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Meet Skylar: X-Files Enthusiast and Doula Extrordinaire

Skylar VanSteemburg

 Fact: Skylar is making this face 72% of the time.

Fact: Skylar is making this face 72% of the time.

Meet Skylar!

What is your hope for the future of doula work? 
    I have a whole bunch of hopes for the future of doula work. I think it would be tremendous if every person who wanted a doula could get one, regardless of cost. I would love to see low-cost and free doula services supported by grants, and covered by Medicaid and insurance. I want to see every doula be paid a living wage so we can continue to build this incredible network of birth workers and help more and more families. 

A moment when you knew you wanted to be a doula:
    If I go back far enough, I can remember that the seeds for doula work were planted very early in my life. Everything clicked for me at my CAPPA training -- I remember feeling so excited that there was a whole group of people who shared my passions for birth, reproductive justice, and science. It was a pretty cool feeling when it all dawned on me.


A challenging moment as a doula:
    In the beginning of doing this work, the biggest challenge was logistics. When do I quit my day job? How do I get clients? Will I make enough money doing just doula work? I have always had to keep side jobs in order to support myself and my doula goals, and that work has ebbed and flowed. It’s been very challenging to find the balance, but I think I’m finally cracking the code.


What keeps you going/what motivates you?
    My friendship and bestiepreneurship with Sierra; my partner, Lilly; and every time I see a client make an informed choice. Watching babies be born is pretty renewing too!


What is some advice from another doula that has helped you?
    Recently, a very wise doula told me that “how you live is how you labor.” That has really stuck with me. The idea is that birth won’t inherently change everything about who you are -- you’re still you. You will still cope through labor the way you cope in a whole bunch of other stressful situations. I think that’s a good reminder as a doula that each person needs to be supported in different and unique ways. It’s not a one-size-fits-all prescription for care.


What's your favorite part about working as a team:
    Everything. Sharing a call schedule so I can have a life. Having a best friend and doula to debrief with when things get stressful. Two peoples’ creativity and resourcefulness and skills to work through problems that arise. The reassurance knowing that someone’s always got my back. Chatting about marketing strategies over wine and cheese on the couch in our socks. Sharing the day-to-day tasks of running a business with another person who I trust completely. I wouldn’t be able to do this work without Sierra!


Why Denver?
    Sunshine, mountains, and a dog on every street corner. It’s paradise in my eyes.


What do you do for self-care?
    If I don’t get outside for at least a few minutes each day, I can start to feel my skin crawl. Breathing fresh air always brings be back to myself, especially when things start to feel overwhelming. Late night dog walks, reading a book on my porch, taking a stroll around the block to my favorite coffee shop, a long hike through the Foothills, yoga in the backyard. Anything that I can do outside that keeps me moving brings me tremendous peace. Cooking also helps me keep my mind calm -- it feels simultaneously organizational and completely creative. I like that balance. 


What's something on your bucket list?
    To see the Northern Lights.


If you could have a superpower what would it be?
    Omnilinguism -- the ability to understand and communicate in any language.


Favorite ice cream spot in Denver?
    I have to pick just one? It's a three-way tie between Little Man, Sweet Action and Liks. 


What's the last TV show you binge watched:
I have been slowly re-working myself through all 9 seasons of X-Files before I watch the 10th season. It’s taking me a long time but I can usually crush 2-3 episodes at a time -- I <3 Dana Scully 4ever.