About Odessa Bates, MA, CD, CPD
My name is Odessa Bates and I am a Certified Birth Doula and Certified Postpartum Doula with a Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies. I’m based in the southwest corner of Massachusetts in Berkshire County and have clients in Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut within a 75 minute drive of my home base in Great Barrington, MA 01230.
Doulas are more than a "birth attendant.” Doulas should motivate, excite, and calm you during your pregnancy, through childbirth, and in the early days with your new baby. They should answer any and all questions. Scroll down to read about the childbirth experience I had with a doula that was not ideal and learn how that experience inspired me to become certified as a doula myself to serve as the compassionate doula for others that I wished I had had myself.
Find a certified doula who is exactly right for you. Find that warm and positive doula who will lift you up, ease your worries, and even becomes a wonderful part of your birth story memory. To find out if I’m the right certified doula for you, you can read on this page about my extensive trainings and certifications. Then browse through the services I offer and my areas of expertise. Then I’d love to visit you for a free consultation to meet me in person and find out if I’m the doula for you.
Education and Certifications
Master's Degree, Women's Studies, 2006
Bachelor's Degree, Sociology, 2003
Certified Birth Doula (CD), 2017 and Certified Postpartum Doula (CPD), 2017 (through Midwife Michelle L'Esperance, CPM, CD, CPD, Warm Welcome Birth Services)
American Red Cross Infant & Adult CPR Certified (Active)
American Red Cross Infant & Adult First Aid Certified (Active)
Spinning Babies® Aware Practitioner
Belly Binder, Belly Molder, and Belly Caster
Substance Abuse Clinician (specialties include Substance Abuse in pregnant and postpartum people, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Mental Health, Trauma, PTSD, and Seeking Safety)
Awards and Honors
Chancellor's Civic Service Award from UMass-Dartmouth
I had been working in the health and wellness field for many years when I became pregnant with my first child in 2009. During the first half of my pregnancy, I did not think about my labor and delivery support as I believed the provider I carefully hand-picked was going to be sufficient. I was not aware that some providers are only present for a few medical checks and then once again right before the baby's arrival! At that time, like most pregnant people, I wasn’t aware that there is an art to preparing for labor and delivery.
Late into my pregnancy, and after reading a well-informed birth book, I asked my provider about my birth support options. At that time the word "Doula" was foreign to me and I didn’t know the benefits that a doula could offer me. That day I was referred to a doula and we met soon after. Unfortunately, I immediately knew this doula was not the right fit for my family, but I did not know I had options. I did not know I could have met with other doulas until I found the right one. I immediately hired her as my due date was fast approaching and I did not want to disappoint my provider after asking for the referral.
When I went into labor, my doula was called but she immediately chose not to join me as my labor was not progressing according to her plan. I was not aware at the time, but I let that doula's decision affect the way I viewed my birthing experience. What's even more alarming is that this experience has happened to other birthers in the world and is still happening!
With this shocking knowledge, I researched and learned the difference between "normal" birth support versus wonderful birth support. This started an amazing learning and healing process that was also beneficial for my family as I immediately knew I wanted to become a part of the small, but powerful, group of compassionate doulas. I decided to take the time and effort in picking a well-respected professional doula training course and completed both my birth doula and postpartum doula certificates.