Behind the Scenes of Doulas’ Guide

Jan Mallak and I collaborated to write Doulas’ Guide to Birthing Your Way. We took the photos for the book in several places, but our favorite was The Midwife Center in Pittsburgh. The Midwife Center gave us a comfy setting where we could use natural lighting for our labor action photos.

My husband, Christopher Bailey, took many of the pictures. Jan and I took the others. Several of the models for the book were doulas from our group “Heart and Hands” Doula Service, who were pregnant. Some of the models were our clients.

We planned the book’s chapters to progress the way labor and birth progresses. The first chapters are about preparing for your birth. Next comes how to tell when you are in labor and early labor. Then, active labor and then birthing your baby. There is a side-trip for cesarean birth and VBAC. After that is early bonding, breastfeeding and what to expect postpartum. We were hoping the lay-out of the book would make it inviting to read and easy to understand.

We coordinated the illustrations for the book, too. Jan’s daughter, Heather Mallak drew most of the illustrations. I drew the illustration of the postpartum doula with six arms in chapter 11. We wanted the illustrations to be easy to understand and in some cases, inject a little humor along the way.

Meeting Dr. John Kennell

We got to meet with Dr. John Kennell when he came to speak at our doula conference. He was so kind as to agree to write our book’s foreword. Dr. Kennell wrote The Doula Book, previously published as Mothering the Mother. He is one of the founders of the doula movement and a founder of Doulas of North America (now DONA International). He was so kind and generous. We were privileged to meet with him and get to know him.

A couple of years later, we had Dr. Jack Newman come to speak at our doula conference. Dr. Newman is the internationally famous breastfeeding doctor and author of The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers. He agreed to read our breastfeeding chapter. He was generous to give us lots of helpful comments and notes. His insights really helped us revise that chapter.

In all, we worked for five years writing the book. We wrote together and separately. We revised together and separately. We had nearly endless discussions about the subject we are both passionate about: helping new moms with birth and breastfeeding. After all that time, we sent the book proposal to one publisher, Hale. Hale is known as a breastfeeding publisher. Dr. Hale wrote the book: Medications and Mother’s Milk, among others. Within one week, Hale contacted us and said they wanted to publish our book! We were overjoyed. We still are!