Monday, January 19, 2015

New To Our Birth Community


I am Kelly Howland, the woman behind Michiana Postpartum Doula Care and Ollie & Jai Designs. I am one of the newest persons to join the birth professionals community, and I serve as both a postpartum doula and a keepsake jewelry artist where I specialize in making breast milk and placenta memorial jewelry.
Before deciding to work as a birth professional, I studied sociology in college and became a social worker. I spent time working with children and families and this was my first exposure to postpartum care from the perspective of mental health. It immediately became my primary interest as a social worker.

I then became pregnant with my own child and did not have the birth experience I was looking for. My postpartum time frame was extremely rough as I experienced problems breastfeeding, a difficult transition into motherhood, processing birth trauma, and PPD. But what truly helped ease my transition into motherhood was the community of support I had around me from fellow mothers and a postpartum doula who came to my home and assisted me through the tender, emotional initial days of new motherhood. I don't know what I would have done without that support because it is what carried me through a transition that was not at all what I'd expected the start of motherhood to be.

I continued my career as a social worker, but my passion for focusing on postpartum women grew to the point where it could not be ignored. I then became pregnant with my second child and anticipating my own second postpartum period drove me to the realization that I am called to be within the birth community, supporting and encouraging mothers in the way I'd learned was so critical and valuable for moms. I took the plunge and left my position in social services and have started to study for formal certification as a postpartum doula through Birth Arts International. I created the name Michiana Postpartum Doula Care where I am now beginning to serve families in the Michiana area through a variety of postpartum services.
In addition to being a postpartum doula, I also am behind Ollie & Jai Designs. Breastfeeding both my children was full of difficulty and emotional struggle as I battled a diagnosed low supply issue. Working to nurse my second son was one of the biggest challenges for me and I wanted to commemorate that journey for however long it may last. This led me to begin experimenting with breast milk and placenta keepsake jewelry. I can now create memorial keepsake jewelry pieces out of a woman's own breast milk or dehydrated placenta powder. I named my jewelry line Ollie & Jai, the nicknames of my children, after the birth and breastfeeding experiences I had with each of them. While I love the art of jewelry making, my favorite thing about creating the jewelry is getting to help mothers preserve a piece of their own special, sacred journeys that they've experienced as well.

As a newer postpartum doula in the Michiana community, I am excited to see where my passions will take me. I consider it an honor that a family would choose me to walk with them and support them through such a personal, tender time in their family's transition. I can think of few things are rewarding as being given that gift as not only a doula, but a fellow mother within our community.

Michiana Postpartum Doula Care and Ollie & Jai Designs

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