My name is Maria Armstrong and I live in the lovely Sellwood area of Portland, OR with my husband, 3 of my 4 children and 4 cats. My oldest moved out in 2017 and I guess this puts me on the other end of the parenting spectrum: the time when they fly the nest.
My first baby was born in 1998. I had moved to the US from The Netherlands two years prior, and it was only normal for me to look for a home birth midwife. Most everyone I knew growing up gave birth at home, and it is with fondness that I remember meeting the babies right after birth –the peaceful atmosphere, the smells, the love and warmth, the magic that something miraculous had happened.
The experience of the birth of my firstborn son was incredibly intense. Something hidden had been awakened in me: my inner strength to give birth; the power to share in creation. A whole new part of me emerged. I learned from this birth that our bodies are amazing and unpredictable. I learned that giving birth was simultaneously beautiful and very raw. I remain intensely grateful to the women who surrounded me during those births: my midwives and my mother. They held space for me, trusted me, encouraged me, and loved me.
Between 1998 and 2006, I gave birth to five more children, two of whom are angel babies. Each experience made me into the woman, mother and doula I am today: trusting our bodies and our innate knowledge, as well as accepting of the process wherever it may lead us. My own deeply transformative experiences led me to my passion to support, nurture, and hold space for others.
As a doula, I support families in all birth settings: hospital, free-standing birth center or home. The reasons someone may need and want a doula are numerous, but in the end, it is about the deep need to feel safe, comforted and supported. Though our wishes, needs, and experiences may be different, supporting someone in birth crosses over those differences –without judgment, respecting choices, trusting decisions, knowing that we all have to do what is right for us and our babies. It is my wish to support families with all of my being in their transformative moment the same way that I was cared for in mine.
I have worked as a doula since 2006 and later completed the Birthingway College of Midwifery Doula Program. I studied Hypnobabies, Acupressure, and Homeopathy, and was a midwifery student at Ancient Art Midwifery Institute from 2010-2012. In October of 2016, after a two-year sabbatical during which I had two total hip replacement surgeries, I was happy to join Baby Nest Birth Services and become part of a wonderfully supportive doula tribe.
In 2017, I took a Spinning Babies training to further my knowledge about baby positions in the pelvis and natural and physiological solutions for a smoother labor and birth. I also attended a workshop for becoming a lactation support counselor with the Nursing Mothers Counsel of Oregon.
This year, my continued education comprises of a Lamaze childbirth educator workshop as a first step to becoming a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator later this year. I am also signed up for a trauma-informed care webinar in January, a VBAC seminar in March, and another Spinning Babies training in November.