By: Gloria Miles
Alyson Mancini CD(DONA)
Richmond Doulas Event Coordinator
"Birth is not only about making babies. It's about making mothers. Trust your body, trust your baby, trust the journey."
Business Name: Inner Strength Birthing
Services: Birth Doula; Photography; Lactation Cookies; Acupressure; Aromatherapy with YL oils, Birth/Newborn Photography
Years in Business: 4
Max clients per month: 3
Clients served: 24
When meeting Alyson, you’d notice her bright, sunny smile. She’s a sincere, genuine, and joyous woman. In the following interview, you’ll get to learn more about this truly amazing woman as she touches on her faith and her calling to help those around her. If I were to summarize Alyson in one word, I’d use “maternal.” She seems to want to mother the world. I’d highly recommend all expectant mamas to sit and chat with this wonderful doula. At the very least, you’d have the privilege of sharing ideas, dreams, and pleasant conversation. At best, you’ll have found a wonderful person to have on your team!
She is the very first featured for Who is Richmond Doulas. If you want more info on what the series is about, click here.
How did you get to doula work?
We’ll, I’ve always have loved children. I have been helping families for 20 years. I have always felt the call to serve others.
In Jamaica, I worked at a children’s summer camp supporting and encouraging children as a counselor. Then came back and worked at the YMCA, where I later met my husband.
And then when I went to Africa as a missionary to care for Babies at Door of Hope, It changed my life for good. God will always provide for what you need. Africa has a big part of my heart.
That’s really cool!
I then started working as a nanny and really enjoyed that for 8 years caring for serval families through that time.
The birth of my first son had a big influence on becoming a Birth Doula, as well as my own Doula for his birth. I feel very blessed
Oh, and taking pictures of course. Photography is a part of my Doula Support
How many children do you have?
Two boys. One will be 5 in August, the other will be 3 in September.
Do you want more?
I’ve always loved the idea of a big family. So, I want to say that I’m open to more, but right now is not a good time. So, maybe? [laughs] I think, we’ll see. It’s all part of God’s plan. Right now, I like having just them. But I do love children, so having another would be a blessing as well.
How do your birthing experiences influence your work as a doula?
Unfortunately, my first birth was rather traumatizing. It was that experience that made me feel as though doula work was right for me. I wanted to help others not go through my experience, not feel what I felt during that birth. Thankfully, I had a wonderful experience during my second's birth.
I think that one of the things that I try to do as a doula is help keep that feeling of helplessness away. Obviously, birth isn’t controllable, but being able to discuss fears during prenatals and figuring out a way to just surrender to what happens during the birth process—it helps. I also think that having a doula present that can sort of explain what is going on, having that voice reminding you that everything is going well, that helps, too.
Thank you so much for sharing that. How do your children feel about your life as a doula?
Oh, gosh! They love it!
What do you feel is the hardest part about life on call?
Getting enough sleep. Yeah, that part is difficult with little children. I wish I could get more naps in. And, of course, timing. Babies like to come at night and at inconvenient times. [laughs] But it’s not really that bad.
If someone were to come up to you and tell you they wanted to become a doula as well, what would be your biggest piece of advice for them?
Find a mentor. Join Richmond Doulas! I was very lucky that I could find some wonderful women to kind of have me under their wing. I think that community is important for birth, but also for doulas. Richmond Doulas is a great group of ladies. It’d be a wonderful resource for new doulas.
What is your favorite advice for women on the last weeks of pregnancy? You know, the two weeks that stretch out indefinitely?
Don’t change your routine. Don’t wait for labor. Go to the mall, make plans, and distract yourself. Oh, and relax, because stressing doesn’t help, either.
What would you tell moms about to have a baby?
Self-care: it’s important. As women, we don’t like asking for help, but it’s really important to ask. You can’t do everything by yourself.
What’s your favorite part of being a doula?
Probably the part when mom says, “I did it!” I really feel like my job as a doula is to support the mother no matter what. Like, if she wants a natural birth, a cesarean, a medicated birth, I’m there for her. My job is to be next to her, supporting her, but not judging or weighing in with my opinions. She does all the work. I don’t want to take away from that. She is the one doing it all. I’m just there to encourage and provide assistance whenever she needs it.
Oh, and take pictures, of course.
You’re a Young Living representative, so I can only imagine that you like to use essential oils at births sometimes. What are your favorite essential oils to use then?
I love using their purification blend and orange. Orange gives you a little energy for longer labors and purification really seems to clear out the air. Pregnant women are very sensitive to smells, so purification is great. Oh, and of course lavender, because it’s soothing.
Do you use essential oils at home?
Yes. My favorite is Theives oil. I use it in laundry, in the diffuser, to clean my floors, and to clean appliances. It’s my favorite go-to.
What do you do when you’re not working?
I love being a mom and spending time with my family. I love cooking, baking, making jewelry, and singing.
So, let’s end with your goals. In five years, where do you see yourself? In ten?
Doula work is a passion for me, so I would love to still be doing Doula support. I love supporting woman/families through their birth journey.
10 years I don’t know. Life is ever changing so we will see. I defiantly want to still be a Birth Doula. Life is a journey, so I take it as it comes.