ML Dreams: Samantha Huggins, Arizona Native; Carriage House Birth Co-Founder
The Carriage House is a network of doulas, lactation and bodywork professionals that families might need throughout their prenatal, birth and postpartum care. This network acts as a close knit village, calling on one another for support, which then ultimately helps to create a stronger foundation to the new families the network is tending. Samantha Huggins had this vision about six years ago and hasn't stopped growing since. We see her as the ULTIMATE Mama and Delivery GODDESS (no, she was not our doula...only because we did not use one, but after hearing about so many different delivery stories, we would definitely have hired a doula had we been better prepared.) Samantha kindly took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for ML Dreams today:
madeLOKAL: You were doing Sustainability work for the American Museum of Natural History...how did you have the courage to make the leap into becoming a doula?
Samantha: Around the same time that I left AMNH, I gave birth to my first child and made a few "mom friends". I started to hear the same story over and over again, "If only I knew...." or "we didn't know....". So much disappointment and so many unknowns for these parents surrounded their birth stories. This floored me. I came from a family that celebrated the power of a woman's body and its unique abilities so when I got pregnant, I had a clear sense of what I wanted and I knew how to access the information I needed to create a reasonable list of preferences for myself with the support I needed.
I felt like I had to be a part of lifting families up so that whether their children came through a door or a window, they felt ownership and pride in the process. I also knew I didn't want to do it alone. So my partners, Domino Kirke and Lindsey Bliss and I, created Carriage House Birth and began to grow a village.
madeLOKAL: About how many families has Carriage House Birth taken into motherhood since then?
Samantha: Carriage House Birth is honored to have served over 1000 families in New York and Los Angeles (2015) since 2011 with birth and postpartum support, breastfeeding/infant feeding support, childbirth education and more.
madeLOKAL: How many doulas are on your team?
Samantha: We currently have about 80 birth and postpartum doulas between Los Angeles and New York. But stay tuned because we are growing in a couple other cities as we speak!
madeLOKAL: What's the longest birth you've ever partaken in?
Samantha: I was once a part of a circle of support for a mama that spent 5 days in pretty substantial labor until her babe finally came earth side.
madeLOKAL: How about the quickest?
Samantha: The shortest, that wasn't one of my own babies, was maybe 2 hours. Needless to say that one ended up being a home birth.
madeLOKAL: Where was your craziest baby delivery?
Samantha: All of the births I have attended, except the one I just mentioned and one other, happened where they were planned ~either at home, a birthing center or a hospital. Within Carriage House Birth, we have had a couple of babies born in cars, stairwells or lobbies. But for the most part, precipitous labors are pretty unusual.
madeLOKAL: What is one of your favorite memories you have with your own mother?
Samantha: Oh wow. So many because my mom and grandmother raised me. I guess one memory in particular that's a favorite these days is when my mom would pick me up from kindergarten on a 16 hand horse. She didn't do it often but those days were the best!! It made me feel so special and I just thought my mother was a complete badass
madeLOKAL: What is your dream for every new mama?
Samantha: My dream for all new mothers is that they feel empowered, well informed and supported. I want every mama to know that she has a right to evidence based care, the right to ask questions, and should never feel shame for seeking answers.
I want every mama to feel a river of accessible support flowing beneath her.
madeLOKAL: Can you suggest a recommended piece of reading for prospective moms who either weren't considering a doula, or don't know about doula services?
Samantha: There isn't really a one size fits all piece of literature out there for prospective mamas because having a doula or not is such a personal choice. The trick is to learn about options and the birth climate then see if having another informed pair of hands in the room to support the partner and the birthing parent make sense for them. It can be a lot for a first time partner to fly solo in the support department!
Watching movies like the Business of Being Born and reading books like Pushed, the Birth Partner, Thinking Woman's Guide to Better Birth, anything Ina May, all give prospective to normal birth, evidence based care and the current climate of birth in America.
madeLOKAL: Are you able to put into words that moment you see a woman become a mother?
Samantha: The moment a baby comes earth side, the parents are born as well. It is truly magic.
As a doula a large part of our job is to just hold the sacred space that the laboring family creates and then bare witness to this moment. For me, it never loses thrill. I'm not sure that there are words that could do it justice.
photos below from @carriagehousebirth
Follow Carriage House Birth on Social Media, or send to a mommy-to-be:
@carriagehousebirth (Instagram + Snapchat)
header photo credit: daughterofthesun_
Check out what is going on this month by clicking here