Calina Selmanson, Portland Doula
At the age of 18, while supporting a dear friend through her entire pregnancy, labor, and postpartum time I began my path as a doula. I later helped my friend prepare for and welcome two more children as her doula and nanny. These experiences were pivotal in shaping my identity and philosophy as a doula. Through this early work, I realized the value and benefits of continuity-of-care and the importance of serving families throughout the entire childbearing year. I have supported hundreds of new and growing families as a postpartum doula since 2005.
I formally completed my postpartum doula training, while enrolled in the midwifery program at Birthingway College and certified in 2011. I completed my midwifery studies in 2016. It was through this rigorous program and becoming a mother that I realized my deepest desire, to support birthing parents and their families in the role of a postpartum doula. Albeit, more skilled, confident, and educated. While embarking on a career as a doula, my passion for the healing arts grew as I sought out many opportunities to add to my caregiver skill set. These include massage therapy, reiki, nutrition, and herbal medicine, among many other modalities. After surviving several challenging years of sleep issues with my own children, I’m also very passionate about helping exhausted and overwhelmed families find the tools needed to teach their babies how to sleep! I now offer sleep plans and support to parents as an Infant Sleep Consultant, with overlapping doula care during the “witching hours.”
After years of midwifery education and work as a doula I was thrilled to finally plan my own pregnancy. In 2014 my husband and I conceived a baby that was due on our wedding anniversary but this pregnancy ended in loss. Soon after we conceived again and our rainbow baby came to us in February of 2015! It was an uncertain and exciting time with lots of ups and downs and ultrasound monitoring! Five years later our son was born. He had the same due date as his sister but ultimately chose his own birthday in early February of 2020. He was born one week before the first big shut down of the Covid-19 pandemic! It was a very complicated birth with a difficult recovery. We are both really lucky to be alive. It was a tumultuous postpartum time with the world in such a state of uncertainty and panic. I had spent so much time and energy building our postpartum village but it all fell away very quickly when the pandemic began. It made the time of early parenting, that is already inherently isolating, that much more lonely. During this time I drew from a deep well of strength to care for myself and my family. At the time we felt very frustrated with the situation but now realize we were truly blessed to be home together, while our family was so young.
Prior to the pandemic, I helped run a postpartum care program at Women’s Healthcare Associates which provided support and resources to patients during the childbearing year. I offered services both in-clinic and extending to the patients homes after childbirth. During my time in the clinics I made deeper connections with the community and honed my role as a resource for new and growing families, in an environment led by trauma informed care. I had many trainings and a lot of valuable experiences while getting certified as a community health worker. I became pregnant with my second child about half-way through my employment which I felt had a profound impact on my connection with the families I supported and also deepened my creativity and insight in helping the program grow.
I truly empathize with families recovering from tough pregnancies, loss, birth trauma and disappointing births. I had planned for unmedicated water births with each of my children but endured two urgent cesareans instead. I experienced first hand the demanding physical and emotional recovery that accompanies cesarean and after processing the trauma and disappointment I realized that surgical birth is a significant rite of passage to becoming a mother that can be honored and celebrated.
It is my goal as your doula to be your advocate and to help instill confidence and calm in the confusion and chaos of parenting. I can guide you through newborn care, feedings, and help you become a master at soothing your baby. I will help you to problem solve tricky situations when the going gets tough! I will be a listening ear and hold space if you want to process some raw emotions, tell your birth story or just come over and cook some nourishing food, wash dishes or hold your baby while you eat and rest.
I am honored to be able to do such meaningful work and wish you a peaceful postpartum!