Kind Words...

Justin says...

Just now, I successfully put our 3-month-old son down for a morning nap. I swaddled, sang to him, had him suck on his bip and swayed. The 4 S's. I will never forget the night Shannon helped me to become a better father. It was around 10PM and our son was red roostering in hysteria like no one's business! His mom was catching up on rest and I was in his room quite rightly, losing my mind- Knowing all he needed was to go down and sleep. He was screaming and I thought I was doing all I could at the time to console him and try to get him to relax. At that moment Shannon was coming by to drop off some halo's for him.

She walked in on me clearly over-stimulating our son and asked so gently with our bonding smirks that we have come to develop, to give it a try. Shannon took him in her arms, swaddled him and sang Janis Joplin, made sure the bip stayed in his mouth and swayed hard...I watched in amazement. Before Shannon arrived the only song I could think of to sing in that blinding moment was the damn Star Spangled Banner for God's sake! Shannon had him down in moments. It is a memory and learning experience I will be forever grateful for.

Before that night, my bonding with Shannon had been well established, preparing for my partner's long labor at Maine Med. When our son was ready to enter the world, Shannon was right next to me. She was in it together with us. She had helped ease our anxieties well before labor began, she prepared us for what to expect. She made us feel confident in our own skin.

Shannon came to our home during early labor while we walked the streets as my partner was having her contractions. Having Shannon with us at home before going to Maine Med was everything. We got to establish our rhythm and get completely in sync. She was there bedside, holding hands and giving us the confidence we needed to labor at home before going to Maine Med. She was not just a confident, peaceful presence - Shannon was our advocate and our eyes and ears. To this day, Shannon is a part of our son's life in a way that no one else in this world will ever be. I am personally, as the father, so blessed to have her on this journey.


Marissa says...

Since our baby's birth, I have been filled with joy, overwhelming support, and searching for a way to properly articulate the experience to others. In those communications one thing is always clear, neither my partner nor I can imagine what the experience would have been like without the incredible Shannon Mackey! Shannon takes her role as a doula very seriously. However, it is her friendly, inviting, and familiar demeanor that allows her to feel like family. She provides knowledge, insights, and a support person to check in with if questions arise or you need a friend to talk to. She supports all types of birth and truly allowed my partner and I to take the lead, while feeling like we had access to all her knowledge to lean in to. She helped us think about aspects of birth and labor that we had not thought of. When I went in for the "past due" ultrasound, my ob suggested an induction. It was then that my partner and I went to the hospital to begin this process. We had no idea we would be starting on a 54 hours process to meet our son. Shannon was prompt and available to discuss induction, my options, what it would look like, and how it compared to my birth plan. She provided information that was not given by medical professionals and allowed me to feel empowered. She showed up early in the induction/labor experience and stayed with us until the very end (even sleeping on the floor one night). She provided endless support, brought us food & tea, walked the halls, sang to us, explained medical jargon, advocated for us, and cried with us. In the middle of labor, I vividly remember her telling me a story. This is a story I now tell my son. To say that Shannon acted as our doula somehow feels like an understatement, we feel like she is family and will not experience a pregnancy, labor, or birth without her there. She truly was invaluable to our birth experience. We HIGHLY recommend Shannon Mackey for all aspects of family planning and support.

Elena says...
Our experience has been incredible. She has been our cheerleader, confidant, mentor, caretaker and friend. She coaxed us through sleep deprivation and uncertain tears. She has been a tether through our first three months of parenthood. Her expertise and advice are so helpful. She brought nourishment literally and figuratively. In this time of isolation she offered a trusted connection to the world outside our home. We parent better because of Shannon. Any newborn parent would be so lucky to have her as their doula. We worked with her as a pre and postpartum doula. Although our birth experience didn't follow our vision, we had space to heal and manage our emotions around it with Shannon's support. She offers the most heart-felt hugs when that's often all I needed. We learned to swaddle, worked through colic, trouble-shoot bottle intolerance, manage pumping and attempting breast feeding, and curing a wicked a bout of diaper rash to name just a few early challenges she helped us handle and she is available by text anytime.I didn't know I would need her, but I did and I remain infinitely grateful she is part of our family.

Ashley says...

Shannon is amazing at her craft of helping families bring home a new baby. She's magical with babies, but more importantly so in tune to the parent(s) and their needs as they navigate this new love, responsibility, and change in their lives. She's a great cook, lovely resource for newborn questions, and not afraid to be a self-starter and just get some things done while you sleep or get out of the house. We found the greatest value in her helping us work through the emotional roller coaster of newborn family life. We would not hesitate to use her again!

Emily says...

What a joy it is to sing Shannon’s praises! I was an anxious mess in the third trimester of my pregnancy—so nervous about the labor and delivery aspect of having my baby. I also was dealing with some heavy grief and emotional baggage. I knew we didn’t NEED to have a doula be part of our birth plan, as we’d be delivering in a hospital with all the staff available to us, but I wanted to have a magical and powerful birth experience and feel supported leading up to the actual event of delivery. I also didn’t want to place all of the burden of my emotions on my partner and wanted someone to be a support for each of us during the labor process. Shannon was the perfect match for our family. She brings so much wisdom, a gentle yet confident presence, and a genuine love of the process of supporting the whole family in this transition of life. Before, during and after the birth of my beautiful son, I felt held and seen by Shannon, and she helped my partner to be a fully present and active birth companion.

I wanted the birth to be magical and sacred. Shannon helped us to labor safely at home (far longer than I would have probably chosen to stay home without her presence and reassurance) and knew when we needed to make the trip to Maine Med. Walking on the Eastern Prom on a beautiful spring morning with my partner and Shannon and dropping to squat through contractions every few minutes was one powerful image of our story… I felt safe throughout my labor and delivery – Shannon stayed with us through nursing shift changes and provided consistent wisdom and support. There were moments in the hospital when we needed to make decisions about medication and procedures – Shannon helped to slow things down in the moment so that my partner and I could make sound decisions and feel agency in the process. The whole experience of bringing my son earth-side will forever be one of the most beautiful and profound of my life – it was pure magic from start to finish.

I hadn’t realized how challenging the postpartum period would be for us – all my anticipatory mental energy had focused on bringing my baby safely into the world -- and it was a bit of a shock when we first went home with our son. Shannon continued to provide the same loving support – it was like she could anticipate when we needed her wisdom or delicious meals or gentle presence. She acted as a mentor and parenting coach to us in this period and the three of us are forever grateful for the foundation she helped us build.

Caroline says...

I struggle to find words to capture just how impactful and wonderful Shannon Mackey is as a human and in her work as a doula. I was quite anxious about labor and delivery. I knew I’d be medically cared for but wanted an experience that was not solely clinical or impersonal. Having Shannon as our doula gave me greater courage and confidence before, during, and after delivery. I have no doubt I had better outcomes, including my sense of personal empowerment and agency throughout, with Shannon by my side.

Shannon was deliberate in learning about me and my partner and how we support ourselves and one another at our initial meetings. She used that understanding to keep me grounded throughout labor and also to coach my partner on how to comfort me, both physically and mentally. Shannon’s presence and expertise allowed us to stay at home longer and labor outside, while feeling safe doing so before going to the hospital. Once at the hospital, her endurance to empathize, encourage both me and my partner, and facilitate labor momentum was incredible. She made space around decisions so that I understood and followed my intuition. With Shannon, I didn’t feel like labor was happening to me but that I was experiencing a magical, natural (albeit challenging) process.

Shannon held my hand, made me laugh, and kept me in the present moment for my 45-hour labor. She brought me gelato as I labored in the sunshine surrounded by trees. That is just one example of the many moments she helped create that I will forever cherish. She made our son’s birth story a beautiful experience and I am eternally grateful. And then, Shannon just keeps giving! Shannon’s postpartum support carried me during the fragile times of recovery, especially due to lack of sleep and I struggled with breast feeding. Shannon has an incredible ability to ask questions that helped me see the big picture and relates with genuine vulnerability. I kept telling her that she was a unicorn. Shannon has made me a better and more complete mom for my son.