Meet Joyce Dykema, birth doula and educator extraordinaire in Lincoln, NE!
I met Joyce a few years ago when she and I attended a birth together - one of my first as a birth photographer. As a veteran birth worker in our community, she welcomed me with open arms and high respect for my position in the birth space. Since then, she has become a valued colleague, mentor and friend in my circle, and I can't wait to share her amazingness with you!
Recently, I interviewed Joyce to learn more about who she is as a person, birth worker and educator. Here’s what she had to share….
What brought you to birth work?
I had a specific vision in mind for my own birth when I was pregnant with my first child. I wanted an unmedicated birth, so I just devoured every resource I could find on how to achieve that goal! My husband and I took a 12 week childbirth course, we hired a doula for support, read about childbirth, and prepared ourselves as best we could with education and support. I had a physically challenging birth with a posterior positioned baby and back labor, and a rare necessary episiotomy, and on paper my birth kind of looks terrible! But I knew what to expect, I knew what I could do to cope well with contractions and feel more comfortable. My husband knew how to help me. I understood what was going on during my labor. We had our doula and a student doula. We had our midwife and a student midwife. And I never thought about that epidural, I didn't need it, so I achieved my goal of an unmedicated birth and absolutely loved my birth experience! My first thoughts after my son was born were, "that is the coolest thing I have ever done in my entire life, and we have to do that again!" And the support and education we received were crucial to our positive empowering experience. That point, the importance of support and education, really hit home though several months later when one of our friends had an opposite birth experience. They did not line up birth education or labor support, and despite a birth experience that sounded really smooth, my friend described birth as something that had been done to her, and traumatic. The very next week after hearing my friend's experience, I was attending my birth doula training workshop, and here we are almost 12 years later and still going strong!
What do you love about birth work? What brings you the most satisfaction?
I am a scientist at heart. I hold a BA in psychology with biology honors, and a MS in biological sciences. I love digging into the research evidence to inform and educate, I'm a huge birth nerd! My work with Evidence Based Birth® as an Instructor feeds that science need really well. I also love understanding why people make the decisions they make, and one of my favorite parts of my job is seeing how different people can look at the same research, the same statistics, the same evidence, and make wildly different decisions about how to take that information and move forward to the best decision for them. Science is powerful and important, but it is not the be-all and end-all of decision making, and I love that intersection and walking my clients and students through those decisions.
What is the hardest part about birth work?
Witnessing trauma, and on-call life.
What was the most memorable birth you attended?
There are so many memorable moments about every single birth! I'll share some of my favorite moments instead: The birth where we were passing everyone on the Interstate during a freak snowstorm to get to the hospital. The two births less than an hour apart when I had to ask permission to run between rooms up and down the hall because my backups wouldn't have made it to us in time. The ones where my clients let me put them in all sorts of funky positions to try and encourage baby to get into a better position. The birth when I had two student doulas with me and we truly needed all three of us and the partner for physical support. The two births on the day I found out I was pregnant with my third child. The one where baby was born vaginally with their feet up by their shoulders. The births where I got splashed with amniotic fluid. And all of the births where I see prayers answered almost as soon as we finish praying them.
What is something unique or funny about you?
I have lived in 6 different states. I was vegetarian for 19 years. I play the flute. I'm married to my high school sweetheart.
What services do you offer?
I offer birth doula services, childbirth education, and continuing education for birthworkers as an Evidence Based Birth® Instructor.
What locations do you serve?
I currently attend births mainly in Lincoln, but also Seward, Crete, and Beatrice.
Where can people get in touch with you to learn more?
I am most active on Instagram @doulajoyce, but I also post some on Tiktok @doulajoyce, Facebook @doulajoyceLNK, and Twitter @doulajoyce.
You can also visit www.doulajoyce.com to learn more about her upcoming events and classes, or to reach out to her for doula services.