terri woods

Birth + Death and the passing of the torch

I was attending a client’s birth last month on a night that my doula mentor Terri Woods died. Reflecting on that evening I feel like it was the best place I could have been to honor her contributions to my path in supporting women’s health. Life is sensitive and the paradoxes it relentlessly rolls out gives you lots to chew on and ponder. Which I’m doing….

I’m a doula because of a loving woman named Terri, who quickly went into hospice late last month when she was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I wouldn’t have been at the birth nor the 11 before, heck I wouldn’t have even been a doula if it wasn’t for her and her life. After a decade of teaching prenatal yoga, she was the one who encouraged me to step into doula work. There was something about her that I knew I needed to listen to. From the beginning there was lots to learn - the student in me was ready, and the teacher appeared. Deep down I was being guided into a new way of serving women, feeling the pull and yet not sure how it would all go. It felt destined though so I kept the course, completed all of Terri’s trainings, had many deep converstaions with her about birth, and with her hand behind me she was inspiring me to become a doula. Attending births continues to be one of the most powerful endeavors I participate in and learn so much about life from. 

I consider her passing on the same night I attend the birth of a healhty mama and baby boy a divine blessing that Terri/universe/god/great spirit gifted me, to remind myself of the unending cycle of life and death, and the passing of the baton that happens in every generation.

I’m eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from such an incredible teacher. Terri was one of the few mentors I’ve ever had, and I feel so extremly fortunate to have known her the past 6 years. She’s a spirited soul with an abundance of wisdom and love to share. I’m so sad she’s gone in body, and so appreciative for all I’ve learned from her. The many doulas she guided do what they do because of her. My love will continue to go out to Terri and her family, and all those lives she welcomed, touched, and even saved.


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