I am a 5th generation native Charlottean. My great-grandfather, Edgar Correll, was the first Mecklenburg County police officer killed in the line of duty (1929). I grew up off Mckee Road, which was considered “country” back then. I can remember having to drive all the way up Providence Road past Rea Road to go grocery shopping. I attended Charlotte Latin for elementary and junior high, and graduated from Providence High School in 1996. My childhood memories consist of roller skating, horseback riding, and softball playing, with my long time friends, mentors and coaches, Denny Doggett and David Nobles. Softball was my life from eight years old to the present (I am getting my daughter ready for t-ball!). I made lifelong friends and learned many life lessons from my coaches and teammates.
I am married to my high school sweetheart and my biggest fan, Jeff. I have a three year old daughter, Everlee, that I consider my miracle baby.
My family members are all very big animal lovers, and we enjoy and fret over fostering animals and have a bad habit of taking in strays! Currently we have three mutts and two turtles, and my daughter and I are planning to get guinea pigs soon. I think having animals is important to children and helps them learn empathy and responsibility. Growing up, my mother, sister and I had 13 dogs at one time that we had rescued and rehabilitated. We would go to the Mecklenburg Animal Shelter and pick out the ugliest, most undesirable dogs there and bring them home. Although I know this type of life isn’t for everyone, I can never thank my mother enough for this experience.
My mother, father and younger sister still live in this area. And yes, Mom still rescues animals and has horses, much to her grandkid’s delight! I am grateful for my dad, who surrounded me with books as a child, fostering my love of literature and education.
Education and Background:
After high school, I attended Western Carolina University. I can’t say enough how beautiful Cullowhee is and I still love to visit there. I graduated with a BS in Psychology and a Minor in Marketing, as well as a member of Psi Chi, the National Psychology Honor Society. During undergraduate work, I worked many jobs putting myself through school, sometimes three at a time. I ran an autistic children’s summer camp, tutored elementary school students and college students, waitressed, worked my way up into management of area group homes for mentally disabled individuals and also assisted in leading group therapy. I attended graduate school at WCU for Clinical Psychology, and was a teaching assistant for undergraduate General Psychology, and also was assistant teacher for graduate level Psychological Statistics. In graduate school I also co-authored a research paper published by the American Journal of Psychology. During the summers of graduate school, I led tourists for trail rides on horseback through the mountains of Western North Carolina.
I came back to Charlotte and found myself incredibly interested in medicine, and made the decision to attend Queens University for Nursing. I graduated in the top 10% of my class with a degree in Nursing. I then landed a job with a Labor and Delivery unit where I worked for almost eight years.
I am currently a doula and working co-owner of Doulas of Charlotte. During my stint as a labor and delivery nurse, I noticed many women really needed support I simply did not have the time to give them as an RN. Many women came in to have children, unaware of their options, uneducated on interventions and medications. Although the birth of my daughter didn’t go perfectly, I felt empowered by my decisions and knowledge, and had a positive view of my birth. I became a doula because I want to help women feel empowered, and have the knowledge to make educated decisions, and most importantly to help them have the birth they want, medicated or unmedicated. As a doula, not only do I help with educating my clients, but I support them in any decision they make. I often say, “If you want to birth upside down, I will hold you up!”
As doulas, my partner and best friend, Elizabeth Brooks and I also physically support our moms during labor, with comfort measures, including massage, guided relaxation and positional changes. I consider a lot of what we do as being “coaches,” someone who will always be in their corner, doing what is needed for them, whether it be cleaning them up, helping them move, encouragement, or just being a calming presence.
We also provide postpartum services. After the birth of Everlee, I wished I would have known this was an option!!! My adjustment to parenthood would have been so much easier. Even being a nurse, there was so much I needed help with, or even someone just to tell me I was doing a good job. As postpartum doulas, we help moms care for baby, get rest, catch up with chores, prepare meals, provide resources and educate. We support all types of parenting and maintain our agenda free stance. Elizabeth and I are trained in infant CPR, First Aid, and have also trained with ProDoula, one of the most stringent and encompassing national doula training programs.
I also teach a Lamaze Based Childbirth Education class (trained through Duke University). What makes my class different from others is that it is agenda free, and uses only evidence based research. I have built my own curriculum, and have had pharmacists, professors and nurses highly rate my class in accuracy and utility when it comes to birth and postpartum care. Through all my experiences, I have discovered I have a love and natural ability for teaching adults. Birth and babies are my passion, and helping families is my mission.
Life Changing Event?
I think becoming a parent was the biggest life changing event for me. I battled infertility for years, and when I finally saw those magical lines on the pregnancy test, I felt overjoyed, apprehensive and determined all at once. It impacted me down to my core.
I had dreamed of my daughter for years, and while helping others have children, seeing family members have babies, I had gone through many emotional battles of my own. I feel like all these experiences culminated into my desire to help others. Doulas of Charlotte has created support groups for infertility, parenting and miscarriage. We also are planning a 5k event for next year for No Child Wet Behind; a charity drive for diapers and support of needy families.
I still love to ride horses, and am encouraging my daughter to do the same. I love hiking, and going back the Western North Carolina is still my favorite vacation.
Maggie Valley is one of my favorite places to go. I love reading, and enjoy true crime novels, science fiction and even read recent research articles in any fields related to obstetrics and child development. I spend a lot of time with family and friends, and we like finding new parks and activities in the Charlotte area. My daughter and I frequent a little-known book store in Monroe, called The Book Lady, where we buy and trade for new books. It is a great enriching environment for children and adults, with coffee and comfortable places to sit. We also enjoy donating and visiting Carolina Waterfowl Rescue in Indian Trail, which does wonderful things for all animals, not just birds. It is run by a wonderful set of volunteers and they are always looking for help taking care of their rescues and welcome children to come and learn about the animals.
I love living in Charlotte, as it has real seasons, is relatively close to the beach and the mountains, and the many people I have met through my life here make it a truly wonderful place to live and work.