by Warm Welcome Birth Services
Meet the Doula Trainer
Michelle's interest in birth and reproductive/generative health was sparked while she was studying anthropology at Smith College, Northampton, MA. Attending an inspiring lecture by internationally renowed midwife Ina May Gaskin (Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth) stripped away layers of fear that she had around pregnancy and birth, and revealed the incredible potential for love, wonder, and even bliss. She then focused her studies on medical anthropology and women's health, working towards becoming a midwife. L'Esperance visited Ina May at The Farm in Tennessee, and in 1996 an underground midwife in Georgia agreed to tutor her and bring her on prenatal home visits; so her practical education began.
In 1997, Michelle's first child was born at home. The following year, she began her apprenticeship with homebirth midwives. Soon after, she completed a doula training, launched Warm Welcome Birth Servicdes and began attending births as a doula. In 2002, her second baby was born at home, and in 2003 she graduated with a specialized degree in midwifery from Manna School of Midwifery in Bonita Springs, FL.
In the spring of the following year, L'Esperance completed her clinicals attending births at a high volume inner-city hospital in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The physical conditions there were incredibly difficult, but it was an amazing teaching in how "birth happens!" even despite a lack of basic necessities. In 2004 she earned the designation of Certified Professional Midwife, a nationally recognized designation offered by the North American Registry of Midwives.
"Though I didn't expect to feel ready, I believe I am. I feel like I could walk in to any laboring mother and be able to emotionally, physically and mentally support her. That is incredible. I've never left any training feeling so prepared. "
Michelle L'Esperance has attended over 500 births in homes, freestanding birth centers, domestic and foreign hospitals since 1996. She has enjoyed teaching hundreds of new parents and doulas since 2001, and strongly believes that we need many more active doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives to make progress towards reproductive justice. These professionals, in partnership with educated, empowered families, can heal birth in our culture and restore to it the transformative power and integrity that are its true nature.
You can learn more about her homebirth midwifery and expert doula services
at Warm Welcome Birth Services website.