a birth. For her, the most important things after a birth are “submerging myself in water, eating a good meal, sharing the story of the birth with a close friend/confidant, and getting lots of sleep. In the summer months, if I am attending a birth outside the city, I will find the nearest body of water to plunge myself in. Other times a pool or my bathtub will do the trick. For a while, my favorite post birth meal was getting a whole fish from the Jamaican spot on my block. If you really want to win my heart, I would recommend having a meal prepared for me when I get home. Sleep is also important, and I find that the more births I attend, the faster I am able to recuperate. If I get home from a birth during the day, I will put myself to bed, wake up around dinner time, and then sleep through the night and wake up feeling refreshed. Prayer and ritual are also an important part of feeling balanced and in-line--I wear a special necklace to all births and thank the holy spirit for the safe arrival of new life after every birth. “
For Elizabeth, working as a doula is her dream job. It gives her the chance to take all of the very best of her experience and skills, and apply it towards healing some of the harshest of this world’s present realities. She describes it perfectly - “Each of the facets of my work brings out the best in me and I cherish the opportunity to work with families across all stages of the childbearing year.”
email@example.com *preferred method of communication
Birth doula fee: $1150 (with sliding scale/payment plan options available)
facebook: Elizabeth Weinstein
Check out my conversation with Elizabeth below!
Disclaimer: This website does not provide medical advice. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
Proudly powered by Weebly