Abby and I became friends when she contacted me a few years ago after she moved to southern New Jersey from San Diego. Abby had just completed her DONA training in January 2016 before she relocated and was anxious to get doula-ing. After meeting for coffee I just loved her and soon I asked her to be, what was the beginning of Two Hands Birth Doula Co-op. Abby and I asked four more birth workers to join THBS and that is where we are today. I couldn't have taken Two Hands Birth Services as far as it has come without Abby. I lovingly refer to her as my moral compass at times because she is such a just and honest person. Abby was drawn to birth work after reading a book on midwifery based in the 1960's and 70's. She was appalled at some of the stories the midwife told about her time as a student nurse working L&D (Labor and Delivery). Women were tied down and drugged against their will or they just went along with it "because that's what you do". She got fired up about women's rights and considered becoming a midwife to protect these women. After a little more research and thought Abby found out about doulas and something clicked. Abby loves being part of these intimate moments in expectant family's lives, providing information and education, all in the hopes that she can empower them to make the best choices for them and their family.
Before Abby found her calling in birth work she was a college student and bounced around with many career ideas. She was an agricultural education major, animal science, art education, and finally Abby finished with a Bachelors in Art with an emphasis in drawing. Abby has done a lot of babysitting, milked cows, was a bartender, and even bagged groceries. Abby currently lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey with her husband, Eric and wonderful 8-month old son Henry (Hank).
Abby's 5 Questions
What is your favorite “birthy” book?
I have two! "The New Pregnancy and Childbirth - choices and challenges" by Sheila Kitzinger and "Natural Hospital Birth" by Cynthia Gabriel
How do you manage being on-call?
Every night before I go to bed I triple check that my sound is on (on my phone), and I have my car and bag packed. And every day when I wake up I go through my day and say "Now, what am I going to do if I get a call and I need to go?" And I try to very loosely plan my day in case I get a call.
What is your favorite thing about being a birth worker?
A large part is the community I work with. They are fun, super smart, and really encouraging people. But the thing that gets me the most is the excitement that is palpable in a labor room when a baby is about to be born. It's magical.
How do you know if you are a good fit with a client?
Some people you "click" with, others you don't! I can't always put my finger on it. There are times I meet with a family and there is a slight relief when to go with someone else. You are apart of such a personal time in their life, they need to have the right birth team!
Is there anything new that you are working on in your practice? services, offerings?
Yes! I am developing my childbirth education curriculum (with my dear doula friend, the Nomadic Doula, or Jessica Ruscetta...). I have so many ideas for different classes, I need to focus on one or two classes to start with, and really forge ahead to teach. I am very excited for what 2019 will bring!
Abby's excitement about birth work and serving families during such a special time in their lives is contagious. Anyone who has this woman stand beside them at the birth of their child is lucky to have such a caring, knowledgeable, passionate doula on their journey. If you are interested to read more about Abby or if you would like to contact her for services please visit Two Hand Birth Services.