TARA VAN DYKE, CERTIFIED BIRTH DOULA
Wow, I wish I knew what a doula was for the births of my four children. When my first baby was on the way, I read a few books about what to expect and dutifully lugged my pillow and my husband to hospital childbirth classes, but when I finally went into labor 10 days past my due date, let's just say things didn't go exactly as I'd envisioned them.
The question families ask me most frequently is why I decided to become a doula. The short answer is that new parents need and deserve top-quality, continuous care when they are most vulnerable. The longer answer comes partly from the questions I asked myself after that first labor experience:
How did I feel unprepared when I had read the books and gone to the classes?
Why did we feel so lost and alone even in our highly-rated hospital and with our chosen doctor?
How can new parents feel stronger and more empowered after birth and less traumatized and overwhelmed?
My journey to parenthood included experiences with miscarriage, Pitocin induction, epidural, episiotomy, instrumental delivery, unmedicated birth, and finally a hospital birth attended by my husband, mother, and mother-in-law! I learned a lot along the way about how to find the information and support I needed. I want all parents to have a positive beginning as their baby is born, and a beautiful story to tell for the rest of their lives. I am passionate about the power of family life transitions, and so became a doula and educator to encourage, support, and equip parents in their new roles.
This passion is what led to the launching of With U Parenting, a company focused on strengthening families and creating community support.
Mother of 4
Certified Birth Doula, ICEA.org
B.A., Communications, Wheaton College
Certified VBAC Doula, The VBAC Link
Certified Bringing Baby Home Educator, Gottman Institute
Founding member, DuPage Doula Network
Podcast Host, With U Podcast
350+ births attended