Hello friends! Today I'm introducing the last installment of the When I Grow Up series, at least for a little while. I've been running this series for over a year and while I have really enjoyed learning about all the different careers, it's time for a little break. I may bring it back after the new year, but for now let's enjoy this last one.
She is actually the perfect person to wrap up the series this year, considering I'm actually considering hiring a doula! So let's meet Beth Hardy.
As a child, I wanted to be a ______ when I grew up. As a child, I wanted to be a birth worker when I grew up. I wasn’t even really sure what exactly I wanted to do – maybe be a midwife? Maybe a doula? My mom had a copy of Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery on the bookshelf at home, and I loved looking at the pictures of all the long-haired hippie women giving birth naturally at The Farm. All I knew was that I somehow wanted to be involved with birthing women when I grew up.
At the same time, I also wanted to be a rock star/ballerina. And I definitely incorporate music into my work now (the ballerina part, not so much). What I do now is specialize in a technique called Sound Birthing: Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth.
How close (or far) is your current career from that dream? I am living the dream! Well, in truth, I’m not quite there yet…it’s more like I’m in the down-in-the-trenches, working-really-hard-at-getting-my-business-started phase of my dream. But it’s definitely within reach! Every day I am doing all I can to connect with pregnant moms in my community, share what it is that I do, and book clients.
What is your official job title? I haven’t really thought about that…I guess it would be “Sound Birthing Music Therapist,” since “birth-loving-women-empowering-musical-birth-doula-guru” doesn’t roll off the tongue so well.
Ok, now what does that really mean? I am a board-certified music therapist and a trained birth and postpartum doula. I run Heart Tones Music Therapy & Birth Services in Salt Lake City, UT.
To break it down for you:
A Birth Doula is a woman who has been trained to assist pregnant moms to have the most empowered, confident, informed birth they can, no matter what kind of birth they are planning or actually end up having. Doulas are present at home births, hospital births, birth center births, unmedicated “natural” births, and planned or unplanned c-sections. Doulas are super knowledgeable about all things birth, and offer evidence-based information to moms and their partners so that they can make the decisions that are best for them during their birth. Doulas are not medically trained, so they don’t offer any medical advice or help to actually deliver the baby the way a midwife or doctor does. Instead, they are there solely to provide support, comfort measures, and encouragement for the mom and partner.
A Postpartum Doula helps families in the first weeks to months of their new baby’s life. They visit the families in their homes and offer support and education around breastfeeding, baby-wearing, diapering, bathing, and anything else that the new family may need help with. They are awesome listeners, and are there to support the whole family (mom, partner, other siblings, and anyone else living in the house), not just the newborn baby.
As a Sound Birthing Music Therapist, I help pregnant moms and their partners learn how to use music during their birth to ease pain, increase relaxation, and get them totally into the zone of strong, confident warrior women. I attend their birth as their doula and am always observing their progress through labor and putting on the best music to help them at that particular moment.
I work with pregnant moms here in Salt Lake City where I live, but I also offer birth music consultation services to anyone around the world, helping them learn how to incorporate music into their birth even if they don’t have a Sound Birthing Music Therapist where they live.
What is a typical day like? Whew….well right now my days are filled with reaching out to other birth workers in my community, getting my name out there, and hustling for clients. I recently moved from San Jose, CA to Salt Lake City, UT, so I am really in the thick of it with building my business and getting to know Salt Lake.
My days usually go something like this: Start the day with a green smoothie. Take my dog Griffin for an hour walk in a park near my house. Go over my to-do list and determine what needs to get done that day. Start plugging away at emails, networking, and blogging for a few hours in the morning, trying really hard not to get distracted by Facebook, TV shows, or housework. Some days I facilitate music therapy groups at Adult Day Health Care centers, Alzheimer’s Dementia facilities, and hospices, and I’m even an Uber driver, which helps to pay the bills until my doula biz is off the ground.
Usually by 3pm I am mentally fried and need to relax and recharge for an hour or two. This could mean taking a nap, a walk, watching a show, reading, or surfing Facebook.
After dinner I usually get another burst of creative energy, so I try to do brainstorming on future blog posts, write music, and work on fun projects like quilting. Then it’s off to bed around 10-11pm.
How did you end up in this career? I have really just gotten into this career full-force in the last few months. Before that I worked full-time as a music therapist at a veteran’s hospital in CA. I really wanted to be doing doula work, but I just couldn’t find the time to dedicate to it while I had a full-time gig. So, I saw this recent move to Salt Lake City as the perfect opportunity to jump into my doula biz with everything I have!
What kind of education or training did you complete for this career? I have a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and am state certified and nationally board certified, and I also have additional training in Sound Birthing: Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth. I did my birth doula training at a place called Natural Resources in San Francisco, and did my postpartum doula training through Doulas of North America (DONA).
What advice would you give to someone who wants a similar career? Start reaching out to other people that you see doing what you want to be doing. We all need help, none of us can build a career on our own, so find those people who you want to emulate and write them an email or take them to coffee. Find out what they did to get where they are. Have patience and stay determined to reach your goal – it can take a while! I have been slowly plugging away at becoming a full-time Sound Birthing Music Therapist for the past 8 years, and just within the past 3 months has my life shifted to make that dream a reality. It definitely doesn’t happen over night!
Do you have any other career dreams? What do you want to be when you grow up? At this point I am happy just focusing on my current business. I hope to continue to grow my business and become really well known in Salt Lake City as the go-to doula for anyone who thinks they may want to incorporate music into their birth, as well as providing birth music consultation services to anyone around the world, helping them learn how to incorporate music into their birth even if they don’t have a Sound Birthing Music Therapist where they live.
Thank you for sharing your story, Beth! If you'd like to know more about Beth, who is a UT State and Nationally Board Certified Music Therapist, you can visit her website or find her on Facebook and Instagram.
I hope you've enjoyed the When I Grow Up series! If you want to see it return next year, let me know. Or maybe I should start a new series! What do you think?
Previously on Mrs Robbins Sparkles...