Meet DTI Founding Educator, Ash Spivak
Ash has been working as a doula for 10 years, specializes in Psychedelic therapy facilitation, and is based in New York & Philly. We asked Ash to share her perspective on being a birth worker and part of the DTI team. Here's what she had to say:
How long have you been a doula?
I got certified in 2012
How long have you been an educator?
Since the beginning of COVID!
Do you have any specialties?
I focus on mindfulness within Birth, and Birth as an altered state of consciousness that we can learn from, and integrate those lessons into our lives.
Why did you choose to pursue birth education?
Birth is a metaphor for everything- it is reflective of our ability to connect with our creative powers in all aspects of life, and an opportunity to learn how to listen to and trust our instincts and bodies in a way that our culture has stripped from us in many ways. There is such a clear throughline of oppression and racism in the history of birth and reproductive health in America that result in our practices and stats today. Birth education is a way to start unraveling old narratives, help people build trust in themselves, and pick providers that can actually support them in their journey.
What was your most powerful birthing experience as a doula?
It's too hard to choose just one. The most powerful experience is having to play in the mystery and the world of No Control and The Unknown. There are tons of lessons here.
What’s one thing you wish you knew sooner in your doula career?
Well, a lot, but I think one of the most interesting things about doula work is that you have to learn as you go along. We have to learn by experience. And it's only with experience that we start to feel confident and comfortable implementing many of the things that I "wish I knew sooner"
How has becoming a Doula changed your life?
In so many ways! It is really my entire world view. And I have used the tenets of doula work to create many other things outside of traditional "birth." It's a way of being we can all learn from as a society.
Where do you think the Doula world needs to grow/change/evolve? How do you hope to see it change in the future?
That's a good question. We just went through a huge evolution with COVID so it will be interesting to see how this continues to play out. One other thing that comes to mind is that I would love to see a lot more nursing programs bring doulas in to train the nurses in the doula perspective.
What’s your favorite thing to teach?
I love teaching the physiology of labor because the science of labor itself can be instrumental in helping people trust the process. It is demonstrative of just how much control, power, oppression, racism has been present to create our current birthing practices.
More About Ash: Ash Spivak is an internationally certified birth doula and co-founder of allbodies, a digital platform for modern health education + support. Her book on birth, Why Did Noone Tell Me This?! will be released by Hachette/Running Press in April 2020.
Previously Ash worked as a consultant for Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein's renowned BOBB Films, which put out The Business of Being Born.
Ash views the birth process as a powerful framework for just about everything- life transitions, the creative process, healing and integrating past trauma- and believes it has the potential to initiate incredible growth when pregnant people have the support they need throughout.
It is her great honor to help "doula" new doulas!