Hello! My name is Elizabeth Somerville, and I am the Humblebee Birth Doula. I am a wife and mother, a farmer and herbalist, and a toLabor trained professional birth doula.
I have been supporting families as a birth doula since December of 2015, but my passion for serving and empowering expectant mothers began with the birth of my own son in the fall of 2012. When things didn’t go quite as we hoped in my birth experience, I found myself deeply grateful for the role that my own doula played in supporting my family throughout confusing and difficult times. I knew then that I was meant to provide the same caring and compassionate support for others. Since then, I have discovered an unwavering passion for educating, supporting, and empowering mothers and fathers alike throughout their transition into parenthood- whether it be their first, or a consecutive pregnancy.
As a birth doula, I am also proud to include my love and knowledge of various herbs in my services by offering my clients home-grown and hand-crafted botanical products that are customized to fit their needs. These products include things like herbal pregnancy and lactation teas, sitz bath blends, and more!
When I am not with an expectant or laboring mother, you will probably find me working on the farm with my family, mixing up a new herbal teas, cooking up a delicious meal, or having a quiet moment interacting with the garden plants and pollinators.
The Humblebee and Birth Philosophy
It was in the early 1900’s that the humblebee- named for the humming sound it makes as it flies- became known as the bumble bee. Though it was renamed for its seeming clumsiness, the truth is that this tiny creature has been revered for its abilities as a pollinator since ancient times, and many cultures have seen these bees as a symbolic representation of community, brightness, and personal power. In my mind, the symbolism of the humblebee perfectly encompasses the experience that I believe every mother needs and deserves throughout her pregnancy, the birth of her child, and after. We must have community, we must approach birth with a bright, positive attitude, being well-equipped with the necessary knowledge, and we must have an awareness of the power, instinct, and grace contained within women to birth their babies.
We have all heard the old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and this is no less true today than it was when it was first spoken. In fact, I would venture to say that it could be more important than ever in these modern times in which our culture has mostly lost touch with the concept of an intimate, supportive community. As a birth doula, one of my goals is to connect my clients with the network of resources, individuals, and events that will assist in creating the “village” that is often missing in the enormous transition into parenthood. It is as we connect with these resources and the individuals with whom we share common ground that we find ourselves in the midst of a much-needed, supportive community.
Ina May Gaskin, our nation’s leading midwife, says, “Whenever and however you give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life.” This could not be more true, and because of this it is absolutely vital to have a bright and positive perspective about the true capabilities of a woman’s body in labor. I believe that our culture has been greatly deceived in our perceptions of birth, making us inclined to see it as a negative experience that women must simply endure. Often, labor and delivery are portrayed as a miserable and painful rite of passage in womanhood, and we see this perpetuated by television and movies, and through the well-meaning, though not necessarily helpful, warnings and horror stories shared by friends and loved ones. I am also a firm believer in the idea that fear is perpetuated by a lack of knowledge. My mission as a doula is to provide my clients with constant support and a thorough knowledge of the process of labor and delivery, the model of evidence-based care, and how to prepare for and thrive through postpartum. These things are essential to the need to dispel any fears and perpetuate a culture and mindset of educated and empowered positivity surrounding birth.
Finally, the humblebee reminds us of personal power. Heather McCue says, “The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power.” Every woman’s birth experience is different. No matter what it looks like, whether it be an unmedicated vaginal birth or an emergency cesarean, birth is one of the most powerful physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences of human existence. I believe that it is vital for this experience to be protected and for it to take place in a positive, supportive atmosphere, and it is one of the greatest joys of doula work to witness mothers birth their babies in the radiant knowledge that they are powerful and capable, no matter what their birth experience looks like.