Written by Morgan Jamati
Within women’s health, there are many different providers and options for pregnancy and postpartum support for soon-to-be parents, first-time parents, and parents with children already. Within the past month, I have been lucky enough to shadow a variety of healthcare professionals in the San Luis Obispo community to learn more about their work and what they do on an everyday basis.
I was given the opportunity to shadow local midwife Justine Waldram from Pure Birth, as well as Dr. Bronstein from the Beacon Clinic of Chiropractic. Additionally, I was able to attend SLO Birth & Doula Collective’s Doula certification class with Mckayla Rodriguez and Brittany Randolph. In addition to in-person shadowing experiences, I was also given the chance to join in on Tamra Winfield-Pace’s Pregnancy Hour Zoom group from French Hospital- Dignity Health and Jennifer Stover’s Mama Mentoring Zoom group with La Leche League.
All of these experiences open my eyes to the world of women’s health and pregnancy and the variety of ways that families can find care. Each opportunity with these healthcare professionals is enriching and allows me to expand my knowledge within these areas and fields of study.
First, I want to highlight my time spent with Justine Waldram from Pure Birth. Through my Child Development and Psychology classes at Cal Poly, I have learned a lot about infant and toddler development, as well as the different career options within childbirth education. Although I have learned a little bit about midwifery, I did not know what exactly the profession entailed. As a result, I found the experience at Justine’s practice very rewarding. I was able to observe two prenatal appointments, one with a woman who was 10 weeks along and another woman who was 35 weeks along. I was lucky enough to hear the heartbeat of the 10-week-old baby. This experience was emotional for the parents, as well as those in the room including me because it is a sound that one does not get to hear every day. In the time between the appointments, I was also able to talk with Justine about the process of becoming a midwife in general and what a typical day looks like for her. Justine’s practice involves home-births, and listening to her share several of her stories about some of her births was both enriching and moving. (Photo credit: http://www.purebirthmidwife.com).
Second, my experience shadowing Dr. Bronstein from the Beacon Clinic of Chiropractic was an opportunity that I am grateful for since it is a field of study I never thought I would be interested in. This experience proved that assumption wrong. Their mission at his clinic is “to help as many people in our lifetimes as we can, especially children!” His practice offers correctional and preventative care for patients ranging from young children to adults. I found it interesting to see the kind of care Dr. Bronstein provided and how he had a personal relationship with each patient. Observing his practice in a non-traditional setting of healthcare allowed me to reflect on my personal career goals. Through my previous shadowing experiences and volunteer opportunities in the past couple years, both in San Luis Obispo and the Easy Bay Area, I have mostly gained experience in a traditional hospital setting. Hearing what Dr. Bronstein had to say about opening up his non-traditional practice and how he hopes to support people of all ages was inspiring. I was able to see how he offered pregnant women support and found myself enjoying the experience overall. (Photo credit: http://chirobeacon.com).
Finally, I have been lucky enough to join Tamra’s Pregnancy Hour group, as well as Jennifer Stover’s Mama Mentoring group over Zoom. These classes allow me to be in a community with women of all ages who are pregnant, just given birth, or are local professionals wanting additional education and information. As a student who hopes to become a mother myself one day, these classes are getting my foot-in-the-door and allowing me to learn a lot about lactation, weaning, and breastfeeding tips. I also have learned about sleep, nutrition, and how to remain healthy during pregnancy in these meetings. These classes provide me insight in a different way because I can hear from mothers and birth parents about their experiences and birth stories. I am also able to represent the CCCN and help bring awareness to the resources we provide as a network as well. Additionally, one other in-person class that I was able to attend was SLO Birth & Doula Collective’s Doula Certification course. I found this experience very enriching, as Brittany and Mckayla were nice enough to provide me with the same binder and informational sheets they give to individuals completing the doula certification training. I learned so much from this day-long event and it was refreshing to hear their stories and how they both have grown throughout the years within the profession. This opportunity also enabled me to explore more healthcare professions and it has made me interested in becoming doula certified in the coming years regardless of my career.
I am so thankful for each of these opportunities and took away a lot of newfound knowledge. As I wrap up, I invite you to stay tuned for my last and final part of this blog series titled, "Part 3: My Final Reflection". Here I thank the people and organizations that made these experiences possible for me. And, for those that did not see "Part 1: Who Am I?", I also invite you to take a look at that as well as it provides some background into who I am and my career aspirations.