Who is Richmond Doulas: Sarah Newton

Doula Spotlight
Sarah Newton
"You are already doing what you are telling me you can’t do! You ARE strong enough."

Business Name: All Things Doula
Facebook, DoulaMatch
Services: Certified birth doula, twice-trained postpartum doula, DONA
Years in practice: 6.5
Number of births attended: 93 ( 95 by the end of the year)
What is your fee? $875 / this fee varies by military discount, etc.

Sarah is kind, competent, friendly and so knowledgeable about all things birth! If you're pregnant, do yourself a favor and set up a time to sit down with this knowledgeable and compassionate woman.  New to Richmond this year, I think she is such an asset to our birth community! She never hesitates to reach out for support from the birth community, and also is so generous with sharing her own wisdom and is supportive of newer doulas in the area.

She is the ninth doula featured for Who is Richmond Doulas. If you want more info on what the series is about, click here.  

What drew you to doula work?
I really enjoy the process of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. It was a revelation to realize this was something I very interested in and that “doula” was a title for me to utilize to do something I was passionate about.

Do you feel that your own births colored your doula experience?
In the sense that it showed me the amazing benefits of a doula. And I wanted all women to feel the way my doula made me feel!

What are your future goals with doula work?
I would really love to get immersed into the doula community and be able to work the equivalent of a full-time doula. And maybe have time to do a few more trainings to help round out my doula skills so I have a good set of things I can offer and support women with.

Do you volunteer with any organizations? Have you in the past?
I spent 3 years working for a non-profit that was designed to serve at-risk mothers / young mothers / women with no support, etc.

Do you have any advice for women who are just starting out in birth work?
Find a mentor, someone who has been a doula for awhile to help encourage and guide you through the first year or so. A few doulas did this for me, and it was SO beneficial to the doula I became.

Are you married? Yes, 11.5 years

If you have a partner, what does he/she think about your doula work/job?
He was the one who encouraged me to do the training and get certified. J He recognizes the value in what I do and has always been supportive.

Do you think it’s important to have your partner’s support and why?
I personally do, especially when I have a lot of wonderful doula clients. There is no way I could do what I do if I didn’t have someone on the home front taking over for me when I was gone.

Do you have children?
2 / 10 year old Garett, and 7.75 (she will be 8 in November) year old Kellan

What is the most difficult part of parenting regarding being a doula?
It’s definitely gotten easier as they have gotten older to get called away to a birth. When they were younger it was a lot harder for them to understand why momma was gone and those late night wake-ups only to find Poppy there was hard. This part of being a doula has gotten significantly easier as they are older and because we now homeschool. So I never really feel like I will miss out on too much since I am with them during the day and any time I am not working.

Do you have any certifications or degrees?
Previously a licensed massage therapist / Completed acupressure training

Do you do anything besides doula work? (Like teach classes, etc.)
I homeschool my 2 children!!

Do you have a favorite birth you attended? What made it special? 
 I remember a particular VBAC I attended. And seeing the look on that mother’s face when she delivered vaginally after everyone telling her she couldn’t….oh my goodness, I get chills just thinking about that strength and determination. Women are strong! It never ceases to amazing me at what they are capable of with motivation and someone to support them.

Have you had a very difficult birth? What made it difficult?
 My hardest birth to present was after spending months supporting a young mother, I was called to the hospital, ON her due date for her to delivery her daughter who had passed away. As a mother already myself, this was very difficult to handle.

If you weren’t doing doula work, what would you be doing instead?
Probably massage therapy!

Favorite birth affirmation:
You are already doing what you are telling me you can’t do! You ARE strong enough.

Birth hero:
The doula I had for the birth of my daughter, she went on to become my birth doula trainer and my mentor. She has since passed away, but some of the best things I have learned as a doula still come from the time I spent with her. Her name was Ginny Ross

If you could have one super power, what would it be? W
hat classifies as super power as a super power? Hmmm! I think I would like the abilities of Wonder Women, have people tell the truth, and save the human race from themselves. J

When you were a child, what did you want to grow up to be?
A professional basketball player. Haha!

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Dogs or cats?
Neither! I prefer stuffed animals! :D

Favorite seasons and why:
Fall, because I LOVE a fireplace and ALL the hot drinks. I also LOVE snuggling down with a warm blanket and a good book

Do you have a favorite hospital to work in Richmond?
I haven’t been in all the hospitals yet, but VCU and St. Francis are my favorites so far.

Ideally, you’d love to do doula work until:
I die! haha

What is the most difficult part of being a doula?
Not knowing how long I could be gone for, and being someone who carries the emotional, mental, and sometimes physical well-being of a women and her family while she labors.

What is the best part of being a doula?
Seeing the faces of parents as they see their baby for the 1st time. And knowing that I helped them have a satisfying birth experience.

What’s in your doula bag?
Rice sock, tennis balls, massage tools, snacks, paperwork, my camera, tea and honey, rebozo, and acupressure lanyard.

Number one book moms should read before giving birth:
Anything by Ina May Gaskin is excellent

Number one book moms should read before breastfeeding:
Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding

Best breastfeeding advice you offer:
Don’t want until you are cracked and bleeding. Call me when you notice you are sore.

Best labor advice you offer:
Your body was made for this, when it gets hard, I am there to help you through it.

Reading & Baking

Favorite pastimes:
Board Games, watching terrible 80’s tv shows with my husband, and all the good Marvel shows. Taking my kids to the park and library

Labor doulas-do you join mom at home to labor with her? Or meet at the hospital? And why?
I leave it up to them! I always offer to come to their home if they need extra support but are not quite ready to head to the hospital. I strongly encourage them to head to the hospital if I arrive at their house and they look/seem to be further along in labor then what I thought they were though! lol

Postpartum doulas-do you do daytime or nighttime support? Or both?
I offer both day and nighttime support, depending on their needs.

From the small business owner aspect, what is the toughest part of doula work?
If you don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. People might think you are only busy during the birth, or your prenatal and postpartum sessions. But there are so many hours of time spent behind the scenes to help your business run smoothly!

Do you ever feel burned out?
The only time I have felt that burned out feeling was when I was headed from working under someone to being on my own. And after some serious self-evaluation, I realized I wasn’t really burnt out from doula work, but more the kind of client I was serving at that moment. It was the perfect time for me to go out on my own and have a bit more say in the clientele I served and it changed everything for me.

How do you avoid burn out?
I will preach this ALWAYS, self care. Give yourself time to replenish. As a doula, we often carry the weight of clients, our families, and people rely on us for so many different things, mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s so important for us to care for ourselves so we are at our best and able to pour into those we serve. Self care looks different for all of us, but it’s pretty important for us to know what revives us. J

Is there anything you would like to add: 
That although doula work is hard work, it’s the most satisfying of anything I have ever done as well!