Joy MacTavish, MA, IBCLC, RLC, ICCE
“Wow, that’s a lot of letters? What do they mean?”
MA – Master of Arts in Cultural Studies
IBCLC – International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
RLC – Registered Lactation Consultant
ICCE – ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator
My path to becoming a doula began when I attended my first birth as a labor coach for a family member when I was just a teenager. After that exciting and rewarding experience, I knew that this was something I wanted to pursue. A number of years later, after having worked with a variety of families in childcare roles, I decided to take the Labor Support for Birth Doulas Training Course at the Seattle Midwifery School (now the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Professionals at Bastyr University).
As a birth doula, I support clients who choose to give birth at hospitals, birth centers, and their homes. When it comes to working with partners, care providers, and staff, they have always been positive experiences due to my personality, style and confidence in my role and scope as a doula. I make a point of establishing good communication with my clients, partners, staff and care providers in order to ensure that my clients needs and wishes are being met.
In order to more fully support my clients, in the fall of 2007, I expanded my doula services through postpartum doula training and certification. As a postpartum doula I am aware of the unique changes and challenges that can come with a new baby. My skills and experience help make the transitional period more manageable and even more rewarding for every member of the family. I provide support and assistance with feeding, suggestions and assistance with mother’s recovery, advice on infant and parent sleep patterns, guidance on newborn care and recognizing and responding to postpartum mood disorders.
I believe that my role as a doula is to fully support my client’s desires and decisions through their individual birth and postpartum experiences. I completely believe that it is your body, your baby and your experience and I pride myself on being open-minded and adaptable. I love providing doula services for a diverse range of families, including LGBTQ families, single mothers and teenage parents.
After becoming a doula, I began my journey to become a childbirth and newborn educator. This process included observing and assisting local educators, including Penny Simkin, Kim James and others. In February 2009, I took the Great Starts “Teaching about Pregnancy Childbirth and the Newborn” Childbirth Educator Training and certification process. In October 2009, I sat for and passed the certification exam for the International Childbirth Education Association. I also became a Certified Happy Baby Educator through Dr. Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block program, which many parents learn and use to soothe their newborns during “The Fourth Trimester.”
Over the past couple years, my new endeavor has been the process toward becoming International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. After completing hundreds of hours of didactic education, I became a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist. I then began my supervised clinical hours and in early 2012, I completed a 200 hour clinical internship rotation at Sibley Memorial Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine in Washington, D.C. I then assisted and went on to lead Birth and Beyond’s Breastfeeding 911: Help for Hurdles, as well as attending lactation consultations with my IBCLC supervising mentors. In July 2013, I sat for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners board exam and became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
I maintain active membership, certification and involvement with the following organizations:
- DONA International
- PALS Doulas
- University of Washington Medical Center Doula Care Program
- Open Arms Perinatal Services
- NAPS Postpartum Doulas
- International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)
- Regional Association of Childbirth Educators (REACHE)
- Happiest Baby on the Block
- LGBTQ Birth and Family Professionals
- International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners
- International Lactation Consultant Association
- United States Lactation Consultant Association
I further my knowledge and skills through continuing education. Here is a list of my professional trainings, conferences, and publications.
As an avid reader, I am constantly reading new books and materials related to fertility, pregnancy, childbirth and family transition during the postpartum period. Many of the books I read I add to my growing lending library, which many of my clients enjoy borrowing. To make a recommendation, or for more information on the titles of these books, please feel free to contact me.
While being a doula is more of a lifestyle than a career, here is some more about my life outside of my doula work:
As a life-long learner and engaged community member I am always looking for the ways in which my passions intersect. During my undergraduate studies at the UW, I completed two Bachelor Degrees in Women Studies and the Comparative History of Ideas with a minor in Diversity Studies. In 2010, I completed a Masters of Arts in Cultural Studies and a graduate certificate in Feminist Studies.
My personal and academic interests include anti-racism, LGBTQ and anti-oppressive parenting practices; childbirth, the postpartum period and family transitions; community-based learning and the public education system, and travel—including studying abroad to Paris and Bayeux, France in high school and Cape Town, South Africa in 2008.
I moved to Seattle from Bellingham in 2004, and currently live with my family in Shoreline, Washington. Among other things, we enjoy exploring the Seattle area, visiting with family and friends, and traveling.