Empowering Women through Soulful Birthing
Elizabeth is a single mother, registered nurse (RN) and birth (DONA) and postpartum (CAPPA) certified doula. Her work is rooted in genuine compassion, which honors the dignity, value and sacredness of every pregnancy. Providing competent care in hospital, birth center, and home birth settings, her ultimate goal is assisting families in creating a more fulfilling pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience.
When Elizabeth is not “doula-ing”, she stays busy parenting her teenage daughter while working as a home health registered nurse caring for medically fragile pediatric patients. She has three years of experience in the mental health field working with adolescents as a nurse at Eliada Home, Inc. She is an active member of the historical Basilica of St. Lawrence where she assists with Respect Life advocacy and is a member of the Young Adult Group. Elizabeth is a member of the National Association of Pro-Life Nurses (NAPN) and is a devoted prayer warrior for the Sisters of Life. Locally, she volunteers for the MotherLove single teenage mother’s program at the YWCA and for Clean Clothes for Asheville, which serves the homeless by providing clean laundry.
Inside and outside of her profession, Elizabeth is committed to the well-being of women and children. She has a deep passion for protecting the vulnerable, and this often includes the unborn, women and children. She has great fervor in her heart for raising awareness regarding domestic violence and helping women find the support they need to get out of destructive intimate relationships. Before moving to Asheville, she worked as a volunteer in Naples, Florida at the The Shelter for Abused Women and Children, Sunlight Maternity Home and Providence House. A new flame was ignited during nursing school when she met Julie Shematz of Beauty from Ashes, a ministry for sex trafficking survivors. Her passion then expanded to include promotion of advocacy, prevention, and rehabilitation for sex trafficking victims. That being said, a portion of all Baby Body Soul LLC business earnings return back to charities that serve women and children locally, nationally, and internationally. This is key to the Baby Body Soul’s business mission and purpose.
In 2018, Elizabeth was able to walk along side three different young single women who choose life for their babies. One of the clients decided to put her baby up for adoption, one mother chose to parent as a single mom, and the third is co-parenting with her partner. As a result, Elizabeth has a new found passion for working with women in crisis pregnancies. A crisis pregnancy could be an unplanned pregnancy under very difficult circumstances such as poverty or domestic violence, or it could be a family who receives a prenatal devastating diagnosis, a mother whose partner is incarcerated, or a mother going through substance abuse treatment.
If you would like to make a donation to Elizabeth Harris through Baby Body Soul for the specialized work the organization is doing to serve moms who find themselves in crisis pregnancies, please click here to learn more.
A Personal Message from Elizabeth
At Baby Body Soul, our relationship with our clients means the world to us. We want to help ease the transition into parenthood through authentic engagement with you and your family, helping you not only survive, but thrive in your new role while creating an atmosphere of encouragement and unconditional care. Even into the vulnerable days after birth, when you most need support, we are just one phone call or home visit away. We guarantee the Baby Body Soul doula support team will be by your side from the start of services to the end, and you will feel more confident in your personal parenting style and the transition into your growing family.
Owner of Baby Body Soul LLC
Special Trainings, Certifications & Volunteering
* Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University, Baton Rouge, LA. (pending May 2019)
* Associate in Science in Nursing (ADN), Edison State College, Naples, FL. (December 2011)
* Certified Birth Doula, Doulas of North America (DONA) (since August 2012)
* Certified Postpartum Doula, Childbirth and Postpartum Provider Association (CAPPA) (since May 2012)
* "When Survivors Give Birth"- A trauma-informed training to help better support, understand and serve survivors of violence based on the landmark book by Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus, 7.5 hours (2015)
* Rebozo Certified: The Gena Kirby Method, "The Rebozo Connection", taught by Ashley Collins, CD/PCD(DONA), Birth and Postpartum Doula, Certified Rebozo Instructor, Little Bee Birth Partner, 6 hours (March 2015)
* Prenatal Bonding Education, B.O.N.D. University, 20 hours (April 2014)
* Midwife Assistant Workshop, The Farm, Summertown, TN, 6-days (September 2014)
* Human Trafficking Workshop, Beauty from Ashes, Fort Myers, FL. (May 2012)
* Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Core Competency Advocacy Training Program, 30-hours (August 2010)
* BLS CPR Certified (since 2009)
* Fertility Education and Medical Management (FEMM) Certification Training (March 2018). Certification pending.
* Empty Arms: Enhancing Care When a Baby Dies Training with Sherokee Ilse (May 2016).
* Baby Loss Family Advisor & Doula Training: Helping Families at the Time of Loss and Beyond Training with Sherokee Ilse (February 2017).
* Mission Health HCA Patient & Family Advisory Council for Behavioral Health (since March 2018).
Elizabeth Harris, RN, CD(DONA), CPD(CAPPA), Owner of Baby Body Soul, LLC.
Why did you become a doula?
I have always felt a special connection with women. I love the way women naturally bond together and draw strength in supporting and learning from each other, particularly in pregnancy, childbirth, and the post partum period. I am joining a long tradition, (since earliest civilization), of women supporting and serving one another in a natural and authentic way. It is deeply satisfying because without that communal support, childbearing, birth and the postpartum period can feel very lonely, isolating and unnecessarily difficult.
As a 21 year old, my natural birth experience empowered me like nothing I had ever experienced. I had been living through a great deal of difficulty and became pregnant when my body was stressed and unhealthy. Despite this, I carried my pregnancy to term. My partner was not present for the birth but my mother was. In retrospect, I can see that going through the pain and heartache of not being able to share my experience with a loving partner was ultimately what led me to my calling as a doula. I want every woman in childbirth to feel cared for, nurtured and supported.
Tell me about your unique approach as a doula . . .
The connection that the mother and I have is very important to the relationship we need to develop for the birth. As a doula, I am invited into one of the most intimate times in a couple's life. I have to develop an awareness of individual needs and personalities so I can best serve them.
I want to understand a woman’s strengths and who she is so that I can help her draw on her own resources through labor and delivery. Throughout this process, a natural friendship often develops. Over time, women can forget who they are as they juggle the various roles they have to play in life. I would like to help them remember and discover their natural beauty and strength. Birth is the perfect space to uncover that inherent authenticity in each woman. I love not only watching the pregnant mother as she blossoms into motherhood but also observing the couple as they blossom into parenthood. I get the privilege and honor of being there with them at the incredibly sacred moment of the baby’s arrival, as well as encouraging and supporting them as they transition through this pivotal phase - the birth of the mother, the baby, and the family.
The couples I work with receive tenderness, nurture and affirmation through their journey, but there is not a one size fits all approach. I base my level of involvement on the couple’s desires and needs. It is something we co-create each time. My job as a doula is to learn each woman's needs so I can best support her as an individual. I want to draw out her strengths by helping her understand herself and her capabilities in a new way. Mothers often tell me their birth experience would have been radically different without my calming presence and continuous support.
Pregnancy and the birthing process are a woman’s rite of passage. Each woman’s journey through birth is different, and there is no right or wrong way to go through it. However, the patience, surrender, fortitude, self care and self compassion that must be cultivated for a healthy pregnancy and delivery are the same qualities of character you will need in your new role as a mother. Understanding that can transform birth into a creative space of self discovery and growth.
What are your skills and strengths as a doula?
Many of the families I work with appreciate my compassion and genuine engagement with their feelings and experiences. Professionalism and attention to detail are also very important to my clients, as they know they can trust me and rely on my stability. Often health care providers work in a group so there is not one person who is there for the mother throughout the entire pregnancy. In addition, you often do not know who will be on call during your actual birth experience. It is so important to have the security of knowing your doula will be there for you every step of the way.
As a registered nurse, I am able to help my clients navigate through the many layers of birth whether it’s at home, a stand alone birth center, or a hospital. I encourage the birthing couple to communicate with their healthcare provider and learn how to advocate for themselves through informed decision making. Everyone involved in the birth process, whether partner, doula, or health care providers, has a unique role as part of the support team. Developing a respect for the work and expertise of the medical professionals, in addition to being able to articulate your own desires and needs, is essential to a positive collaborative experience.
I have often witnessed women and their partners feel a sense of powerlessness as they are swept into a cascade of medical interventions - one leads to another, which leads to another, and soon the family feels a loss of control. I am here to give couples emotional support through the unforeseen circumstances that can arise in any birth and help open up the lines of communication with their provider.
How does your faith influence the work you do?
I am a practicing Catholic and my journey before conversion was a tumultuous one. I had been living an unhealthy lifestyle leading up to the pregnancy. Becoming a mother gave me a new sense of purpose and perspective knowing the choices I made would affect my daughter’s life as well. Though far from being religious at the time, I felt drawn to Our Lady of Guadalupe. I had inadvertently filled my house with images of her because they brought me a sense of comfort and peace.
Reflecting back after my conversion, I had a strong sense that she was there protecting me and my baby even though I was unaware. I later discovered that Our Lady of Guadalupe is known as the protectress of the unborn and that she is pregnant with Christ. To this day, she models the kind of surrender and trust that I feel is so important during the birth process. I find myself drawing on her virtues and strength to guide me in working with my clients.