Inspirational Interview: Ashley Klemm | Charlotte Nicole - Photographer, Doula & Activist | Houston, Texas
As a fellow mother and doula, Ashley Klemm’s presence is serene and calming, warm and nurturing, just as a mother tends to be. She has been involved in the birth world for almost ten years, and has four kiddos herself. If you know her, you know she brings a joyful light wherever she goes. Enjoy her Inspirational Interview by continuing to read below!
I am a wife, mom, and a certified labor doula. My five children range in age from 15 years to 5 years old. Their births run the spectrum from unplanned cesarean to hombirth before the midwife got there, with a variety of experiences between. I have been a doula for over three years and have supported over 50 families in pregnancy and birth. My work comes from my heart. This is truly the work for which I was created!
I trained and certified through CAPPA (Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association). This certification involved hands on training, textbook education, breastfeeding and childbirth education classes, provider and client evaluations from certifying births, and a lengthy test. I continue to seek additional trainings so that I can better serve my clients. These include Spinning Babies, acupressure for birth workers, pregnancy and infant loss, Hypnobabies, perinatal mental health, and rebozo techniques.
I first realized I was called to a career in maternal health after the birth of my second child (my first VBAC). At the time I didn't know whether that would be midwifery, lactation, or something else. With a young family, my children at home were my priority so I wasn't ready to actively pursue this career. The calling became stronger after my third child was born (my first home birth) and seemed more clearly directing me towards midwifery. Our family wasn't done growing, so my passion for birthwork had to be satisfied through self study while I continued to focus on my little ones. Two children later, it was finally my time! I spoke with my midwife and let her know I was ready to begin working with her in an apprenticeship. She told me to first get some training and experience as a doula; I'm so glad she did! I absolutely love this space where I can focus on the emotional and physical comfort aspects of pregnancy and birth. I love that as a doula I am not locked in to any one place of birth. I can serve women no matter what their risk level. I am able to support women desiring medical intervention, as well as women who prefer to be as low intervention as possible. I am able to support the entire family, and walk into a birth with an established relationship with them.
I am inspired to continue this work by the heart connections I form with families during this journey of pregnancy and birth. Seeing a family satisfied with their birthing experience, even if it takes an unexpected path, pushes me forward to serve the next family. When studies look at women's satisfaction with their births, it isn't whether they had a vaginal birth or a cesarean that is the defining factor. Rather, satisfaction is tied to women being heard and respected, having information to make good decisions for themselves, and being partners in their care. As a doula I have the opportunity to help women find satisfaction in birth based on those key points.
The hardest thing is the unpredictability of birth. I might be called to a birth at a moment's notice and for an indefinite amount of time. Babies are born on my kids' birthdays, holidays, and other special events. Without the full support of my family, this work wouldn't be possible. I am thankful to have their support and encouragement as I live out my calling.
That would be seeing families satisfied with their birth experience and ready for the parenting journey ahead of them.
Aside from the expected impact of always being on call, there are also fun impacts. I love it when my ten year old son gets excited about VBAC, or when my kids write about birth related things for school assignments. I have even been able to share about my career and about informed decision making with students in local schools.
When people meet me for the first time, I want them to know that I am a safe, non-judgemental space to gather information, explore options, and to be encouraged along the way. I bring a calming, nurturing presence to birth. I think my role as doula is a blend of educator, counselor, and encourager. "Bringing heart and hands to support your birth" isn't just my slogan - it is ME!
Houston is blessed to have an incredible community of doulas, and Ashley Klemm is one of them. Her passion and purpose is amplified in her work, and I am so grateful to have her in my corner!
Are you a local business owner in the greater Houston area? Do you provide a service that supports women and families throughout pregnancy, birth and/or postpartum,? Let’s collaborate! Get in touch with me about applying for your Inspirational Interview today!