This month, we’re featuring the lovely Jenny Knight. She serves women in Morrilton, Conway and Little Rock. Not only is she a certified birth doula, she graduated from Mills High School and earned a BS in Environmental Science at University of Central Arkansas. She lives and works full time as the Program Director at Camp Mitchell, the Episcopal Camp and Retreat Center on Petit Jean Mountain. Their biggest program is their 8-week summer camp program when she needs to take a hiatus from doula work. When she’s not busy planning for or recovering from summer camp, she enjoys camping with her family, farming, making kombucha, and amateur quilting. She is kind, patient, steady, and articulate. Her sister doulas love her for her honesty, no-nonsense approach, and the fresh ideas she brings.
This is how she explains what she does as a doula, “ A doula is literally a woman serving a woman. She supports a woman and her family during pregnancy, birth, and beyond. Doulas are not medical professionals but are extensively experienced with birth. Thus they often bridge the gap between mothers and their medical care providers, answering questions and providing additional resources that doctors don't always have time to do. Doulas are a constant and present support during labor providing physical, mental, emotional, even spiritual support. Doulas help ensure that the journey--pregnancy and birth--are just as valued as the destination--a baby.”
Her favorite part about being a doula, besides getting to know so many wonderful clients, is witnessing the empowerment of a woman during her birth. “No matter the drugs, potions, or prayers used during labor, the moment a mother and baby are united earth-side is breathtaking. There is so much triumph and joy and toil that it is overwhelming. A mother becomes the strongest, bravest, and most epic human being on the planet in that moment. And to witness such a feat is truly an honor and a blessing.”
Her story of becoming a doula is fascinating. She says, “When we were pregnant with Odessa we took childbirth classes with Birth by Design. My understanding of a doula was very naive and judgmental. I considered them birth cheerleaders and didn't feel like we needed or could afford one. After 30 hours of natural labor, I birthed Odessa via cesarean section. At the time I was ok with that outcome as we were just so ready to meet our baby. But after months passed I became more and more discontented with my birth story. All the “what if?” questions got me to thinking that if I had a doula there, she would have been asking those questions when it mattered. If I had a doula at my birth and it still ended in a cesarean, I would have the peace of mind knowing that we tried everything. The nagging feeling about my own birth story grew into a passion to help other mamas avoid this discontent. I found myself at Birth by Design training to be a birth doula :)”
More of Jenny in her own words...
Tell us about your family: My husband, Doug, and I met at UCA. We married our senior year and shipped off to Japan as soon as we graduated. We lived and worked at the Asian Rural Institute for a year as missionaries with the Episcopal Church. That year turned our hobby of farming and sustainable living into a passion and solidified our call to serve others. When we returned to the states we began our work at Camp Mitchell. Doug as the farm director and me as the program director. We got pregnant our first year home and Odessa is now 2 and a half. We also have a beagle terrier mutt named Nellie.
What is the last book you read? Phantom of the Opera in preparations for seeing the live performance at Robinson
Favorite color: burnt sienna
Favorite food: fried okra, tiramisu
Favorite holiday: thanksgiving
Favorite smell: Odessa’s morning breath
Favorite season: autumn
Favorite way to de-stress: I want to say something healthy like go running but really Doug and I veg out watching something shameful like Desperate Housewives and eating chocolate :D