Jessica’s work as a birth doula, perinatal consultant and massage and somatic therapist draws on her work and study experiences in various cultures around the world, her work with pioneers in various fields, and her own healing journey. A graduate of Vassar College, Jessica’s interest in obstetrics and gynecology led her to a position shadowing an obstetrician in a New York hospital. The experience was both surprising and revealing.
She was struck by the lack of information offered to patients and the absence of significant communication between doctors and patients. There appeared to be little to no recognition of the innate capacity of a woman’s body to give birth, the anxieties and fears that arose in women and their families around childbirth, or the nurturance required during this momentous time in a mother’s and couple’s life. The emotional and subjective physical experience of the mother during childbirth appeared to be of no consideration.
As a result of this experience, Jessica redirected her studies to begin her exploration of women’s health care, women’s bodies and health education. She spent time living in rural Kenya where she taught sex education, researched female circumcision and volunteered in the village hospital and health clinic. She furthered her appreciation of alternative healing systems in India, where she studied Ayurvedic medicine and yoga.
In the year 2000 Jessica trained with both DONA (Doulas of North America) and ALACE (Association of Labor Assistants and Childbirth Educators) to become a birth doula in her native New York, and knew she’d found her work.
Jessica became a council member of the Metropolitan Doula Group, a continuing education group for birth support professionals in the New York Metropolitan area. She deepened her expertise on birth, health and healing through her studies with pioneers in the birth field like Penny Simkin, Pam England, and Ina May Gaskin.
Jessica continues to grow her expertise by assisting homebirth midwives. This allows her to further learn about medical language, standard care protocols, physiological processes, and the various approaches to providing care to mother and baby at birth.
Jessica also brings to her work extensive training in bodywork, healing, and somatic awareness. She is a licensed massage therapist and is nationally certified in therapeutic bodywork and hydrotherapy. She is a Continuum Movement™ practitioner and currently works extensively with Emilie Conrad, founder of Continuum Movement™, a revolutionary exploration of physical states and experience, healing and the relationship of the body to its environment. Jessica is a certified therapeutic aromatherapist through The Aromahead Institute of Sarasota, Florida and has been studying with herbalist and homeopath Peeka Trenkle since 2002. Jessica also spent several years studying with a Japanese Zen master in the San Gabriel mountains in a traditional Rinzai Zen monastery.