(816)719-8747

©2020 by Bronwyn Sheppard Doula & Birth Care

My Journey to Becoming a Doula

I have been fascinated by childbirth for as long as I can remember… 

Although I am an American, I grew up in Izmir, Turkey, and had the special opportunity of watching my mother attend numerous births with women who wanted her by their side.  In many ways she was a “doula” to these women, even though she had never heard of the term until I started training to become a doula myself in 2008.  

Because of my mother, my earliest introduction to childbirth was full of fascination and wonder instead of fear and trauma.  She was present with these new mothers in that vulnerable and magical moment when they met their babies face-to-face for the very first time—and a bit of that magic rubbed off on me.

As an adult I have been privileged to travel to more than twenty nations, and I have lived for extended stretches in Turkey, India, South Africa, Germany, Northern Ireland, and the USA.  In each of these places I’ve been captivated by the lives of women and girls—their struggles, joys, opportunities, the obstacles they face and the stories they tell.

These experiences led me to pursue further education about the multi-layered challenges women face around the world.  While doing my master’s degree in International Development and Social Change, with a focus on Gender and Development, I found myself especially drawn to the unique but global challenges of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.

In the middle of such theoretical, big-picture research and studies, my husband and I conceived our first child.  Suddenly, all of my somewhat-blurry thoughts and theories about how pregnancy affected women came into sharp, practical focus as I prepared to give birth. 

It was the surprising overlap of my studies about pregnancy and my firsthand experience of being pregnant that ultimately led me to train as a doula: to make the theory practical, to journey alongside expectant parents in the struggles and joys they face in the here-and-now, to support and celebrate the wonder and power of birth by supporting and championing the birth-givers themselves.

What marks me as a doula:

Peace. Calm. Positivity. Kindness.

 

A deep belief that you can make good choices for your body and baby.

Great care for the emotional memories you carry through life of how you were treated, respected, and heard during the birth of your child.

“All will be well” meets fire-in-my-eyes to ensure you are championed and can fully own your own birth story.

IMG_7344.JPG
Training and Certification

2009 – MA, International Development and Social Change, Clark University

Concentration in Gender and Development, Focus on Maternal Health

2008-2011 – Birth Doula Training and Certification

DONA International (Doulas of North America)

Recertification every 3 years

2013 – Childbirth Educator Training and Certification

BACE (Boston Association of Childbirth Educators)

Recertification every 3 years

2012-Present Day – Continuing Education Training:

  • Pharmacological and Non-Pharmacological Pain Relief in Childbirth

  • Current Obstetric Medical Practices and Procedures

  • Cesarean Birth: Refocusing Best Practices for Mothers and Babies

  • Gut Health in the Newborn

  • Health Disparities in Obstetric Outcomes

  • Optimal Pelvic Positioning in Birth

  • Understanding Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Maternal and Child Health

  • Core and Pelvic Floor Support for Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum

  • Strategies for Impact in Childbirth Education

  • Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Overview

  • Utilizing Chiropractic Care for Safe and Healthy Pregnancies

  • Supporting Families Experiencing Perinatal Emotional Complications

  • How to Work with Survivors Giving Birth

  • Evidence Based Birth Training: PROM, GBS and Newborn Procedures

  • Spinning Babies Training

Additional Fun Facts & Background
  • The first birth I ever attended was a dear friend’s home birth more than a decade ago, and that beautiful experience has kept me wanting to be present at birth again and again.

 

  • When my husband and I attended a fun and engaging childbirth class during our first pregnancy in 2009, he whispered to me, “You should teach childbirth!” 

  • I took him up on it and was trained and mentored through BACE-NMC (Boston Association for Childbirth Educators), a Boston-based non-profit organization that has been changing birth for the better since the 1950s.

  • I have been teaching childbirth classes —in my home and in clients’ homes since 2013—and have been a part of the wonderful childbirth educator team at Newton-Wellesley Hospital since 2018.

  • I have carried four pregnancies, one of which I lost to a miscarriage, and three of which I birthed.  I definitely list these in my "great-life-accomplishments"!

  • Turkey is the home of my heart, and East Boston is my adopted home.  I’m bilingual in Turkish and English, can get by in German, and I speak a smattering of Hindi and Zulu.  (My secret code language is Turkish written in Hindi script).

  • I have three precious, wild and delightful kiddos, and one funny, handsome and very supportive husband.

  • I enjoy reading five or more books at a time, doing MommaStrong daily, taking my children around the world (especially to Turkey as much as possible), and doing my best to live and love from a source of hope and joy.