She set up a calm and grounded environment
Working with Leonora gave me the confidence to go after the birth experience I envisioned for myself, despite conflicting circumstances with COVID-19 and limitations within the hospital infrastructure. She set up a calm and grounded environment for my partner and I at home that made us feel safe supported and able to completely let go and take lead in the process of giving birth to my son. I credit Leonora’s guidance and partnership with my midwife in being able to spend most of my time laboring at home and arriving to the hospital fully dilated and ready to push. Leonora not only provided me support during labor but also helped with my healing process after which included energy balancing, herbal nutrition and education, and Leonora’s superpower... body work. For any future mamas who have a vision for their birth but also have accompanying doubts or anxiety, I highly recommend working with a doula and suggest reaching out to Leonora to see if there is a match. I would work with her again in a heartbeat and was truly sad when our time together ended.
Leonora Willis is an amazing doula, an amazing prenatal yoga teacher, and an amazing human.
I feel I have a unique perspective on her skills as a doula because I was not the birthing mother nor the supporting partner, who were both deeply immersed in the birth itself, but instead a close family friend who had more of a bird’s eye view of the long, beautiful labor and birth. I was with the first-time mother and her partner during much of the early laboring. As contractions became stronger they decided it was time to call their doula, Leonora Willis. With Leonora present, I watched as the mood in the room completely changed. Both mother and partner relaxed and the atmosphere suddenly felt calm and nurturing. I watched the birthing mother melt under Leonora’s touch, surrendering both to the contractions and to the relief of Leonora’s massaging, pressure application, and guidance. In the hospital, as the birthing mother acclimated to her new surroundings, I watched her focus on Leonora for stability and reassurance. In a labor that lasted 48 hours, Leonora continued to help this mama find her strength and believe in herself as well as helping her to rest and nourish as needed. Throughout the process the partner was also supported by Leonora, asking her questions and verifying that mother and baby were safe. It was so just so beautiful and powerful to watch Leonora work. Soon after attending my friend’s birth, I became pregnant (I’m still pregnant as I write this) and I began taking Leonora’s prenatal yoga class. Even over Zoom, Leonora is able to create community and attend to individual needs. She is so attuned to the pregnant body, I leave each class thinking “ah, that was exactly what my body needed.” She skillfully weaves stretching, strength, and mindful connection with baby. She has always made time for my questions and always makes participants feel that whatever is arising for them is valid and valued. I attribute much of my happy second trimester body to her yoga classes. If you have the opportunity to have Leonora Willis be a part of pregnancy, labor, or birth in any way, don’t let that opportunity pass you by. She is truly incredible.