C A L M T R A N S I T I O N S
Companioning with people as a loss, bereavement, and death doula is not so different from my approach to birth work: being an informed, calming, and steady presence for the expected and unexpected. And to approach these important transitions with care and attunement to each unique context.
Life changes form, and just as a baby is not delivered but birthed, life does not necessariy end with a pronouncement of death. I hold the questions of 'what is birth' and 'what is death' with respect and wonder, and continue to discover resonances between the two. And I am inspired by folks who do not see a difference between making their lives and their deaths beautiful, enriching, and generative.
And perhaps the whole concept of a doula, for any reason, is a new concept for you. I get it, and understand that you have questions, beyond or overlapping the categores below. Feel free to send a message to learn more, or to start a conversation.
We welcome suggestions, collaborations,
and creative + culturally nuanced exchange.
T R A N S I T I O N S
Assessing appropriateness and supporting elements that may include aspects of meditation, sensory awareness, relaxation modalities, ceremony, and ritual.
L O S S + B E R E A V E M E N T
Informational, emotional, spiritual, and physical support for perinatal loss. Navigating postpartum steps; hospital or home ceremony and coordination.
DEATH + DYING
Clarifying and supporting wishes and logistics; sitting bedside; home vigil, wake, and funeral assistance; body care + shrouding; and intentional environment.
Education and trainings include:
- Lewis & Clark College B.A., Sociology & Anthropology
- NYU Gallatin Individualized M.A., Bereavement Studies
- Certified Teacher at the Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death
- New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care: Foundations in Contemplative Care
- Visiting Nurse Service of New York - advanced hospice and vigil training
- Full-spectrum: Ancient Song Doula Services + Still Birth Day + The Doula Project
- International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA)
- The Art of Dying, Natural Dharma Fellowship
- Sacred Crossings: The Art of Death Midwifery, certified death doula and celebrant
RELATED WORK + PRESS
Working with Jae during the last dying days of my father's life contributed to the sense of peace and healing we experienced, by fulling allowing myself to be turned over to the death and grief process. Jae gave us permission to do things that are human and natural, like massage my father's feet with oil, and get very close to his face to ensure he could see us: things that are so very important for creating love and connection, but that healthcare providers often fail to tell us. Jae and our funeral director, Amy Cunningham, led us through some rites of passage after my father died, and gave us time at home with the body. We included our children in honoring my father's body, washing it, dressing him, preparing him. During the last days of his life, Jae gave my mother, sister and I an opportunity to come together, slow down, and think about / speak what was important to us, and that process was SO important. We had been functioning as highly efficient caretakers around the clock, but so often it is in the slowing down that we can see the person in front of us, what they are saying to us as they leave. Jae guided us to find our own natural source of strength and love to envelope my father in, as well as support each other. It is party due to Jae's presence in our lives and the way my father's death transformed me/us, that I am embarking on my own death doula training.
- RESHAM MANTRI
Jae and Alden were gifts to our family. Last fall my wife and I discovered one of our twin sons would be stillborn. We were tasked with finding a way to greet our living son and say goodbye to our deceased son at the same time. Somehow, we needed to find a way to make room for both the joy and the grief.
In both, Jae and Alden were our companions and our guides. They both spent time with us before the birth to talk through our expectations, help us prepare for the physical and emotional experience, and help plan the logistics.
There were a host of steps involved in preparing for the stillbirth--deciding on burial vs. cremation, figuring out how we wanted to honor our son Aster, and involving family--and they guided us through beforehand so we could focus only on our children on the day of the birth. To be honest, I don’t know how we would have managed without them. They thought of everything so that we didn’t have to.
Jae worked with us for the birth. Alden served as her backup. When Jae walked into our hospital room on the day of our delivery, I watched my wife breath more deeply and gain the confidence she needed to bring our babies into the world.
She coached my wife through the delivery of our son Jude, who came first, and she helped us to feel confident connecting to him. When Aster arrived, she was a steady presence, able to sit with our mix of emotions without fear. Jae also introduced us to Amy Cunningham, the compassionate funeral director who helped arrange for Aster’s cremation, worked with the hospital so that our son would never need to be placed in the morgue, and led a small ceremony for us and our families in our hospital room.
I do not wish our particular experience on anyone, but should you find yourself in a moment of crisis--one that you expect, or one that you cannot predict--you will find no women stronger and more steady than Jae and Alden to come through it alongside you.
- JESSI HEMPEL