Hi, friends! I’m Beth Ann, the doula and lactation consultant behind Learning to Latch, a practical online course for breastfeeding. I grew up in the small town of Amissville, Virginia and now live in Greensboro, North Carolina with my fur-child, Nelson MeowDoula. I love to show bits of my personal life next to the professional and evidenced-based approach to my doula care. When I am not working, I love spending time cooking, trying a new wine, and being active. I love my Peloton at home (bamartin2) and attend a hot yoga studio a few times a week to take care of my mind.
Since I can remember, I have been around and enmeshed in the world of mamas and babies. Everything from babysitting, working in my church nursery, and then even having a summer job at the clinic where my mom worked. I now know that this world is known as perinatal health 😉 My mom was a labor and delivery nurse and then worked in a clinic setting when I was about to go to kindergarten. I loved learning all things regarding obstetrics and gynecology.
Importantly, what led me to go on this journey of becoming a doula and lactation consultant is that I thoroughly enjoyed educating young women about common concerns that they may not know how to handle or if they do not have a support system.
In college, I went on a humanitarian relief trip to Gulu, Uganda. While in the village, our group held a medical clinic located on the farm that also included a safe house for women and children that were sold into sexual slavery. I was 24 years old and it rocked my world. When I got back from my trip, I knew I needed to do something. But what can a privileged girl do when she is now thousands and thousands of miles away? Well, I chose to further my education and received my masters in public health in 2018, focusing on the health disparities of women and children at the global level.
I was so disappointed that I had a hard time finding work. I expected that since I was highly educated I would immediately get a job. Privilege, right? Well, I did what I needed to do. I got a job since I needed to live and support myself (important, right?) I was amazing with the job and tasks at hand, but I was miserable. I was eager to find new opportunities, so I went to my boss and presented why I needed to be promoted to another city that was not Lynchburg, VA. Guess what? It worked.
My journey to becoming a doula and lactation consultant/counselor
In April 2019, I moved to Greensboro and entered a new stage of my life. Some parts were wonderful, some were dark and brought me to the reality I was ignoring anxiety and depression. Why had I fought so hard to move to a city where I knew no one, left all of my friends, and continued at a job I hated, and a company I had little to no respect for? Fast forward to December 2019. I was having a conversation with my best friend about finally finding the courage to make a career change; to women’s health.
Around Christmas, we all started hearing about this virus and no one knew the severity. Unfortunately, we now know that as COVID-19. A global pandemic that spread like a wildfire and was fatal for so many population groups. In addition to the negative impact it had on health, it hit the economy and workforce. I was laid off from my job March 24, 2020. It was the best thing that happened to me…realized that 7 months later, just so you know 😉
I immediately dove into my dream. It was hard but I was determined. When I was in grad school, I fell in love with research and that is now what I love to incorporate into my doula care. I am a DONA certified birth and postpartum doula and certified lactation consultant/education counselor. I have always had a passion for women’s rights and breastfeeding. The more I read, the more I wanted to dive deeper. So that is what I did. The certification process was not fun for this gal with test anxiety, but that is what leads me here. Learning to Latch is my passion project.
I will be releasing a practical guide to breastfeeding in January 2022, but with a less clinical approach. I want you to feel like we are meeting for lunch or talking in your living room like good friends.
This blog will be educational, vulnerable, a place for community, and pretty quirky. Thank you for supporting me and let’s Learn to Latch.