Hello! I’m Jessica McGilvray, Birth and Postpartum Doula, Newborn Care Specialist, and Founder of Hands and Heart Doula and Birth Services. I came to birth work because of my own birth experiences with my three daughters as well as the birth stories shared by many friends and acquaintances. I noticed that we all shared a common concern through our birth stories: the desire to feel validated, heard, supported, and able to make choices during our pregnancy and birth experiences. Some of the stories were stories where these key ingredients were present, but so many were stories where they were not. I felt a growing desire to walk alongside women through their birth journeys and help them achieve their birth goals and to realize the intensely feminine strength and power that is bringing life into the world. Through the encouragement of the wonderful midwife that I worked with for the birth of my third child, I began to seek ways that I might impact not only my own birth stories in a positive way, but those of other women as well. Because of her compassion, kindness, and unflagging encouragement, I have embraced the beautiful calling that is doula work.
It is my firm conviction that women are designed by the Creator to carry and birth their babies. I believe in women being heard, supported, and cared for with compassion and respect and being active participants in their birth stories. I believe that women are intelligent, strong, and capable of making the best decisions for themselves and their babies, and I believe in supporting that wholeheartedly. And I believe that each birth is unique, a special path that must be walked, a transforming journey to be completed. Some paths include unmedicated birth; some paths include inductions, epidurals, or other medical procedures; some births include Cesarean birth. Each birth journey is a birth; each birth is beautiful and transformative, each new life a wonderful miracle to be celebrated.
I am a certified Birth Doula with Childbirth International and a Birth and Bereavement Doula through StillBirthday. I am also a fully trained Birth Doula through DONA and a trained Breastfeeding Counselor and Postpartum Doula currently completing certification requirements through Childbirth International and Madriella. I am also a trained Hypnobabies Hypno-Doula and am delighted to serve hypobirthing clients. I am passionate about continuing education and further learning. I am also a Newborn Care Specialist (trained through Newborn Care Training Academy) and currently completing certification through Newborn Care International. I participate in many continuing education trainings and events each year, including training in peanut ball use, Spinning Babies techniques, and Rebozo use among others. I hold professional memberships with the Nashville Birth Collective, the Middle Tennessee HEART Birth Network, and the International Cesarian Awareness Network (ICAN). I am an active volunteer with the Nashville Volunteer Doula Program at Vanderbilt with the Vanderbilt Nurse Midwives and the Nashville Breastfeeding Coalition.
I am a homeschooling mother to three daughters, and have spent a cumulative total of 8 years breastfeeding my babies, in addition to 5 years of professional experience directing childcare programs that served children from 6 weeks to 12 years of age. I am wife to a wonderful husband and kitty mom to one spoiled house cat. In addition to a passion for birth work, I also have a great love for the Lord and a strong faith that permeates my life. When I find a leisure moment, I can be found curled up with a cup of tea and a good book or crafting in my sewing room.