|Areas of Interest
main areas of research interest are effective labor support
by doulas; the psychological needs of mothers and fathers
during labor and birth; and women’s sexuality.
Labor and Birth:
usually have one or two active projects going on, with future
projects being outlined. I have no problem coming
up with ideas! With my master’s thesis, Effective Labor
Support by Doulas, I was able to outline a theory of why doulas
are effective. Namely, they meet the attachment needs
of mothers during labor in a way that that nurses and fathers
are not able to do. Because of this mechanism, the doula
has the potential to positively affect the physiological processes
of the mother’s body. I am actively seeking publication
of two different papers based on this phase of the project.
PhD dissertation was completed in May 2010 (A Grounded Theory Model of Effective Labor Support By Doulas), but the project is ongoing. I expanded
and solidified the attachment aspects of my theory; explored
the relationships between fathers and doulas; and compared and contrasted independent practice and hospital-based doula support.
Some of these topics have already made their
way into my speaking topic lists.
Even though I officially graduated, I still interviewed more hospital-based doulas, and mothers and fathers who recieved care from a doula they hired during pregnancy in three states!
Ejaculation may not seem like a compatible topic with labor
and birth. It
is a parallel interest that came up during an graduate seminar
in sexuality with John Delamater, a distinguished professor
of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I
chose the research topic of female ejaculation, which is the
release of copious amounts of fluid during sexual arousal
or orgasm by a woman. As I explored this much debated
topic, I realized that in thirty years of research, no one
had ever asked women about their experiences. No one
ever identified women who ejaculated and then asked, “What
is this experience like for you?”
found this infuriating! Here
were all these people debating whether a woman’s body could
actually do this and not ask women about what they thought was going on? Or
even more importantly, how it affected their lives? This echoed exactly
what I had experienced in the childbirth literature. Until recently,
no one asked women how they felt about certain procedures – mother’s feelings
and experiences were not considered to be relevant. So
I set about to change this.
My article was published in the spring of 2009 in the peer-reviewed journal, Sexuality and Culture. To read my paper, please
go to the Publications page. I would like to do an expanded study on the same topic in the future.
My other area of research interest is how the birth experience affects a woman's sexual self and activity; how it affects a man's sexual internal representation and responses to his mate; and how the birth experience affects their sexual interactions.