I would like to introduce you to Maria. Maria Pokluda. She is a Doula in North Texas. As a DFW Newborn Photographer, I have moms that experience all types of births. Some take place in a hospital, a birth center, at home or even in the car! I hear of many having a Doula and all of the amazing reasons why they chose to hire one. Come with me to learn more about Maria and her life as a Doula!
A Doula is a person who provides emotional and physical support to you during your pregnancy and childbirth.
As a doula, I have attended over a thousand births. I also train doulas and I have trained around 5000 doulas.
I am a joiner – I like people and I join groups, so when I was experiencing infertility, I was active in infertility support groups which led to me eventually starting a group in my local DFW suburb. This group was great (and spoiler alert, I have 4 kids now.) and I loved doing the research about all things fertility. However, as one hopes, people in the group, myself included, started getting pregnant and soon I was researching as much about getting a baby out as I was getting a baby in. While I was leading this group, I attended my first birth with a woman from my infertility support group and I loved it However , it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my 3rd child in 2009 that I learned what a doula was. When I did learn, I jumped right in, got certified and have been in the birth world ever since. I now have a doula agency, Great Expectations, with 15 birth professionals doing all kinds of cool things with expecting families and I also started BEST Doula Training, an international doula training organization with a modern approach to preparing doulas for birth work.
I trained back in the dark ages of the internet and so while my training was online, it was incredibly different than the online options available today and it was lacking in a lot of ways – the biggest was that it did not teach any practical skills. I received certification in 2009 and have maintained certification ever since, but as that training left a lot to be desired I threw myself into gaining skills in business and professionalism from our Small Business Association, courses in graphic design and website building. As I grew as a doula, I also became an advocate for female entrepreneurship and with BEST Doula Training, I now pour that passion out on new birth workers as they step into a career that can be both fulfilling and profitable.
I have attended births everywhere – even in a hotel room and outdoors. Personally, I love out of hospital birth but as a doula I am most drawn to those birthing in the hospital. I love working with families that are choosing an epidural as I feel they are often ignored in the hospital and I can help them connect with their labor, keep their pelvis moving and help them avoid an unnecessary Cesarean birth. I especially love helping families who are planning a Vaginal Birth After Cesarean and with my own history of infertility, I dig working with families that are having a baby after infertility – including working with gestational surrogates.
I own an agency and all the doulas offer the same packages for the same price. We have packages that include simple support up to packages that include doula services, postpartum doula services and a childbirth class. We also have placenta encapsulation packages.
I use lots of humor in all my work and I make a pretty good hype girl. I am high energy, relational and love what I do. That being said, birth is not always the place for high energy so that comes out more in my ability to pull all nighters. I strongly believe in informed consent and so one of my goals as a doula is to facilitate positive communication with providers and expecting families so that decisions are made with information. I believe being a partner in your own care leads to more empowered births.
I wear lots of hats. I work with families, I teach birth classes, I encapsulate placentas and I am a great public speaker that trains and certifies doulas. The doulas that we train with BEST aren’t just more doulas, they are doulas who have been shown a way they can support themselves and their family while they make the world a better place. Seeing these doulas go out and change the world feels like my favorite skill.
Interesting facts about me…I hate cake. I like to use a straw. I can say all the US states in alphabetical order in one breath.
The DFW doula agency is Great Expectations | Best Dallas Doulas
The doula training org is BEST Doula Training
Of course, with the knowledge of having a doula by your side though your pregnancy experience, don’t forget to book your maternity and newborn session with Chunky Monkey Photography!!