The Meet the Doula series showcases a different member of the Expecting Joy team, so you can learn why we love our doulas!
This week, meet Christian Fillingame. She’s an incredibly creative doula who also runs an inspiring Etsy shop. Below she answers our questions about why she became a doula and what feeds her soul!
EJ: Where are you from? What brought you to Seattle?
CF: I’m from sunny San Diego, California! I heard about Seattle Pacific University from a friend during high school, and was drawn to the green trees, mountains, and cozy artistic feel of the city on a rainy day.
EJ: Why did you become a doula?
CF: As a kid, I remember telling my dad, “I want to be the person who delivers the babies.” Since then, I realized I didn’t want everything else that goes with the life of being a doctor, but I did still have a passion for women’s health, babies, and an empathetic heart. After being asked by a close friend if I was interested in supporting her birth, I took the Penny Simkin Allied Birth Professions Birth Doula training and haven’t looked back since!
EJ: What do you like most about being a doula?
CF: I love that I get to invest in the lives of a growing family. I get to educate couples while learning their own story. I strive to counter the fear that is often associated with labor, and I help the birth experience be a positive and empowering one. Then there is the totally obvious reason: witnessing a mom meeting her baby for the first time is an absolute joy!
EJ: Why did you choose to work with Expecting Joy?
CF: I had run my own doula business for just over a year and with my back-up doula moved away from Seattle. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do. Luckily, at a friends wedding, I was told about Vanessa and Expecting Joy. I reached out for a coffee date to learn more and it just fit! I have been really grateful for the ladies I’ve met within Expecting Joy and I’m super grateful for the wonderful clients I’ve been able to serve since starting with them in 2015.
EJ: Do you have another profession besides working with Expecting Joy?
CF: Yes, in addition to my doula work, I took up sewing and have been running a little Etsy shop called Belly to Beloved for the last year. It’s full of handmade momma and baby goods including re-usable nursing pads and baby blankets. It’s been tough, but fun at the same time. I also work part-time as the guest services coordinator at my church. I love answering calls and helping direct people to the information they need.
EJ: What would you say makes you unique as a doula?
CF: A couple of the most impacting things in my life happened while living in China for two years during high school. During my time there, I learned that there is no one correct way to do anything. That experience impacted my view on life in an enormous way, and I know it impacts how I listen and hear what a mom wants for her labor. After all, this is her story and she gets to choose how she approaches it.
Second, having dealt personally with injustice, I have a hugely empathetic heart for women, especially those who have been hurt, walked over, and manipulated. I am very much an advocate for my clients– I’m there to make sure she feels safe and heard throughout the entire process.
EJ: What question do you get asked the most at client interviews?
CF: How long my longest birth lasted? To which I answer: I was with a client for 43 hours! Their eyes get huge! I then reassure the potential client that it’s generally shorter than that, and that there is so much importance in resting through early labor as much as possible!
EJ: Do you have any relevant training in addition to being a doula?
CF: I am a Lamaze-trained childbirth educator.
EJ: Aside from serving as a Doula, what other services do you provide Expecting Joy clients?
CF: I provide childbirth classes, basic birth photography, postpartum support, and homemade nursing pads.
EJ: What do you do for fun when you are not working?
CF: My top 5 are probably:
- Catching up with my husband while walking the neighborhood with our dog.
- Just about anything using my right brain (ie decorating our home, cooking, painting, sewing).
- Dinner with my small group of ladies.
- Watching The West Wing and The Bachelor/ette.
- And last, reading by the water.
If you would like to inquire about Christian’s availability for the services she provides, contact us today!