by Toni Hill, CD, PD, AWP, DEM, CLC
Madriella Advisory Board Member & Approved Workshop Provider

Madriella has the joy of having trained and supported some amazing women in the birth field. Over the next couples of months, you will have the opportunity to meet a few of them in our Monthly Spotlight.

Recently I had the joy of chatting with one kick butt doula! When she’s not taking long hot soaks in the tub or munching while binge watching Netflix she is supporting the families in Raymond, Mississippi where she lives.

Q: Tell me about you.
A: My name is Joni Gallman. I own Precious Feet Doula Services. I believe that all babies have precious feet, thus my business name. I am a Certified Birth Doula, Certified Postpartum Doula, Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist. I focus my birth work on doula care, childbirth education, prenatal massage, lactation education postpartum work, and birth affirmations. I live in Raymond, Mississippi (central, close to Jackson).  I homeschool my three boys, ages 12, 10, and 5. My husband is extremely supportive of my work, and I am blessed to have him. My favorite thing to do is be outside, playing with the kids, riding four wheelers, hunting, fishing, hiking, swimming, etc.

Q: Tell me how you got involved with birth work.
A: I became involved in birth work because I wanted women to have options: options I didn’t have. There were no doulas available back when I had my babies, and I certainly did not know you did not have to follow everything the nurses and doctors said. I want women to know their options and make their own choices. I have been a doula for 4 years, and it is my first “career” next to being a wife, mom, and homeschooling mom.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the Madriella Doula Network?
A: Madriella has been so supportive, never degrading as I’ve seen elsewhere. I have completed the new curriculum and LOVE the changes that have been made. The most fun were the birth pictures, which my husband and kids helped me with. I believe the most challenging was the tax part of the business (professional) course.

Q: Every loves a good birth story. Do you have one you have permission to share?
A: Oh, so many wonderful stories! The funniest was with a mom who had labored for 23 hours, sleeping as she could, and when it was time for baby to be born, the OB came in, gloved up, and mom coughed and little one’s head came out. She laughed and his body slid out. The entire birthing team was laughing, as were mom and dad. We still joke about her “laughing her baby out.”

Q: What is your favorite moment of your career so far?
A: My favorite moment, thus far, was with an especially fast labor. Mom was in shock and didn’t believe baby was actually coming out. She had her eyes closed as she was pushing and kept asking me if baby was really coming. I had to tell her to open her eyes and see her baby, already born.

Q: Let’s dream a little here. Where do you see yourself in five and ten years? If you weren’t doing the work you are doing, what would you be doing?
A: I feel like I will definitely still be in birth work in five and ten years. I may possibly transition to midwifery because my love for birth work has only grown, not diminished. If I wasn’t doing this work, I would still be homeschooling and taking care of my family. I don’t know another job that suits me.

When asked about support and what one tip she would pass on to new doulas she said: Get a therapist! You will need to decompress. Sometimes it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders in this work. A good therapist can help with that. She went on to say: “I cannot imagine doing this birth work without the support of my family. My husband is always willing to step in and help even refers clients to me! My kids are amazing! When I get home from a long birth, they bring me coffee, a heating pad, and go outside to play so I can get some quiet time. I would not be able to succeed in this business of birth without them.”

Joni’s favorite birth affirmation is very fitting for her!
She believed she could, so she did

Until the next time! Peace and blessings