Let’s talk about identity. It’s something that has been on my mind and heart for some time. Identity of being a person, parent, working professional or student. What we do for a living doesn’t define who we are. I was once told “your situation doesn’t define your identity.” I think about this a lot. I hold a very high standard for myself ever since I could remember. I always wanted to do the best to please others and make others happy or appreciative of my work.

Identity. What does it even mean? According to the Webster dictionary it means “the distinguishing characteristic or personality of an individual.” Let’s think about that. Do you really think a distinguishing characteristic or personality can make up an entire person’s identity? These are some of the lies we begin to tell ourselves. Do you ever think that you aren’t good enough? Failing as a parent? Not smart enough to achieve something you really want? AH, yes. I sure feel like that sometimes. I begin to tell myself lies that I am not good enough to achieve the things I want. The good thing is, they are LIES! I am good enough.

As I serve others, I am so thankful I was given the gift of compassion. I feel for people and their “situations.” These situations don’t define who they are and instead can bring an abundance of amazing qualities to the table. I work with children on the Autism Spectrum and this has been my forever gift. The ability to be compassionate for those who need a little extra help and need someone who truly understands them. When I was in high school, I was given the amazing opportunity to work with a young boy doing ABA therapy. The parents trusted me to provide him with support and teach the programming they had supplied. Also, within the same month I started working with the teens within my high school by volunteering my time two class periods a day. I felt nothing but passion for working with these individuals but it also came with an identity, “the girl who works with the kids with special needs.” I was never teased for doing so, but it also didn’t come with being the cool girl in school. As teachers noticed, I was nominated for best leadership within my high school. Holy cow, that felt incredible and not even like it was me. Why me? We tend to doubt what other people see in us. They saw someone far different than the way I saw myself.

Now, 11 years later, I identify myself as a daughter of God, a wife, a mother, a Behavior Consultant and a Birth Doula. These are all very precious titles that I hold for myself, yet I still don’t feel complete. I want to do more! I want to help more! I want to serve more! There is no greater feeling than serving those around you. I think that is why I became a Birth Doula. In my heart, I was given this great joy to serve a woman in one of the most crucial times of her life. Nothing in the world can even compare to the feeling of love and compassion when someone is fighting through the pain of labor with every ounce of their body. I feel blessed to be the one by their side, comforting them, loving them and guiding them through each of their needs. I love to be able to identify part of who I am as a birth doula. Why you ask? Because I can do just as God had intended for me. He wants me to love others; show compassion. Comfort people in times of need. I love that I am able to do that for so many. The best part, none of it is for me, it is all for the person I am serving.

Through life, we tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough or not doing enough. Taking the time to reflect and truly know who I am and the things I have achieved has built me up. I am good enough!

Packing for the Hospital

When planning for what to bring to the hospital, remember that you won’t be there forever, but also you want to bring the necessities to make your stay comfortable. During my pregnancies, my husband and I rolled into the hospital with a giant suitcase stuffed with our essentials. Jokingly, the staff asked us “Are you staying for a month?” We laughed it off and knew we brought what we needed and felt comfortable with it. Combine everything into one BIG suitcase to make yourself feel like it’s a lighter load. 

I have listed some of the things that I think are the most important to bring with you to the hospital. I honestly can’t stress how important it is to bring stuff that will make you feel comfortable. Hospitals can seem sterile and uncomfortable, so let’s spruce it up with a nice new gown or robe and some new pajama’s for after baby is born! I bought a new set for myself on Etsy from silkandmore, it was my little reward for working hard during labor. They have beautiful patterns and it will be a robe you can wear after your pregnancy too!

If you have any questions about what to bring to the hospital, let me know in the comments! I love seeing all of the different ideas of what you may think is important to have during your hospital stay!


For MOM:

• Soft Blanket • Pillow
• Socks (2) • Sandals
• Pajamas that button up the front • Black Underwear (1)
• Black soft pants • Shirt open in the front
• Hair tie • Nursing Bra (1)
• Sports bra (1) • Cami (1)
• Robe • Toothbrush/toothpaste
• Hair brush • Body wash/Shampoo/Conditioner

For DAD:

• Soft Blanket • Pillow
• Outfit (2) • Toothbrush/toothpaste
• Body wash • Phone Charger (2)
• Camera • iPad or Tablet
• Speaker for music


• 2 outfits–newborn (1), 0-3 months (1) • Burp cloths (2)
• Hat(2) • Blanket or muslin blanket
• Headband … or 5 if a girl • Car Seat
• Car Seat insert**

**NOTE: Some hospitals might not let you discharge without this!


• Essential Oils • Diffuser
• Rebozo • Massage Balls
• Healthy Snacks • Heat Packs
• Drinks – Coffee/Tea/Water • Affirmation Cards
• Honey Sticks • Straws

What is the ‘PERFECT’ birth experience?

Let me start by saying, every woman has their own idea of what their ‘perfect’ birth should look like. It may differ from your idea and that’s okay. Each mother’s birthing experience should be respected and encouraged no matter what it looks like! I would like to look into some different ways that mothers choose to have their babies. It all starts with doing some research. Being an informed decision maker can set you up for the best birth possible! Be informed of what is available and what you think is best for your beautiful new baby to enter the world. It should be common to have a very personal, thought out decision for your birthing experience.

Do you have a birth plan? If not, it is time to start thinking about the plan you have envisioned while having realistic expectations. You can develop this plan for what you and your partner may hope for but remember….it is important to be flexible because babies have a mind of their own! Seriously though, it’s not like the movies when the husband is driving like a racecar driver to get to the hospital and then the baby just pops out. Ha! You’re on their time and have to work through what your body may throw at you. The good thing is, you are strong and are made to birth your baby!

Who do you want around while you are in labor? Once again, make it your way, this is your choice! Spouse? Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Extended Family? Kids? Doula? Incorporate a network of support for the time when you’ll need it most. This also leads me to the topic of where you want to deliver your baby. A hospital birth might strike your fancy…Maybe a homebirth with all your close family members? How about in a Birth Center with a midwife? Maybe you will choose to have a C-section, VBAC or even a water birth. Whichever you decide, know that it is all your choice! You can plan ahead and create the ‘perfect’ plan for how you want to deliver your baby. How cool is that?

When I think about my ‘perfect’ birth, I was surrounded by my loving husband, sweet mama, and supportive midwife, Hillary. I chose to have a hospital birth due to my daughter attempting to come pre-term and honestly, I didn’t know any different! After a beautiful summer day in the sun with my family, we sat down for dinner when I started having some mild contractions. They continued for about an hour before I called my midwife. She listened to me breath and wanted to see possibly how far along I was at that point. I arrived at the hospital around 9pm, calm as can be and eager to get walking. Hillary, my midwife, checked me and said I was already at a ‘6cm.’ Holy cow, I couldn’t believe my ears, my baby was coming tonight! Once I was checked into the room, I got my hospital gown (covered up by my lovely new robe) and soft new socks on, and was completely cordless, yippe! Let the walking begin! As we walked the halls, we talked and laughed as a group. This was the loving, calm, dream of a labor that I had hoped for. I bounced on the ball for hours while each person took a turn rubbing my back and applying pressure. My midwife’s gentle touch and sweet words really got me through the contractions. (This is what made me want to be a doula!) There is nothing better than feeling loved and supported during one of the most important days of your life! By 8:04 am the next morning, my darling Grady Grace was born! She was placed into my arms where I got to immediately breast feed her and kiss her sweet cheeks! Dreamy or what? I sure think so!

My personal birth story with my daughter may sound much different than what you have experienced or plan to experience. It was a special time for ME as a woman and gave me strength to know that I could do it! My goal is to be able to work with many other women who want to feel loved and supported throughout their birth, creating something just as precious as I was able to experience! If you have questions about how to create your birth plan, what you should or shouldn’t include, or just want to tell me about your perfect plan, comment below or send me a message!

Becoming a Doula

Here is my story. I have worked for years to become a BCBA (Board Certified Behavior Analyst) which requires a Master’s degree and lots of studying for the board exam. After not passing, I woke up one day and decided I needed a change of pace. I dove into my list of “dream goals,” you know the type, the goals that seem like they would only come true far into the future, and found one that could I pursue. I was feeling pushed and motivated to become a Doula! It was something that I have had on my heart for a long time, but never knew when I was going to have the opportunity to do so.

I got on my computer that day and researched like crazy until I found a DONA International approved training in Sarasota, FL. I was so excited to go in just a few short weeks and even booked my hotel that night! I had a birth lined up before the training and was getting so excited to learn all the fun new information I longed to know. The day before the training, the instructor called and cancelled it due to weather! Weather? It was sunny and beautiful in Florida, but that is beside the point. That night, I got busy again and searched for a program that would take place the same weekend. I knew I wanted to be prepared so that I could work with the mama as her doula in only a few short weeks. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a program that had space and would need to wait a few more weeks.

This was not going to stop me! I was on fire and, now, more motivated than ever. I found a program in Tampa and signed up right away. On Tuesday, the week of the training, my first mama was being induced and I was right by her side! I had been reading ‘The Birth Partner’ and soaked up as much information as I could. My first time as a birth doula was the most incredible experience of my life. My heart and soul desired to fulfill this passion, and that is just what I did. On the Friday of the first class, I drove up to Tampa for 3 days of working with an amazing group of women who also wanted to become Birth Doulas. I couldn’t help but share my incredible experience and how cool birth can truly be.

When I got home, I was so ready to start up my own business, Laven-Doula, LLC. It was my husband’s (Evan) and my new baby! We researched and got things all set up, for the most part! My next step was to gain some mama’s to work with so I posted for complimentary birth doula service to 3 women on Facebook. I suddenly had a mama who was past due, so I quickly met with her. Only a few short days later I was at the hospital with her, helping to labor and birth her beautiful new baby! The experience enlightened me! Not only was this couple kind and loving, they were also Christians. As she labored, we listened to Christian music and hummed and sang along. It calmed the room and showed so much love. It was an amazing experience for all of us involved. After her birth, I was once again ready to explore more and more! Mothers had started to contact me and I had interviews set up on my schedule! Things were beginning to blossom.

Now, I am a few months in and soaking up every ounce of information. I am eager to work with mamas as each new story grows my experience. My passion has grown even greater and I can’t express my love for the process of pregnancy, labor, and birth! I am so happy I am able to finally be an organic, positive presence on one of the most important days of a family’s life!