Tara O'Connell, CD(DONA),BDT(DONA),LCCE / Founder of Birthing Gently
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have" ~Cayla Mills
“People Who Are Crazy Enough To Think They Can Change The World, Are The Ones Who Do” ~Rob Siltanen~
Tara Campbell is a certified Birth Doula (2001) & Birth Doula Trainer with DONA International (2006), Childbirth Educator through Lamaze International (2003), and founded Birthing Gently Doula Services and Professional education in 2002. Tara has trained over 9000 birth doulas (since 2006) while holding workshops throughout the country.
She currently works with the adolescent obstetrical patients at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston MA. She 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. It wasn’t long before she realized that “home” was in the labor and delivery unit and ignited the passion that redirected her down the doula path.
In collaboration with certain providers, she has been on the forefront of implementing the “Family Centered Cesarean Section” approach.
Podcast Interview with Tara Campbell link
Although she had the opportunity to witness a wide variety of births, her main interest lies in working with maternal and fetal high-risk OB patients. Specific areas of interest include: congenital and structural heart disease, psychiatric illness, epilepsy, intellectual disability, spinal disorders (scoliosis, spina bifida, and tethered spinal cord syndrome), cerebral palsy, placenta accreta, VATER syndrome and neuroblastoma. She is not currently accepting new clients.
Tara has been a childbirth educator in a variety of settings including hospitals, private institutions and federal funded community based programs with a focus on curriculum development for teens, multiples and same sex couples. In addition she works closely with the supportive staff at Birthing Gently while managing daily administrative duties.
Some of her major accomplishments include the creation and inception of our established (2013) volunteer birth doula program at Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, geared towards low income and at risk patients. This program functions under Birthing Gently Maternal Health, a Commonwealth of Massachusetts 501c(3) non-profit organization, BGMH’s parent company is Birthing Gently Doula Services and Professional Education (Birthing Gently). Tara is a faculty educator at Birthwise Midwifery school in Bridgton Maine (2007), she is an educator at Birthroots in Portland Maine (2006). In addition she served as an instructor at Harvard University (2011, 2013 & 2018) and at Tufts Medical School (2017 &2018). The Doulas Role in Birth: A Personal Journey. Course: Human Evolution, Locomotion and Pelvic Morphology Class. In addition Tara has been invited as a guest speaker to many conferences, including the Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Breastfeeding Collation and Boston Association for Childbirth Education & Nursing Mothers Council. Throughout her career Tara has sat on a variety of health related committees but currently serves as a committee member for Boston Children’s Hospital’s Virtual Committee, and Haverhill High School Healthcare Advisory Committee. She has written and contributed to several publications and a variety of media projects.
Area's of focus on continued education include a course of study offered by HarvardX, an online learning initiative of Harvard University "theories of learning and leadership" (2020). Massachucetts Psychiatric Academy "Psychiatric Disorders in Women: Diagnostic and Treatment Considerations Across the Female Lifespan" (2020), Mercy In Action " Cultural Competency and Respect in the Provision of Maternity Care" (2020), and University Of Pittsburgh "Vaccine Webinar Series" (2020).
Tara has five children. Evian (1996), Shelby (2002), Kendal (2003), Hailee (2006), and Katheryn (2009). Although she did not have a doula present at her first two deliveries, she did have a doula present at her third, fourth & fifth deliveries, which were, scheduled cesarean sections. She was amazed at the difference between the doula-assisted births compared to the two previous deliveries. The three major differences were a significant decrease in anxiety, increased birth satisfaction and recovery.
Tara’s birth philosophy is “Each birth is as individual, unpredictable and meaningful as each one of us.” She supports a mother’s choice to birth her child in a way that is most comfortable to her. We must provide women with the unbiased tools needed to make informed and evidence-based decisions regarding the care they are receiving. This type of support will allow the freedom necessary to 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.
In her spare time she enjoys running, skiing, and travel.
Below is a link to her own personal journey through high-risk birth, and as an advocate through her children’s illnesses.