Mari Stutzman Smith Photo

Mari Stutzman Smith

Celebrated Birth

Website: http://www.celebratedbirth.com

Phone: (703) 408-0911

Birth Fee: Not specified

Birth Doula Experience: 9 years

Doula Training

Not Specified

Type of Practice: Solo practice

Clients per Month: 2 to 4

Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
Attends home births? Any Home Birth

Breastfeeding Certifications

  • La Leche League Member, Virginia Breastfeeding Task Force Member

Other Relevant Certifications

  • Neonatal Resuscitation Certified (American Academy of Pediatrics)

College Education

  • BA/BS

Specialized training or previous experience

  • Cesarean birth
  • Clients on bed rest
  • Families conceiving with ART and IVF
  • High risk
  • Home Birth
  • Induced and high medical technology labor & birth
  • LGBTQP Families
  • Multiples
  • Over 40
  • Plus size mothers
  • Postpartum mood disorders
  • Prematurity
  • Special needs babies
  • Survivors of Previous Life Trauma
  • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • Twins
  • VBAC
  • Waterbirth

Special Services Offered

  • Acupressure
  • Baby-led weaning
  • Babywearing education
  • Birth Pool rental
  • Cloth diapering education
  • Parenting consulting
  • Placenta encapsulation
  • Pregnancy, birth and/or newborn photography
  • TENS units rental

Relevant volunteer or advocacy work

FOUNDING MEMBER, JustBirth BOARD MEMBER & TREASURER, JustBirth FOUNDING MEMBER, Healthy Mother Healthy Birth FORMER MEMBER, International Childbirth Education Association MEMBER, Virginia Breastfeeding Task Force FORMER MEMBER, La Leche League

Service Area Map

Area of practice: Ashburn, VA
Travel Range: 50 Miles

Client Testimonials for Mari Stutzman Smith

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Carrie Phillips Trimble

Mari is the best.  She was so caring, focused and dedicated to helping us carry out our birth plan.  While I ended up having a planned c-section, her experience and advice was invaluable.   The work we did with her pre and post added another level of comfort and support during this crazy time!! 

Posted 11/27/2017

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Rella Kaplowitz

Mari was absolutely amazing, I could not have made it through the unmedicated birth of my second without her! From the very first time I spoke with Mari I knew she was exactly what we needed (didn't have a great experience with our doula the first time around). She has an easygoing demeanor and a calming, positive energy. I had pro-dromal labor so I started having contractions on a Thursday night and didn't get to meet my daughter until Sunday morning! Mari was with us the whole time, first by text/phone and then in person beginning Saturday evening. The last few hours were VERY hard and I kept wanting to give up but Mari kept me going. I highly recommend Mari to anyone who is looking for a doula that will support your birth!

Posted 11/13/2017

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Chris Colley

When my wife suggested we hire a doula for the birth of our second child, I wasn’t sure we needed one. She gave birth to our first child without one, why do we need one this time? Well, after meeting Mari and seeing how much she helps with the birthing process, I am forever in her debt. She was always available when we had questions, and when it came time for my wife to deliver, Mari was there every step of the way. She was always quick to make suggestions on how to make my wife more comfortable - suggestions that wouldn’t have dawned on me. My wife and I are so thankful that Mari was there for us during our stressful, yet special time. Needless to say, Mari is worth it worth it worth it!!!!

Have I mentioned that Mari is worth it?

Posted 9/29/2017

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Donna F

As soon as I met Mari I knew I was going to hire her and I had immediate confidence that I would be able to achieve the birth I’d been longing for. Thanks to her, I did!
This was my 3rd delivery. With the two prior I’d had an epidural. This time, I wanted to hire a Doula. I felt that if I did, and I still ended up with an epidural, I would know that I’d done everything I could to achieve that natural birth.
I asked my doctor if she had a recommendation for a Doula and she said “Mari Smith. Hands down.” She said they had others they they'ed worked with, but in her opinion Mari was the only way to go.
I called and scheduled a meeting with her and right away I knew I was going to hire her. I felt a great connection and knew she would have a real calming affect for me during labor.
As soon as I signed the paperwork, I was 100% sure that having Mari as my Doula would result in me having a natural childbirth. It was an amazing feeling. No doubt, no worrying, no hoping – It just felt like a fact to me.
Labor day came. I still felt 100% sure that I could do it, knowing Mari would be there. When I got the birthing center things were getting intense and I started to doubt myself considerably. Then Mari walked in the door. MAGIC! Poof went the doubt, and the 100% confidence came right back! It was just amazing.
She has such a soothing and calming effect. And was a mind reader for me. Exactly what I needed or was thinking she would do or say before I could even ask. At one point during labor, I would get swelteringly hot during a contraction and just when I thought a fan would be great, this magic breeze started – Mari had started fanning me. Like I said, she was a mind reader.
The very first thought I had after my baby was born was – I’m totally going to do this next time! And I will. Mari will be one of the first calls I make so I can be sure she’ll be available!

Posted 9/26/2017

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Brianna Carbonneau

Mamas, Mari has a five-star average for a reason. Others have capably sung her praises (all of which I echo) so I'll keep this to our specifics:

-I am the first among my friends to get pregnant, so Mari was my best resource. AND, my husband was deployed for more than half my pregnancy, so Mari served as my main support while he was away, through all the prenatal nerves and endless questions.

-When we arrived at the hospital, it was fully booked. Mari helped me labor in a HALLWAY, and helped me give birth in the triage bay - with nothing but a curtain between us and the rest of the world! All the while helping me stick to my natural birth plan despite the circumstances.

-When I experienced some post-delivery complications, she sat with my husband and our newborn to navigate all THAT, too, and stayed for hours until I was stable and we were settled in our recovery room.

-Due to the complications I experienced, I was ultimately unable to breastfeed, which broke my heart. On the same day of my diagnosis, Mari connected me to another mother with an oversupply who was willing to donate her milk. My son will get milk for months because of Mari's amazing connections in the new-Mama community!

On top of all that, Mari is a super fun person and (I certainly hope!) a lasting friend of the family. We love her!

Posted 9/18/2017

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Mildred Kronsteiner

Mari is so amazing. I knew I wanted to a doula as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I interviewed several doulas - and while all were great - I felt an instant kinship with Mari. 

From the first moment that I met her - I knew she was THE ONE. I signed her by the time I was 4 months pregnant.

As my pregnancy progressed - we met a few times, so we could talk about how I wanted my birth to go. Unmedicated and at the natural birth center. She made me comfortable about my needs and wants. My husband by the way, wasn't sure he wanted a "stranger" in the room and didn't even know what a doula was. But it was my one thing I would not budge on during my pregnancy. 

As my due date drew nearer, I was in constant contact with Mari. And at the last minute, I found out I was going to be induced. I called Mari, and she helped ease my fears. 

I went to the hospital Wednesday evening, expecting to be induced the following morning. I stayed in contact with Mari and decided she would arrive the next morning. But then I went into labor in the middle of the night! I called Mari at 2:30 in the morning and I told her I needed her - she was there in an instant. 

When she arrived, she jumped right in. She helped manage my pain throughout the labor. And when I broke down and needed pain meds, there was no judgement. She made sure I got what I needed. And my husband realized how important she was not only to me but to him. They worked together as a team to make sure I was comfortable throughout. 

After about 14 hours of labor, which included 4 hours of pushing, our baby was born. I can't believe she was there from 2:30a in the morning until about 9:30pm. 

Part of her services, she came to my house a few days later and then helped me on my breastfeeding journey. She eased my fears on breastfeeding and showed me tips and tricks. Seriously, amazing. You won't go wrong choosing Mari as your doula. 

Posted 9/11/2017

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Ali Brosius

I had the pleasure of working with Mari for the birth of my first baby. I was interested in having a natural birth but felt unsupported by my doctors and was anxious about being pushed into procedures i didnt want. Mari provided me with the support and confidence i needed to no longer be anxious about my doctors appointments and impending delivery of my baby.

In the final weeks of my pregnancy we diacovered that my daughter was breech and i went from planning for a natural birth to suddenly preparing for a c-section. Mari was there for support throught those last weeks while we tried to flip her (unsuccesfully) and then helped me to write a new birth plan for the c section i now faced. She helped me to understand what options i had with the c section so that i could still have a say in some decisions and be comfortable and happy with the delivery. Mari was there with me at the hospital before the surgery and in recovery. She was also there as a support to me in those crazy first postpartum days! Mari was a such calming presence for both me and my husband. She helped me to feel supported and in control, even though my birth plan didn't turn out like i had originally envisioned. I would wholeheartedly recommend Mari as a doula to anyone expecting a baby!

Posted 11/10/2016

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Kate Kaufman

It's hard to express how grateful I am that my husband and I chose Mari to be our doula during our hospital birth. Mari is warm and calming, she is confident without being pushy or judgemental - with Mari, it feels like you are talking to & tapping into the knowledge of a true professional, yet she has the ability to make you also feel like you're just chatting with your girlfriend who's had a few kids already. 

Having Mari in the labor/delivery room at VHC was invaluable. Not only was she a fantastic coach - helping with positioning, keeping calm, use of the TENS unit, but she could read the monitors, adjust the bed... do a million other little things that you won't even know you would need but would prove to really make a huge difference in the experience. Mari has a gift - I cannot recommend her enough. 

 

Posted 10/27/2016

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Stephanie Vitkus

Mari was actually the backup to the doula my husband and I originally hired who, as luck would have it, was already tending to another client's birth when I was in the hospital. We had never met Mari in-person until she knocked on our delivery room door! I'd been having contractions for over 24 hours by the time we requested Mari come to the hospital. When she arrived I was in considerable discomfort because I was in the middle of a contraction so the introduction was kept brief. She wasted no time getting right to work. I mean, she was just a godsend and almost instinctively knew what methods would provide the most comfort to me at a given point. She started with a leg & back massage with aromatherapy lotion/oil that provided immediate relief and began to coach me on coping with the pain. I think her presence was a relief to my husband too. He was great during the early stages of my labor, and even after she arrived, but it was really nice to have a professional labor support person there who could lend her experience to the situation and provide helpful tips that neither of us would've come up with on our own. Mari was also a terrific advocate for me when it came to my birth plan wishes and in helping us understand what the doctors advised doing next and how that fit in. (She helped me postpone an epidural twice, true to my birth plan.) There was really nothing Mari wasn't willing to do. She helped me change positions, on and off the bed, get to and from the bathroom, encourage me and my husband, try different techniques, explain options, and so on. When my baby was born about 10 hrs after Mari's arrival she even took pictures of his entrance (exit?) and the aftermath of delivery - something we hadn't planned to ask her to do, but that I'm personally so grateful she offered as these pictures are treasured mementos. All in all, i can't say enough great things about Mari. I wouldn't hesitate to use her at future births and highly recommend her to others.

Posted 9/4/2016

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Alice Baldwin

It is impossible to imagine the birth of our daughter without Mari. Her support, both before and during labor as well as the postpartum follow-up was steadfast, calm, loving and caring. Both my partner and I felt this from her. I also heard the delivery nurse say to her “you are the best doula I have ever worked with!” It was a long and difficult induction, lasting days, and she was at our side as soon as full active labor began, staying with us for a full 24 hours with very little break, and readily on the phone before that. There is absolutely no question that I would recommend Mari to anyone seeking a doula in the Washington area. She knows what she is doing and does it with her own special cheer and tenderness. Thank you for everything Mari!

Posted 9/1/2016

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aldona livero

My husband and I choose to work with Mari for my Jan 2016 birth and she was the best choice for us. Mari was so helpful during the labor and assisted in any way I needed her. I honestly didn't think I could go through a natural birth but she was a calming influence the entire time which allowed me to relax and focus on the job at hand. She was also a huge help in giving me pointers on getting the baby to latch the first few days after birth. I felt comfortable bringing up any concerns and she walked us both through the birth process since it was our first time. I would recommend Mari to anyone who is looking for a doula with the knowledge, experience, and compassion to assist on your special day.

Posted 5/20/2016

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Amy Hendrick

When I found out that I was pregnant, I had no idea what to expect. I had heard stories from friends about last minute C-sections that scared me. I’d seen The Business of Being Born and knew the benefits of having a natural birth. That said, I had so many questions, and to be honest, I was really scared about my body’s ability to have a baby without the assistance of an intervention. I am also a trauma survivor and was worried about what the pain of labor would bring up. I’d heard about birth doulas and decided that I needed as much support as possible.

Mary served as the perfect advocate throughout my pregnancy. I was due during the 2015 winter blizzard and was worried about going into labor and having to go to a local hospital instead of George Washington University, the hospital that the midwifery practice was at. My husband and I decided to get a hotel in DC so that if I went into labor we would be able to walk to the emergency room. Mari also volunteered to stay at a hotel nearby for the weekend. Of course, I ended up delivering 2 weeks past my due date and felt bad that she spend the weekend away from her family for no reason, but Mari assured me that I had made the right decision.

I cannot recommend Mari more. I ended up delivering vaginally without an epidural. I could not have done it without the support and expertise that Mari brought with her. Giving birth was scary. Mari was able to calm me and give comfort when I was feeling like I couldn’t do it anymore. She provided options for us – the use of the TENS machine, music if we wanted it, light massage, explanations for things that were confusing – she was our advocate. Mary served as a reminder to my husband and I that everything would be all right. And it was. We now have a beautiful little boy and I have more faith in my body than I ever have had. Overall, giving birth was a healing process for me and Mari was an integral part of that.

Posted 4/7/2016

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Hollis Daniels

I had a positively wonderful experience with Mari during my pregnancy and delivery! She was just the intellectual and emotional resource I was looking for. She possesses a mastery of pregnancy and labor and delivery information. I enjoyed having a third party sounding board that I could trust. She made herself readily accessible for any and every quirky pregnancy question and concern I had from day one to month ten. During labor itself, she was extremely supportive and played a pivotal role in the successful delivery of my healthy baby girl. Mari truly enhanced the entire process for me, as I am certain she would for any lucky expectant mother.

Posted 3/17/2016

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Becky Wolozin

We had a great experience with Mari. She was reassuring and helpful in the meetings we had with her prior to the birth of our son, providing us with a TENS unit and lots of resources to prepare for chlldbirth and breastfeeding. She is an incredibly warm person, calm and upbeat with a grounding and positive way of being. We did not end up having time to tell Mari I was having a c-section until afer our son was born, but because she had not been able to attend the birth, she came several times to the hospital  to help with breastfeeding and trips to the NICU and to give my husband a chance to go home and get some things from our apartment. She was incredibly helpful in the frightening first week when my son was in the NICU, and her assistance with breastfeeding was invaluable and one of the reasons he was discharged so early (because he was doing so well with eating!). The postpartum visit was also really helpful. We always felt like Mari was rooting for us and wanted us and our son to thrive, and we are so greatful for her help!

Posted 3/16/2016

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Mrs. B

I had the privilege of having Mari as my doula during my VBAC in October 2015. Her kindness, support, knowledge and advocacy enabled me to achieve the birth I had been praying for. My labor was progressing somewhat slowly and my husband decided to leave the birth center to get some food for us. Of course, within minutes of his departure, my contractions took on a life of their own and I was overwhelmed in a major way. Mari jumped in to action, dimming the lights, positioning me physically, calming me with reassuring words, stroking my arm and back, applying the TENS Unit, and filling in my shocked husband on what happened in the 30 minutes since he left. As transition continued, she never left my side. She even labored with me in the bathroom, haha! When my body began pushing on its own, she calmly looked to my husband and instructed him to get the midwife (who was attending another birth down the hall). I assumed that being in a birth center would mean we would have lots of one on one support from the staff, and while there was plenty of attention given to us, we couldn't have predicted that another mama would be bringing her baby earth-side at the same time as us. Had Mari not been with us, I don't think I could have handled my labor as well as I did. After the birth, Mari came to my home for a postpartum visit and made sure I was recovering well in every aspect, not just physically. I feel so blessed to have had Mari by my side for such a life changing event. Hiring Mari was a decision I will never regret, she was invaluable to us!

 

Anne B.

Posted 3/15/2016

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Suz P


We found Mari based on a recommendation from our birth center. While I had learned enough to know that a doula could be an excellent help during labor, I still had all the trepidation of a first time mother. I had plenty of stereotypes of new agey or otherwise crunchy women who do such work and wasn't sure if I'd be able to connect with a perfect stranger to collaborate with during what I knew would be a very intense and challenging experience.

Our first meeting with Mari put me at ease immediately. She was "normal"! (Whatever that is, but for a first impression it was a good one)!! She was easy to talk to, knowledgable without being condescending, worldly without being snobby and genuinely passionate about the work she does. She had no problem making us feel confident and ready for the birth. She is an excellent communicator and shared a ton of information with us- and responded to every question I had with measured, informed, non emotional yet compelling answers.

Without getting into all the gory details, I believe my labor and delivery went as smoothly as it did because of her. She gave me the emotional and physical support I needed, just when and how I needed it, intuiting my every need the whole way- especially when I had no idea what I was doing or what I wanted.

Her verbal reinforcements- for me and my husband- got us through the hardest moments of labor and enabled us to have the birth we envisioned for our first child.

Whenever someone asks about my birth story I don't hesitate to credit Mari for her integral support and recommend whole heartedly the work of doulas.

Posted 9/17/2015

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Lorelei Cheung

Mari was my doula for both of my kids - I could not imagine birthing a baby without her by my side! She was amazingly supportive of both me and my husband - ensuring we felt safe, secure and confident in our birthing decisions. She also provided tons of support prenatally by answering our numerous questions and providing recommendations when we needed them. We were able to have the births we desired because of her guidance, love and support. She's such an amazing person and I feel so blessed to have had her attend my births! 

Posted 7/19/2015

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Kristy Rodriguez

Mari was my doula for the pregnancy and birth of both my babies. I didn't have a direct recommendation for a doula, so I found it difficult to know who to go to... However, after talking to Mari for the first time, I knew she would be the perfect doula for me. Her warmth and friendliness made me feel calm and cared for from the beginning. I had non-medicated natural childbirth for both pregnancies. That was very important for me along with other factors related to my labor and delivery. Mari was my advocate, and in a gentle and resptful way, she was able to communicate with my doctor and nurses to ensure my birth plan was followed. The physical and emotional support she provided was immensely helpful. Her support allowed my husband to be there for me in the way I needed as well. I needed his hand in my hand and his head close to my head. While he was able to be there encouraging me, Mari was there with massage, getting me cool cloths, preparing a bath, etc. I will forever be grateful for her loving support... And, after the birth she grabbed our camera and got some gorgeous and priceless photographs of us welcoming our new baby into the world.

Posted 7/10/2015

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J Jones

When I became pregnant with my third child, I was living overseas and knew I would return to the United States before the birth. I was nervous about this transition - my first child was born in DC, and I desperately did not want to return to the medical practice I used during that pregnancy, or anything like it. Mari was a comforting presence for me from the moment I spoke with her on the phone. I could tell right away how incredibly kind, patient, and competent she was, and that she would help me ensure my child’s birth was calm and natural. Mari was a steady and soothing hand while I was in labor. She had excellent recommendations on pain relief, gently reminded me to keep hydrated, and stayed in the background when things were going fine. She never lost focus on me or the birthing process, yet kept my husband included the whole way through. She instinctively knows when to intervene and when to step back. She loves what she does, she is very experienced and knowledgable, and other childbirth professionals love working with her. Though these qualities should be a given, they sadly are often not. Mari is the gold standard, and I am so grateful my family and I had her to rely on as we embarked on this new phase of our lives. Every woman should have someone like Mari for their pregnancy and childbirth.

Posted 7/2/2015

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Vanessa Hobson

Based on the recommendation of a friend, I hired her for the birth of my third child since the doula I used for my second was unavailable. Mari was awesome. I felt that we had a good connection during the inital interview/consultation. She was extremely intuitive during my labor and knew what I needed without my asking for it. She was able to calm my nerves upon her arrival and gave me a wonderful massage to help me relax. With her by my side I felt confident and relaxed and was able to cope with my hard and fast active labor. She is definitely worth it! 

Posted 6/24/2015

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Jane Hershey

If I were to find out I was pregnant again one of the first calls I’d make would be to Mari to see if she has availability around my due date. She is THAT good.

Mari attended the birth of my second child and helped me achieve the unmedicated, natural delivery that I was hoping for. She provided wonderful informational, physical and emotional support with compassion. She brought a wealth of knowledge to the table and effectively eased discomfort during labor with the use of massage and counterpressure. Based on what I was feeling and the progression of my labor, Mari suspected that my daughter was not in the ideal birthing position. I followed her suggestion and my daughter was born shortly thereafter. If Mari hadn’t been there I truly believe my labor would have been longer and perhaps we would have been encouraged by the midwife to use measures to augment my labor.

Her encouraging words helped to calm me when I needed it most. When looking for a doula, one of the things that was most important to me was to find someone to provide support without judgment; I could not be more pleased with our decision to use Mari. She has a way of offering suggestions that in no way impart judgment or ego. She is truly there to help you achieve the birth that YOU want. Mari genuinely loves her work, and it shows.

Posted 6/15/2015

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Amira F

Mari Stutzman Smith of Celebrated Birth was our doula and she was incredible-- to say the least. She knows how to support the type of birth you envision in whatever system you require (hospital, home, birth center).

She is warm, approachable and incredibly in tune with all aspects of the birth process (pre-natal, delivery, postpartum).

Leading up to my delivery, Mari helped me to envision, understand and articulate the kind of birth that I wanted.

She has an incredible amount of experience and expertise, and as such, guided my husband and I through every step of the delivery. When the midwives were in and out of the room, she was our constant-- helping me labor in and out of water, patiently reassuring me and my husband as the hours progressed and my labor stalled. Mari was an integral part of the birthing team and the rock I needed as we faced difficult choices. I looked in Mari's eyes and found the strength and confidence I needed as my delivery tested my willpower. She helped me to move through different positions to ease the labor as the time went on, aided with massage and essential oils when I needed to find calm, and most importantly, helped me to find my own innate strength.

She also supported my husband to be the exact kind of birth partner I needed. Together, the three of us were a team.

In the days following the delivery she helped me immensely as I learned to breastfeed and thrive through the early days of motherhood. I cannot imagine my birth without Mari's guiding hand and full heart.

I wholeheartedly recommend her to other mothers giving birth in the Northern Virginia/DC area.

Posted 6/14/2015

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Sydney Miller Milbert

Early on in my first pregnancy, I knew that I wanted as natural a birth experience as possible. I contacted Mari after googling doulas in the area and she was both informative and warm from the start. She helped me to create a birth plan, answered lots of first time mom questions and was available on short notice even when I ended up in preterm labor. She was an invaluable resource during labor and delivery and I felt fully supported in my choices by her, and even more assured that my choices would be communicated and reinforced to the hospital staff because of her being there. I think the ultimate praise of any professional is a repeat client, and I am now pregnant with baby number two and looking forward to having Mari attend my second birth as well!

Posted 6/6/2015

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Jessica Sypolt

With my first baby I hired a doula and both myself and my skeptic husband were in full agreement that a doula was the way to go. With my second and third births I hired Mari and she's nothing short of worth her weight in gold. I love the saying that bringing a doula with you is like hiring a Sherpa to summit Mt Everest. Sure, you've studied, you've trained, you've prepared and done all the right things. What's the one thing missing? Someone who's climbed themselves and helped so many others be successful. Everyone speaks so highly of Mari (including Midwives, OB's and nurses) because she's that awesome. Mari was so amazing to me before, during and after I had my kids. She's absolutely one of a kind. Snag her if you have a chance! 

Posted 6/5/2015

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Amanda Higgins

I had planned on using the Natural Birth Center and was really looking forward to that. But at 41+ weeks, I was “late” and therefore ineligible to use the NBC. Ultimately, I was induced and looked to Mari for guidance. I needed to know that even with induction, I could have a beautiful, unmedicated birth. Mari was supportive and gave me the confidence I needed.  On the day of the induction when Mari arrived, I told my husband to go get himself some lunch, convinced that my labor would last all day. I was starting to really feel it and was pretty uncomfortable. When Mari arrived, I lost it a bit and started crying. She immediately calmed me down and got me to relax. Even though the contractions were really intense, and my husband was not there, I felt completely at ease with Mari by my side. She gave me suggestions on using the bath, positions and an AMAZING massage. She knew exactly what to say and what to do; how to touch me and how to help me get through it. By the time my husband came back I was ready to push and felt calm and ready to go!

Knowing what I know now, I am so incredibly glad that I chose a doula and chose Mari! I plan on having more children and I will absolutely call on Mari for her help. She is such a kind, patient and gentle person—exactly what you need on your child’s birthday!

Posted 6/5/2015

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Emily Oveissi

I have three amazing children with very different birth stories, but one thing remained consistent: I always wanted a natural birth.  Despite trying midwives and hypnobirthing with my first two children, I demanded an epideral pretty early on in labor with them. 

When I discovered I was going to have a third baby, I knew I must hire a doula.  My friend recommended Mari and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. 

Mari was incredibly supportive during my third trimester and, of course, during labor.  Her calming presence and techniques allowed me to achieve my goal of a natural child birth!  Our baby was happy and drug-free (and remains to be the calmest of the three children....by far!)  I recovered incredibly quickly and was out of the hospital in 24 hours.

Mari is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend her to anyone considering a doula.   

 

Posted 6/5/2015

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Ben Hoffman

I wasn't quite sure why I needed a doula since I was giving birth with a midwife.  I knew they were highly recommended so my husband and I figured we'd use one once, study what she did, and he could take over for subsequent births.  After giving birth, I knew right away that I'd never give birth without Mari by my side. 

During the prenatal process you feel like you're talking to your best girlfriend.  When we first showed up at the Inova Loudoun the nurses asked who my doula was.  When I told them it was Mari their faces lit up and they told me she's the best and that I was in excellent hands .

Her presence is so calming and peaceful and she knows exactly how to assist during the birthing process.  My second birth was more intense and it would have been easy to get panicky, but Mari again makes you feel calm and in control, and reassures you that everything is normal.  Had she not been there I may have ended up giving in and opting for an epidural.  Having a warm, knowledgable female presence there that has been through the birthing process numerous times has such a positive effect on your labor experience and it's really priceless. 

You will not regret having Mari by your side!

 

Posted 5/31/2015

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Margaret Mellnik Lefbom

We worked with Mari for the birth of our sons, the first in 2012. When I contacted her, I was 20 weeks and just beginning to realize that the act of birth was something that I needed to focus on in addition to the arrival of the baby. Mari was critical in helping me realize that I had a voice in the process, that there were decisions I could be empowered to make. Because of her insights, the binder she loaned that was PACKED with information, and the home visits where we went over every aspect of labor/delivery (she brought up topics I didn't even think to discuss!), we were able to develop a specific birth plan that fit our values perfectly...for us, this meant laboring for a long time at home and having an unmedicated delivery with a midwife at the hospital. I turned to her several times during the pregnancy to help prepare for delivery, both phycisally and emotionally. Just knowing that she would be there was essential in ensuring that I went into the day centered and relaxed. When the day arrived, she was ready to handle whatever we threw her way, including crying episodes on the phone, a very quick labor, and answers to questions when things happened that we hadn't anticipated. I'm convinced that keeping me informed and calm was what helped things progress as fast as they did. There was no way I would have even considered going into the birth of our second without her. She knew the history of our first delivery so was able to help us know when we should head to the hospital, and what comfort techniques would be the best for me. She was fantastic at helping to create an environment that was relaxing and comfortable at the hospital (soft lighting in the bathroom, pressure on the hips and lower back, massages, cold cloths, aromatherapy, suggestions about position chages).  My next delivery (if there is one) will definitely be at home, and will most certainly be with Mari!! 

Posted 4/24/2015

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Aurelia Flores

I was referred to Mari by one of the midwives at the NOVA Birth Center, where I gave birth to my baby.  The midwife had worked with Mari before, and strongly recommended her.

She was so right on!  Mari was warm, helpful, and knew just the right thing to say to help me through the process.

Mari offered help and advice both before and after the birth, and had insights and ideas to make the process smoother.

During my labor itself, Mari was absolutely wonderful!  I have no idea how I would have gotten through it without her.  Mari offered a variety of techniques to help me through the pain, and to let me know that I could do it.

My husband was also incredibly grateful to Mari for her help and support.

When we welcomed our baby girl into the world, I felt blessed having all the help around me, and a huge piece of that was Mari and her kind, warm, supportive nature and spirit.

I would unequivocally recommend Mari to anyone looking for a doula.

Posted 4/24/2015

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Sarah Joslyn Wahl

We feel so lucky to have found Mari! We were new to the area and expecting our second child. We found Mari through a very enthrusiastic recommendation from my midwife. I knew the minute she walked in our door for our first prenatal visit that she was going to be great. Her calm, warm personality made us feel relaxed and cared for. Her goal was to get to know us and our needs and preferences, which she did thoroughly and without a hint of judgement. She helped us prepare for the birth of our daughter in ways we hadn't thought of the first time around, and provided a few really helpful resources. I had a few "false alarms," and Mari was always available, helpful, and encouraging. I probably texted with her 100 times, and she never made me feel like I was inconveniencing her. At the birth itself, Mari was a strong, supportive presence without ever becoming invasive. She made great suggestions that helped ease my discomfort, kept the mood light, and answered all of our questions. She also took some photos, which we will treasure forever. Both my husband and I were so grateful to have her present, supporting and guiding us through my pregnancy and the birth of our daughter. 

Posted 4/24/2015

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Eva Ko

Mari was our doula with both of our births and I can't put in words how awesome she was. She is warm, sensitive and knowledgable and just has the sweetest personality. She was so intuitive that I never had to express my needs. She just knew when I needed her support, when I needed my husband's support, when I needed a cold drink or a massage. I had two beautiful birth experiences with her and I would have 10 kids just to give birth with her by my side again. 

 

Posted 4/21/2015

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Elizabeth Crotty

Mari is the best! Going into my first childbirth there was uncertainty and nervousness, but Mari was a calming and jubilant voice. She filled in the gaps of our childbirth education, gave us lots of books and other resources, as well as helping us figure out what we wanted for our birth. I can honestly say that without Mari we wouldn't have had the amazing birth experience that we did. My husband was wonderful and helpful, but Mari knew exactly what I needed without me even realizing it myself. She is an essential part of my birth team and she joined me for my second birth as well. I actually can't even imagine a birth without her. She is one of those people you meet where I just felt an instant connection. She is completely there for you before, during, and after your birth. I really could go on and on...but suffice it to say that she is an extraordinary resource and presence to have during the child birthing journey.

Posted 4/21/2015

Birth Availability for Mari Stutzman Smith

= Available. Calendar last updated: 5/17/2018 4:51:52 AM