I have given birth four times with JoAnn Barnhart as my doula. Each time, I was able to go without pain medicine or an epidural. I credit JoAnn’s steady, sure presence for helping make that possible. I literally and figuratively leaned on her strength to get me through my labors. She gave me the assurance and support I needed every step of the way. She is adept at making suggestions and offering things without being intrusive in the least. She seems to intuitively know exactly what I might need (and not think to ask for in the moment). For example, I remember with my first, as I went through transition, she began very quietly cueing each breath in and out. It kept me calm and focused when my mind and body were beginning to panic. I’ve been blessed to have her with me each step of the way with each of my births. With my last, I didn’t go into labor until I knew she was back in town. I don’t think that was a coincidence. She has been my rock and having a doula has been the very best investment I could have made to help each birth go well.
JoAnn is a wonderful doula. She is a warm and caring person and was a delight to work with as we prepared for the birth of our daughter. JoAnn met with us several times at our home throughout the second and third trimesters to get to know me and my husband and what our goals were for the birth of our first child. She offered a number of resources (books, websites, articles and personal anecdotes) on preparing for birth, the birth process, nursing, baby care basics, car seat safety and more. JoAnn is respectful and supportive of the parents’ choice for pain relief, c-section, or completely unmedicated birth in a hospital setting. My goal was an unmedicated birth and JoAnn’s support made that possible with a happy, healthy mom and baby in the delivery room. Her strong and calm presence by my side was reassuring and my husband found it incredibly helpful to have someone to “model” different types of support and encouragement during labor and birth. After our daughter arrived, she stayed with us to get us settled into our hospital room and then paid us a visit after we came home to follow up on our transition with our little one. I highly recommend JoAnn Barnhart to anyone looking for a doula. She is a gem!