Today we’d like to introduce you to Alyssa Megeath.
Alyssa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Hey there! My name is Alyssa Megeath and I am a woman who wears many hats within both the Boulder and Denver communities…I am a Certified DONA International Birth Doula CD(DONA) guiding growing families during one of the most intimate and raw experiences and transitions that there is in this life – becoming a new parent! Although the role of a doula is becoming more mainstream in a time where families are seeking out continuity of care during the prenatal and postnatal experiences, some of you may not be familiar with what a doula, translated to “woman who serves” in Greek, does. Doulas are trained professionals, who provide continuous physical, emotional, and educational support to a birthing person before, during, and shortly after childbirth to help the new family achieve an empowered and satisfying experience. We help our clients with resourcing within our large community (connecting with top-notch Family Medicine Providers, Pediatricians, Acupuncturists, Webster Certified Chiropractors, Therapists etc.), help each family member understand what their options are for their labor, delivery, and with newborn care, provide unlimited labor support, and even assist with helping the birthing person achieve optimal health and wellness post-birth. Doulas are for the whole family and countless scientific trials, including Cochrane Review, reveal that doula care remarkably enhances both physical and physiological outcomes for both the birthing person and the baby. We need more quality doulas within a day and age where our country is striving to improve both Mother and infant outcomes and mortality rates, especially Black birthing persons and underserved populations.
Prior to my involvement within the birth community here, I was drawn to Colorado six years ago as a rock climber and former healthcare marketing specialist, seeking to live a more balanced life where alternative medicine was of utmost focus. Before making my way to Boulder, I was working in breast cancer diagnostics and electronic medical records; however, came to realize my calling was to advocate for patients rather than selling products and increasing the revenue that hospitals can make with having a certain diagnostic system in place. When I first moved to Boulder, I worked alongside acupuncturist, Erin Pass, L. Ac., Dipl. C.H., and her team as the Office Manager, Lead Patient Care Coordinator, and Marketing Coordinator. I give her and her team many thanks for seeing my passion to help others in their journey to Motherhood and was so blessed to see the power of Traditional Chinese Medicine and its effect on pain management, progression with labor, emotional wellness, fertility, pediatric care, and how it has made a huge difference here in Boulder at our local hospital, Boulder Community Health Foothills. While I worked at the clinic, part of my role was to gather scientific-based evidence on this powerful medicine, and boy, was I in awe of the beauty of this medicine that has shared principles with Ayurveda, “the science of life”, one of the oldest “whole body” healing systems where disease is caused by an imbalance. This system of medicine that is 5,000 years old, focuses on the mind-body connection, nourishing one’s body appropriately according to their energy or “dosha”, strengthening one’s digestive power or “agni” (there is so much current research being done on the gut biome and its’ effect on stress and anxiety!), and living in sync with nature (which we all are trying to do here in Colorado, right?).
Because I strongly believe in families receiving full-spectrum care, care both before and after the birth experience and transition into parenthood, I recently went on to receive a year intensive training with Dr. Bharat Vaidya, Advanced Ayurvedic Physician, and his wife, Anupama (“AV”) at Ayurved Sadhana Vidyalaya in Superior, CO. Although it is apparent that we have many superb options for birth support resources here in Colorado and diving deeper into alternative medicine and how birthing persons are supported after the birth, I noticed that our community does not have enough people who “Mother the new Mother” once the baby arrives. As a Trained Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula, my work emphasizes restoring the birthing person’s mind, body, and spirit connection post-birth with nourishing and easily digestible meals, which can in turn increase milk supply and recharge a birthing person’s energy. It is simply one of the most demanding jobs that anyone can have – going through a physical and mental marathon of labor, healing post birth, nourishing one’s body along with their newborn’s while breastfeeding. Those are all extremely demanding tasks! I try my best to prepare the families that I work with not only for what their options are in the birthing room when the time comes but also with meals, self-care, newborn care postpartum for both the birthing person and the partner. Both partners need support; yes, partners do not physically experience labor, but they too are going through a time where sleep can be deprived, figuring out the demands of working in our society where paid time off is minimal, partner dynamics can change significantly, and bonding with their newborn is being established.
So what does an Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula do? A traditional Ayurvedic Doula often times will live in with a family during the postnatal period; however, in our society, that can be challenging when many birth workers have families of their own and finance can make this unattainable. In Ayurveda, the magic number is receiving a generous amount of care, both with healing foods, body work (Abhyanga – Warm Oil Massage that stimulates the circulatory and lymphatic systems), and daily ritual during the first 42 Days (The first six weeks after birth). This care during this time sets up patterns for both the birthing person and baby that can last a lifetime. According to Ayurveda, how one spends these first 42 days after delivery can actually impact the next 42 years of life. We also teach our clients how to prepare their pantry before they give birth, traditional recipes that a partner can do when the doula is no longer contracted with the family, Ayurvedic breast care (foods and dishes to help with milk supply), as well as Parent-Led infant massage to help with the baby’s digestion. When I am not attending births, I do prepare meals for multiple families within a week and do in-home warm oil treatments for most all of my birth clients. To put it simply, “food is medicine” and the building blocks of our bodies consist of the foods we take in; one does not need to be a chef to meet his/her daily needs. I believe that our current culture has quite a bit to learn from other countries and their traditional ways of helping a birthing person heal. As women and birthing persons, we deserve better. Everyone deserves the time to be taken care of while they take care of their newborn! I am happy that our community is starting to seek out help and know that it is better to have one’s “ducks in a row” with care versus not having any care lined up once the baby is here.
As a Mother of a free-spirited two year old, wife, and part-time rock climbing and fitness instructor when I am not present at births within the hospital, birth center, and home settings, I try my best to build bridges between providers and love seeing the collaboration that occurs here in the Front Range! I could not do this work without the day-to-day help of my husband, Patrick Megeath, and my partner and mentor, Lisa Waldo of Balanced Beginnings Doulas. Lisa has been a staple in the birth community in Boulder and Denver for over three decades and she is a wealth of knowledge! She has been able to witness maternal healthcare evolve and I can’t wait to see where it continues to go over the next few years here!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has been a smooth road finding my calling, but with any passion and work we embark on, of course comes challenges! Given the east coast work ethic that I have along with growing up in a family owned and operated business, I have always ate, slept, and dreamt about my future within the work I was currently involved in. In order to do such giving work, I am continuously learning the importance of my own self-care and balance. I thank my doula partner, Lisa Waldo, with this! Because we are on-call 24-7 and often have births that take us away from important family events and holidays, just like Ayurveda, this job is all about finding balance and this is why I love what we do! Finding like-minded professionals who show up and do this work 110% can be a challenge and it is so important to have a community to support you as a full-time doula. I thank those who have stuck beside me both personally and professionally over the past two years.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Alyssa Megeath Childbirth Services in Association with Balanced Beginnings Doulas – what should we know?
The name of my company is Alyssa Megeath Childbirth Services in association with Balanced Beginnings Doulas. I am a Certified Birth Doula with DONA International and am an Ayurvedic Trained Postpartum Doula (I will be graduating and receiving certification in the fall). I provide full-spectrum care for every client that hires me because birth and postpartum support are equally important; you can’t have one without the other and every family whom wants care before, during, and after childbirth shall receive it! I specialize in traditional Ayurvedic cooking after delivery and cook for a high volume of families during the first two months after giving birth. I have even been hired to cook for new parents within the first year of parenthood. There are not many birth doulas whom also tie in this in-home postpartum support piece. Although I have been in the birth world for two years, I do a high volume of births and my business has grown immensely thanks to a handful of local providers that see the value and need. It amazes me that both OB-GYNs and midwives see the value of Ayurvedic Medicine/Ayurveda along with continuous doula care and I love seeing a bridge being built between Eastern and Western medicines.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Yes! My husband and son, for understanding the nature of the work and for making things so smooth when I need to drop everything we are doing and go to a birth. 🙂 Acupuncturist Erin Pass and the team at the Acupuncture Clinic of Boulder, Inc, Lisa Waldo of Balanced Beginnings Doulas, Dr. Bharat Vaidya and Anupama Vaidya of Ayurved Sadhana, my doula trainer, Penny Lyon, my colleague, Danielle Donaldson of Doula DeeLight LLC (Birth and Postpartum Doula), and to all of my friends who have understood when I needed to cancel plans to do this work! Oh – and most importantly, the many on-call childcare sitters we have for my son when my husband travels out of town for work; you know who you are. 🙂
I would also like to give a special shout out to the providers both in and out of the hospital that I have worked alongside with – cheers to collaboration so that local families can receive the best care! Two of the local hospitals that I really enjoy collaborating with is Boulder Community Health Foothills and Avista Adventist Women’s Care practice.
- Website: www.alyssamdoula.com
- Phone: 857-249-1224
- Email: email@example.com
Smitten and Swoon Photography – professional headshot.