Today I’m introducing you to Rochelle Matos from With Love. Many of my families have enjoyed working with Rochelle through her wonderful Bradley Childbirth Education series, as a doula, and as a placenta encapsulator! Rochelle provides classes in St Paul, and works with families all over the cities for labor support and placenta processing. I’ve always been impressed with Rochelle’s depth of knowledge and warmth of personality. I hope you get a chance to meet Rochelle in person soon!
Childbirth Instructor, Doula, Placenta Encapsulator
I’m married to the amazing Luis H. Matos and together we have four children (so far!): Lui 7.5, Anthonly 6, John 4, Lourdes 2
I am from Delano, Minnesota
Our family lives in Como Park, St. Paul
Favorite weekday dinner:
Yoga and group exercise
Favorite downtime activity:
Reading to my kids, Star Trek, biking, playing in the dirt, drinking wine.
Kate: When did you know you wanted to be a doula and childbirth educator?
Rochelle: When my friends were first having kids I was “the friend” that you asked to come and help at the birth. It began as a loving act for my friends and family. That led me to begin teaching the Bradley Method of Childbirth Education because I wanted my friends and family to have quality classes, which fed into becoming a doula.
Kate: You are also a placenta encapsulator. Can you briefly explain what it means to get your placenta encapsulated, and what drew you to providing that service?
Rochelle: When I first heard about Placenta Encapsulation it just sounded right & good and I knew I wanted to try it. My personal experience was amazing and I was impressed at how good I felt and how well I healed! After that I pursued training with Placenta Benefits and began encapsulating for other families in the Twin Cities. What happens is that an expecting momma will contact me weeks or months before the guess date, and they would hire me by signing some paperwork. Then I’m on call to encapsulate within 36 hours of the birth. I gently clean the placenta, steam it, slice and dehydrate overnight. In the morning I grind and encapsulate. The capsules are delivered by day three postpartum when mom’s hormones are going through a tremendous drop. The capsules work very quickly in helping with increased milk supply, hormonal balance, increased energy, hastens uterus to pre-pregnancy state, they are made by YOU, for YOU! It’s been so amazing to see how this service has blessed women in this important transition in their lives.
Kate: Tell me a bit about your practice.
Rochelle: At the heart I’m a lover. I love to LOVE moms and dads through this important change in their lives. As a Bradley Method Childbirth Instructor I work with families who want natural childbirth for both home and hospital births. The class series is 10 weeks, 2.5 hours each night at my home in Como Park, St. Paul. We cover everything from Labor to Postpartum, Exercise to Nutrition, and Breastfeeding to New Baby Care. Couples walk away from the class confident with the tools necessary for whatever birth path they will be taken on. Going hand-in-hand with Childbirth Education, is the privileged work of serving a family as a Doula. This role is an honor and privilege and a lot of fun! I love meeting new people and learning about them and helping them to achieve the birth they desire. We meet twice prenatally, I come when they want me to come in the labor process and stay a few hours postpartum, then finally we meet in a postpartum visit. The families I work with have had a 90% natural birth rate. I truly believe in a women’s ability to birth naturally. She can do it, and I’m happy to walk the journey with her!
Kate: What is the best part of your job?
Rochelle: Helping women discover their own strength within. They are so strong and it moves them from pregnancy to parenthood and it’s awesome to witness that and help their experience to be everything they want it to be!
Kate: What benefits do you see to the families who take your childbirth education classes?
Rochelle: Well, of course they have the pregnancy & birth benefits. Through the classes, I have seen couples changing care providers, asking questions, making informed decisions. They become proactive in the care of themselves and their baby. Their relationship with each other becomes stronger and they become better at communicating. But I think the long term benefits are what really touches families. After the class, I see families approaching life differently! When you spend time researching and becoming informed and empowered in pregnancy you can’t help but do that in parenthood. I think the benefit of the Bradley class is it not only makes a beautiful birth BUT more importantly: beautiful parents!
Kate: Sometimes families are worried about setting aside enough time for a full length Bradley series. How do you respond to that?
Rochelle: In my experience I have never had a family regret taking the course. In fact couples look forward to class each week and are sad when it’s all done. They love it! Over time, the class becomes more a family. We get to know each other, and they begin to support each other through their pregnancies. With so much information and practical practice 10 weeks go quickly!
Kate: Especially in the home birth setting, people wonder how a doula will be helpful, considering that their midwives will be with them and provide continuity of care in a way that isn’t provided in other birth settings. How do you feel your role as a doula is different in the home birth setting, and why is it still beneficial to have a doula at a home birth? (As a midwife, I see doulas at all births as a tremendous support!)
Rochelle: We each have our roles and it becomes a beautiful dance as the doula, midwife, dad and others work together. I think first time parents are surprised at how much work and how many people it takes for labor and birth. A doula often comes before the midwife when the couple isn’t quite ready for the midwife but don’t want to be alone. A doula is 100% focused on caring for the couple. She doesn’t chart, monitor baby, she doesn’t do anything medical. She is free to focus on comfort measures, positions, relaxation, etc. A doula helps dads to take breaks (bathroom, food, rest), so that mom can always have someone with her. She takes care of practical things: making the birth bed, food, making a phone call, filling water bottles, heating rice bags, etc. A doula’s role at a home birth is valued, needed and an important contribution to the birth process.
Kate: How would you say that you are unique from other childbirth educators and doulas in the community?
Rochelle: While there are many wonderful and experienced birth workers in the Twin Cities, perhaps the combination of the following things set me apart: Years of experience in four birth-fields – that is – Childbirth Education, Doula work, Placenta Encapsulation, and personally giving birth naturally to four children (ranging from hospital to home; emergency to well-planned; water to land).With that being said it might be helpful to let a couple of my students/clients speak for themselves:
“After a traumatic C-section with our firstborn, I desperately wanted to have a VBAC. Taking Bradley Method classes with Rochelle (and Luis!) empowered my husband/coach and I to achieve the birth we wanted. Rochelle speaks not only from the perspective of a knowledgeable Bradley educator, but also as a compassionate doula and of course, a mother who has proven the success of the Bradley Method time and again through her own experience. In April 2012, our dream was realized when we peacefully brought our son into the world via a Bradley VBAC waterbirth. Thank you Rochelle and Luis – we couldn’t have done it without you!” – Julie
“I am so incredibly thankful for our Bradley class! I am absolutely convinced that that training is how we made it through 47 hours of labor. Without the relaxation techniques, comfort measures and depth of knowledge we gained I have no doubt we would have had multiple interventions and probably a C-section. Rochelle is a fantastic teacher, and I would recommend her class to anyone in a heartbeat.” – Pier
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our pregnant readers?
Rochelle: Become informed and educated, know your options and ask a lot of questions. Then at 36 weeks, let it all go! Trust your body and your baby. Listen to your instincts! Always look ahead to the next season: Read a book on newborn sleep, calming a crying baby, and buy a sling!
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our post birth, new mom and new dad readers?
Rochelle: As a mama of four, I’m constantly telling families to “be kind to yourselves”. My first baby was my hardest transition! Having one for me was harder then managing four! I recommend a good mom’s group. Slings. Sleep. Lots of good food. Take life in stride – each season is short and they change quickly. Read ahead about the next developmental phase, so you can begin to think about your approach before it happens. Most of all LOVE! 🙂