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Meet Katharine Deeb of Dare Alla Luce Doula

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katharine Deeb.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Katharine. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My high school self never could have predicted my path into birth work. I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida and couldn’t wait to move to New York and work for a fashion magazine.

My background is all in fashion, in fact, I still run the business of a fashion designer in Venice, Pamela Barish. I’ve been working with Pam for 17 years.

I rarely babysat and didn’t have any intention of becoming a mother. I only became intrigued by birth when my best friend became pregnant when we were pretty young. I attended childbirth education classes with her and found it all fascinating, though I couldn’t relate on any level to her process.

I moved to Los Angeles when I was 21, choosing the warm weather in California over the snowstorms in New York. Flash forward a couple of years later, I became pregnant myself. I took Bradley Method childbirth classes and could not read enough on pregnancy and birth. I birthed my oldest son with an incredible OB. She made a deep impact on me- so steady, so safe, so supportive. I had my second son with a midwife at UCLA in Santa Monica a few years later. She was also a part of my journey of being supported by kind and powerful women.

I thought a lot after the births of my sons about the support I had received in my pregnancies and coming from a family with a lot of medical professionals, nurse-midwifery came on my radar. I was a single parent by then though, and my sons were very young, so the idea of going back to school and then being on-call seemed too daunting. Birth didn’t come back onto my radar for another decade when friends started having children and the word “doula” kept coming up. I was intrigued.

A friend suggested I reach out to her midwife for some guidance. I made a few calls and within a week took my DONA birth training with Judy Chapman in 2009. Then the work just came, very organically. I had originally thought that becoming a doula would be a good way to transition into midwifery but realized pretty early on that I wasn’t interested in being a care provider- what I loved was supporting families in this cathartic time of transition.

I have had the great privilege over the years of receiving incredible mentorship and attending numerous trainings from many of my birth heroines along the way. Being a doula is definitely my heart work. I really love birth, the rawness of it, the vulnerability and renewal of it. I love holding space for families as they navigate so much new change.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Yes and no, like life in general. But such a beautiful path. I’ve learned so much about myself in the last decade, especially through working with my clients. They are my true gurus!

Logistically, it’s been a struggle. As a single parent, figuring out how to doula with kids at home early on was difficult. It’s hard to plan time to travel, which is another passion for me. Scheduling clients still feels challenging… birth is wildly unpredictable. You never know when these babies will choose to arrive! I wish I could take 5-6 clients a month like some doulas, but I figured out that it doesn’t work for me. My phone is rarely turned off.

Juggling familial responsibilities plus my day job plus my birth clients plus attempting to have a personal life can be a lot, at times. But I also thrive on it. And my sons are supportive (and proud) of what I do.

When I started this work in 2009 I felt very isolated. I didn’t know many people in what was a very small LA birth the time. Being a doula was still sort of a fringe thing… there were very limited ways to really connect. If I hadn’t met seasoned doula Sufi Ertur, and been mentored by her, I don’t know how I would have kept going. Now the birth world seems huge! There are so many amazing birthworkers in Los Angeles and I feel so grateful to have connected with such a strong and supportive community of phenomenal women.

Self-care doesn’t come easily to me but I’m working on it. I feel like I have growing pains every couple of years with this work, where I become forced to dig even deeper. It really forces me to stay honest with myself. I’ve been through quite a lot in my personal life, and I feel like my life experience, as well as my 9+ years in the birth world, have given me a lot of perspective, wisdom, resilience and empathy to bring to the table.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Dare Alla Luce Doula – what should we know?
I provide prenatal, labor and birth support for families in the greater Los Angeles Area, from the Westside to the Eastside. My “work” is to educate and hold space for birthing families. I attend hospital births, birth center births and homebirths. I don’t have a specialty per se, but I do attend hospital births primarily (even though I deeply love homebirths!)

Comfort measures and emotional support are beneficial for everyone, but I feel like my hospital families really benefit from the educational and informational support a doula provides, and especially the continuity of care. There are more interventions, more protocol, more procedures to consider and potentially process. Making informed choices whether for a scheduled surgical birth, a midwife assisted birth at home or everything in between is so important. And research actually shows positive quantifiable outcomes for doula-attended births.

My hope for all of my clients is a gentle, healthy, empowering birth experience where they feel safe, supported and heard, regardless of their birth outcome. Nothing feels more validating than being asked to support families again for a second or third time or getting new client referrals from previous clients. My heart swells when that happens.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I come from a place of deep non-judgment regarding other humans’ choices and decisions. I believe it’s so important to meet people where they are, and not try to impose your own agenda. It’s simply not about me.

Humility. I’ve been so deeply humbled by this work. It is a great honor to be invited into one of the most significant and vulnerable times in a person’s life to bear witness and to be of loving service.

I also just love women and this work… and I think my clients really know that.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Rebecca Coursey, Megan Wintory, Kate Danson

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