Style Profile: Jennifer Henderson

Name: Jennifer Henderson
Occupation: Birth and Postpartum Doula, Postpartum Placenta Specialist
Age: 43
Lifestyle: Always balancing work and home, and planning my next trip!

 

Lovely Dress in Black (also available in White) by Montreal designer Cameleon; Coleanthus Cardigan 3/4 Sleeve (also available in Black and Purple) by Toronto designer Jennifer Fukushima; Handcrafted necklace by Dundas label Curious Oddities

 

For those of us who don’t know, what is a doula and why are more women hiring them?

 

The standard answer is that a doula provides physical, emotional and informational support to birthing women and families. I don’t do a lot of births anymore (unless it’s a referral) so I spend most of my time on postpartum support after moms get home from the hospital with their babies.

 

This could be anything from providing support about postpartum recovery, breastfeeding or bottle feeding support, newborn care instruction, and light household chores like baby laundry and preparing a meal.

 

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I also provide placenta encapsulation services, which are becoming more popular. I think more women are hiring doulas because there is a trend to have children at older ages than previously, and modern women who aren’t in the industry just are not around birth, so there’s mystery and some fear surrounding it.

 

Also, many people do not have family nearby. In the past, we lived in more tight-knit communities and new mothers had more support. For various reasons, things have changed. Doulas fill the gap in maternal care.

 

Rosie Dress in Owls Print (also available in Bunnies and Foxes) by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; Handcrafted necklace by Toronto label Torched Studio

 

What’s a typical day like for you?

 

I wake up around 7am and quickly check emails – I want to make sure I know as soon as possible if one of my clients has had a baby! I usually commit to being with a client once they are home from the hospital so I need to see if my schedule requires re-arranging.

 

My daughter is usually up and has climbed into my bed for snuggles, so after that we go downstairs and make breakfast. I unpack the dishwasher, have breakfast, help my daughter brush her teeth and comb her hair, make the bed, hop in the shower, pack her lunch and take her to school.

 

Then, if I’m working with a client, I’ll spend the day with them – helping them with breastfeeding, holding the baby while they take a shower, etc.

 

Sleeveless Angle Hem Top in Navy Sahara Print (also available in other colours and patterns) by Toronto label It Fitz Me!™; Handcrafted necklace by  Torched Studio

 

If not, I work from home either publishing blog posts, updating the website, or perhaps networking with other professionals who can help me with my business. Somehow in between I’ll prep dinner and run errands. Then I pick up my daughter from school and take her to whatever after-school activity she’s in.

 

Then home, make dinner, eat, do homework, play games, put my daughter to bed, and have some time with my husband. Once a week I make time for getting together with my friends, so I am off the hook for the evening activities at home.

 

And it’s tough, but I do try to carve out a bit of “me” time each week (reading, exercising, getting a massage), but I’m not always successful at getting it in. It’s a question of balance!

 

Alexie 3/4 Sleeve Top in Royal Blue (also available in other colours!) by Quebec label MOOVment Design; Maddalena Skirt in Black with White Feathers by Montreal designer Cherry Bobin; Alissa Sweater in Ivory by Quebec label MOOVment Design; Handcrafted necklace by Dundas label Curious Oddities

 

What in your life is really important to you?

 

First and foremost is my family. Always. I actually take on a limited client roster because I need to ensure availability for my family. This works out very well for my clients, since I can give them 100% attention when I’m with them and I’m not worried about overlapping clients.

 

I also think having a support network is key. I’m so lucky to have a wonderful husband, amazing business partner, and great friends who are encouraging of what I do. This, in turn, allows me to help my clients better. Travel is another big thing for me. I love to discover new places and have new experiences.

 

Nikki Dress in Black Crepe (on sale now, and also available in Black Wave Stripe) by Toronto label It Fitz Me!™; Handcrafted necklace by Toronto label burfurtART

What would you like to be remembered for?
I’d like people to remember me as someone who made a difference in people’s lives. Sometimes in my work, the most important thing I do is listen and hold space for people.

 

It seems small, but even a small bit of help can have a ripple outward and affect others. Also, to be remembered as a loving wife and mom, sister, daughter and friend.

 

Lovely Dress in Black (also available in White) by Montreal designer Cameleon; Coleanthus Cardigan 3/4 Sleeve (also available in Black and Purple) by Toronto designer Jennifer Fukushima; Handcrafted necklace by Dundas label Curious Oddities

 

Interestingly, you have a background in finance! What inspired you to transition into this new and very different career path?

 

I’ve always had an interest in finance, and as a personal hobby I still find it fascinating. But it’s also a super competitive field that demands a lot.

 

After I had my daughter, I wasn’t comfortable working the kind of hours that were expected in my finance job (and I don’t think my boss was happy with it either). Someday I would love to marry the two so I can be a kind of “financial doula,” but I’m still trying to figure out how that would work.

 

Rosie Dress in Owls Print (also available in Bunnies and Foxes) by Toronto label Desserts and Skirts; Handcrafted necklace by Toronto label Torched Studio

 

What role does fashion play in your life?

 

Strangely, I’ve never thought too much about fashion. I’m all about practicality when I’m at work. I dress business-casual when meeting a client for a consultation, but once I’m working with them, I’m in yoga pants and a t shirt.

 

When I’m not working, I have a weakness for Disney t-shirts. I love dresses because they’re a simple option – just throw it on and go. I don’t like anything too fussy but I like interesting jewelry pieces like necklaces and bracelets.

 

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And I love flat shoes – I couldn’t wear heels anymore after having a baby!

 

What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?
So many things! First of all the quality of the clothing is great, and it’s Canadian-made. So you know it’s not “fast fashion” (which environmentally is a bit of a problem).

 

And the staff is amazing at recommending outfits. And the clothing is so comfortable. I’m obsessed with the owl dress I wore for this shoot.

 

Lovely Dress in Black (also available in White) by Montreal designer Cameleon; Handcrafted necklace by Dundas label Curious Oddities

 

What do you have that you want to promote?
At Doula Care Journey, we work from a compassionate place as we help growing families. We offer yoga, Hypnobirthing classes, birth and postpartum doula classes, and placenta encapsulation services!

 

We also work with a team of experts that we refer to, like chiropractors, naturopaths, lactation consultants, and photographers specializing in newborn and maternity photography, so we act as a concierge service for our clients as well. We help answer your questions and make people more confident during this important milestone in their life journey.

 

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You mention that you offer placenta encapsulation services. What sets your service apart from others?

 

One of the biggest differences is that we offer in home placenta encapsulation services, meaning the service is done in the clients home. This is important for so many reasons.

 

Many encapsulators will process in their own homes, meaning the placenta will be exposed to different microbes.

 

Also, since the process is unseen, you can’t really be sure what’s truly happening – is the area sanitized? Are other placentas being processed at the same time? What if there is a mix up?

 

Sleeveless Angle Hem Top in Navy Sahara Print (also available in other colours and patterns) by Toronto label It Fitz Me!™; Handcrafted necklace by  Torched Studio

 

When the encapsulation is done in the client’s home, there is no doubt as to whose it is because clients transport the placenta themselves. Organ transport is a bit of a legal grey area in Ontario, so I don’t get involved with that either (imagine if I was pulled over by police or got into an accident and has a placenta discovered in my car!).

 

The other huge benefit is that being a postpartum doula, I can answer questions for clients while I’m there about the process and about postpartum care. I always offer my placenta clients a 15 minute q&a with me either before or after the placenta is done to help them with their newborn.

 

It’s a nice add-on that can only be done when I’m in the clients’ home. Placenta encapsulation is unregulated in Canada and so I hold myself up to a very high standard when I do the work and I am completely transparent about the process with clients.

 

Alexie 3/4 Sleeve Top in Royal Blue (also available in other colours!) by Quebec label MOOVment Design; Maddalena Skirt in Black with White Feathers by Montreal designer Cherry Bobin; Alissa Sweater in Ivory by Quebec label MOOVment Design; Handcrafted necklace by Dundas label Curious Oddities

 

Why should women consider placenta encapsulation?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that new moms benefit from this service. They have said that it increases breast milk production (and brings their milk in faster).

 

They have reported increased energy levels, better quality sleep, and a calm state. Placenta consumption has been used to ward off postpartum depression and anxiety and help speed postpartum healing.

 

I would like to work with you / collaborate with your business! Are you looking for more helping hands at the moment?
We are always looking for good doulas to work with, but to be honest, we have a great team in place right now. My hope is that we can bring on some more doulas in 2018! But if you have a complimentary business, let’s chat!

 

Nikki Dress in Black Crepe (on sale now, and also available in Black Wave Stripe) by Toronto label It Fitz Me!™; More than a Shrug in White Mesh (also available in other styles!) by Toronto label It Fitz Me!™; Handcrafted necklace by Toronto label burfurtART

 

Is there anything else we should know about you?

 

I am a trained holistic practitioner (reiki, Thai Yoga Massage, and reflexology) and I am also a certified yoga teacher. I love teaching all kinds of yoga and have taught everything from mom & baby to seniors chair yoga.

 

I love Disney movies. I sometimes get financial planning questions from clients when I’m working as their doula. 🙂

 

Where can people find you on social media?
Website: doulacarejourney.com
Facebook: doulacarejourney
Twitter: @DCJToronto
Pinterest: doulacj

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