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! We are happy to be starting with our three new Co-Owners, so you can get to know them just a little better. Today, let’s meet…
Carrie lives on an urban farm in Seattle, Washington. She first started attending family members’ and friends’ births in 1980, and became an ICEA childbirth educator in 1982. Then there was a 20-year hiatus to go to school, raise her sons, and work in corporate America doing project management and business process re-engineering. Lucky for all of us, Carrie re-entered the birth field via Birthing From Within in 2001. She is the owner of Big Belly Services, through which she trains birth doulas, offers continuing education and advanced workshops for birth professionals, encapsulates placentas, and teaches urban farming. Carrie’s specialty in Birthing From Within is the Birth Doula Training. Her enormous breadth of experience both inside and outside of the birth world is an incredible gift to BFW, as are her profound warmth and wisdom.
How does your varied academic and professional background inform your work in the birth world?
I have a BA in Sociology, with a focus on Women’s Studies and Minority (that’s what it was called then) History, and I also did pre-med work. After that I worked in healthcare administration for nearly 20 years. Now I train doulas. How does it all fit together? My background in sociology helps me understand people – how they think, how they work together as groups, how they change or don’t change. My corporate gig taught me all about organizational design, project structure, and how to run a business. I use all of these things every day as a former doula, business owner, and working with groups of students.
What drew you to BFW, and what keeps you there?
There was nothing else like it. It combined mindfulness, compassion, art, inquiry, ritual – all the rich and deep things I love about life. It is challenging, and so much more complex than just knowing facts and teaching strategies. I never get bored as a mentor and trainer…and that’s saying something!
What’s special about your workshops and trainings?
I’ve had a radar for social justice issues since I was a little kid. So everything I do is filtered through that lens. I’m known for an overt agenda of racial and social justice politics in my doula trainings. And the ways in which I communicate, which are all based on BFW. Also, I love bringing food to share in every class I teach. It’s not about “feeding” my students, it’s about the act of offering, providing sustenance.
What’s your favorite music?
R&B, jazz, hip hop, and rap. My very favorite song is “Alabama,” by John Coltrane.
Any hidden talents?
I studied classical piano for 12 years. I also played flute, cello, violin, and guitar.
What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
I used to be really quiet and shy. I love being “on” and in front of people, but I am absolutely a wreck without quiet time with my thoughts, or a book. Also, I have 8 grandchildren.
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
Anywhere warm, with a beach. It’s hard living in a place that is often gray and raining, when I like sun and warmth!
What’s your favorite thing in your house?
A dance party!