Events Uncategorized

2020 UDA Networking Luncheon

Join us Saturday, January 25th, 2020 for our annual Networking Luncheon!

We will enjoy a delicious curry cook off (potluck) lunch!

If you don’t make curry, please bring something to go along with it instead.
Ex: rice, veggies, fruit, or dessert.

Where: 3790 Bluegrass Blvd, Lehi, UT 84043
Noon – 3PM

Don’t forget to bring your business cards to exchange.

Tickets are $5/person!

This event is open to doulas AND non-doula members of the Utah Doula Association!!



2019 UDA Conference Keynote Speaker: Courtney Everson PhD

Courtney L. Everson holds a PhD in Applied Medical Anthropology with a long track record of community outreach, research, and leadership in education, non-profit management, and health equity.

Dr. Everson is currently appointed as core Academic Faculty and the Dean of Graduate Studies at the Midwives College of Utah, where she also serves as the Chair of the Equity & Social Justice Steering Committee and the Evidence-informed Practice Steering Committee. Dr. Everson holds several leadership positions nationally in the midwifery field, including as the Vice President of the Association of Midwifery Educators and on the Board of Directors for the Midwifery Education Accreditation Council and the Academic Collaborative for Integrative Health. Dr. Everson’s research and teaching foci include: psychosocial stress, social support, midwifery care, doula care, physiologic birth, and health inequities. She actively publishes in academic forums, is an avid guest speaker, and has won multiple awards for her teaching, research, and service.

Dr. Everson’s role on the DOR is Director of Research Education. Dr. Everson leads efforts to increase research fluency among aspiring and currently practicing midwives. She also contributes to many DOR and Coordinating Council (CC) initiatives and research projects. In her role of advancing research education, Dr. Everson works with midwifery schools and midwifery education professional organizations to integrate research literacy skills into educational routes (both initial training and ongoing continuing education). She also collaborates with external stakeholders to ensure that best practices and resources in research fluency for practitioners can be incorporated into both midwifery education/training and client care, with the goal of advancing evidence-informed practice frameworks.

Dr. Everson also serves on the Research Review Committee (RRC) of the DOR CC and coordinates the Connect Me! Mentorship program.

Birth Doulas Diversity Uncategorized

4 Reasons a Surrogate Needs a Birth Doula

Surrogacy is a beautiful gift to families that have struggled to have a child. There are so many aspects about surrogacy that are planned and thought out from the beginning. One of them can and should be is if the surrogate should have a doula for the birth. As a doula myself, I see the benefits and importance of having a doula. With surrogacy, there are even more benefits, because of how unique the situation is. Here are four reasons why a surrogate should still have a birth doula:

Photo credit: Andy Richter

1. A doula supports both the surrogate AND the intended parent(s)

Birth doulas are hired by and work for their client, the birthing mother. In surrogacy, the birthing woman is the surrogate. Their job as a doula is to support the birthing woman in pregnancy, during birth, and postpartum. However, surrogacy is a little different. You have the woman who is delivering the baby, but you also have the parent(s) who are welcoming their child as well. Doulas can help support the intended parents (IPs) as well, by being a great resource. As a doula we help educate on what is happening during labor, helping answer questions during the process. As well as what happens postpartum. Often, this is the first time seeing a birth, and having a newborn for the IPs.

2. A doula still helps the surrogate prepare for labor and delivery

While the IPs will have wants and wishes for the baby’s care after birth, the surrogate will also have preferences for how the birth goes, as it is her body. A doula plans prenatal sessions with her to help educate and inform her about choices in birth, and to help her plan out her preferences. With surrogacy things can come up like who does skin-to-skin, and will she want the IPs in the laboring room the entire time, or just when she starts pushing. A doula can help navigate all these options before the birth. Your doula can also help both the surrogate and IPs plan the baby’s care, like tests and feeding, if that is something the IPs are wanting.

3. A doula focuses on the surrogate, while everyone else is focused on baby and the intended parents

In the birthing space, the provider is focused on the baby and surrogate’s health and well-being, first and foremost. The IPs, while they can be supportive of the surrogate, will most likely be focused on the baby, especially after delivery as they become new parents. Having a doula for the surrogate, helps her have that needed physical and emotional support doing birth, but also after delivery when she’ll need it most. Surrogacy is an unusual emotional and physical process, because you are delivering a baby, but essentially you will not bond with baby the same way (which helps with oxytocin after) and most likely will not nurse baby (which helps with contracting the uterine back down to size), and you go home without a baby to take care of.

4. A surrogate still needs postpartum support

Just because the surrogate does not return home with a baby, does not mean she does not need postpartum support. Her body just worked incredibly hard to deliver the baby, whether that is vaginally or by cesarean. Often, because there is no baby to take care of, she may try and get back to “normal” too quickly. Her body still needs time to heal, as does her body emotionally. Having a doula means having that postpartum support as well. Doulas typically do 1-2 postpartum sessions after birth. To make sure she is doing well both physically and emotionally. It’s a good idea to be able to talk with someone who was there, about what you went through and how you are feeling overall.

Photo credit: Andy Richter

Are you a surrogate interested in having a doula on your birth team? If you’re local to Utah, find a UDA doula member or search Doula Match for someone local to you.


Hanan Webster, wife and mother of four, is a Birth Boot Camp certified birth doula and DONA trained postpartum doula at Treasured Birth Services. She is passionate about serving families, and when not indulged in her birth work, helps lead her local Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group. You can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

Parents postpartum Pregnancy Uncategorized

Planning for Darkness: My Journey Through Postpartum Mental Illness

If you’ve ever had a baby or are in any way involved in the parenting community, it’s more than likely you’ve heard about postpartum mood disorders. Whether it be your own personal battle or one that you’ve seen in others, it has come to light recently as a growing issue in our communities. It is costing children their parents, mothers their children, relationships their spark. It robs us of the bonds nature gifts and for some, it is an occurrence too frequent.

My name is Natalie Sacks. I am a mother of four beautiful, bold, and adventurous children. I am a step mother. I am a wife; and because of my experiences, I am a mental health advocate. I am The Mental Mommy.

My story is one of trauma and triumph, loss and discovery, failure and growth. Once a single teenage mother, I was thrown into the world of responsibility and learned quickly how to push everything down and barrel through each day. I fought hard to give my daughter the life nobody thought she could have. Before her second birthday, I had gotten married and had my second child. I had also become a step mom to a bright, intelligent, but troubled little boy. Each day was a struggle and I was not okay. I did not know it then. I didn’t give myself the option to break. I had too many people to prove wrong. I look back on pictures of my children and home, and see the chaos. Before long, I was pregnant again. Pregnancy number three presented a new set of challenges. I was too sick to function. I couldn’t even care for myself, let alone my small children. I hated my baby. When we found out we would be having another boy, I was crushed. I didn’t want to be pregnant ever again but I wanted to give my husband a daughter of his own so badly. It wasn’t until the last few weeks of that pregnancy that I finally accepted my son and allowed myself to love him. When he was born, I fell instantly in love with him. I had several days of bliss, but one morning I woke up and could not stop crying. I sobbed and sobbed until my face was sore. I asked my midwife if this level of sadness was normal, to which she replied it was and it would pass soon. Six weeks postpartum, the sadness had not left. I continued to cry at the drop of a pin. I was tired, so much more tired than I should have been; even with a newborn and two toddlers. I finally sought out treatment for the incredible fatigue and was also prescribed a mild antidepressant. After a week, I could not handle the side effects. I was not able to fall asleep at all and it was becoming a serious crisis. I was losing my grip on reality. It was a scary time. The doctor told me to just go see a therapist instead. I felt so defeated. But I persisted and called to schedule an appointment.

This is where my life began to change.

I began to learn about my mind. Why this thought pattern was toxic and where it came from. I was paralyzed from the fears that surfaced; the traumatic memories of my past. Week after week I opened my brain a little bit more and let the poisonous suppressed thoughts out. One day at a therapy appointment, as I sat struggling with the crushing isolation and desperate feelings of wanting to belong, I thought about the term “it takes a village to raise a child.” It dawned on me, just how deep that phrase goes. It doesn’t take a village to raise a child, it takes a village to SUPPORT A MOTHER. Our culture is so broken in that we expect parents to resume their normal lives and routines just moments after welcoming a human being (or multiples!) into the world. This is the most unrealistic, unfair, and downright unhealthy dynamic! So I began to respect myself and my needs. I started to work on myself more than ever and I was finally feeling like I was functioning! But that was shot down when I found out I was pregnant with number four.

The first two trimesters were spent in and out of the emergency room, on home health care for fluids, and sleeping on the bathroom floor. Hyperemesis Gravidarum is what nightmares are made of. Finding out we would be having a little girl kept me going, but we wouldn’t be taking anymore chances and opted to take permanent measures to avoid another surprise baby! Towards the end of the pregnancy, armed with the knowledge of how my mind works and the risks we were facing, I decided to create a plan for my family; just in case the darkness creeped in again. I designated one person outside of my home to be the one that could make that call if I needed medical help. I talked to my husband and he agreed to take a bulk of the daily tasks for as long as his career would allow. The time came and the birth of our daughter was more than I could have ever hoped for. It was beautiful, healing; but forty-eight hours later, the switch flipped. The crying began. My baby that I had waited so long for, was impossible. She cried endlessly. I wanted to love her but I just didn’t feel that bond. Things took a turn for the worse when I began having horrific thoughts of harming my children. I withdrew them from all activities, avoided driving the car at all costs; I was so afraid of myself.

Thankfully, the one that had agreed to help just in case, followed through. I was too overwhelmed to help myself, so she called and made me an appointment with a doctor to get help. As the darkness began to lift from my mind, I was able to see just how much of a crisis I was in. Had I not been prepared, I am almost certain the outcome would have been different. I found out just how important it was that I decided to choose someone other than my spouse to be on the lookout, as he too fell into a deep dark depression shortly after I did. He hid it, trying to protect me. He wasn’t in a place to help me, and I was too far down to see it.

I understand now more than ever just how much is lacking in the maternity care system when it comes to the mental well being of both parents. We are closely monitored by medical professionals for months during pregnancy, but that is suddenly cut off six weeks after delivery. Why? We can do better. We need to do better! Until the medical world catches up, there are options. Talk to someone about your worries. Even if you’ve never experienced depression or anxiety in your life, get acquainted with the signs. Arm yourself with knowledge and put a plan in place. Whether you are having your first or tenth baby, it is always possible. Take extra time to feel human after your baby is born. Whether that be taking a shower, doing your makeup, painting your nails, or getting takeout from your favorite restaurant. Make sure you have a primary care doctor, especially if you are planning an out of hospital birth with a provider not able to prescribe medications. And finally, don’t be afraid of the help you may need. Medication is a scary step for some, but it is okay to need it for as long as it’s necessary. There are options that are safe while nursing, too. Therapy is another fantastic route, and it holds much more value than people realize.

If you know someone struggling, please reach out. Bake them cookies, bring them dinner, or just sit and let them talk to another adult for a while. Remember that their anxiety will not always allow you to clean their house, babysit while they nap, or even step a foot in the front door. And that’s okay. Just knowing that someone is there is a relief of it’s own. Together we can bring back villages, because we owe it to mothers, fathers, and their beautiful babies to do just that.

Mommy. Step mommy. Fur mommy. Wife. I am the face of an invisible illness. My life is beautiful, my mind is disfigured. I am a survivor of traumas, an awareness spreader, an open book of truths. I am blunt, real, sarcastic, and the only thing that keeps me going is laughter. My spirited kids are my world! This is just a piece of my life as a mom with a mental illness. I am learning and re-learning each day. Welcome to my journey.


2017 Utah Doula Association Annual Holiday Dinner and Celebration

You are warmly invited to join the Utah Doula Association
in a fun holiday networking celebration.


Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 6:00 pm

African Resturant
1878 S Redwood Rd
Salt Lake City, Utah 84104

Join us for dining, laughter and fantastic conversation.


Utah Doula Association Members save!
(If you aren’t a UDA member already, you can sign up HERE.)

– Sold Out –



This year we are raffling off one free ticket to the Holiday Dinner. All proceeds from the raffle will directly benefit The Mothers’ Nest, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. You will receive a receipt for any raffle ticket purchase, as they are all tax deductible contributions.


Raffle Ticket Prices:
-$1 for 1 ticket
-$5 for 10 tickets
-$10 for 30 tickets
-$15 for 60 tickets


Step 1: Enter the amount you are donating using the exact option amounts above.
Step 2: Under “Add a Note” comment “UDA Holiday Dinner”

Save the date on your calendar!

We can’t wait to see you there!