Planning, ritual support, and guided reflection on the process of transition from birth to death.
Life is filled with metamorphoses, transitions from one way of being to another. There are the gateways—birth, death—and inbetween those, the small portals that take us from known to unknown. When we make the leap from our old jobs to a new career path, for example, or when we find ourselves diagnosed with a chronic illness. These are times when we need a compass and map to guide us: a strong connection to our values, beliefs, and desired legacy, a ritual to honor our emergence into this new way of being, and an opportunity to process what lessons were learned in the course of transformation.
The compass and map look different for every transition and for every person. If you’re dying, for example, you won’t be able to reflect on lessons learned after the transition is over, but your family members can benefit from processing your death. Or, as another example, if you’re facing a life with chronic illness, ritual might become a regular part of it as opposed to being centered around a one-off event as in the case of birth and death.
Through a three-stage process—meaning work and planning, ritual, and reflection—you will create your individual guide to the journey you’re about to embark on. As your transition doula, I am here to provide you with peer support, point you towards resources, and offer you gentle reassurance and care.
I also offer doula services for end-of-life, such as advance directive creation and vigil planning & execution, and birth/postpartum doula services as well.
Book a consultation today to learn more about how I can support you through all of life’s transformative times.
For transitions from birth to death
Sliding scale rates
Sessions via Zoom or in-person (depending on safety)
Questions & Answers
What are your transition doula services? What is the three-stage process or three-phase model?
What birth and death doulas do for the beginning and end of life, transition doulas do for those and all the metamorphoses in-between.
The three-stage/phase model I use when working with intra-life transitions is drawn from the same three phase model the International End-Of-Life Doula Association uses for inter-life transitions. The model consists of:
Phase 1 – Legacy work & planning. We don’t have to be at the end of our lives to start thinking about meaning and legacy. From bringing a life into this world to joining our lives with another, every crossroads is an opportunity to look deeply at our lives and reflect on who we have been and who we are becoming.
In phase 1 we explore questions like: What is important to you? What shaped you into who you are now? How do you want to be remembered, and how can the way you move through this contribute to your legacy? What do you want to get out of this transition?
In the planning aspect, we inventory what’s around you, charting the territory ahead and laying out the logistics of transition. By mapping your flight path, we can ease the landing. We will ask questions like: What can you expect during this transition? What does a successful transition look like to you? What resources do you have in place to assure that? How can we engage or build your support networks?
During phase 1 I will also encourage you to build your insights into a meaning project, a creative representation of your current legacy: where you’ve been, where you are going, and what you want to leave behind. You determine what form the representation takes, and how it comes into being.
Phase 2 – Ritual. All cultures engage in rituals to mark transitions: graduations, weddings, baby showers, funerals. In the case of end-of-life, a vigil is one such ritual that death doulas help orchestrate with dying clients. I believe ritual can be a powerful tool for marking transitions beyond birth, death, and chronoheteronormative holidays like weddings and graduations. We each deserve the space to create our own ritual for every transition we experience, based on our values and preferences, to honor the end of one way of being and the beginning of another.
In phase 2, which takes place as your transition is concluding, we will plan your ritual: what sensory experiences will be involved, who will be there, what actions will take place. Then, I can assist you in carrying out the ritual or, if you prefer, you can perform it on your own.
Phase 3 – Reprocessing & early grief. All transitions, even happy ones, involve loss of some kind. It’s not uncommon to experience grief when changing jobs, having a child, moving, you name it. Does that seem ridiculous? It shouldn’t! Our (colonial) death-denying, progress-obsessed culture discourages us from reflecting on these things, but it is true: life is full of small deaths and resurrections. Grief can occur at all points in our life regardless of if the end of it is involved or not. It’s vital for our well-being to honor grief, whenever it occurs, and discover the meaning held in our experience of transition.
In phase 3 we will explore the feelings, sensations, and thoughts that came up for you during the ritual, as well as around the entire transition. I’ll encourage you to retell the narrative of your transition and link it to your legacy. I will also invite you to share your experiences of grief, if any.
At the close of our relationship, I will make sure you’re connected with any professional resources you need to continue processing your grief. I’ll also connect you with resources that can help you adjust to living on the other side of this transition.
NOTE: The model for birth and death doula services is similar, but the details vary. See the questions below for more on birth and death doula services.
Can I participate in just one phase of the model?
Absolutely. My offerings are intended to be adaptable to your unique experience.
What are your birth doula services?
I follow a similar three-phase model as in my transition doula services.
In phase 1, we plan the birth and immediate postpartum period, attending to both practical and spiritual matters, and considering the needs of birthing parent and child. I’ll ask more specific questions like: What does an ideal birthing experience look like to you? Have you thought about the use of drugs? Will you breastfeed after birth? Who do you want to be there before, during, and after? We will create a plan for infusing ritual into the birth experience. What sensory experience do you want to create in the space where your child is born? How do you want to mark their entry into this world? I will also encourage you to create something to honor this moment as part of your legacy as well as your child’s.
Phase 2 in this case would be centered around the birth itself. When the birth takes place, I can be present if you like, and if that’s possible considering hospital rules as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I can also just be a source of support before and after the birth, helping to set up the birthing area if it’s at home, or helping to transport materials to the hospital or other facility.
Phase 3 involves processing the experience of birth, and the feelings around this new way of being, particularly any feelings of grief or unease with a new role as parent and caregiver. We’ll wrap up our relationship, and I will make sure you’re connected to resources that can support you as a new parent and help you handle any difficult emotions that have arisen.
What are your death doula services?
The death doula service model is also quite like the general transition doula service model. It involves the same three phases.
In phase 1, we deeply explore the meaning of your life and the legacy you hope to leave behind. I will guide you in creating a legacy project to honor your life themes and experiences. We’ll discuss advance directives and create your detailed plan for vigil and handling of remains.
Phase 2 is the vigil, which begins when death is imminent. Your vigil plan goes into action. I can act as a respite worker if there are hospice workers or trusted loved ones who will be attending you; I can also simply be present as a source of support and calm. Or I can just offer my support remotely when or if those participating in the vigil have questions or concerns.
Phase 3 takes place after death. In phase 3 I process the events of the vigil and death with the surviving family. This can take place over several sessions. At the conclusion of phase 3, I will connect family members with grief support services and other professionals who can help them navigate their process over the long term.
Do you see clients remotely? Will you accept international clients?
Yes, I offer remote sessions for all services, and I can be present remotely at rituals, births, and vigils if that’s a client preference. I will accept international clients as long as they are willing to work on Pacific time (-8:00 GMT).
Do you offer packages or service bundles? What are your rates?
Because every client is different, I do not offer packages or service bundles. My services are billed by fractions of an hour, and my sliding scale rate for all doula services is $50-$90 an hour.
What are your qualifications?
In addition to having shepherded myself and others through transformative times in their lives, I have completed INELDA’s death doula training course (33 hours). I am also Mental Health First Aid certified, and I hold a degree in sociology from UCLA, where my research interests were focused on the sociology of mental illness.
Support for transformative times, including:
Starting and stopping medication
Adjusting to chronic illness and disability
Changing jobs or careers
Getting married or beginning a new relationship
Having an abortion
Beginning or completing gender transition
Facing end-of-life and terminal diagnoses
Expecting or adopting a child
make an appointment
initial consultations conducted over Zoom due to COVID-19
by appointment only