Karen McWilliam (She/Her)
B.A., IFS Level 1, CC-PMH, CC-BRT, CC-PGL, CD(DONA), LE(CAPPA)
Owner and Founder of Transitionings™: Prenatal & Postpartum Wellness, Karen is a DONA-certified birth & postnatal Doula, creator of The McWilliam Method™ childbirth prep classes, a certified prenatal yoga teacher, trainer, breastfeeding educator and sleep educator. Karen offers private, group, and virtual birth prep classes as well as in-person and virtual doula support. Karen is also the founder of the “Life With Baby™” course designed to help families prepare for the myriad of changes that come with a new baby. All of Karen’s offerings are richly steeped in a wisdom born from 18+ years of nurturing and empowering families during this exciting and transformative time.
Karen’s specialty has grown into supporting families with a history of Birth and/or Reproductive Trauma, Mood and Anxiety challenges, as well as Grief & Loss in the Perinatal Period. She integrates her support and counselling through her training as an IFS Level 1 Practitioner.
Karen is proud to work with diverse families of all backgrounds dynamics and works from an anti-oppressive, anti-racist, and trauma aware lens.
Why Choose Us?
What Makes Us Unique?
Karen’s extensive training spans 18+ years. However, Karen’s shine is found within her intuitive and organic approach. She has a special way of creating a customized suite of support services to suit your birthing time needs. What will you need? It is likely you don’t know. But trust Karen to read the energy in the room and know in her bones what combination will be right for you and your family. Intuitive, wise, and grounded, Karen will be there to offer the stability and centering energy you need during this time.
- IFS Level 1 Practitioner
- CC-PMH (Canadian Certified Perinatal Mental Health)
- CC-BRT (Canadian Certified Birth & Reproductive Trauma)
- CC-PGL (Canadian Certified Perinatal Grief & Loss)
- Birthing From Within™
- Spinning Babies
- Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga
- Acupressure for Labour & Birth
- Breastfeeding/Lactation Educator
- Sleep Educator
- Parenting Preparation
- Second Attendant (The Farm, Tennessee)
The Transitionings™ Process
Getting started is easy. We’ll chat and Karen can learn a bit about you, what is important for you and you can learn a bit about her and the processes, modalities, and methods we have available with which to support you. If you feel like we are a good fit for your family, Karen will forward you an agreement to read, sign, and return. Once a retainer is received, we’ll schedule our two prenatal visits, and we’re on our way! We are available to you throughout the remainder of your pregnancy, birthing and beyond (until babe is approx. 3 months). Interested in finding out more? Schedule a no obligation interview in person or on Zoom™ today. You can also click “Get In Touch” in the upper menu for a range of contact options for your convenience.
We’re so excited to be a positive part of your journey. Let’s do this!!
Philosophy and Mentoring Approach
We believe that childbirth is the most empowering time in a birthing person’s life and that every family deserves to experience that empowerment in a safe and supportive way. In our experiences we have seen fear hold people back from connecting with their ancient, inner, birthing and parenting wisdom, and we strive to help families release that fear and embrace a much more positive experience. We believe the way we grow our babies and the way we birth our babies has a direct impact on how we feel about ourselves as birthers, and this in turn has an impact on how we parent our children. Our birthing and our parenting have a ripple effect on how our children grow and become parents themselves and our births have an effect on our larger communities. We can change the world, one birth at a time and we dedicate our lives to this pursuit.
We are passionate and dedicated in helping families find their own source of wisdom and strength. As families navigate the surplus of information that is available to them, it is important to have someone to guide ~ to not only uncover the basic intuitive knowledge in their bones, but also to be savvy about the current birth culture and the wide range of birth choices available. The Transitionings™ approach is inclusive, comprehensive, and compassionate.
Karen’s greatest teachers and source of all that is light and precious in her world, are her two children, Aislin and Gabriel.
Karen also wishes to acknowledge the immense gift she has received from all of the families who have welcomed her into their lives and have forever changed hers for the better.
Frequently Asked Questions
Doulas provide an opportunity for families to enjoy their birthing experience, regardless how their birth unfolds. What if every birth, whether it was a home-birth, or a birth with an epidural, or a cesarean birth, was celebrated, and experienced as a beautiful, empowered, engaged, connected, compassionate, honoured, and respected journey? We provide continuous emotional and physical support, education, and information; and we come to you where YOU are. Each family is different, each birth is unique, each baby is special and their journey into the world should be held in love and care.
A doula provides that love and care and is wise in the art of childbirth. A doula holds space for each family to find their strength and provides suggestions for releasing fear, movement, massage, breathing, relaxation, and assists with the swellings of the birth person’s body as their baby moves through them.
A doula will also support any partner(s) you may have included in your birth wishes, and act as a guide, trusted friend, and resource. A doula will provide them with additional tools, help them understand the birthing process, hold space for them to activate their instinctual support role, and encourage their role as paramount to the birthing journey.
The effect on births attended by a doula is astounding: less interventions, shorter, more manageable labour, less caesareans, increased satisfaction with the birthing experience, and more successful and extensive breastfeeding. In a recent study conducted by Marshall H. Klaus, M.D. and associates, “continuous labour support from a doula in…ten studies reduced the odds of receiving analgesia by 31 percent, decreased the use of oxytocin to stimulate labour by 50 percent, forceps deliveries by 34 percent and cesarean sections by 45 percent.” Statistics are important, but the true benefit rests still with the family – how any particular family feels about the birth of their child; are they satisfied? Did their child enter into the world in the way in which their parents had hoped? Did the birthing person experience the birth they most desired? There is obviously no way to ensure that everything every family desires is always possible. However, the doula’s role is to instil confidence and trust in the birthing process and the birthing couple so that even if special circumstances arise, they will feel supported and guided; held in care during this, their most intimate, life-changing and special time of their lives.
A doula supports not only the birthing person, but their partner(s) as well, providing them with a trusted friend to turn to when they may be having difficulty understanding the process and what their love is experiencing. A doula works with partners to provide them with additional tools to help the birthing person locate their inner resources and when necessary help them to focus and remain on track. A doula is the guide, but can never replace a partner’s role. A doula works with the partner to provide a solid, continuous support team for the birthing person while also offering the partner the chance to take a break when necessary. Thus the birthing person is never left feeling alone or unattended in labour; they always have someone to nurture them throughout their journey.
A midwife is a primary healthcare provider (HCP). In Ontario, OHIP covers either an Obstetrician or a Family Doctor or a Midwife. Midwives support birthing persons who are no risk or low risk. A Midwife is the only primary HCP who will attend a home birth should a birthing person wish to give birth at home. A Midwife also has privileges at hospitals should the birthing person prefer to give birth in a hospital setting. The care and support provided throughout the pregnancy is on-going and continues with postpartum care for 6 weeks after the baby is born.
A doula does nothing clinical. They offer physical, emotional, educational & spiritual support, and help birthing people move through the process without doing a single exam. A doula will find out what fears the woman may have to prevent her from birthing in a calm and relaxed manner, and will help them through the process.
Karen will meet with you (and your partner – where applicable) twice before your due time to establish a relationship, and to understand what is important to you for your birthing. Karen can also help you figure out what is important, if you aren’t yet sure.
Typically Karen will meet you at your home when you feel the need to have her be there with you. We then decide together when you feel it would be best to go to the hospital. However, there may be times where your preference would be to meet at the hospital directly. We would discuss which would be best for your situation.
Virtual support requires a different set of skills. Typically Karen is available throughout early labour, via Facetime, text and/or phone support. She can also offer more time prenatally so you (and possibly your partner) have a clear sense of what is supportive and necessary to facilitate the more nuanced process of labour without her physical attendance. Is it nurturing, loving, and celebratory? Is it connected and engaging? Absolutely! Karen will provide care for you in whatever way you need, in whatever setting you need it, and in whichever birthing climate exists in your life.
Virtual support is ideal for places/times when hospital policies dictate only one support person, or if you are outside of my catchment area.
Your care and support is our top priority. If Karen is with another family at a time of need, we have experienced and compassionate backup doulas ready to temporarily take over for her until she can become available for you. As such, you will always be cared for when you need it.
Absolutely. We are happy to provide you with references from families we have previously supported. Please contact us for this information, or see the testimonials section (people are saying really nice things….).
We incorporate many techniques for assisting women in childbirth including movement, visualization, fear release, hydrotherapy, massage, acupressure, aromatherapy, reminders for effective breathing, and deep relaxation techniques. The kind of support that is offered to you will be customized to your family and your needs. We are available to you during your prenatal period and meet with you and your partner, if you have one, twice in your home (or virtually) before your birth process begins. We remain with you throughout your birth journey, from when you need us to be there until your baby is born. We usually come to your home, but can join you in the hospital if that is preferred. We remain with you throughout your labour, help to initiate breastfeeding and remain with you for 1-2 hours after your baby is born. We also provide 2 postnatal visits after the child is born in order to help with the early adjustment period of new parenthood and to help support and assist with feeding. We are available for phone and email consults as necessary during your pregnancy and often remain in contact with families well after their babies are born.
Should you wish to meet for a no-obligation interview, We’d be happy to arrange that with you.
The wonderful folks we get to work with….