My name is Tara Poulin. I am a certified Birth Doula (DONA), Birth Doula Trainer (DONA) and founder of "Birthing Gently in 2001". I began my journey working in Labor and Delivery at a Boston hospital. I acquired great knowledge after having the opportunity to work in other related departments such as antepartum, the newborn nursery, OR, post op, pediatrics, emergency department and postpartum. The personal rewards I gained while working in labor and delivery were numerous. Becoming a Birth Doula was such a huge step for me; it meant leaving the "medical model" and providing a more personal approach to the care of my laboring families.
My main interest as a Birth Doula lies in working with Maternal (PIH, rare and complicated medical conditions, infectious disease, scheduled C-sections, etc.) and Fetal (CHD, neurological defects, other congenital anomalies, etc.) high-risk OB clients. Currently I am limiting myself to taking only high risk clients and planned cesarean sections at Brigham and Women's hospital in Boston. I previously worked as a homebirth midwifery apprentice alongside Birthing Gently's former homebirth midwife Dena C.
As a childbirth educator I am currently teaching prepared childbirth classes at Isis Parenting in Boston MA (North Shore Medical Center, Brookline, Prudential Center, Arlington, and Needham locations) and Breastfeeding Basics & Newborn Essentials at Destination Maternity in Natick MA.
I have five children, Evian ‘96, Shelby ‘02, Kendal ‘03, Hailee ‘06, and Katheryn ‘09. Although I did not have a Doula present at my first two deliveries, I did have a Doula present at my third, fourth & fifth deliveries which were scheduled Cesarean sections, I was amazed at how it really made a difference in the way I was able to relax and cope. Thank you, Deb Robbins for being my Doula for Kendal’s birth, and Luann Richardson for being my Doula at Hailee’s birth, and Dr William Camann for being my Doula at Katheyn’s birth.
My birth philosophy is: "Each birth is as individual, unpredictable and meaningful as each one of us." I support a mother's choice to birth her child in a way that is most comfortable to her. The birth of your baby is a miracle and each child born should be embraced with all of our love, energy, and support. We must provide women with the unbiased tools needed to make informed decisions regarding the care they are receiving, so they can enter labor with a clear, educated and open mind. All mothers, whether they chose natural, medicated, or Cesarean birth, need our support and quality care.
I am working in conjunction with the state of Massachusetts' "Healthy Families Program" which provides free Childbirth Education classes to young mothers. These classes are conducted in Haverhill, MA, and are available on a bi-monthly basis. The "Healthy Families Program" aids young parents (ages 20 and under) in meeting the needs of their first baby. "Healthy Families" offers assistance, guidance, and information, including home visits, which will help first-time parents care for their new baby.
I sat on the American Heart Association's CVDY (Cardiovascular Disease in the Young) Committee from 2003-2007. This committee provides awareness of congenital and acquired cardiovascular disease in the young throughout Massachusetts. We focus on prevention through community education.
During the years 2001 to 2006, I was involved in the PACE/Labor study, a research project at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA. This study evaluated the effects of epidural analgesia (pain relief) in childbirth. The PACE/Labor study questioned why women receiving epidurals were more likely to have a fever during labor. A newer component of the study included the neurological "Brazelton Assessment" of the newborn. This study required use of my skills as a Doula and included detailed pathology work. I was very excited to be involved in this study as research is such an important aspect in healthcare.
In 2010 I developed a volunteer Doula program at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston MA. We currently offer volunteer Doulas through the Midwifery Program at BWH. The Birthing Gently Volunteer Doula Program is a group of Doula’s that are trained according to national standards. These Doulas are screened to make sure they are prepared to work in our all-volunteer program. Some of our Doula’s are working towards certification; others are trying to gain more birth experience.
In 2003 I developed the “Heart to Heart” Program; The Heart to Heart Program was founded in 2003 by Tara Poulin in an effort to help support Children’s Hospital Boston. This program was developed in an effort to support & raise money for Children’s Hospital Boston by setting up a donation page at our website. This program was also developed to provide care to the high risk families delivering at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and receiving care through the advanced fetal care center at Children’s Hospital Boston. Birthing Gently is a Doula service with a special interest in high risk deliveries. Our Doulas have extensive experience providing care to high risk families. Many of the clients we work with are expecting babies with various fetal anomalies, some minor, others life threatening and unfortunately some Grave.
In the fall of 2011 I was invited to teach “The Doulas Role in Birth: A Personal Journey” at Harvard University’s “Human Evolution, locomotion, and pelvic morphology class.
In my spare time ( not much of that ) I enjoy shopping, hiking, running, kayaking, traveling, swimming, boxing, skiing, being with friends and family, and reading a good book.
I want to give thanks to Penny Simkin for having the privilege to train directly under her; I would also like to thank Deb Robbins for giving me the support and strength to travel down this path. And one great big thanks to my mentor Dr William Camann!