Whenever I have the chance to catch up with Chris Golcher of Christine’s Care and Compassion, I’m not surprised at all to hear that she has recently completed yet another certification to add to her already broad set of skills as a birth worker. Chris has been a birth doula for 7 years and has attended over 50 births during that time. Along with working as a birth doula, she’s also certified as a postpartum doula, a lactation counselor, a childbirth educator, an aromatherapist, an herbalist for the childbearing years, a certified Friend of Breech Babies, a certified bereavement support person and a newborn care specialist.
Chris makes her home in Fittler Square, having been a Philadelphia resident for just about as long as she has been a birth worker. Many years had passed since her own experience of birthing and raising her own babies when at age 51 her best friend attended a birth doula training and shared with Chris about the work. The idea of birth work rekindled the same passions that she had felt in her own years of early parenting. Her job as an office manager for a physician was offering no comparable sense of passion, and so Chris took the leap into the world of birth work.
Now that she works to support people through pregnancy, birth and early parenting Chris easily identifies this career as the most fulfilling work she has ever done in her life. She thinks that it’s amazing that she could find work so rewarding in a career that she didn’t even know existed until she had already lived on earth for over half a century! Now that she’s doing this work, she’s found it to be even more rewarding than she could have ever expected.
It’s not just gaining such an impressive collection of certifications that makes Chris stand out - it’s the way that she takes this knowledge and applies it as wisdom in the way that she honors the wishes, dreams and goals for each individual client’s birth. She recognizes that it’s her unique role to support a woman in the choices for what she wants for her childbirth and postpartum experience. This wealth of tools and the expertise that Chris has developed in using all of these skills enable her to expand her clients choices and options, translating Chris’ skills into her client’s personal power.
While she is honored to help and support people through any and all kinds of birth preferences and scenarios, Chris feels like she is able to use her greatest breadth of skills when she supports a client who wishes to have a natural, unmedicated birth. She recalls an “in her element” moment, using hydrotherapy in the tub along aromatherapy to help support a laboring mama through her contractions.
Chris has experienced a variety of hospital settings for birth, and especially likes to support births at Pennsylvania Hospital, Einstein Montgomery and The Birth Center at Lifecycle Woman Care. She sometimes finds it challenging to work in hospital setting where evidence based practices aren’t used, however she knows as a doula she has a special role there to help her clients know what the most up to date evidence supports, so that her clients can make informed decisions in any and every birth place.
Chris names a few favorite books as ones that she regularly recommends for expectant clients to read - Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn, The Birth Partner, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, and The Baby Book by Dr. Sears.
For those who might not have the time to read a book cover to cover, she likes to send clients to these websites - Spinning Babies, Evidence Based Birth, La Leche League, Kelly Mom, and Ask Dr. Sears.
After a long labor Chris shows care and compassion for her own self by sleeping as much as she can and having a healthy meal. If it was a really physical labor for her, she will treat herself to a massage or a chiropractic visit. When she is off-call, she loves to go visit her family, or have them come to the city to visit her. I’m sure that Chris doesn’t play favorites of her three grown children when it comes to who she visits with, but if any family member were the favorite, it would probably be her 18 month old granddaughter who would win out. Chris has found so much joy in being a grandparent!
When I’m helping someone explore their options for area doulas, I’ll often ask if they envision their doula being more like a peer, a mother or a grandmother. There is the benefit to having someone younger and carefree who hasn’t had their own children, those who are currently parenting their own young children, and is so beautifully exemplified in Chris, a doula who possess the wisdom and maturity that only comes from reached “grandmother status” Chris’ years of experience in life contribute to the sense of calm and maternal comfort that she brings to the birth environment, that her clients express and appreciate.
Check out my interview with Chris to get a sense of her bright yet calm presence, and look below for information for how to get in touch with Chris if you’re interested in hiring her as your doula.
ChrisGolcher@gmail.com * preferred method of communication
Birth Doula Fee - $1200
Serving the Greater Philadelphia Area - Up to one hour of travel from Center City
Facebook - Christine’s Care & Compassion