I grew up in New England and moved to New York to study architecture. I was a founding principal of the world-renowned architecture firm SHoP, headquartered in Manhattan. After more than 20 years of design and of cultivating and fostering the culture of the firm, I have embarked on a new path as a doula. My calling is to give mothers, their partners and families the emotional and physical support and the safe space that is critical to having an empowered, loving birth and postpartum period.
In my role as architect and managing principal at SHoP, I guided the firm’s strategic development, shaped its operations and staff, and spearheaded cultural initiatives for the studio as it grew from 5 to 200 people. Along the way, I worked with many young, talented professional women and mentored them in work and in life, which was one of my favorite aspects of the job. I led outreach and pro-bono work, including the creation of prototype school designs, for the charitable organization Kids of Kathmandu, that are being realized on several sites throughout Nepal, replacing structures destroyed in the devastating 2015 earthquake. A life-changing trip to Nepal to visit the schools and coordinate health and education initiatives for the local women and children, led me to take steps to realize a new chapter in which I could have more of a positive impact on our world, one family at a time.
My own positive birth experiences, made possible by a dream team that included my gifted birth coach, Amy Brown, changed my life forever and empowered me to face challenges and overcome obstacles that I encountered long after the births of my two daughters.
Beyond my passion for design and birth, I enjoy my lifelong engagement in the practice of dance and photography. As an advocate for the arts, I am Vice Board Chair of Spaceworks, an organization which builds and operates subsidized creative workspace across New York City to enable artists to make and perform art in their own neighborhoods.
I live in Manhattan with my two daughters and spend as much time as I can on the coast of Maine with my family.
"If we consider mammals in general it is an advantage for the survival if the species that labor cannot establish itself as long as the female feels threatened (so she is ready to fight or run away from a predator if necessary).”
-Michel Odent, The Scientification of Love
A good designer creates safe and healthy space. This is what I will do for you as your doula – help create and hold safe emotional and physical space that will foster and honor your body and your physiology. Women’s bodies are designed to give birth. Every part of its precious vessel and meticulous ecosystem, when allowed to flourish, works in tandem to birth a baby. When the laboring mother does not have a sense of privacy, safety and dignity, her “fight or flight” hormones can elevate, which can often interfere with the process of labor, slowing down its natural progression and thus inviting unnecessary intervention.
The mind-body connection is real and it is strong. Stress can slow down and interfere with labor. Period. By being your coach and part of your circle of support, helping you and your partner understand your options, honoring your choices, helping you to advocate for yourself and amplify your own voice, you and your birth will be respected. Together we can create a safe environment for you to birth in, whether the birth is at home, at a birthing center, in a hospital room or in an operating suite, no matter what is happening in the room.
I am DONA (Doulas of North America, a doula-advocacy and certification organization) trained and am working towards my full birth doula and postpartum doula certification. I am a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and am pursuing Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) awareness advocacy.
I am extremely fortunate to have studied with Debra Pascali-Bonaro, founder of Orgasmic Birth, Jada Shapiro, founder of Birth Day Presence, Cindy Turner-Maffei and Jenny Spang of Healthy Children Project Center for Breastfeeding, as well as Kristy Zadrozny, founder of Expecting (nyc), for my doula, lactation and mindfulness trainings. I am grateful to my own birth coach and friend, Amy Brown, for inspiring me and for being my mentor in work and in life.
I received my Bachelor of Arts in Art History from the University of Vermont and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, receiving several awards for design and research. I am a registered architect in the state of NY.
As a doula-in-training, I am seeking experience and the opportunity and honor to attend your birth and/or be your postpartum doula!