There is something about a birth doula that makes them so admirable. I had the opportunity to get to know birth doula, health educator, and certified vaginal steam facilitator, Stormi Harmon over the past month and she is truly one of a kind. I’ve read a lot about birth doulas over the years but never met one until earlier this week. Stormi Harmon allowed me a chance to get to know her and her true purpose to help others. Join in as Stormi discusses life as a doula, why health is such an important aspect in her family’s life.
You are a woman of many hats, Stormi. Tell our readers about yourself and the many roles you have in life.
I am a wife and homeschooling mama of two sweet girls! I love fruit, reading multiple books at one time, spending time with my family and trying new foods. I am a doula, health educator, certified vaginal steam facilitator and I focus on holistic nutrition. Birth, babies, mamas and providing solutions for my community fills my heart. I am so grateful that The Most High has allowed me to serve others at some of the most important times of their lives. I truly feel this is my purpose and being allowed to grow in it, has been nothing short of a blessing. Every time I am welcomed into someone’s birth space, or trusted to help them make life changes I am completely honored to be by their side.
What made you want to become a birth doula? What would you say is the most rewarding part of being a doula?
I wanted to become a doula due to all of the systematic racism I experienced first hand while pregnant with my oldest! I was engaged at the time and my finance- now husband was in the military. They treated me as if I was not being honest about Ava’s father- basically, they thought I was making up the fact that I was engaged because my husband was not physically there with during the first half of my pregnancy. Once he came home, he attended every appointment. Everything changed. they were more kind to me and much more respectful once they saw that I was not alone.
Not only that, anytime I objected to something or questioned the OB and or their staff, they would get visibly angry and ask me “Why are you asking me this?” or ” What is your educational background?” I have so many other examples! My labor and birth itself was great.
Once Ava arrived, the lactation consultant never asked if we were breastfeeding, she pushed formula on me. My husband had to speak up and let her know that she never asked of our plans and we do plan to breastfeed. I kept telling her we wanted to breastfeed and she literally ignored me. She ultimately said that I was not providing enough milk right now – which I know now is not true- and Ava needed formula or her weight would drop. Very little education from the lactation consultant at all. It was assumed immediately that I would not be breastfeeding. I later discovered the tactics from large formula making companies and how they associate themselves with hospitals as well as the assumption that black women don’t want to breastfeed is common in health care.
As I reflected on my pregnancy I wanted to do something about it! If I could help another mother have a better experience and make sure they are educated and supported, it would be amazing! That’s when I discovered that being a doula would be best!
The most rewarding part of being a doula is seeing happy mothers and healthy babies! I get to help women achieve the best birth possible! Outcomes charge dramatically without the support of a doula! So to see an entire family satisfied with the investment they make, and the continued relationship I have with all of them is most rewarding!
Health and education play a big role in your life, why is health education so important to you?
I am a health educator by trade. I’ve been in health and wellness for nearly 10 years. It was so hard being employed by others because I had so many boundaries I could not cross. For example, I couldn’t dare speak on healing someone with food. I had to teach them how to manage a disease. Manage? When it can likely be reversed? Why? I would be doing them a disservice daily. Once I created Live To Serve LLC I vowed to educate everyone who trusted me as much as possible, and not hold back.
You are also a vegan, what made you want to become one?
I am not a fan of the word Vegan but I do have a plant-based diet! I became plant-based six years ago when I was trying to find the triggers to my migraines. I discovered, red wine, milk chocolate, and meat were all triggers. At the time it seemed easier to remove meat and milk chocolate. As time passed I saw other results beyond fewer migraines and it grew from there!
Do you have any advice for those who would want to transition into veganism?
My advice would be- baby steps. Don’t be so hard on yourselves and understand that it is more mental than anything! Also, being plant-based is not expensive, unless you are consuming a lot of processed foods! Eat as many 1 ingredient items as possible! That’s, fruits, leafy greens, vegetable, nuts, seeds, and grains! oh, one more thing- stop saying ” I don’t eat that, “When you never had it before! Going plant-based also changes your palate so trust me when I say- things you didn’t like in the past, will taste heavenly if you give them a shot!
What do you have planned for the New Year?
I plan to expand my service offerings as well as products! Also providing more at- your – pace education for others! Stay tuned!
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All images provided by Stormi Harmon