Dances With Doulas

UUFE’s Lauren Harton answers The Five Big Questions and tells about beating rheumatoid arthritis, Yale Midwifery, working as a Doula in Seattle, and teaching and leading our UUFE kids in Easton.   And she shares her favorite meat dish recipe.  (She’s a vegetarian.)

If you see UUFE kids, you probably also see Lauren.
If you see UUFE kids, you probably also see Lauren.

UU liFE:  Where were you raised, and how?

Lauren:  I was raised on the Main Line just outside of Philadelphia with every weekend and summer spent on the Eastern Shore.  I went to an amazing public school and was blessed to have my mom home with myself and my younger sister.  While I had a lot of physical challenges growing up related to my Rheumatoid Arthritis, my childhood was blessed, supportive, and fun.

My immediate family plus my uncle when my sister graduated from college
My immediate family plus my uncle when my sister graduated from college

How have you made your living?

I’m a nurse midwife, though I often introduce myself as a nurse practitioner, because I have never delivered a baby outside of school.  The physical demands of obstetrics got the best of me while in school, and thus I have chosen to care of all of the other aspects of a woman’s health as a provider for Planned Parenthood of Maryland.  I was full time in the Easton office until our daughter was born, and now I work in all seven of our offices throughout the state when clinicians take vacation.

What’s the most remarkable thing you’ve done?

Remarkable is just vague enough a word to get my head spinning and reflecting on life.  After having my hips replaced my sophomore year in high school, it was remarkable that I could drive, walk, dance, and be without pain.  When I dropped out of college after my sophomore year to “find myself”, I didn’t feel remarkable about anything.  However, that year in Seattle being a Doula for a latino community health center truly impacted my life direction, and I’m so grateful for following my heart.  What feels remarkable to me these days is that I can cook meat for my family but still stay vegetarian myself.

So, what is your favorite meat dish to cook for family and friends?  And your favorite vegetarian dish to eat?

My current favorite chicken dish is a cumin spices pulled chicken that I put in the crock pot and leave to cook all day.  It’s easy, I can use it in a lot of other meals throughout the week, and I don’t have to touch it!

Right!  Yechh!

My favorite veggie dish right now is pasta with tons of veggies, kidney beans, a twist of lemon and some Parmesan cheese.

And how about your favorite dance style? 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE dance and have always said that in another life I will be a dancer.  I love watching all styles of dance but especially Latin dances.  My own dance skills are pretty much limited to booty shaking and arm flailing.

My entire family at the mardis gras celebration in Chestertown
My entire family at the mardis gras celebration in Chestertown

What was your most memorable experience as a Doula latina?

I only had the pleasure of being the doula for one latina momma in Seattle, but we stayed connected for years following the birth of her son.  My most memorable moment as a doula was a homebirth in a baby pool in the middle of the living room as the sun rose.  It was so peaceful, cozy, supportive, and life affirming for everyone in the room.

my graduating class from Yale Midwifery School, 2007
My graduating class from Yale Midwifery School

 What’s the Next Big Thing for you?

To be honest, I’m really tired of new big things.  Since April and I were married five years ago, we have moved three times, bought and sold four cars, and had three kids.  So, I’m ready for regular everyday life.  I love pretending my back yard is a jungle or a zoo with my 3 year old.  I’m enjoying exploring textures, feelings, bug, dirt, and music with our twin 1 year old boys.  And most of all, I’m enjoying sleeping through the night in my bed without extra little hands and feet poking me.   I’m so blessed to be home most of the time with our kids, to have a beautiful safe space to live in, to be madly in love with my wife, and to have wonderful friends.  I just want to enjoy every day.

With April and the Kids - Tessa's third birthday
With April and the Kids – Tessa’s third birthday


How did UUFE and you find each other?

I sought out UUFE when I moved to Easton, because I was raised UU and knew I would find like-minded friends. I was thrilled to find such a big, vibrant UU church here on the Shore with so many people my age!

How do you serve UUFE and why?

I am, and have been for years, all about the kids at UUFE.  Running the RE committee, teaching OWL, and working with Patty, our RE Coordinator, is a perfect fit for me right now in life.  I look forward to other evolving roles as my kids grow, but for now I’m taking a bit of back seat in the UUFE journey.

With Patty Hamsher at UUFE Peace Camp for Kids
With Patty Hamsher at UUFE Peace Camp for Kids

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