IllumiNatal \i-ˈlü-mə-nāt-təl\ : enlightening birth
IllumiNatal offers doula (birth support) services in the Greater Houston area, focusing on helping parents become informed and supporting them in their decisions in birth, whether at home, in a birth center, or at a hospital. Illuminatal also offers options for parenting education including baby wearing, cloth diapering, and car seat safety and installation.
The doula, Heather Barrett, is a provisionally certified BirthWorks doula; baby wearing group leader; car seat safety advocate (formerly Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician); and leader of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported, a birth support group.
I've been interested in birth for as long as I can remember. When I became pregnant with my first child in 2001, I spent countless hours reading and researching, intent on learning as much as possible about pregnancy, birth, and parenting. I knew I wanted a natural birth and, while I had friends giving birth at home, chose to go to a hospital because I was concerned about unrelated health issues. As the birth grew closer, we became less comfortable with that arrangement, but didn't believe we had any other options. After an amazing, empowering, natural labor, my son was born by cesarean. I would later learn that it was entirely unnecessary.
The many hours I spent laboring naturally with the help of my husband, mother, and doula instilled in me a passion for birth. I wanted every laboring woman to experience the amazing power of their own bodies and the empowerment that comes from welcoming and working with labor. The surgical birth gave me a compassion for the nearly 1/3 of all American women whose babies are born by cesarean. And, the unexpected outcome set both my husband and I on a track for future home births.
Since then, I've given birth at home three times with the assistance of a midwife. I have become an advocate for women - particularly those who have had c-sections - to make fully informed choices in their births. Over the years, I have realized a calling to be "with women," which is the literal translation of "midwife." In early 2010, newly pregnant with my fourth child, I solidified the decision: I would, even if it took the next 10 years, become a midwife. It is a calling and a passion.
In 2012, I chose to pursue not only midwifery but the study of labor support, as well. I attended an intensive, 3-day workshop with BirthWorks International and entered their doula training program. In 2014, I attended another doula training workshop with CAPPA, and am pursuing certification with the CAPPA organization. Additionally, I have attended specialized trainings in Spinning Babies techniques, rebozo work, breastfeeding support, and more. As a doula, I have the ability to support women and their families from pregnancy to birth and postpartum. I offer resources and information as the family develops their plans for birth; physical and emotional support throughout labor and delivery; and follow-up as the family processes their experience.
I am delighted to be able to assist families in the Houston area as they welcome their babies into the world. There is no more important experience in life, and it is an honor to be a witness to the miracle of birth.