So, who is ChicagoDoula™? I’m Amy Catania: a mother, sister, doula, childbirth mentor, and advocate for women, pregnant people, children and families. I was born and raised here in Chicago on the near south side and have also lived in Northern Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon.
I am one of seven daughters, raised in a household with a strong sense of social justice and support of civil rights for people of all walks of life. I have always gravitated toward any work that creates more safety and positive change for those who have less power in our society.
My mother and father were always pro-choice in their politics, and quite matter of fact about birth and breastfeeding as natural, normal events my sisters and I could choose or not. My mother often told stories about her births and breastfeeding, and in fact breastfed me and all but one of my sisters, lending the process of mothering an air of utter, well, normalcy.
I have been helping women empower themselves about their reproduction since 1994 when I became an advocate at a shelter for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. In 2008, I began providing doula services and birth classes in addition to my anti-violence advocacy and activism. I have found that my active listening and counseling skills from domestic violence work transfer seamlessly when helping pregnant people and their partners. Along my way toward becoming a DONA-certified doula and Birthing From Within® mentor, I have given birth to three children and journeyed through a host of postpartum adventures and challenges.
As a doula, birth mentor, and anti-violence worker, I have seen what can happen when expectant parents receive respect, support and information to ask our own questions and find our own answers. Given the needed space and support, you can find your own answers – be it any question from how to stay safe in a relationship, to whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term, how many children to have, how to go through a miscarriage, where to give birth, how to push your baby out, whether to have a cesarean birth, or how to feed your baby.
I strive to help each expectant parent and family I work with create and protect your own safe-as-possible space. I can be an integral part of the support you need to see your inner strengths and to freely find and choose your own path and solutions for the challenges of pregnancy, labor, birth or parenting. I offer clear information and skill as I walk beside you as a listener, mentor and advocate.
Outdoor portraits by Natalie Ginele Miller.