Doula agency to host birth expo in Winchester

Tim Fusaro watches as Tiffany Shank, co-owner of Virginia Is For Doulas administers care to his wife Valerie. Photo courtesy of Shenandoah Photo
Tiffany Shank and her brother Andrew Fusaro are co-owners of Virginia is for Doulas. Courtesy photo

WINCHESTER — Virginia Is For Doulas, an agency that matches expecting mothers with doulas, is now available in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.

The agency, which will hold a birth expo next month, is co-owned by Tiffany Shank, a doula in the area, and her brother, Andrew Fusaro.

Doulas, not to be confused with midwives, are trained to who work with expecting mothers in all aspects of new motherhood, from pre-conception to post-partum support. Midwives are involved exclusively in the birthing process and function more as deliverers of babies than support systems for mothers, noted Shank.

“Doulas are there for physical and emotional support,” Shank said.  “Most women want this support, they just don’t know what it is. They are almost expecting their care provider or their nurse to provide this support because they think they are going to be there during the birth. However, the reality is when I go to a client’s birth and I’m there for 10 hours, I see the provider maybe two or three times before the pushing starts. They want that one-on-one support.”

That support, in the past, has been provided by family members, something that isn’t always feasible today, Fusaro noted.

“Culturally, especially right now, it’s just not functionally how it happens. A lot of moms and grandmas are still working, a lot of them don’t have that kind of relationship and a lot of them aren’t trained,” he said.

“You can talk to your dad about problems, or your pastor, but a lot of times it’s more effective to go to a counselor — someone with specific education and training and general, objective knowledge,” said Fusaro.

With the establishment of companies like Virginia Is For Doulas, those members of the doula community have seen their profession go from what was once expected of women to a very specific, skill-driven field of birthing and motherhood professionals, Shank explained.

“It goes back thousands and thousands of years. That’s what women did. They supported each other in labor, and as our culture changed and shifted in the last hundred years, people are busy; people are working and you don’t have that village of family anymore,” she said. “It has transitioned into a legitimate career just because of the way our culture is.”

IF YOU GO

• Virginia Is For Doulas will host the Virginia Birth Expo, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 23 at the Family Sports Center in Winchester.

• Featured will be more than 40 exhibitors, from ultrasounds consultants to handmade children’s clothing. Additionally, three lectures will be given by keynote speaker Nancy Mohrbacher, a breastfeeding expert.

• The event is open to the public and attendance is free. Tickets for Mohrbacher’s first lecture, which will last two hours, are $35. Her two subsequent lectures will each be one hour and will cost $25 each.

Virginia Is For Doulas main office is located at 611 S. Braddock St. Winchester, Va. 540-216-2909

More information on the agency can be found at https://www.facebook.com/VirginiaIsForDoulas/?fref=ts  OR http://www.virginiaisfordoulas.com/

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com

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