Overwhelmed by the often conflicting advice about pregnancy and birth?
Wondering how your partner can best support you during labor?
Desiring support between your meetings with your care provider?
I’m Mandy — The Brainy Birth Doula.
I help couples have AMAZING birth experiences. My greatest joy is seeing couples experience birth together as a team, knowing that they have all the confidence and skills they need to greet their newest love with delight.
I am a Certified Lactation Counselor, crisis counselor, doula trainer, and co-founder of the Birth Languages Method of Childbirth.
I have a simple recipe to achieve this:
¼ cup of academics
My background in social research and ten years of experience teaching Women’s Studies gives me the ability to truly understand and discuss the latest research in maternal health.
¼ cup of non-judgemental support
I have served as a crisis counselor for over 15 years before becoming a doula and childbirth educator. This background enables me to truly meet you where you are on your birth journey. I specialize in working with women and partners who have histories of trauma. cof
A heaping cup of trust
Just because I know the research on birth doesn’t mean I know what is best for you. Nope, no way. I give information and trust you and your partner, alongside your care provider, to make the decisions that are right for your family.
2 ¾ cups of couple-centeredness
Birth is primarily a time for the couple to connect and welcome their new baby. I facilitate connection between partners and help partners learn how to provide stellar birth support in our prenatal meeting(s).
A dash of fun
While every birth has serious moments, there also is a lot of time to stop and really enjoy the experience through laughter, humor, and even silliness!
Stir this together with prenatal education, comfort techniques such as massage, acupressure and labor positions, and an awesome one-on-one relationship with you and your partner. Bake as long as needed at 98.6 degrees. Recipe cannot burn or spoil.
Pregnancy and Birth Concierge Service
Imagine having all your pregnancy and birth questions answered. You receive unlimited virtual support through 6 weeks postpartum.
I am on call for you from the moment we decide to work together. Ask about my “You Get Me Guarantee!”
Continuous Labor Support
No additional fees based on length of labor.
Pick the Services that Work Best for You!
Don’t be limited by what you see here…Let’s connected and develop the packages and pricing that works for you!
Everything in package 1 PLUS
Everything in package 1 PLUS
Additional postpartum or prenatal sessions can be added to any package.
Birth Languages – 4 Week class
Birth Languages is a fresh approach to childbirth. This method identifies the four languages of birth: Intuition, Movement, Touch, and Vocalization and gives Mothers and their partners the tools to use their own unique Birth Language to not just cope with but to actually embrace their birth experience with confidence!
The relaxed atmosphere of the class fosters connection, comfort, and confidence in the birthing process.
This four week course will:
- Empower you to unlock the potential of your unique Birth Language
- Prepare companions to provide support during labor
- Provide balanced, evidence-based information about pregnancy, birth
and medical interventions
- Include 6 month access to the Birth Languages Student Portal
Couples Comfort Measures Workshop
Prepare for birth as a team during this hands-on workshop. This class is excellent on its own, or in addition to a class in a hospital setting. The workshop includes:
- Labor positions for a safer, easier birth
- Breathing and relaxation techniques
- Comforting touch, massage, and acupressure
- Rebozo techniques
- Emotional support techniques during labor
- Movement for labor (even with an epidural!)
- Strategies to work WITH your labor
July 22 (9:30 – 12:30)
September 16 (9:30 – 12:30)
November 4 (9:30 – 12:30)
Cost is $35
One Day Refresher
Preparing for your second, third, or tenth child is different than preparing for your first. This refresher course addresses the needs of families who have experienced childbirth before with a focus on hands-on labor support review and skill building. The class includes:
- Labor support techniques,
- Exercises and optimal fetal positioning for an easier birth
- Mindfulness and relaxation techniques
- Advanced coping strategies
- Decision making during labor
- Sibling inclusion and introduction
- Learning/healing from past birth experiences birth experiences.
August 12 (9:30 – 3:30)
October 14 (9:30 – 3:30)
December 2 (9:30 – 3:30)
Cost is $60
Contact me today!
About Mandolin Restivo-Walsh, MA
I am a certified doula and childbirth educator who has attended over 40 births and taught hundreds of couples childbirth education. Before becoming a doula I taught Women’s Studies, worked as a crisis counselor, and coordinated diversity education for a college campus. Due to this background, I am able to work with a broad range of families and family structures with true openness and acceptance. I specialize in working with couples to enhance communication and bonding during pregnancy and birth. I am also particularly skilled at working with women who have experienced trauma.
A consistent theme in my career–from running campus Women and Gender Centers, to working in alternatives to incarceration, to serving as a crisis counselor–is my fierce belief in the power of education combined with freedom to make choices. I have seen first-hand how access to quality information coupled with the ability to make decisions about one’s body can empower and transform. This is the heart of my work as a doula and childbirth educator.
I am a New Yorker falling in love with the area from D.C. to Fredericksburg. I am really enjoying the combination of small town living with easy access to the D.C. (Don’t tell NY I said so!). I spend my time working with my doula clients, teaching, and training instructors to teach the Birth Languages Method, which I have co-founded.
When I am not working on all things birth I enjoy spending time outdoors. My family’s current obsession is sailing small racing boats. I love to take my Weimaraner/Dalmation 75 pound “puppy” on off leash trail walks, being a mom to an amazing preschooler, and cooking creative dishes. You will also find me regularly volunteering in my community and leading committee meetings. I also really, really, enjoy any quiet moment alone I can get and occasionally actually eating those creative meals while they are still hot! Prior to being a mom and an entrepreneur, I was an avid reader of fiction and history– now, I am an avid reader of bedtime stories!
It was about us as a family with Mandy as our facilitator.
"I was really worried about what labor would be like. My plan was to get an epidural & just get it over with. My husband refused to read the dad books & wanted to just wing it. We were not enjoying what should have been a special time. Our first meeting with Mandy turned everything around. She was engaging, kind & knowledgeable. She opened my husbands’ eyes to the decisions we needed to make & provided research so we could make those decisions. He was so into the meeting that he hired Mandy on the spot! We finally started connecting over the pregnancy. I worried having a doula would further disconnect us but it was the opposite, Mandy really worked to engage him & provide us with things we could do together. It was about us as a family with Mandy as our facilitator. Mandy gave us materials that made me feel so confident in what I was doing! She never pushed us towards any one way of doing things & we decided on an un-medicated hospital birth. I had gone from terrified of the pain to feeling like my body was made for this! It was freeing to feel like I could actually do this. As weeks dragged on, Mandy was always just a phone call or text away. She listened to me vent & provided help where she could. She was patient with questions & had us try a lot of laboring techniques to see what might work. Mandy was there for 27 hours helping me in both big & small ways. Once we were at the hospital, nothing went as planned. My OB was out of town, I was dilating slowly and I was getting really tired. After all that prep, I ended up with a random doc, getting an epidural after 21 hours & nearly had to use forceps. But because we had gone over different scenarios previously we knew what we wanted & my husband was able to be my voice while I labored. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing we did. And my husband was everything that I wanted in a birth partner & I know I owe his confidence to Mandy’s influence!"
Mandy is worth her weight in gold
"When our midwives told us we had to take a birth class in order to use the birthing center we found Mandy and took her class. She was a fantastic instructor and we spent many weeks preparing to be a team going into labor. We knew that Mandy was a doula too and we asked her to be our doula IF we were transferred to the hospital, we figured we wouldn't need a doula in the birthing center. How wrong we were. As it happened we were transferred to the hospital early in my labor so we called Mandy, who like a hero, rushed up to Maryland to be with us. I labored for a very long and difficult 36 hours. Mandy did things that no one else would have thought of, she helped herself to more pillows, blankets, and towels when I needed them. She reminded my wife and I of different positions that could be more comfortable to labor in, helped me find comfort in the shower, she raided the comfort station at will to keep me hydrated and as nourished as possible. Her presence gave my Wife and my Mom time to rest in shifts because it was a pretty physical day for them too. In the last 2 hours before my baby was born I dilated from 4 to 10 cm, neither my Wife or my Mom thought I was ready to push and were trying to stop me from pushing. Mandy had the presence of mind to get a Nurse to call the midwife because she knew the baby was coming. After my baby was born there was a frenzy of activity in my room, multiple nurses, my wife and my mom were all working excitedly over the baby, and there I was exhausted and alone except for Mandy, who gently fed, soothed, and encouraged me. Her philosophy is that everyone in the room is there for the baby, but the Doula is there for the mother. Mandy helped us figure out how to nurse, let us know what to expect over the next 2 days, and checked in on us when we got home. Mandy is worth her weight in gold, and I would want her in the room for every birth. Now I tell everyone 'Get a doula for your birth, get mine!'"
- Alexis Harvey
Mandy was EVERYTHING and more
Mandy said she would support me no matter how I chose to birth
"Both of my births were beautiful, but I have Mandy to thank for helping make my second birth everything my husband and I hoped for and more. When we learned we were expecting our daughter, we wanted her birth to be smoother than our son's birth, which resulted in a weeklong NICU stay. But we didn't know what we could do to make her birth a calmer and more peaceful experience until we met Mandy in the middle of my third trimester.
When we met to discuss our birth plan, Mandy listened thoughtfully as I expressed my feelings. I was glad I had an epidural with my son's birth, but this time I wanted to learn labor techniques to help me cope with the pain and to see how far I could get before resorting to medication. I appreciated that Mandy said she would support me no matter how I chose to birth and she offered great suggestions on how to make me more comfortable.
Mandy was the first person I called when I went into labor at 36.5 weeks. She was there the entire time throughout our short and sweet natural birth (3.5 hours!), suggesting labor positions, helping my husband use massage and counter-pressure during my contractions, bringing me washcloths with lavender and clary sage oil to calm me as I labored in the shower, feeding me snacks and keeping me hydrated, encouraging me as I pushed, and taking photos as my husband and I bonded with our daughter and I nursed her for the first time. Our daughter had to be monitored briefly due to low temperature and low blood sugar, and Mandy attended to me and my postpartum needs while my husband stayed with our baby. Finally, she checked in with us regularly throughout our hospital stay and over the next few weeks as we got settled at home.
We found Mandy to be warm, sensitive, empathetic, effective, knowledgeable, and kind. We are happy to call Mandy both our doula and our friend after having her share in one of the most beautiful and intimate experiences we will ever have."
She went above and beyond to support me
"When I 1st heard about placenta encapsulation I will admit, the concept was a bit disconcerting, but like with everything pertaining to my pregnancy and child I researched it a lot. As someone who has struggled with depression in the past I was concerned about postpartum depression being an issue for me. Since learning that was one thing the placenta encapsulation was supposed to help with I decided that my discomfort over the idea of ingesting my own placenta was worth pushing aside if it helped me stay in the best possible mindset to be the best care provider I could for my daughter. The process was more than easy and Mandy made it flawless. She came to pick the placenta up at the hospital (after my doula and the nurse packaged it up), then delivered it to my home after we got back home from the hospital. The 1st time I took one I thought I'd be weirded out but it was no different than taking any other supplement. It was simply no big deal, until it came to the results that is. As a new mom it's impossible to know how your body will respond to pregnancy and though I was someone who did everything "right" I still struggle with my milk supply. I truly believe that if I hadn't had those pills I would not have been able to breastfeed my daughter which was very important to me. Even now, 10 months later as my cycle has begun again I need them around that time of the month to increase my supply because it plummets due to the hormonal changes. I also realized how much the pills helped with hot flashes as I had skipped them a few days and started experiencing extreme hot flashes overnight. I started taking the pills again and they immediately went away. I would highly recommend placenta encapsulation and Mandy. She went above and beyond to support me and I know proudly consider her a friend. The beginning weeks with our little ones are so precious. It's worth the investment to be able to give them our best."
I would want her there every time!
We couldn’t have been happier
Thank you Mandy for being such a wonderful teacher!
"My experience with Mandolin (Mandy) was absolutely wonderful and I hope to be able to use her again in the future! When I was 9 weeks pregnant my husband found out he would be deploying soon missing most of my pregnancy and the first few months of our child's life. As a soon to be first time mom I was nervous to be going through this journey semi by myself. I started looking into all my options for hospital births, birthing centers, doulas, and many styles of birthing classes to see what would work for me. After much research I decided that I wanted to have our child at birthing center where doulas were provided, and to do birthing classes with Mandy. Her style follows many of the Bradley methods but she also listens to her clients needs and tailors the classes to them.
Since my husband was not able to attend any of the classes I thought I wouldn’t have a partner to practice any of the techniques with- wrong. Mandy was always my partner helping me whenever I needed it and showing me different techniques I could do by myself. Not only was she great at teaching me the birthing class basics but she would go in depth to anything I had questions on and she would always go the extra mile with the little things that helped in a big way. Examples: I was super stressed out from work so she would defuse essential oils during class to help me relax. I ended up with gestational diabetes so she made sure there was a healthy snack option during our classes, and lots of water! I also had a lot of pain in my hips throughout my pregnancy so Mandy would take the last 10 minutes of class to use rebozo exercises and counter pressures (a nice massage) to help alleviate my hip pains.
Thank you Mandy for being such a wonderful teacher!"
Mandy is a wonderful doula