Name: Lesley Everest
Bio: This delicious mother of three and Plateau resident has been doing da doula for close to 20 years now. A one-time aspiring midwife, Lesley opted to become a doula instead, discouraged by the politics of midwifery at the time of her training and because, “All I really wanted to do was be with pregnant women.” The great- great-granddaughter of a 19th-century birth assistant, she says most of her jobs come via word of mouth.
The language from which the word “doula” originates: Greek.
What doula means in Greek: “Slave.”
What da hey does a doula do? Provides labour companion services and “informational, physical and emotional support to women, creating a warm, friendly atmosphere in an otherwise cold and clinical environment.” A talented and pretty body worker, Lesley also brings polarity therapy and psychotherapy skills to her work, all in the concerted effort to provide women with an “empowered childbirth.”
Do obstetricians tend to look down their noses at the doula profession? Sometimes. “Except you rarely see the doctors. The nurses are generally happy to see us, though. We make their job a lot easier.”
Two ways she makes a nurse’s life easier: By cleaning bedpans and barf bowls.
Is she prepared to get confrontational with the hospital staff if need be? “Of course.”
Has she ever gotten into a catfight with a sexy nurse over some questionable procedure and wound up wrestling on the floor of the hospital with her, biting, scratching and trying to rip each other’s clothes off? Not yet.
Are the bulk of her clients poorly educated teens from the Point? Not really, although she has serviced one or two. “Most of my clients are educated middle-class women.”
How much her services cost: About $400. “I do two pre-natals, go to the birth for however long it takes, stay for an hour or two afterwards, and then do two post-natals.”
Has any woman ever been so impressed with Lesley’s services that they’ve yelled “Yabba-dabba-doula!” as their child is being born? Not yet.
Named their child after her? Yes.
Do fathers ever get jealous of the relationship she develops with their partners, fearing that Lesley is making them redundant? Yes, occasionally, but not as a rule. “I really try to be non-threatening with the dads and let them know they are the primary support person. Most of the men are very compassionate, but the truth is, they are not experiencing what is going on. [Whereas] I know what it is to give birth.”
Where she hangs out: Santropol. “I don’t go out to bars very often because, what would happen if somebody went into premature labour while I was drunk?”
Preferred alcoholic beverage: Mudslides.
Childhood ambition: To become a nurse.
Current ambition: To open a woman’s wellness centre within the next five years.
Musical preferences: Tom Waits, Beck, Nick Cave.
A film she’s quite fond of: Punch-Drunk Love.
Words of wisdom: “Be excellent to each other.”
Originally published in the Montreal Mirror. For more information on Lesley’s birth doola services, visit http://www.motherwit.ca/.