Heather McLees-Frazier, M.A., LCCE, Owner, Childbirth Educator, and Birth Doula
My family is the center of my life. With three active boys at home and one who lives on in my heart, my emotional connection to my children and husband is my bedrock as I attend births, teach Open Arms birthing classes, and complete my own prerequisites for nurse-midwifery. It’s a busy life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
As an undergraduate, I studied human anatomy and ten years later received my M.A. in women’s Renaissance history. These fields of study give me both a broad understanding of the societal effects of our maternity care choices and a practical understanding of what makes birth healthy and satisfying for individual people. In five years as a doula, I’ve walked the journey of birth with over three dozen couples, as well as experiencing the joyful water birth of my third son and the painful but beautiful stillbirth of my fourth. All of this informs my approach when I work with clients. My practice is rooted in trust: trust of the pregnant parent’s body and instincts, and trust that each child is born in the way that he or she needs. Birth to me is both sacred and mundane. It has the potential to be transformative to everyone who goes through it, yet it is also a normal life experience for half the world’s population! In the tension between these two sides of birthing, we find our footing as parents; we reshape how we view ourselves; we deepen our relationships with our partners; and we develop skills and strengths we can apply to challenges throughout the rest of our lives.
I help all my clients and students to become fully educated and informed about birth, the range of medical care providers available to them, and the medical interventions possible in their birth location. As we read about and discuss their options, I also encourage them to look inside to develop emotional tools that will help them throughout their journey as parents and partners.
I believe that in birth, we face not only our ultimate challenge, but also our ultimate selves—the strongest, most vulnerable, most honest people we can ever be. Meeting that challenge can transform us into the best version of ourselves, as I have seen (and experienced myself) time and again. That is my favorite part of birth work: the moment when I see on a birthing parent's face that they "get it," when they realize the strength and power that has been in them all along.