Teamwork. Community. Overcoming challenges.
Tell us how about your role in the military community.
I’m located in the Kaiserslautern area of Germany. My family is working at Ramstein but we serve several bases throughout the KMC. I am the wife of a DoD Air Force Civilian. This is our 2nd overseas assignment. Our 1st was at Lakenheath in the United Kingdom. During that assignment, I realized that although we are not actual military members that something was seriously lacking with continuity of care and support for expectant families as they moved to and from duty stations.
What inspired you to take on the task of running a MBRN Chapter?
I knew that I would run the MBRN as soon as I landed in Germany. I had established the MBRN in Colorado Springs, CO just before we were set to PCS and I knew that this would be a natural extension. My main inspiration for stepping up has always come from my Prenatal Yoga students. I have taught Prenatal yoga in 3 countries at several different military bases and I continually hear the same stories, the same worries, the same fears for the last 9 years. My second source of inspiration has come from my colleagues in the birth world. The Military spouses that have become Doula’s, Child Birth Educators, Hypnobirthing Instructors, Doula Trainers, Nurses, Midwives and Obstetricians. Watching how many of them struggle during PCS season to get back to work, to find childcare, to help the community that they are a part of. This is why I was drawn to the MBRN as a haven of support for not only military families but for those spouses that hold specific certifications that want to work and provide support. Sometimes we call this Doulaing the doula… but I specialize in supporting medical professionals, holistic professionals and families.
What support do you find many military families lack?
I arrived 6 months ago, since then I have observed some strong challenges in resources to expectant families in the KMC area. Communication between the two military branches stationed here is limited. The Army contractor that is providing in home nursing support has also not been able to fulfill their contract at some of the facilities. Therefore, families are not being provided with support. Classes have been cancelled due to the lack of educated instructors or willing volunteers. And like all agencies it seems that services are under supported and the employees are being stretched thin. In business, I’ve seen this be a recipe for disaster.
What are some challenges military families have during pregnancy and childbirth?
In the KMC there are some challenges with language barrier but that I wouldn’t say is the biggest challenge. At the moment the biggest challenge is the lack of choice in birthing location due to the new Tricare changes. Women are no longer able to choose the local national hospital or even homebirth easily. In addition, we see many women birthing alone. This will always be a challenge for military families.
What kind of impact do you see your presence being in the community being?
I’m still unsure what my impact will be but I hope to create a strong and sustainable group of birth professionals that are not afraid to work together. Professionals that support the mission and support each other even after I leave.
Share with us something inspiring about you. What are some of the volunteer efforts and ways you’ve given back to your community?
My whole life has been what us yogi’s call Karma yoga. I’m a long standing ARC volunteer. I started as a volunteer in the Protocol Office at Lakenheath because my background is in Congressional Event management. Then at Lakenheath after the ARC lost funding for their childbirth education class, I alongside a nurse and other doula’s kept the only free CBE class offered to service members running. In Colorado Springs, I volunteered on the L&D ward for a year and a half as the night shift doula, bridging the gap between medical professionals and doula support. I doula for free to any of my Yoga students who birth alone… I have a strong rule… all of my yoga students will be supported! I volunteer as a lecturer and briefer for Army and Air force including Bundles for Babies, P3T and Centering groups. Not to mention Yoga for the troops at every duty station we’ve been too. Even my Prenatal Yoga classes are volunteer based at different times of the year.
What is one word of advice you have for us?
Teamwork – it is my goal to work together with all the members of the community. This includes medical professionals, holistic professionals, local nationals and families, AD, Civilians and Contractors. We are stronger when we are united. Families will benefit when we work together!
Learn more about becoming a part of our growing community and providing resources for expecting military families around the world.