At Parentally, we exist to help each parent find the extra care and support they may need as they embark into parenthood. Our mission is not only to raise awareness about the wide range of support available for parents and parents-to-be, but also to shine a light on the beautiful world of professionals who are at parents’ sides at every step of their journey.
In this interview we talked with Natalie Angstadt, also know as Natalie the Doula. She told us about all the different ways she supports new and future moms from Pregnancy to Postpartum and how she helps them welcome their baby in the best conditions. Read on the learn more →
Welcome Natalie! Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Natalie Angstadt. I am half-American, half-Belgian, and mainly grew up in the USA (Pennsylvania and New Jersey). I moved to Amsterdam 4 months pregnant, at the very start of the Covid pandemic (March 2020). Feeling lost, lonely and without adequate support, I became even more inspired to continue and expand my birth doula business to provide childbirth education, nurturing prenatal support and grounding hypnobirthing group & private courses. I’m also a mom to three beautiful, energetic kids who keep me on my toes, but also inspire me to keep following my passion for supporting new parents.
What did you do before becoming a Doula?
I had a whole different life before becoming a doula ;). I studied international finance and worked in financial consulting and then for various e-commerce start-ups in Beijing and London. I didn’t follow the traditional path to becoming a doula, but sometimes I think that makes me love and appreciate my “work” so much more.
Can you tell us more about how you help new and future parents during the perinatal period, and the role(s) you play in their journey?
I don’t use the word “empower” anymore because I truly believe all new and future parents already have the power to birth “their way”. What I aim for is to help parents-to-be recognise the power and strength they already have within themselves, and the intuition that is innate from within that helps guide us to carve our own path for birth and parenthood. I support this by way of prenatal preparation – pregnancy, birth and postpartum knowledge & resource sharing, body balancing/work, emotional release & sharing – and birth support.
What inspired you to choose this path?
I wanted to be a doula since I was a child, I just didn’t know such a career path existed. Life and other influences took me in a different direction. I actually completed my first doula training 10 years ago (with the famous Michel Odent in London). But it wasn’t until having my first child, that I had the courage to take the leap and start my own doula business. I found that for myself, motherhood gave me a new sense of “I can do anything”, that’s why how we birth and how we are supported in the process is so incredibly important.
What is for you the most rewarding part of your work?
Hearing a new mom say “Wow, I have never felt so strong. I can really do anything now!” and seeing the awe, pride, and love in their eyes.
What kind of education and training did you receive?
I completed my first doula training with Michel Odent (famous French obstetrician and childbirth advocate) and his partner Liliana Lammers in 2013. Later, I trained with Kiki from Birth Bliss Academy (also in London) and BiA Doula Training (here in Amsterdam). I also have trained in Spinning Babies, postpartum practises such as “Welcoming the New Mother”, and last year passed the Lactation Education Resources exam, making me a Breastfeeding Specialist.
Are there any common misconceptions about your work as a Doula? How do you address them?
I imagine so. I think one of the most common ones is that doulas only support home births, and are alternative/hippy. Of course some of us may fall into that category, but there are so many different types of doulas with eclectic backgrounds and personalities. I always say the most important factor in choosing a doula is how she/he makes you feel, and the connection you feel.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about perinatal care and support?
There is no “one” way to prepare for birth. And you don’t have to do it alone <3
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing new and future parents today, and how do you help them address those challenges in your work?
Lack of support – there is no built-in village for most of us. We have to create it ourselves. And most of us find asking for help so hard. Giving is so much easier than receiving for many. I raise this in my prenatal sessions with clients, and help share appropriate knowledge and resources to help them build-in this support. I also have close relationships with osteopaths, acupuncturists, community-based centres, midwives, other doulas, postpartum carers (like kraamzorgs), who I can draw upon to build this community for them.
What advice would you give them?
You know your body and your baby best. There are so many options/ways to have a baby: pre-conception, conception, pregnancy, birth and finally, raising a little person. I hope to give parents-to-be the confidence to draw upon the right resources for them, and to do it their way.