Controlling our Bodies: Our Liberation is Bound Together


Photo by Michelle Schapiro

I have had this post floating around in my mind for ages. As I hear stories from clients about lack of consent, hear the updates on the anti-trans bills from Chase Strangio, and hear how the options for abortions are becoming more and more limited, I know there is a connection to be made from my stance as a doula and trainer.

The connection is that marginalized bodies need to stay marginalized in order for the status quo to continue. Capitalism, patriarchy, white nationalism, thrive on keeping folks in spirals of trauma, unable to get the care they deserve, and maintaining power and money. When a transgender person cannot get the life saving health care they need, they cannot fully participate in life and community, if they even survive. Pregnant people who experience trauma around birth and postpartum, have to struggle to make it through, and are constantly told that they should suffer in silence. When a person is forced to carry a group of cells to term, and have an unplanned for baby, or whose life is then at risk due to the pregnancy, how can they be a fully empowered human? All of these experiences are traumas on top of traumas.

We have to see our liberation as bound together. Trans folks bound with pregnant folks. New parents bound to the fight to eradicate racism. I believe my work as a trainer and a doula can help empower folks to make these connections. When we can understand this suffering not as our failure, but as a systematic problem, we can fight together. When we can understand our birth trauma in context, in the context of a system that was meant to silence us, we can fight together. When we can understand the government’s attempts to control most bodies as a direct assault on our bodies and the bodies of people we love, we can fight together.

Some more resources:

Eradicating Transness”: ACLU’s Chase Strangio on GOP’s Assault on LGBTQ Rights at CPAC & Nationwide:

Criminalization of pregnancy has already been happening to the poor and women of color:


The State of the World


Sometimes the broken parts of our society, our system, remain more subtle, more hidden, especially for those of us with any sort of privilege, especially race and class privilege. Now is a moment in time where there are earthquakes, where the reality of late stage capitalism, unchecked white supremacy, and ingrained patriarchy have cracked wide open, exposing deep caverns, broken earth, and a seemingly hopeless world. The formula shortage, the anti-trans laws, the fall of Roe, these tragedies are all connected, interrelated, and we must fight them as such.

The formula shortage is devastating to watch. My work with new parents involves a lot of support around feeding, around challenges with nursing, and around making decisions about the balance between nursing and a parents’ own mental health. Formula is a necessity for some but also a safety net for others. There is already so much pressure and judgement around how we feed our babies. For parents who are struggling with nursing, this added pressure to nurse at all costs, because maybe there wont be enough formula for their babies, is too much for anyone to bear. There are already so SO many ways in which we do not support new families, from inadequate paid time off to isolation, to insufficient medical and mental health care, and this formula shortage is truly just the nail in the coffin. No one should be surprised. Late stage capitalism, with its monopolies and disregard for public interest, has created a situation where the lives of actual babies and the well being of new parents do not matter as much as profits.

I consider the work I do to be part of a larger picture. The larger picture is one of autonomy for all bodies and autonomy for family creation. A dismantling of the white supremacist cishet patriarchy. The leaked draft from the Supreme Court about the ending of Roe reminds us how connected all of our struggles are. Reproductive justice means abortion is health care as well as compassionate and caring postpartum support. Reproductive justice is gender affirming health care. Reproductive justice is access to lactation consultants covered by insurance, birth environments that are empowering and competent, and the ability to feed your baby however you choose. I remember raising money for the EMA Fund when my oldest was a baby. Never before had I understood how important it was to be able to truly choose parenthood.

If you are feeling rage, sadness, overwhelm, apocalyptic existential grief, you are not alone. Let us continue to learn about how the ways we suffer are connected and focus on the societal oppression that hurts us. Our liberation is bound together. In the meantime, find some joy to keep hope alive. Here is mine.

Supporting Parents with a Queer Lens


I often say that my hope is for a world where my job as a postpartum doula is no longer needed. Where we live in community, with elders and resources, held and supported as we welcome a new life into the world. 

I take great pride in the fact that I support all new parents with a queer lens. What does this mean, you might ask? It means I am honest about the ways in which America sets us up to fail and how capitalism requires us to detach from our babies and families and communities of support. It means I help everyone navigate the often unbalanced division of labor in the home and in their lives. It is having conversations with new parents about sex, pleasure, and consent as they hit the 6 weeks postpartum mark. One of the ways in which oppression and patriarchy work so effectively and so consistently is that we are taught to believe many of the messages ourselves. 

Queerness is often understood as a sexual and gender identity. While it is both of those things for me it is also a political identity. I often think about how the beginnings of queer political organizing, led by transgender women of color, was about sexual liberation for everyone, not just queer people. It was about being free from racism and police harassment. It was about everyone’s ability to live and love and have shelter and be supported in a way that felt authentic and real and free from violence and oppression. 

Identity and structural oppression inform everything about how we live our lives, birth our babies, and learn how to parent. I help my clients see and navigate those realities. Let’s talk about how our institutions, from marriage, to leave policies, to systems of childcare, to the medical system, are not set up to support us or help us build authentic connections with each other or our families and instead are set up to make money and perpetuate systems of oppression. 

That’s nice, Rachel, but what does that mean in practice? It means when clients arrive home from the hospital after the birth of their baby, I help them make sense of it, validate their frustration around having a million different people telling them a million different things, and remind them that none of it is their fault. When they talk about feeling nervous or guilty about returning to work at 12 weeks, I remind them that most countries have 6-18 months of paid leave, that there isn’t actually enough time in every day to do all the things we’ve been told we need to do in order to be good parents, spouses, workers, and human beings. But don’t worry, it’s not all gloom and doom. I help new parents tap into their intuition, find who they are and who they want to be as new parents, in relationship to their families and friends. I encourage deep, meaningful, and vulnerable relationships with partners and other new parents. I encourage empowered choices and body autonomy. Major life changes, such as having a new baby, are an opportunity. To grow, to be seen in a new light, to see yourself and the world in a new light. The light I shine is a rainbow one, working towards a fully liberated and connected world. You and your new baby are an integral part of that. 

Also, babies are so cute. Photo by Michelle Schapiro



New parenthood is a time when you are expected to do something, brand new, emotionally charged, on very little sleep, that you have never done before. When you throw in the overwhelming amount of contradicting information out there, from family to the internet, it is hard to get your footing.

One of my favorite expressions about breastfeeding is that it is “natural, but learned,” meaning that you and your baby are perhaps biologically able to do it, but you both still have to learn. I believe the same is true for parenting. How do you find that parenting instinct? How can you trust yourself and your baby to know what to do?

My favorite part of my postpartum doula work is helping parents build confidence, and helping them hear that voice, the one that has good instincts, that knows when something is wrong, and can trust when something is right. I do this through listening, normalizing, educating, and validating. I model confidence. Most new parents are so worried at how fragile their babies are that they feel like they don’t even know how to hold them. Seeing someone like me who has held a million babies, seeing that their babies are actually pretty tough, can help calm them.

I always say that I know my work is done when parents feel confident. Or at least more confident. They know which resources to look to for questions. They know that every little decision they make is not the be all end all of their parenting journey. They can hear that voice, the one that tells them that they know how to parent their baby.

Let me help you build confidence and trust in your parenting journey.

Now taking clients for 2022!

I do love holding all the babies. Photo by Michelle Schapiro.

Relax, I’m here


There are so many things that new parents worry about. What if my baby isn’t gaining weight? What happens when I return to work? How do I do the first bath? And the biggest concern, what if I’m doing something wrong?!?!?!

That is what I am there for. First off, I don’t believe that you can really do something wrong. But I am there to help keep track and help you along the newborn path. Often at that first visit people ask, when do I introduce the bottle or sleep train or prevent bad habits. I remind them that I am here to keep track of all of those things. I will let them know the best time to introduce the bottle, when to think about changing sleep patterns, all of it. They can relax because I am holding all of those worries. Those worries about doing it “right.” Not that I actually believe there is a right or wrong way to parent, but sometimes people can let go of that concern when they feel held.

I often think of myself as a postpartum strategist. Letting new families know what’s normal but also how to maximize their time so that they can wisely take care of themselves. I don’t know a lot of parents of newborns that can actually relax per say, but I do know that I can help carry some of the burden.

I have postpartum openings from now till October. Let me carry some of your load.

I can literally and figuratively hold your hand as you introduce the bottle. Photo by Michelle Schapiro.



People often talk about how joyful it is to have a new baby. “It’s such a gift!” “You should be so happy!” “Smile!” A big piece of my work is approaching parenting with a both/and mindset. You can love and be happy about your new baby while also struggling and feeling sad.

I am lucky enough to do a job that brings me great joy. It is challenging at times, but the bonds I create with new families make me so happy. I love supporting folks at this beginning time and helping them enter this next stage of life.

I have September openings for postpartum doula work and am also offering both my first and second time parent support groups. I bring a balanced approach to supporting new parents. And also, I will make you laugh.

What does a visit look like?


One of the most common questions I get asked in a prenatal interview is, “what does a typical visit look like?” I love this question, because it allows me to talk about all the various facets of my work. A visit can involve so many different things. It is sitting and talking, it is hands on learning, it is holding the baby so families can breathe for a moment. It is both broad and very specific. I have always struggled with how to describe and show what I do. So I decided to get some help.

I hired my good friend Michelle to come along on a visit with some current clients and photograph us as we went through the flow of a typical session. She spent time with me in my clients’ home doing what I do. She really captured the beauty and power of my work; the care, compassion, and humor with which I support new families. I love building relationships with the families I support, and Michelle was able to capture this element honestly and beautifully. The bond I’ve cultivated with these clients was unmistakable, and Michelle made us all feel relaxed, both giving great suggestions for what to do with our time and observing our natural rhythm.

I’ll be updating my website soon and will gradually post the photos on my social media accounts. If anyone would like some beautiful in-home newborn photos taken by Michelle, just say my name and you will get a discounted session fee! Check out Michelle’s amazing work on her website:

Here is the first teaser. Hire yourself a doula who looks at your baby like I do in this photo.

Photo by Michelle Schapiro

In-Person Groups!!!! Yay!!!!


Forgive my enthusiasm, but in-person groups are back this fall. I am so so so excited to be using Akasha’s beautiful space in their new location! I love being in Roslindale square for these groups. It’s easily accessible from so many neighborhoods and near the arboretum and a wonderful and vibrant community. I will be running both my first and second time parent groups starting September 14th. Check out my events page for all the details!

There are so many reasons why I love running these groups, but holding that space and witnessing the trials and tribulations of having a new baby is at the top of my list. It is a space to ask questions, share joys, and find a deep and lasting community. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve run into a parent who was in one of my groups, now with a toddler, and they tell me that their group still meets, that they still support each other through the various phases of childhood, and how grateful they are to me for bringing them together. Those interactions make my heart sing.

Join me this fall. Find your people. Grow and be held.

May be an image of indoor

Spring and Rebirth


While many days lately have felt more like summer thank spring in Boston, it truly is feeling like a reawakening to the world. More of more of my friends, family, and colleagues are fully vaccinated and the world is beginning to reopen, for better or for worse. It feels hard to follow the different rules and guidelines, but I am feeling hopeful about my ability to ramp up my postpartum doula work as well as my trainings and support groups.

Sometimes spring and flowers and sunshine can feel challenging when you are stuck inside with a new baby, recovering from a traumatic birth, or so sleep deprived you can barely open your eyes. One of my previous jobs was working for a suicide prevention nonprofit and I remember learning about how spring can often be the hardest for those of us with depression or anxiety because everyone else won’t stop talking about how happy they are with the nice weather. I feel like I see that theme often with parents of new babies. That they SHOULD be happy or joyful or feel a certain wonderful way about holding a new baby in their arms. This can be extremely invalidating of so many peoples experiences.

While I love showing new families how to do a bath or change a diaper, the core of my work is validating and normalizing all the mixed feelings that come with having a new baby in the house. It is a truly a moment of both/and. You can love your new baby AND feel grief about the loss of your old life. You can enjoy feeding them with your body AND feel incredibly trapped at times. As the mother of older children, I can tell you that those feelings of both/and don’t go away, even though they get less acute.

Happy spring babes. All your feelings are beautiful, real, and seen. I’m available to help you in your homes and will be posting new groups soon. Please reach out.

What is Cultural Humility?


Presenting at the Postpartum Support International Conference in Portland, Oregon in June 2019.

One of the things I love about my work is how much it grows and shifts as I learn and grow as a doula, as a trainer, as a parent, and as a person. I learn something new about babies and parenting with every family I work with. I also learn more about how to dismantle systems of oppression with every training I do. And the language we use about oppression and identities matters. This is central to the framework of my trainings. When I was younger, discussing LGBQ/T communities with a tolerance narrative was popular. But that never sat well with me. As I like to say in my trainings, I don’t want to be tolerated. There isn’t something inherently wrong or different about my queer identity. I think being queer is one of the greatest things about me. So I began to use the language of cultural competency. I understood this to mean that we must learn about the range of identities in any given disenfranchised group, their history, their language, their experiences, in order to be culturally competent and serve that community respectfully. But even this language felt incomplete because one of the great things about identity, anyone’s, is that it is ever shifting, and ever changing. I believe this to be true for almost any oppressed groups and LGBQ/T folks in particular love our identifiers. So when I came across the term cultural humility I was really struck by the focus on continued studentship. Here is how I define cultural humility.

  • Full picture of someone’s race, language, gender, sexual identity, background etc.
  • People can bring their whole selves into the space.
  • Requires an awareness of privilege, power, structural oppression and inequality.
  • Focuses on self-humility and awareness rather than achieving a set amount of knowledge.

I particularly love the emphasis on taking responsibility as a learner to grow and continue learning. Even as a queer person, I am fully aware of the fact that I will continue to learn and grow around the language people within my own community use. Something I love about these trainings, and the way that I run them, is that I am a facilitator not an all knowing expert. I encourage the participants to come into each training with all their knowledge, experiences, and biases. My job is to educate but more importantly to dig and dismantle the things that our white supremacists homophobic, transphobic, sexist society has taught all of us. I do that work with love, compassion, and honesty.

If you would like to learn more and dig deep with me, check out my upcoming training on May 1st on my Provider Support and Training Page.