Providing Professional Doula Services to Families in Greenwich, Westchester and NYC

February 2013

I do women. That’s what I do.

That’s what I know and that’s what I understand. Women just make sense to me and that’s why I was called to birth work. I’ll tell you how it happened….Erica started kindergarten in September of 1997 and I was so excited! I wanted to participate in everything she did because I was absolutely fascinated by her.

A few days into school, the flyer came home in her backpack…. JOIN GIRL SCOUTS! LEADERS NEEDED! I remember the registration night the following week. Racing to get there early for fear that all the leader positions would be taken before I got there…. Oh boy, was I naïve! NO ONE wants this position, they were overwhelmed by my enthusiasm and granted me a leadership role immediately. Let me tell you, those 12 girls and I had an amazing year together. Ask them, they will all agree! We didn’t earn many “badges” and we weren’t so “official” about it but we learned a whole lot about our selves and each other! We learned how to go food shopping and prepare a meal, we learned how to properly take care of our skin, we marched in a parade and we befriended each other. We became a team and we stuck together. Those girls were accountable to one another and they were a united front. They took pride in being part of Troop 2053 and they felt honored to be a part of something great! Ok… your probably thinking, what the hell does this have to do with me getting involved with birth. Here it is. There was a little girl in...Read more

It's Valentines Day! Let’s talk about hate.

Love is the obvious, I mean we see signs of it all around us on Feb. 14th. It’s all over the tv, internet,, malls, even cars in high school parking lots are sprinkled with flowers and balloons. Jerry Patterson and I choose to abstain from this holiday. Not because I don’t love a holiday… for those who know me well, you know I LOVE to celebrate a holiday. We just can’t wrap our heads around being told that Feb. 14th is the day that we should celebrate our undying, passionate love for one another, so we skip it and express our love every single day, instead.

So today, love’s evil twin, “HATE” is what I find myself wanting to write about.

You know they’re twins, right? They are our two most passionate emotions. It’s funny how we mock them with statements like, I love that car and I hate that color, but these twins have tremendous power. They are all consuming and take us to our highest high or our lowest low. True love makes us feel alive and true hate makes us feel like we’re dying inside.

We fight. I mean Jerry and I, we fight. We fight with passion, we’re passionate people in general but we’re in love and that generates more passion. So the fights seem real ugly. We don’t hold back (just like we don’t hold our love back) we say and feel things that hurt our hearts and make me cry. This is how we know we’re alive! It’s important! It’s deep and it’s strong and it moves us. And just...Read more

In the picture above, I am a size 18

!n real life, I am a size 8.

When I walk into a clothes store, I bring a size 12 into the dressing room….

IN MY MIND, I’m a size 12 and I always have been.

I come from a long line of obesity.

My mother, father and siblings… all obese.

Both my brother and my sister, in the last handful of years, have had weight loss surgery and I remember my parents trying but failing at every diet and weight loss gimmick ever invented.

From cabbage soup to Atkins to weird powders that you sprinkle on your food to trigger an “I’m full” response in your brain.

Food has always been a means of comfort in our family and a way to say I love you.

My parents (among other things…) were “eating buddies”. They enticed each other with talk of food, they co-signed each other’s bad choices and my dad was willing, at any time, day or night, to go on a food run! As a kid, that seemed awesome! All someone would have to do was mention ice cream or cookies and off he would go.

I learned some bad eating (and cooking) habits as a kid and brought those habits into my adult life.

I had no control when it came to food. If there was cake in the house, I thought about it until I ate it and an hour later, I was thinking about it again.

I...Read more

Wanna hear more about this Jerry Patterson? Yes? OK!

I was 17 years old. It was 1984.

I dropped out of high school and I was working at my parent’s record store, Rock n’ Roll Heaven North in Warwick, New York. The store was a specialty record shop with a focus on the heavy metal underground scene.

My parent’s and my Aunt and Uncle promoted bands and put on shows in the New York and New Jersey areas and we went to those shows with flyers to promote the store.

One day, a young, hot, Jerry Patterson got his hands on a flyer and rallied a couple of his metal head friends to make the hour long trek to the store in Warwick.

I am behind the counter with my friend Lori and in walks 4 long hair, denim clad, metal stubbed hotties. Jerry Patterson walks to the magazine rack at the back of the store and there it is! I see it for the first time! My eyes are drawn to it and I can’t look away. I nudge Lori. She looks at me. I nudge her again. Her shoulders shrug and I lean into her and speak these words…. “Lori, look at that ass, it’s absolutely perfect”. I continue staring until finally he makes his way to the counter with a question. Before he can spit out the question, I tell him! “you have the cutest ass I have ever seen and I want to bite it” He replies, “Let me get your number…” and my soul mate has been...Read more

I wanted a baby more than anything on Earth and was fortunate enough to have one. The second I laid eyes on her I knew we were one. The sun rose and set on this baby and I was madly in love with her (I still am). I looked at her with total fascination. If I could climb inside of her and see the world through her eyes I would have. I loved to share something new with her and watch her understand it. I talked to her and asked her opinion about things before the world or anyone in it had a chance to sway her in any direction. She was intuitive and unbelievably wise beyond her years. We were bonded like ET and Elliot.

And then it happened….

I got pregnant. Someone else was growing inside me. I was terrified! I loved Erica so much, I couldn’t imagine being able to love another person as much as I loved her and I wasn’t going to “cheat” on her with ANY other baby.

My solution…. Denial. Ignore it. Don’t think about it and maybe I won’t have to deal with it.

As you can imagine, that worked for about 40 weeks and then my labor began. I labored comfortably throughout the day and in the evening, Erica went to spend the night at Grammy’s. My labor hit the “go to the hospital mark”, 5-1-1. (contractions 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute for at least 1 hour) They “checked” me, I was 1cm dialated, they laughed at me and sent me home. A few hours later, I went back, I was fully dialated, terrified and I pushed my baby out. Retrospectively, a doula would have...Read more

This blog post inspired by Ty Patterson

Do you say the word vagina? Do you cringe when you say it? Do you teach your kids to say it? Do you call it something else? A cutesy name to avoid saying the real word?

Why so much stigma around this magnificent piece of our anatomy???

I said to Ty, (my 16 year old daughter) "what should I blog about today?" Her response? “VAGINAS! Talk about vaginas, mom. People are so weird about saying it and they talk about it like it’s so gross but it’s responsible for bringing beauty into the world!”

After struggling with low to no self-esteem for the first 20 years of my life I began the process of developing a healthy self esteem. It wasn’t easy, in fact it sucked and I never thought I would be capable of it, but with a ton of help and a desperate commitment, I did it. I knew that my focus when I had children of my own would be developing their self esteem. That would be my number one priority. With that, anything else was possible and I knew that first hand. I instilled upon my daughters the most positive blessing of all. That they were normal and perfect in EVERY way! That their bodies were beautiful and their opinions mattered!

Raising these girls has been so healing for me. When I was a teenager I couldn’t brush my hair without screaming I hate you when I looked in the mirror. No one told me I was attractive, no one said I was normal and no one ever said I was perfect. I felt weird and alone and I...Read more

"As long as you don’t fuck my husband or mess with my relationship with my kids in any way, we’ll be fine! Anything else, we can work out." Those are the words I said to Debbie Aglietti the moment before we signed our 22 page partnership agreement and legally solidified our bond.

It’s not easy for two passionate women to be business partners. Especially when those two women are from opposite backgrounds! A client once told us that we were like Greenwich Village meets Greenwich Connecticut. As many of you know, Debbie is every bit the suburbanite in cardigans, khakis and neatly styled hair and I have a more, well…  “relaxed” approach to my appearance. Debbie grew up in a “white picket fence” middle class American home with the love and structure of a close family. Me in a “broken home” infused with drug addiction and financial struggle.

What most of you don’t know and would have no way to know is that Debbie suffers from depression. Real and debilitating depression, that she is currently being treated for. I share this with you today, with Debbie’s permission for two reasons. First, because she is amazing and incredible and her work as a doula is the only thing that can pull her out of “the hole” when her depression is at it’s worst and secondly, because MANY women will benefit from hearing Debbie’s story. This blog is a launching point for Debbie to periodically blog and share her personal triumphs and amazing strengths in hopes of empowering and inspiring...Read more

If there’s a flood, I’LL SWIM, but I WILL be with you when you need me!

For many people in the northeast, a giant snowstorm is a great reason to keep their pajamas on, their bras off and their ovens full, while they settle in and wait out the storm with movies and family time around the fire. If you are a Doula and you work for a company called NORTHEAST DOULAS your priorities will be slightly different! Getting your car cleared of snow, getting out of your driveway and keeping your phone charged when the power is out will be all consuming.

I live at the top of a mountain and being “snowed in” when someone is in labor is just not an option for me OR my staff. I drive a Ford Explorer with 4 wheel drive and if the roads are REALLY bad, my knight in shining armor, Jerry Patterson, will drive me. All we have is our accountability when it comes to our clients and no amount of snow, ice, rain or wind will keep us from being by their side when they need us!

A handful of years ago, I got a call one night from a doula that had only been working for us for a few months. It was her first winter as a NORTHEAST Doula and she called because we were in the midst of a bad storm. She said, “What do we do if they say emergency vehicles only, on the roads?” My response… simple and direct…. YOU become an emergency vehicle! Be safe!!!

It is not easy and I won’t tell you that it’s not stressful BUT the rewards of walking a couple through the amazing...Read more

Journal Entry, 2009

Dear Diary,

When we did XXXX’s prenatal appointment she was so calm. It was as if she had given birth many times all ready, although this was her first pregnancy. She didn’t ask the usual questions like how will I know when I’m in labor? What do contractions feel like? What if I can’t handle the pain? She was unusually and pleasantly accepting of the whole process and seemed to have the maternal instinct of a woman who had done this many times before.

I was intrigued by her and secretly hoped that I would be on call when she went into labor. When the phone rang at 5:30am and the soft voice on the other end said, “Good morning Randy, it’s XXXX” a smile came over my heart. XXXX and her husband had labored together all night, holding hands, rocking together, standing together in the shower and simply enjoying their last night together as a couple. The next day, they would become a family.

When her water broke, Mr. XXXX loaded the car and she called to ask me to meet them at the hospital. XXXX exhibited a peaceful acceptance of labor. Her confidence brought her unbelievable peace. They say a girls gotta do, what a girls gotta do but XXXX did this with a grace, determination and an inner peace that spoke volumes about her as a woman.  She endured the pains of labor as if she had a choice, and chose it, knowing it would make her stronger. I knew that she would store this experience deep within herself and use it...Read more

Creating a Family 

All I ever wanted to be was a mom.

Really! And not just a mom in the sense of mothering a child, I mean a mother, responsible and accountable, the matriarch of a family.

I had been developing a plan for this since I was a child.

I kept a running log through out my childhood, my teen years and my early 20’s. I would do this, I wouldn’t do that etc…

When Jerry and I were young (just 17 years old) we would critique other parents and talk about what we would and wouldn’t do if we ever had children together.

As I think back about this, what I know for sure is that the feelings and thoughts I was having would be the backbone of my parenting philosophies and they would in fact, help mold me as a woman and shape our family.

It always intrigues me when I start a discussion with a pregnant couple about parenting philosophies.

What I’ve learned is that most people don’t necessarily have a vision of “the big picture”.

They have some starting points, and that’s great but what if their actions and decision making process was deliberate in creating a standard for their family.

What if they knew that their long-term goals could help them parent with more intent in their daily interactions.

When pregnant or new families think about parenting philosophies what typically comes to mind or a google search is attachment parenting or scheduled parenting.

BUT…. There is soooo...Read more