Maria holding a newborn in a hospital room.

My Journey

Hello! My name is Maria (she, her). Thank you for visiting!

I am a Dutch gal in the USA, with a husband, 4 kids, 3 cats, 4 chickens, and two parakeets. I was inspired to become a birth professional after my own powerful birth experiences. The birth of my first child was incredibly intense and I discovered an inner strength that I did not know I had. I learned from this birth that our bodies are amazing and unpredictable and that giving birth was simultaneously beautiful and very raw. I am still blown away by the fact that we can conceive and grow a baby, and then give birth and feed a baby with our own breasts!

©Maria Armstrong

We all deserve someone to remind us that we can trust our inner strength and guidance during our birthing time and matrescence. We all deserve support so we can be confident in making informed choices about pregnancy, birth, and early parenting.

So here I am.

Baby being weighed in a sling after a homebirth.

Between 1998 and 2006, I gave birth to five more children, two of whom are angel babies. Each of these experiences made me into the woman, wife, mother, doula, and educator I am today: Trusting our bodies and our innate knowledge, as well as accepting the process wherever it may lead us. I remain intensely grateful to the women who surrounded me during those births,  in  person,  and  in  prayer: 

my midwives, my mother, and my grandmother. They held space for me, trusted me, encouraged me, and loved me. I am also grateful to my husband, who would have preferred to stay in the kitchen with our first yet caught our fourth like a pro.

 

These deeply transformative experiences led me to my passion to support, nurture, and hold space for others. I became a professional Doula in 2009 through Birthingway College of Midwifery in Portland, OR. A few years later, in 2016, I joined Baby Nest Birth Services, a wonderful sisterhood of doulas, where I still am today. I am a certified birth doula through Birth Arts International, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, and hope to be an official StillBirthDay Birth & Bereavement doula soon. I am also a Traditional Health Worker in the state of OR serving families on the Oregon Health Plan.

Something else I am very passionate about is community-based or private-arrangement human milk sharing. I am the co-founder of Eats on Feets, a platform where families in need of milk for their baby can connect with someone who may have milk to share, as well as the co-author of the Resource for Informed Breastmilk Sharing, an extensive database of information to support safe practices in milksharing. All babies deserve human milk!

 
Graduation flowers.

Qualifications

Birthingway College of Midwifery, 2009

Birth Arts International, 2021

Certified Labor Doula, CD

Birthingway developed the Biodynamic model of caring for clients and families in which pregnancy, birth, and nursing are not only natural parts of human life, they are necessary parts, intimately connected with what it is to be human. The bio in Biodynamic reflects the centrality of biological processes, especially the impact of hormones such as oxytocin and stress hormones. Dynamic refers to the energy of relationships that ensures our model is very client-centered and individual, providing safe, responsive, and sensitive care.

Birth Arts International was founded in 2000 by Demetria Clark and is considered the premier holistic doula training organization. Having trained over 25,000 doulas, Birth Arts International goes to the heart of what it means to be “holding space for their client.” Being a doula is truly being present emotionally, spiritually, and physically. BAI embraces a natural way of passing along birthing wisdom, allowing and following clients in their natural progression through pregnancy, labor, and birth.

Lamaze Childbirth Educator, 2021

Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, LCCE
 

For more than 50 years, Lamaze International has been educating families to have a safe and healthy pregnancy, birth, and newborn experience. Lamaze certification prepares educators to teach the latest evidence with skill and confidence so that parents can feel confident, supported, and powerful as they ask questions, make decisions, and navigate their path through pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood. 

Lamaze Philosophy of Birth:

  • We have an innate ability to give birth.

  • Birth is transformative in the life of a family.

  • Our confidence and ability to give birth are either enhanced or diminished by the care provider and place of birth.

  • We have the right to respectful care and continuous support.

  • We have the right to give birth free from routine medical interventions.

  • Birth can safely take place in homes, birth centers, and hospitals.

  • Evidence-based care improves birth outcomes.

  • Lamaze childbirth education empowers informed healthcare choices, taking responsibility for health, and trusting our innate ability to give birth.

Stillbirth & Bereavement Doula, 2022

Stillbirth and Bereavement Doula, SBD
in progress

Stillbirthday Global Network is an internationally trusted benevolent organization whose philanthropic mission is simply to doula: to nurture sources of perinatal bereavement, strengthen skills of healthcare professionals, and increase healthy engagement of perinatal related needs among communities. Stillbirthday is founded on the non-discriminatory mandate to love, to the best of our ability, in all situations. Members of the stillbirthday community are diverse and autonomous, each committed to exemplifying the advancement of loving service which our Principles of Service frames.

 
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Continued Education