My name is Beth Murch – also known as Bethy, Mama B, and Queen B. I am one of many wyse women in Waterloo Region. I have been a labour and postpartum doula for thirteen years and as of this writing, I’ve attended over one hundred and fifteen births. I am an independent placenta service provider and I run a quirky little side business called “Mama B’s Potions and Notions”, where I play with herbs to make health and body care products. If you live in Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge, you’ve probably come across me through La Leche League, Breastfeeding Buddies, Family and Children’s Services, the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region, Planned Parenthood, Sustainable Cycles, Wilfrid Laurier and the Wilfrid Laurier School of Social Work, University of Waterloo, GSA/OK2BME, the KW Anarchist Bookfair, various protests, and, perhaps, even as a spoken word artist/slam poet.
I’ve earned a few university degrees along the way: a BA in Religion and Culture with a minor in Women’s Studies, a BA in English and Film Studies with a minor in Women’s Studies, and a Master of Arts degree in Religion and Culture (my area of study was the spiritual experiences of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, and women’s spaces in traditional/patriarchal faiths). Paper is nice, but what really counts is life experience…and I have that in droves!
I have always been fascinated by pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding – even as a small child, I could not get over how amazing it was that people could make more people! I loved that our bodies knew how to grow babies, and that once those babies were born, our bodies could sustain them. The physiological process of birth gives me shivers, it is so complex and yet so simple – Nature has a plan for everything. I got into doula work after becoming frustrated by academia – I was tired of talking about things! I wanted to actually do them! I’ve always had a place in my heart for people in challenging life circumstances and who get lost in the shuffle. I know that pain well, and I have a real conviction to serve those in complicated circumstances, such as people experiencing: addiction, sex work, mental health issues, poverty, involvement in the legal system/prison industrial complex, involvement with Family and Children’s Services/CAS (including apprehension and adoption), abusive situations, sexual assault/incest (past or present), expecting a medically fragile child, perinatal loss (death of a baby during pregnancy, the birth process, or shortly after birth), parenting as a young person, birth trauma, accessing care as undocumented members of our society – and so much more. I serve a wide variety of people, with a wide variety of needs.
I am passionate about teaching – I have been training doulas and childbirth educators for ten years now, and facilitating workshops on a wide variety of topics involving childbirth, reproductive justice, midwifery, doula care, childbearing people’s health concerns, breastfeeding/chestfeeding, trauma, body positivity, radical activism, social and environmental justice, spirituality, religious rituals, and healing. I have mentored most of the doulas in Waterloo Region at one point or another, and I am currently mentoring doulas all around the globe. I take my responsibilities as an educator very seriously: I believe that first and foremost, I am accountable to my students. I have a responsibility to be open and honest with them. I must honour the financial investment that they make in me, and I have a duty to provide them with current, quality information that will help them.
As a commitment to growing the doula community in Waterloo Region and to fostering healthy relationships between aspiring and new doulas and experienced doulas, I founded Placenta Squad – the only free, non-partisan doula networking and support group in K-W. I have facilitated this group for a handful of years now, including providing hundreds of hours of professional guidance to Placenta Squad members with absolutely no financial remuneration, and completely at my own expense. Why? Because I think the corporatization of doula work is gross…because I think this is a career where we need to build each other up…because I think work that is traditionally considered to be “women’s work” is undervalued, underappreciated, and disrespected, and the best way to combat that is to work together as a team. I feel strongly that a doula’s role is to work for their clients, so I don’t feel compelled to work towards a hospital hiring me. If I wanted to be a hospital employee, I would be a hospital employee. I believe that professional organizations should be available to doulas of all economic backgrounds, and I don’t believe that paying an annual fee to a governing body makes you any more or less legitimate as a doula. For some people, that validation is important and useful, and I think it is wonderful that there are opportunities that exist for them.
– Transparency: you will know what your money goes towards and it will be used respectfully. If I am unable to meet an expectation that we have set as a learning community, I will communicate this openly, and we will work towards a resolution. There will never be any doubt as to your future in the Revolutionary Doula program…there is no room for guessing games when it comes to your schooling.
– Integrity: acting with honour, honesty, and lovingkindness is of the utmost importance to me.
– High Standards: I am not out to certify doulas who aren’t willing to work hard, to give their very best, and grow as individuals. We aren’t just working for a piece of paper – we are looking to create a revolution…and that takes dedication to learning.
– Mentorship: I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. Let me help you to avoid those so that you don’t have to have the same headaches that I have had. I will also be a support person for you – walking this path alongside you, acting as a sounding board, being your cheering section, and being your kick in the butt. I have an excellent reputation in the KW birth community, and I want you to have that as well.
– Fierce, relentless love and dedication – I want you to succeed. I want you to experience the amazing thrill of the universe welcoming a new life earthside. I want you to feel empowered. I want you to believe in yourself.
– ME – truly. The good. The bad. The funny. The sad. The whole of my heart. This is what I do, People: I give everything that I have to what I believe in. I live my truth. Doula work, teaching doulas…those things are so much more than a career to me. It is my soul song, the call of my spirit, the way that I experience all that is true and good in this world. If you share yourself with me, I will share myself with you.
I am looking forward to working with you. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions and concerns.
Peace, love, and blessings…trees, bees, and babies!