Meet Your Doula: Introducing Tenáj

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Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tenáj. I am a long-time wife to my high school sweetheart, homeschooling mom to three amazing human beings, wearer of many “hats”, a Labor Doula, and sole owner of Pasadena Doula Associates. 

So, with all the aforementioned, how is it that I came to be a doula? Well, honestly, I was always a doula in my own rite. Prior to officially becoming a doula, I’d attended and supported many births of family and friends. After working in the medical field for about seven years and then with children at the Boys & Girls Clubs, I began to entertain the idea of becoming a Labor & Delivery Nurse. I knew birth work was where I was supposed to be. 

Fast forward to the end 2012, I was pregnant with my 3rd baby. I wanted this birth to be different. I’d seen some documentaries, read way too many books, and decided this time, I would have the birth I wanted. My birth on my terms. It wasn’t until that time that I’d learned what a doula was. I also wasn’t convinced that a doula was for me since this wasn’t my first time “at the rodeo”. So, I went through the birth of our baby girl “alone”.

Needless to say, after having my 3rd baby, I knew I had needed a doula. Not because she was necessary for birth. But, she was necessary for me. I’d needed someone to support me through my birth experience beyond what my husband could provide. I had needed someone there to help me to focus on my goal of an unmedicated birth, who knew when and how to physically help me cope with the pain, and to reassure me there was a light at the end of this tunnel and I wasn’t far from seeing it. I needed someone to give my husband the tools to help me as well. He needed someone to guide him on how he could have been more helpful and supportive to me in labor. Having a doula present just might have allowed me to understand why he wasn’t very present for this birth and helped me to be ok with that. 

When a friend of mine, who was a new doula at the time, suggested I become a doula myself, I was hesitant. Who would want to hire me to be their doula? What do I have to offer a laboring woman? Well, when this friend highlighted for me all the things I had to offer and had offered her when she was pregnant, I became convinced. And so, in 2015 I took my first Labor Doula training and was on my way! 

It was my own experiences with pregnancy and birth, as well as those of family and friends, that awakened and solidified my belief that all women should have the right to feel supported, to be encouraged and empowered to make informed decisions, and an opportunity to labor and birth in a manner that will leave them with positive feelings, no matter how their child is brought into the world. This is my passion and the mission of Pasadena Doula Associates.

Tenaj Ikner

Labor Doula serving the Pasadena foothills and surrounding cities.