Meet Jenny Sides, Doula & Childbirth Educator in Colorado Springs

January 22, 2020

Hello! I’m Jennie, a wife, mama, veteran, engineer, childbirth educator and doula. I love early mornings, snow days, snuggly blankets, coffee, gardening, writing, video games, and Chipotle. My favorite thing in the world is just being with my family at home.

What first got you interested in birth work?

My interest in birth work started long before I knew it. I jumped into the military right after college, and before too long, a mechanical engineering degree led to a master’s in space sciences. I intended to emphasize my studies specifically in planetary science, but through the coursework, I became fascinated with human factors for long duration space exploration missions. The human piece of the puzzle is the most important piece of all, whether in space or on Earth. After leaving the service, I became pregnant and decided to be a stay at home mama for a while. Little did I know that my own birth experience would change my life. I had what the textbooks would call a traumatic birth, and I’m beyond grateful for our doula. As I processed my experience, I became hungry for more information about birth. The human body is simply incredible, and I am amazed by the knowledge and wisdom of a woman’s body to know what to do instinctively in birth. There it is again, humans are amazing! I felt driven to follow this newfound passion, and I wanted to help families in the same way our doula helped us. From birth education to doula support, I love all things babies and birth.

Do you have any particular passions concerning birth, if so, why?

Whenever I’m with a laboring mama, my heart just pounds in anticipation. In the quiet moments, sometimes I can hear my heartbeat in my own ears, each beat reiterating my passion for birth. I love it when families make solid, informed decisions regarding their birth. I love it when a birth goes smoothly; I love to see the faces, feel the emotions, and watch as baby meets mama for the very first time. This time is so uniquely special. I also know that birth doesn’t always go according to plan, and in these moments, it’s so important for mama to have a supportive birth team that she trusts. No matter the type of birth, or how the story unfolds, my passion is for mama to feel supported, loved, and happy with her experience.

With so many trainings out there, why did you choose Birth Boot Camp for your training?

I was well into my 32nd week of pregnancy when something told both my heart and my head that we needed a doula. As quickly as I had made this decision, I dug out some Birth Boot Camp brochures and emailed our instructor from the BBC Newborn class. “Is it too late to hire a doula?” I asked. I was so worried that it was already too late, but much to my chagrin, my husband and I secured her services a week later. I couldn’t be more grateful for her. Even though we had a less than normal birth, I can still say that I have a positive birth story. Thanks to our doula, the support we received, and the wonderful care I experienced, I felt so driven to be able to help families in the same way that our doula helped us. There was no doubt in my mind that Birth Boot Camp was the place for me. Birth Boot Camp is current, balanced, and strives to be evidence-based. My newfound family of women embody everything I believe about birth; together we can continue to pass along the now diminishing, ancient, womanly wisdom of birth.

Training was a great experience! Even though there were only the three of us (my trainer included), it felt so comfortable. Being from an engineering background, I was nervous to start training, but after the first couple of hours I was amazed by how much birth knowledge we all had! That shouldn’t have been a surprise to me; Birth Boot Camp requires all prerequisites to be completed before the training, and this is really a great thing! Everyone starts on the same page, and the in-person training allows for the refining of skills, sharpening of knowledge, sharing experiences, and getting into those deep, hard discussions when needed. Because our group was so small, it was so easy to get to know each individual woman, not just on the surface, but to truly know her story; that was by far my favorite part. We had our fair share of laughter, inside jokes, and crazy stories, but to really get to know people and to establish those friendships–that’s what I love.

Tell us about your training experience and your favorite parts.

Instructor training was a great experience! By happenstance, our training was in Colorado Springs (instead of Denver) with Jen Valencia. It was amazing! I loved that our group knew birth. Really knew birth. We weren’t afraid to jump in and start teaching activities and lessons from the curriculum without preparation. In addition, we had such a wonderful group of women from many different backgrounds and we were all able to learn from and teach each other. I am still amazed by how all of our different paths led us together, converging on a joint mission to help families prepare for birth. It was an honor to get to know these women, and it is an honor to serve families preparing for birth.

How is doula work going for you? What is your favorite part about it?

I’m just starting out on this new adventure, but each day I go to work, I am filled with excitement. This really validates for me that I’m in the right line of work. Helping people is my passion. Helping families through the most intense, intimate, and life changing transition is an honor.

How did your training prepare you for actual birth attendance?

Ultimately, Birth Boot Camp offers a comprehensive, high fidelity training. All of the studying, reading, watching countless birth videos, practicing and rehearsing different birthing scenarios, and role playing all established the realism of birth work. Birth Boot Camp truly prepares you for every type of birth including the many possible variations therein; from unmedicated all the way to a cesarean, I feel confident and knowledgeable every time I attend a birth.

When I find myself either teaching or helping a family, I sometimes get nervous that I won’t remember birth facts or be able to answer questions properly. Once I start talking about birth, however, I surprise myself by how the knowledge is inside me, largely due to training! Birth Boot Camp training is thorough, comprehensive, evidence-based, and balanced. Not only did training equip me with the necessary knowledge, but it also gave me confidence to teach it.

To close, how do you believe doulas can make a positive difference in the birth experience for women?

Doulas are the answer to both normalizing and taking back the birth experience. Centuries ago, women supported women through birth; this tradition, which was once passed throughout generations, slowly diminished with the modernization of birth. The life-saving techniques we established are, no doubt, nothing short of miracles, but with it came more than generally needed. Our country and culture is one that defined the birth experience for women. It is a culture surrounded by fear, anxiety, and unknowing. Birth does not have to be defined or predetermined as any of these. No matter the type of birth, it is sacred and beautiful; it is to be honored. Doulas can help women reclaim what is rightfully hers: a unique story not surrounded in fear, but bathed in compassion, empowerment, understanding, support, and love.

How can we find you?

Serving Colorado Springs, CO

Email: jsides@birthbootcamp.com

Website: www.jsidesdoula.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jsidesdoula

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jsidesdoula

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