This week I am thrilled to introduce you to Greta Fay, an amazing doula, yoga teacher, and good friend. Greta and I met over two and a half years ago, and she is the kind of person that when you meet her, you just know you’ll want to get to know her and have her in your life forever. I have enjoyed so many of her yoga classes, which you can sign up for at Blooma and at yogastudio. And I know first hand that Greta is a wonderful doula. If you are on the search for a great prenatal yoga class or a birth doula, you’ll definitely want to check Greta out. You can find more information about her doula services on her website. And last but not least, some of you may remember Greta from our very first TCM Event, a wonderful yoga class, a year ago!
Birth Doula, Yoga Instructor
My husband Mark and I live in Minneapolis, with our parents, siblings and nieces/nephews close by to play with!
Favorite weekday dinner:
A big huge salad that must contain avocado and something grilled.
Really sweaty slow moving yoga class with good music or a long bike ride.
Favorite downtime activities:
Bike rides, dreaming of Lake Superior, drinking coffee, lounging on my deck with my husband and hanging out with family.
Kate: When did you know you wanted to be a doula?
Greta: I started to learn about choices for childbirth when I was in college as a Women’s Studies major. I read Spiritual Midwifery and thought it was so empowering even though I wasn’t even close to being ready for my own kids. A couple years later, I completed my vinyasa yoga teacher training and decided I wanted to take a prenatal training to make sure I knew how to keep the mamas in class safe. I was hooked. I took my doula training and was at my first birth within 2 months. I have learned so much since teaching my first prenatal class and attending my first birth over three years ago. I owe it all to the mamas that have welcomed me into their lives.
Kate: Tell me a bit about your practice.
Greta: I love talking to people about their life experiences and finding out who they are in order to help them. I support women and families all over the Twin Cities with different ideals, wishes, birth places, expectations, support, and backgrounds. I always go into meetings with an open mind and relaxed attitude, I think the yoga starts there! In my prenatal classes, I try to create a class that has variety and benefits for the whole body through breath, stretch, strength, laughter and rest.
Kate: What is the best part of your job?
Greta: Witnessing mothers empowering themselves. Getting to know so many incredible people and watching families grow is the cherry on top.
Kate: What are the general benefits for a mom who decides to have a doula involved in her pregnancy and birth?
Greta: I believe that birth is a natural function of a woman’s body and that we already have the skills we need to do it. Having a doula helps you remember this. A doula is someone there to make sure you are ready when the day comes, a person to remind you of your choices and to ask questions, give emotional and physical support, make sure you have a birth experience that is positive and brings out the best in your partner and other support people. Studies show that the presence of doula support decreases the amount of interventions, length of labor and unnecessary cesarean births.
Kate: Often moms and partners are concerned that a doula will take over the partner’s role. How do you respond to that?
Greta: Great question! This is one that is asked at most interviews and after the birth, the partner is usually the first one to point out that they are so glad a doula was there! Doulas do not replace the role of the partner; instead, they give them confidence, assurance, and empower them through the process. Making sure the partner is okay emotionally and knows what is going on, so that they can reassure mom that she is right where she needs to be. I offer suggestions to partners on how to be supportive of mom in different situations. Usually, they already know all of the techniques from the preparation we have done but they just need a reminder!
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 think doulas are valuable in all birth settings!)
Greta: Another great question, the doulas role is to be a support person and advocate, while the midwife does this as well, they have a huge job of making sure mom and baby are healthy and safe first. In this setting, moms get to know the midwife that is at their birth more throughout their pregnancy, so there is generally less advocacy and more physical and emotional support that compliments the midwife’s care.
Kate: You also have quite a bit of background in yoga. Can you talk about how yoga benefits pregnancy and birth, and how your yogi self influences your doula practice?
Greta: I became a doula through yoga. I love the way moms get to know their pregnant body and gain confidence. Yoga helps mom trust herself, practice breath that keeps her in control and creates a space for mom to challenge herself and build strength for birthing. In prenatal yoga, we focus on movement that can be taken right into labor with noise and emotion to practice listening to your voice. In our busy world, yoga is that time for mom to be present with her baby or babies and breath right down into her belly to show them she is their strength, its the time to meet other moms and hear ‘yes, this is hard’ or ‘we are doing this together’, its a time for mom to learn how to stretch or find much deserved relaxation.
Kate: How would you say that you are unique from other doulas in the community?
Greta: Women and families in the Twin Cities are so lucky to have a vibrant community of birth workers. As a prenatal yoga instructor, I learn from moms during each class and see the power of breath and movement in the pregnant body work. Witnessing women in each class who come together to support one another through different choices, complications, providers, education, cultures, and ups-and-downs has been an incredible tool for me to bring back to the families that I work with. Being a doula is such an intimate role to provide to a growing family and it is one that only allows the doula to give from her true genuine self and experiences. I feel that I bring this to each and every pregnant woman who I have the honor of getting to know; even if it is just in a quick interview or they are rushing in to class.
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our pregnant readers?
Greta: It is never too late to advocate for yourself or your family. Take childbirth education classes!
Kate: Do you have any advice you’d like to share with our post birth, new mom and new dad readers?
Greta: Self Care!
You are not alone!