If you were to ask me what gets me excited and drives me both professionally and personally, I would say, “talking about what isn’t talked about.” Although this has always been a part of my personality, this concept has especially guided me as I have traveled through my own transition into parenthood.
After getting my degree from SUNY at Geneseo in (Medical) Anthropology and German, I moved to Brooklyn to work with Community HealthCorps, a health-focused AmeriCorps program that focused on providing access to quality healthcare and information for the medically underserved. Women’s health was intrinsically interwoven into my work as well as my personal interests, and I felt fairly savvy about navigating both the health care system and women’s bodies.
Then I got pregnant – and was quickly humbled. I knew nothing! I didn’t know what my choices were, what would happen to my body in pregnancy, labor or the postpartum period, how to breastfeed, how to take care of a newborn or prepare for the inevitable changes in my relationships and self-identity. There were so many roads to choose and everyone in New York City seemed to have an opinion on the best way to do it. Needless to say, it was fairly overwhelming.
So I started to take childbirth education classes and asked my teacher and midwife about other resources that could help me discover my ideas about birth and parenting. I was so struck by the process of birth, but also by the transformation of becoming a mother. My husband and I stumbled along (like every new parent) as we got our “sea legs” in this new stage of our life, but slowly started to form our own ideas about birth and parenting.
Questions started to nudge at me from the back of my mind. “How come I didn’t know this? Why didn’t anyone tell me XYZ would happen to me? How come no one ever said that these intense feelings/experiences were normal?” This felt like an incredible disservice to me, to all women, and to new parents. Imagine how much smoother things would go for families as they transitioned into parenthood if they had evidence-based information and adequate support. These feelings set my life on a whole new path. After my son’s birth, I went back to school and received DONA doula certification, trained as a postpartum doula with A Mother Is Born, received a Childbirth Education Certification through the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York, and completed a Birth Counseling and Body-Centered Hypnosis certification program with Dr. Gayle Peterson. I decided it was time to start talking about things that women were never told about their bodies. It was time to start talking about the transition into parenthood, and all those NORMAL feelings that go unmentioned in our culture.
Though the process of birth is ancient, the culture of birth has changed over the years, is often not until women become pregnant are they truly exposed to all there is to learn about birth, besides hearing about pain. Because of how our culture approaches birth, most women are “underserved” when it comes to knowing about childbirth and adjusting to a life with a newborn (myself included). My goal is to holistically support and empower women and families during this unique time in their lives, by providing them with the access to information so they too can find their “sea legs” in birth and parenthood. After my daughter was born, I expanded Holistic Childbirth to include educational workshops and seminars for professionals who support parents during pregnancy and birth. Through counseling, classes and workshops, I help families and professionals with the transition into parenthood.
Affiliations and Networks:
Kate participates or volunteers her time with the following local groups and organizations.
- BirthNet of the Finger Lakes – secretary
- Ithaca Perinatal Loss Support Group – co-coordinator
- Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce – member
- The SEEN- The Sustainable Enterprise & Entrepreneur Network – member
- Ithaca Doulas – member
- Ithaca Children’s Garden- board member, development committee chair
- Ithaca Breastfeeding Coalition- member
Contact Kate for more information:
Kate Dimpfl, CCE, CBC, CD
Mailing Address: 717 N. Cayuga Street Ithaca, NY 14850