The lovely Laura Fortner, Anna (20), Lucas (5.5), and Christian (4.5).
Laura's pregnancy with her daughter was a very transformative moment in her life. She was a senior in high school and spent much of her pregnancy having things done to her rather than having information given to her to have the ability to digest and make her own good decisions.
When she and her husband got pregnant with their older son they knew that there was a different way to do things. This experience ultimately led her down the path to her current career as a doula. During her first birth, Laura was given Pitocin and an epidural without her consent. These were things done to her, rather than options she was given. With her sons she was able to appreciate the usefulness of these tools when needed while understand they are not things that every woman needs.
They were able to choose a provider and place of delivery for her son that matched their desires and were very well supported as a result. She hired an amazing doula who is now her business partner and were grateful to have a natural hospital birth. She went on to give birth to Christian in a birthing center in Seattle with no interventions at all. Her husband felt more empowered in the process this time as well and was able to catch him as he was born into the water.
Laura always felt called to women and childbirth and had started down a path towards nursing school. A severe car accident prevented her from continuing due to physical limitations. When she had her first son her calling was reignited and she felt like she needed to cultivate this home for herself again. She began providing doula services for friends and continued moving forward. As they were trying to conceive their fourth child, Laura got sick. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had to have a radical hysterectomy taking all of her reproductive organs. At the same time, Laura's mom was diagnosed with stage 4B uterine cancer, within 48 hours of her own diagnosis. This was her moms third bout of unrelated cancer, she was a breast and cervical cancer survivor as well. Laura's mom passed away 6 weeks after Laura had her hysterectomy which was an even larger catalyst to fulfill her calling and reach the women she hoped to support. She returned to Dallas to take her DONA doula training and says that it has been the most empowering and cathartic thing in her life. To stand next to women, watch them be badasses, watch them become mothers and know that her own mom is watching is so powerful. To be able to take new mothers into the space that her own mother shined in is such an hour.
"Because my job is women. I work with women every day of my life. and I see how they feel about themselves and their bodies. I see what society does to women and I want people to look at me in my imperfect form and know that I am so confident and happy in what I have. I have a scar and stretch marks and a mom pooch and I don't care. I love my body. I LOVE my body. My husband loves my body...and I want my daughter to look at this, love her body and know that even though I am obese by societies standards I love my body and the skin I'm in. I want her to always be comfortable in that. I want my sons to also have respect for women and I want them to look for women who are confident and kind to themselves"