About Jeanette, the owner/director of Babies in Common
What words would I use to define myself?
Mother. Wife. Childbirth Educator. Lactation Consultant. Birth Doula. Writer. Speaker. Activist. Decorator. Chef. Entrepreneur. Coach. Duranie.
Why do I do what I do?
I have been fascinated by community-building and women's health since high school and college. At college in Washington, DC, I took lots of classes, worked in International Health during my undergraduate years and served as a college health educator (focusing mostly on safer sex!). When I was 21, I moved to a village in West Africa to serve for two years as a Health Volunteer with the Peace Corps. That meant that I lived in a village and worked daily with a midwife and nurse, primarily doing child weight monitoring programs, health education, vaccination programs, specific campaigns for emerging diseases and working with malnourished children. I also lived with a family and got to know my neighbors as friends and learned more from them then they learned from me (that's for sure!). I was inspired by the moms I worked with there and was honored to witness several births while there. I came home and after I was married and ready to have a baby, I thought, "I have to do this like the strong women in my village did!"
By the time I got pregnant, I had completed my Masters degree in international public health and nutrition at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health managing some of their perinatal community health programs. I thought I was informed and educated and would easily find a class that would help me have the natural birth that I wanted (even though I was labeled "high risk" due to a life-long kidney condition). It was amazingly difficult (this is in the year 2000 in Boston, the "top" medical region in the US, right?!) to find a class that was specifically designed to help you have a natural birth in a hospital. I was able to find the only one in the region, took it and then hired the instructor as my doula, too. She and my husband were exactly what I needed as support to have the birth I wanted.
After that experience, I was pissed and excited. Pissed because it was so difficult to get that information and wondering how if I was so committed and educated about birth and maternity care and worked in the field and still found it challenging to get this info, what happens to all the moms-to-be who want this info but don't have access to it as easily? I was excited, though, because I was encouraged by my doula to become a childbirth educator and a doula. And that was the start of my life's path. I love working directly with people to help them get excited about birth, breastfeeding and parenting--and help them get the info they need to make their dream birth at least possible (while staying flexible, of course!).
What do I love?
In classes, I love when I see the eyes of parents-to-be light up in one of my classes when they learn about all the choices they have.
At births, I love witnessing the strength that women have, helping their partners know the little things they can do to help her and be involved and the moment when that baby opens her eyes for the first time and meets her parents. A-mazing. Simply a miracle.
Related to breastfeeding, I love that we have people living on a space station and we, as super-intelligent and resourceful humans, can’t figure out how to duplicate over 300 of the ingredients needed to manufacture breastmilk…it can’t be done. Breastmilk is pure magic! I also love that moms also get huge benefits from making milk. Oh, and of course that there are many cool things you can do with breastmilk…just ask!
With my kids, I love hanging out with them at Lalajava, watching them play guitar, hearing their perspective on the world and pondering their creative questions. Cuddles are amazing, too. It’s true, they grow so fast!
With my husband, I love traveling abroad or just staying home, something we don’t do often enough. We met in a village in West Africa and look forward to someday when we can take our kids there and to many other places we’ve visited!
In my spare time, I love connecting with friends over a meal or glass of wine, writing, driving (while I play loud music!), watching any of the Housewives or real estate shows on BravoTV and doing anything related to Duran Duran (yes, the band, and yes, they are still touring and making new music!). I travel several times each year to be front row at their concerts, meeting them and spending hours with the many Duranie friends who share my passion for the greatest band on the Planet Earth.
Curious about my professional experience, education, training, certifications, awards, etc? check out my profile on LinkedIn.
[photo: me, my kids and my day-old niece]
I LOVE to talk about birth and breastfeeding and babies and how it feels to be a new parent or a new parent of more than one...just give me a call!
To reach me:
Phone: (617)686-0052 cell
I see clients, teach classes and lead groups at Babies in Common, at 28 Grafton Common, 2nd Floor, Grafton, MA 01519.
Com'mon over! ♥