In our ongoing Meet the Mentor series, you’ll get a chance to meet some of our amazing Birthing From Within Childbirth Educators and Doulas. You’ll learn a little bit about their Birthing From Within work – and, just for fun, get a glimpse into their personal lives and opinions! Today, let’s meet…
Charlene is a veteran birth worker and Birthing From Within mentor – she trained as a doula in 1998 and joined BFW in 2002. She lives north of Seattle, where she teaches group and private childbirth classes, having mostly retired from doula work. In addition to her BFW work, she is on the Board of Directors for the Pacific Association of Labor Support, as the Community Education coordinator. She is also a writer, artist, and game designer – a true Renaissance woman!
Tell us a little bit about your work.
I’ve been focused recently on private, one-on-one classes, which means I can get in deeper and follow the family’s lead on what it is that they are really needing to know to give birth. I try to keep all my classes dynamic, personalized, and fun, while also giving space for some really amazing exploration and discovery. My goal is for families to have a “them-centered” birth – that they feel centered within themselves and in the process, knowing that the birth is about them as a family, no matter how or where it unfolds.
What’s your favorite music for your mentoring work?
I actually use a lot of movie or video game soundtrack music, because it is often very instrumental, and designed to be ambient or background music. My favorites are by Robyn Miller, Tim Larkin, Howard Shore, and Bear McCreary.
What’s on your altar for classes and consultations?
Pam England’s Pregnant Lucy statue and a little clay pregnant lady I made, a tiger for scary things, a teacup for being empty-full, and Matilda the Birth Fairy, which is a little old lady in curlers with wings and a wand. All on a small cloth with a labyrinth that I was gifted.
What’s your favorite item of clothing?
I have a t-shirt from the Mysterious Package Company that is the softest t-shirt in the history of the universe. I would live in that shirt if I could get away with it.
What’s your favorite book or author?
I am a voracious reader, so my down time is almost always with my nose in a book – I can go through a paperback in a day, usually. Library visits require two carry bags; although now that I use mostly ebooks, it’s whatever my electronic checkout limit is. I don’t have a single favorite author, but I can read anything by Seanan McGuire, C.E. Murphy, or N.K. Jemisin.
What song could you listen to over and over again without ever getting sick of it?
“I am the A L E X A N D E R we are meant to be…” Lin-Manuel Miranda is our era’s Shakespeare.
Any fun projects in the works?
I’m redoing my “Welcome to Laborland” coloring book!
What drew you to BFW, and what keeps you there?
The thing that really grabbed me about BFW, and that is just as powerful for me today as it was when I first encountered it, is the belief that birth is about more than facts and figures and data – that it is a heart-centered experience, and preparing parents for the internal transformations of birth is just as (if not more) important than teaching about stages of labor.