Martha is Saphren‘s backup doula, and not currently taking Brood families.
What languages do you speak?
What is your personal definition of “doula”?
I believe a doula’s main focus is ensuring each birthing families is feeling held emotionally throughout the different chapters of a prenatal and birth journey. As a doula I am always on your team, I create strong connections with the families I support and this allows me to advocate for your informed choice, know how to best create your safe space and ensure you and your support team are feeling acknowledged throughout the entire journey. This is your birth, as a doula I am passionate about supporting families in knowing their rights and having your unique autonomous birth! I get to provide individualized and unique care to each family, I always tell families doula care is not cookie cutter care – I’ll meet you where we’re at and we get to create our own best support plan together to support your positive birthing experience. Showing up to hold space with love when a family is going through challenging, raw and vulnerable times is a huge part of doula care. Being able to provide partner support through my knowledge in supporting many births, which can allow your birth partner to relax into this process with you!
What brought you to birth and postpartum work?
I came to find my passion for supporting families after I was deeply involved in my sister’s pregnancy and birth journey. After I came out of my niece’s birth I knew I wanted to be in this space with families supporting this transformative experience. Every family I support reaffirms and validates this is exactly where I want to be.
In a climate of caregiver burnout, how are you caring for yourself?
Through this work I’ve found supporting my nervous system regulation and relaxation is key to bringing that grounding energy into the birthing space. Some of my favourite ways to do this are through my yoga practice, long chats with loved ones and all the sweaty movement classes. I can be found nourishing my body with all the farmers market goods, taking walks through nature, and getting cozy with my partner. Taking care of myself allows me to show up for the families I support, I love this work and am so excited to walk along side families on this journey!
What is a standout book, movie/tv, etc about the childbearing/parenting journey that you return to?
- The Business of Being Born
- Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage by Rachel Reed
- Why Did No One Tell Me This? by Ash Spivak and Natalia Hailes
- Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J. Buckley
- Down to Birth
- The Midwive’s Cauldron
- Wise Woman Way of Birth Doula Training
- Motherwit Postpartum Doula Training
- Doula & Birth Photography Mentorship with Morag Hastings
- Lactation Doula Mentorship with Shaz Tayebi of Mama Milk
- Molly Dutton Kenny Full Spectrum Pregnancy Loss Support
- Miscarriage Doula Training
- Sexual Attitudes Reassessment (SAR) workshop Langara College
FOR YOUR PERSONAL LEARNING, WHAT IS THE WORKSHOP/TRAINING ON YOUR RADAR?
- I’ve taken a course with a local herbalist and midwife surrounding bodywork for pregnant bodies. I’m really excited about exploring herbalism more extensively, I use herbs in my daily life as well as for my birthing families and would love to have a deeper knowledge.
“Martha is a literal Angel and you can’t convince me otherwise. After not investing in a doula for my first birth, I knew it was something I wanted for my second. From the moment we met (virtually, at first) I knew she was the right fit. Martha championed me in a way I didn’t even know I needed. She matched her calm, steady demeanour with her clear passion and enthusiasm for birth. Her absolute trust in me and my body’s intuition and ability to grow, birth and hold this tiny human was infectious and absolutely priceless. She’s the kind of person who knows when to talk, when to listen, and when to sit back and just hold space. She’s incredibly knowledgeable, but will shamelessly connect you with someone else if they have the answers you’re looking for and she doesn’t. Martha never made me feel silly when I had false/early labour signs for weeks, and would send her the “this might be it” text over and over again. When labour finally did come knocking, her presence helped me go inward and really surrender to my body and just enjoy the experience! She was the birth partner of my dreams, going above and beyond, even following me from my home birth into the hospital for observation when I needed the support so my partner could be with our first child at home. Postpartum was a rough ride for me and Martha navigated that storm with grace, kindness and empathy, making sure I didn’t feel alone. I quite literally cannot imagine having done this with anyone else. I am forever grateful to Martha for being by my side during what has been simultaneously the most incredible and the hardest feat I have ever accomplished. I believe that while a baby is coming earthside, it is truly the birthing person who is being born on a child’s birthday – never have I felt more celebrated and supported, trusted and cared for than with Martha by my side. If you’re looking for a doula, do yourself (and your entire family) a favour and hire her. Even my 2.5 year old still asks about her regularly. She’s even great with pets, older siblings, and has excellent taste in postpartum snacks. The only thing I’d change if I could would be to go back in time and hire her for my first birth, too. Thanks Martha! We love you!”
“I had the fortunate experience to have Martha be my birth photographer. From the beginning she was a calming presence as a part of my birthing journey, asking me what my wants and needs and feelings were about having a photographer during one of the most monumentous event in my life. She asked me questions about my vision for the photographs that I hadn’t even thought of to ensure she was respectful and as unintrusive as possible throughout the birth event. I cannot recommend Martha enough. Some people may wonder why would you ever want photographs of your birth – and I am forever grateful to have these photographs. They remind me of what I accomplished and how I rose to the occasion – you truly do forget so much. If you are asking yourself if you want a birth photographer, I ask you this: Do you want your partner to be focusing on and supporting you during the birth, or troubleshooting their phone, trying to get a blurry photo? Also, there is a reason why you ask a professional to take your photos – they have the talent and skill and eye and equipment to showcase this event for you. You honestly have other things (baby!) to be concerned about. I decided that I would much rather have these photographs and not need them rather than not have them and want them. We now have an amazing collection of my birth journey that I am grateful to have. Thank you Martha!”
“As a first time parents, we cannot rave enough about how absolutely monumental Martha’s support was for the birth of our child. We could not have asked for a kinder, more supportive and calm doula to have been part of our dream birth experience. She was there for us through an intense active labour, and kept both of us feeling so safe and reassured throughout. She had learned and deeply understood all our birth preferences and ensured that they were supported and reaffirmed, and even reassured us when we had an unexpected complication and things happened in a quick blur. Having Martha’s support is undoubtedly one of the best decisions we made during the birth journey!”
“A very lovely person, Martha is the genuine example of someone living out their calling. She honours birth as the special and vulnerable season that it is for families. We had two prenatal meetings where she provided clear and detailed information about what choices we could make throughout pregnancy and labour. She supported my husband and his queries, and listened so carefully and with such understanding. Martha is very knowledgeable, professional and organized. With her help we were able to create our ideal birth scenario. Martha’s calm voice, caring demeanour and delicate touch was everything I needed during labour. She was always kind, reassuring and encouraging, I felt very confident and empowered by her presence. The support we received during her postpartum visits was nourishing, emotionally and physically. We would highly recommend her to anyone looking for doula support on their birth journey!”
“Having Martha as a part of our birthing team was one of the best decisions we made in getting ready to welcome the newest member of our family. From the beginning, she was very easy to talk to, and made sure to connect with us monthly just to chat about what was going on with our pregnancy, or whatever else was on my mind. She helped talk us through what to expect, as well as what choices we can make (even though at the time they often don’t seem like choices!), to help prepare us for birth. When Martha arrived at our home while I was in labour, she managed to calm everyone down at once. Her presence was relaxing and reassuring. She was able to help keep me as comfortable as possible as labour progressed, while keeping both my husband and our dog at ease. After our son arrived, she cleaned everything up (including starting a load of laundry!), got us fed and comfy in bed, and even took our dog out for a walk. Not to mention that she managed to capture some precious photos during it all. An additional bonus that I didn’t expect when deciding to work with her was the additional support we received postnatally. She helped us get off to a good start with our breastfeeding journey, and was available and ready to chat to help us troubleshoot other concerns that came up in the early weeks. She is truly a beautiful, caring person. If you’ve read this far, do yourself a favour and at least schedule a consult.”
“Words cannot describe how amazing our experience has been with Martha. Martha spent so much care and time with us leading up to birth where both my partner and I felt ready, informed and knowledgable for when the time came. During labour Martha was a calm and steady presence, providing reassurance, encouragement and guidance. She provided amazing support to both of us throughout the process, both emotionally and practically. I strongly feel we would not have been able to achieve the positive birth experience we did without her. Martha was also there for us post birth and was invaluable while learning breastfeeding and how to care for our new little bean. We will forever feel gratitude and connection to her for coming on this journey with us! I cannot recommend Martha enough to anyone looking to hire a doula for their birth. She is magic!”
“There simply aren’t enough words in the English language to capture how truly amazing Martha is. My partner and I reached out to her early in pregnancy, uncertain whether we wanted a doula, and Martha was SO informative & patient with us as we took our time to decide what was right for us. From early on, Martha helped us feel comfortable & confident (and never rushed!) as we moved through such a wild experience as first time parents. Martha handled all of our questions with such care – giving us reliable information, listening to our excitement & concerns, providing resources. And all of this is to say nothing about how PHENOMENAL she was during the labour. There is absolutely no way we could have had the birthing experience we did without Martha’s support, calmness, encouragement, steadfast commitment…she had listened so carefully in our prenatal visits & showed up in the world’s most perfect way for me, my partner and our baby. In my postpartum haze, I was describing Martha’s support to my mom and said “She basically deserves the Order of Canada”….that about sums it up!! hahah. This was long but still doesn’t scratch the surface of how special/great Martha is. She changed our lives and pregnancy/birthing experience for the better which is/was a pretty special gift for our growing family ♡”
“I cannot help but get emotional when I think about how amazing it was to have Martha be apart of our son’s birth story. Martha was knowledgeable, genuine, professional, and above all, she was kind. She was the person my wife and I needed her to be during each stage of our pregnancy and up to and beyond the birth of our son. Being there for us during these especially unique times was beneficial beyond words. Her knowledge, expertise, and willingness to help in anyway (and at anytime) possible went beyond what we could’ve ever expected. We are so grateful for Martha, and I cannot recommend her enough to anyone looking to have support for their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey. Regardless of what your preferences are, you are in amazing hands with Martha. Also, as the partner, I’d like to thank you personally Martha for being a calming presence. You gave me the confidence I needed, to know that I was doing and saying all the right things, and that is priceless. When / if we decided that our son needs a sibling we will be sure to make sure you are apart of that as well!”
“Martha made all the difference in our birthing experience and we will forever be grateful for her presence at this time in our lives. Prenatally, she met with us twice and shared so much information that we never would have known otherwise, whether in prenatal class or online. She helped build my confidence as a Mom-to-be, and helped my husband build his confidence both as my partner and as a Dad-to-be. She encouraged me to trust my instincts and helped me better communicate with my healthcare providers. I was able to contact her as needed – she was genuine in her offer of essentially being on-call for me starting at time of hire. My birthing time ultimately did not go how I thought it would; rather than the 24+ hour labour I thought I would have as a first-time Mom, I began labour and birthed our daughter in less than 3.5 hours. It was the most intense experience of my life, and I was so terrified. Martha arrived so quickly, guided us in what to do regarding updating our midwives, and her kind and confident words (especially her reminders that I was safe, and that what I was feeling were safe feelings) and her calming physical touch helped me immensely during this time. She helped me utilize our Hypnobabies tools when I needed it, and additionally took the most special photos of our daughter being born. Postpartum, she was the person I felt I could best express my feelings to when I was tired, frustrated, and having breastfeeding challenges. Even my husband and my mum kept saying “call Martha, you respond so well to her.” She was able to provide breastfeeding support, and then emotional support during an appointment with a lactation consultant. While my review here is lengthy, I hope it sheds even a bit of light on how wonderful Martha is as a person and as a doula. We are most hopeful to have her as our doula again in the future.”