PHOTO CREDIT: @THEREALPAULMORRIS
My name is Esther McCant and I am from Miami, Florida. My family immigrated from Port-au-Prince, Haiti over 30 years ago. I consider myself to be Haitian-American although my husband and Florida native, Donnell, would beg to differ. I speak fluent Haitian-Creole and understand some French. We have four rambunctious, naturally-birth boys, ages 5, 3 and 2 and a newborn born June 2016. I USED to say that “… at this point in mothering, I am more interested in helping mothers have babies than to have more of our own (especially since the odds of having a girl next are CLEARLY bn against me so far!).” But now I know, I am called to do it, pregnant or not!
Some of my hobbies include spending quality time with my family, my friends at church, cooking, pinning recipes on Pinterest, reading (mostly online), karaoke, spoken word, and working out when I have a chance (my main workout consists of running after my 3 boys and breastfeeding my newborn below!).
EDUCATION & PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND
I graduated with a BS degree in Biology on a Pre-Med track from the University of Miami. During college, I assisted high school students by developing and coordinating a summer science educational program. Before graduation, I obtained an internship with Miami-Dade Area Health Education Center serving as a breast cancer and dental health educator. I got off the Pre-Med track after I began falling in love with my husband so after graduation, I commenced pursuing an MPH in Health Promotion & Disease Prevention only to pause and start a family instead. I worked full-time for 3 years with the Department of Children & Families as an Administrative Assistant to the Program Manager and briefly as a Family Services Counselor for the Child Care Licensing Office. I gained on-the-job knowledge on what it takes for children to thrive in a safe, healthy and clean child care setting and at home with their parents. I have experience in creating and presenting educational materials and information for various audiences. I aided in procuring grant funding that has helped at least 200 child care centers in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties improve their menus to include more nutritious items and reduce childhood obesity. I currently serve on a local community committee that address health issues for children. I am constantly participating in continuing education, training, webinars, researching and learning about childbirth, health issues and nutrition. I have read multiple books on childbirth, breastfeeding and have been trained to be a DONA certified birth doula. I plan on continuing my education in these areas as time allows. Mostly recently, I completed a birth assistant training in order to assist births in my community and get closer to my goal of becoming midwife.
WHY I WANT TO BE A DOULA
I decided to pursue becoming a doula because my midwife for my third natural birth recommended it as a way to fulfill my need to share my passion for childbirth with women who are in need of assistance. It made total sense to me at the time because I could not refrain from talking about the wealth of knowledge that she shared with me. After two children, I thought I knew enough but clearly l did not. She presented information that I had never heard in such a concise manner. It was truly revolutionary! I truly understood the sayings, “Knowledge is power” and “And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.” I am passionate about sharing my services with the populations that are deficient in childbirth education. I found that becoming a doula would also fulfill my desire to teach and encourage other women as they embark on this journey of motherhood- whether they are a first-timer or not! Because I am a mother, I simply love supporting mothers so that they can have the best birth experience ever.
CERTIFICATION & LICENSING IN CHILD CARE
I am in pursuit of continuing education in the area of Childbirth Education, Lactation Consultant & CPR. I am proficient in assisting child care providers and parents find quality child care in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. I have over 6 years of experience supporting my own children’s lives in a healthy and safe manner. (I’ll post about how they are thriving in a later post. Stay tuned or contact us to be in the loop for that release.)
My philosophy is not only are women capable of delivering babies but they are best able to do so with enough knowledge as labor progresses on its own. I am a firm believer that with the proper knowledge base, you can build whatever picture of birth you’d like- God-willing of course. I also believe that God is in complete control over the entire experience and I am only called to encourage and inform you about what you can do to have the birth experience you desire. If there is any alteration of the picture of birth desired by a client and interventions are necessary, it should be due to circumstances completely beyond her control. As women, the more we know, the more confident we feel about taking the next step into motherhood. Taking the next step is much easier if you have someone walking alongside you, bouncing off your feedback and filtering past your symptoms and fears. I believe that those interactions happen best organically, maybe over a cup of tea, coffee or even a meal. Wherever my client decides to give birth, whether in the hospital or out-of-hospital birth settings, I want my clients to feel comfortable to be themselves, safe to speak up for themselves and certain that I am the doula for them, an advocate for the baby’s well-being and helper for the family they are building.
As a doula, I serve women in labor to help ensure a safe, satisfying and positive birth experience. I draw on my knowledge of birth, as a physiological (natural) process and personal experiences to provide emotional support, physical comfort and, as needed, communication with the staff to make sure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions during labor. I can provide the comfort and perspective to you and your partner, make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, massage, positioning and other techniques for comfort. I am an independent doula. As your doula, I am working for you, not your caregiver or the hospital. I believe that you are in charge of the experience of your own birth and that I am the supporter throughout your decision-making. I am there to serve you to help you have the type of birth you have envisioned for yourself. I am also there to help your partner transition your family thru a very tender time. I believe partners also have a “birth” of sorts when they watch or participate in the birth of their child/ren. I love to empower partners to be the best fathers to their children by encouraging them to use their voice throughout the entire process.
DIFFICULTIES AS A BIRTH DOULA
I think the most difficult part of being a birth doula is the physical strain that it may potentially take on me (i.e. long, arduous hours in labor physically supporting the couple. Longest birth to date: 29 hrs!) as well as the mental work it will take to provide accurate information with references in a timely fashion. I plan to exercise and fuel my body and mind even more to be prepared to tackle this at every birth.
DOULA SUPPORT OFFERED
* Determine your priorities for childbirth and expectations of me and my expectations of you. Initiate or continue conversations between mother and partner about birth.
* Role play for labor and delivery, discuss your birth plan, complete childbirth education (breastfeeding, nutrition, etc.)
* Risks and benefits of interventions applicable to your place of birth, and supplies necessary for birth.
* Assistance finalizing arrangements, addressing any potential postpartum concerns and newborn care.
Jobs I will be performing at each birth besides supporting the laboring mother (comfort measures, breathing, hydration, suggesting positions, etc.) will include but not be limited to: making meals, preparing/retrieving ice chips, running bath water for mother, fielding phone calls, preparing/retrieving towels, massaging father’s shoulders, assisting father, photographing/videotaping, keeping visitors to a minimum (and only those authorized by the couple to enter), informing the family of progress of birth process.
* Remain with you for one or two hours after birth, until you are comfortable and your family is ready for quiet time together.
* Help with initial breastfeeding, offer any pain relief massages, run errands, cook meals, and light cleaning, if necessary.
* Available for phone and email contact to answer questions about the birth or your baby
* Follow-up with you within one to two weeks to see how you are doing, to review and process the birth, to admire your baby, and to get feedback from you about my role.
IF I COULD…
If I could do anything in the world, I would still choose to be a doula. I find fulfillment and joy in helping families get off on the right foot whether it is conception, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, parenting or meeting wellness goals. I have learned that a woman having a positive birth experience is so critical to the establishment of her family, her role as a mother and relationships with family, friends, affiliations, community and society at large. Mothers matter and therefore, mothering mothers matters, too. Why would I ever want to work a job that did not support that premise? Mommies are ALWAYS worth it!
If I could offer one piece of advice it would be to never live by any expectations other than the ones outlined by the One who matters most. If you apply that even to childbirth, you would do the following:
* Learn what you need to know to gain wisdom to make the best choices before, during and after childbirth from reliable resources available and God’s Word.
* Birth in full confidence that the Creator, who made you, knew the outcome of your birth.
* Decide and embrace the fact that you cannot force your birth experience to be exactly like anyone else’s experience.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US IF ANYTHING WRITTEN ABOVE RESONATED WITH YOU OR IF YOU, A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER ARE LOOKING FOR A DOULA, CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION, NUTRITION COACHING, OR FAMILY SUPPORT.
MY AVAILABILITY: PLEASE INQUIRE & CONTACT US FOR AVAILABILITY. FOR CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION, NUTRITION COACHING, AND POSTPARTUM DOULA CARE.
*PLEASE NOTE: I AM NOW ACCEPTING BIRTHS FOR BABIES DUE BETWEEN MARCH 2017 AND BEYOND.