Interview : JoLynda Anderson, Doula | Birth & Soul

JoLynda Anderson, Birth & Soul

Support. Educate. Care.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that JoLynda and I crossed paths. I believe so deeply in her work and it feels like a gift to share this interview with you!

We met on a chilly afternoon at the Grand Cafe in Minneapolis. The location felt perfect and the overcast weather made for some beautiful portraits. As with every photo session, I only wish we had more time to chat!

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Tell us about yourself. Who you are, where you’re from and what you do!

I’m JoLynda Anderson and I’m a mom, wife and doula. I’m a Minnesota native and I own and operate Birth & Soul, a Doula Service in the Twin Cities.

How did you get your start as a Doula? What brought you to this work?

I’ve always been interested in birth. The process of birth, the culture that surrounds it are all fascinating to me, even as a teen. I was often invited to attend births as a support person of family and friends. I had been urged to train as a doula, and even hired one for the birth of my son in 2014. I finally trained in 2015, and dove in full time. It felt like something I was always destined to do. It’s a calling that will find you.

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What is the best part about running your own business?

The best part of having your own business is watching something grow from small, humble beginnings. It’s always growing, expanding and evolving, and you get to see your efforts transform into big things. A little sweat and tears, and a lot of learning go very far!

What is the greatest challenge that you face?

As a doula, you are always on call. It takes a very supportive family and understanding friends to know that you are unreliable socially. You will miss things that matter to you and adjusting the mindset to knowing you won’t ever truly know your schedule can be overwhelming in moments.

When things get tough, where do you find inspiration to keep moving forward?

In the families I serve. I am so honored to be chosen to be a guide as they bring their little ones into the world. Every single family teaches me something new, challenges me and expands my heart for people. It is a big deal to be invited into a birthing space. You can never lose sight of that.

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Who is someone you admire the most and why?

My sister in law Lindsey. She is a successful M.D., mother of three, wife and generous human. She is so thoughtful and diligent in all her relationships and interactions and her heart is so full for people. She is a person that no matter who you are, or what you are going through, she will be mindful and considerate.
She is also so fun and hard working in every single role. She is probably the smartest person I’ve ever met, and incredibly humble. She can tell you what mysterious medical issue you have, how to fix your mindset about an issue, and listen like no other. If everyone would be more like her, this world would be amazing. She always looks flawless, but I know it is her dedication, attitude and faith.

Tell us about the future of Birth & Soul — what’s your vision? Go BIG, we want to root you on!

I would love to re-open a physical space again to serve families. I dream to train doulas in my philosophies of business and birth and eventually move into a roll that can support more families. It all comes down to building empowered parents. If our impact can expand to helping set up families to succeed and feel supported, it goes a long way for society. We have really lost the “village” of birth and parenting, and being a piece of that, there is always room to expand, grow and help more people.
I also would like to make doulas more accessible to all, and make the career a sustainable trade. I would love to have a bigger support network for birth workers, because the job can feel so isolating at times.

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Podcast you can’t get enough of:

Top 5 songs you keep on repeat:
Rise Up Andrea Day, 9-5 Dolly Parton, Shoop Salt & Peppa, Pray Sam Smith, Truth Hurts Lizzo

Your favorite social media platform:
Instagram - because I will always like your puppy and kid photos, vacations, and pictures of food! I also love the design and fashion inspiration. I’m a visual person.

How do you fuel for the day?

I start each day with an americano in bed. A good cup of coffee is my love language.
If I’m off to a birth, I skip that and have a whole routine, no matter what time! I put a pesto pizza in the oven, take a quick shower, fill a thermos with coffee, drink a glass of water and bring half my pizza with me, and the other half in the fridge to eat whenI get home.

Final words of wisdom to other’s out there building their business and brand:

Start with a plan and know that you need to do things the right way. It can be easy to dream, but leave space for the practical stuff, that isn’t as fun. Business plans, legal documents, financial planning are as important as your dream and drive. Be okay doing things differently than how it is always done in your field. Show gratitude to others that mentor you along the way. Find the people that are going to enthusiastically cheer for you, they will be the same people to lean on when you need encouragement. Get out there and build your best self.

If you have any questions or want to find out more about JoLynda, I’ve included a link to some of her social below.

Thank you JoLynda for your time and for doing what you do. It does take a village and I’m happy to have you now as part of mine.
FB: Birth & Soul
Instagram: Birth & Soul

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Interview:: Louise Albertine Sarabosing // Single Mother, OR Nurse, Air Force Captain & Traveler

Just before leaving Hawaii I was able to do a portrait session with Weezie. I worked with her at Pali Momi Medical Center for just about two years and I have to tell you -- I learned more about her in the couple hours we spent together during our session than I did during our time working together. I love photography.
Anyways, as I reread this interview in preparation to share it, I'm in awe once again. Weezie has a kind of drive and resilience that you just don't see very often. As a single mom, OR Nurse and Air Force Captain -- I think she has enough inspiration for all of us.

Tell us about yourself. Who you are, where you're from and what you do:

Yikes…this is always a tough question because I never know where to start or what to say or if I’m going on and on and on. Hahaha!
Daughter of Marlon and Sandra Sarabosing. I was born and raised in San Jose, CA.
I joined the United States Air Force right after HS. Bootcamp/basic training was in San
Antonio, TX. I attended technical school air traffic control in Biloxi, MS.
My first active duty station was Kadena AB in Okinawa, JP. I spent a couple year in Okinawa and then received orders to move to the UK. I was assigned to RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, UK for a little over 2 years when I found out I was pregnant with my son Niko.
Life took some turns and long story short I was honorable discharged of active duty military and
became a single parent. About 10 months later I enlisted back into the Air Force Reserves and retrained as a AF medic to which I had to be separated from my son for about 8 months. After medic tech school in Wichita falls, TX. I went back to San Jose, enrolled in junior college studied premed/prenursing and played intercollegiate basketball and track and field which eventually opened a window for me to move to Oahu.
I was accepted into Hawaii Pacific University’s nursing school. Present day, I work as a Registered Nurse in the operating room at Pali Momi Medical Center, finishing up on RNFA training. I hit 19 total years in the military back in January and now at a rank of Captain.

What are you most proud of in your life?

There was a time in my life when I was at my lowest of lows. I was going through a catastrophic events in my life and it was one terrible thing after another.
Of course it starts with broken trust, sadness, and eventually heartbreak. I was in deep depression and was suicidal and angry at everything. I remember a specific moment, I was alone in a dark place outside and I looked up at the sky and thought, “How am I going to live through this pain?...I just want it to end.”
Suddenly, with God’s grace (because that’s the only thing that could explain it) I cried out “I do not deserve this! My son does not deserve this!"
I vowed that I would dig myself out of this deep hole that I felt I was in, constantly feeling like I was sinking. There was no one else that could have helped me come to that absolute promise to myself that night. I now know that I was the only one who could help me. I was the only one who could make that choice of “I’m going to survive this and thrive and if not only for myself but for the child that I’m raising alone.”
That…my proudest moment…so far.

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Who is someone you admire the most? Why?

I admire my son, Niko. I may be bias but he is a prime example of someone who loves unconditionally.
He is my Light and God’s gift as a sign of his awesome grace. I admire Niko for the way he has grown up to be independent in order to help more in our quality of life.
He knows I work several jobs to keep us financial stable.
He has lived on the streets with me, suffered through loss of electricity, no food, sleeping in different places to include our car and not once did he complain during our times of difficulties. The amount of strength and love he has shown me brings me to tears of joy every time.

When you're faced with challenges, what is it that keeps you moving forward?

What keeps me moving forward through adversity is knowing that I am never in it alone. I have a son that depends on me for one as well as family that will be there for me at a drop of a dime. Although, I have a difficult time asking for help but it is something I work on every day.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

Slow down and count your blessings. Spent time with people who truly care for you. Ignore the people who think you can’t and don’t let anyone decide what kind of person you should be through labels and expectations. And don’t be so damn hard on yourself. You’ve been raised well…you’ll definitely make mistakes but know that you will find yourself to always do what is right.

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Tell us about the future for Weezie -- what's your vision? GO BIG, we want to root you on!

Future?!?! Such a loaded question for me because I want to do everything! Hahaha! First, I can’t wait to see my son graduate HS and enter the ups and downs of life itself. I will always be his biggest fan and strongest supporter. As far as my career goes, I definitely want to seek higher education (masters degree/PHD,etc) I have a few choices that I’ve been thinking about. (Nurse Anesthesia, Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioner) Going back to school will open more opportunities in my civilian career as well as my military career. As far as my military career, I see myself staying in until at least my 30th year. I’m hoping to retrain to Flight Nursing as soon as Niko graduates. That way I can combine ground and flight experience under my belt to open myself to rank promotions. Wishful thinking, but if we talk about going big…I would mind making
it to General someday. And just for fun, I would love to go back and explore acting/performing. I double majored at HPU. Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Arts Theater Performance.

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Rapid Fire:

Podcast you can't get enough of: I have not gotten into podcasts. If you have any recommendations, I would love to check it out.

Album or playlist you have on repeat: When words fail, Music Speaks – Shakespeare // I love all styles and genres of music. My favorites are old school, RnB, mo-town.

Social platform you spend the most time on: Instagram

Favorite travel destination of all time? Prague, Austria, & Switzerland are at the top of my list right now but any travel destination amazes me.

How do you fuel for the day? Exercise, prayer, daily affirmations, laughs, music

Any final words of wisdom? Floor is yours:

Every single person and experience in my life had a purpose. Some people tested my patience (some still do), some did not hesitate to use me, and some that brought out the best in me, in both good and bad situations. These positive and negative relationships I have encountered in life so far have taught me valuable lessons. The road to self discovery requires help from others whether I liked it or not. No relationship was a waste of time, even the most heart breaking ones. The wrong ones taught me lessons that I believe are preparing me for the right ones later on in life. I appreciate everyone that has entered my life because they have contributed to my growth and happiness one way or another.

Thank you Weezie for opening up and sharing your story with me. I had so much fun photographing you! 
I wish you and Niko abundant health and happiness on your journey of life! Mahalo nui loa.