Carrie Kenner, Big Belly Services
Hello! My name is Carrie Kenner and I am the proud mother of Big Belly Services. I started Big Belly Services in 2001 after the birth of my last child. Here’s my story:
Becoming a Mother
It was 1979. I was 18 and pregnant (by choice). I knew I wanted to have a home birth. I still don’t remember how I knew this was right for me. Perhaps it was an amalgamation of reading Adrienne Rich, The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective’s Our Bodies, Ourselves, and learning about the African diaspora, where every woman birthed at home. But I knew that women had been doing this since the beginning of time, and I believed in that history.
In those days, you couldn’t just look on the internet (or even the phone book) to find a list of midwives. I phoned around for 3 months to find midwives to support me, and had a powerful experience. I found birth to be transforming to who I was as a person, in ways that have impacted my sense of self ever since. I now have three sons ranging in age from thirty-six to sixteen. And eight glorious beings that are my grand-children. Becoming a mother initiated me to my true self.
Becoming a Doula and Educator
My first desire was to spread the magic I experienced, and be a midwife. I began by supporting friends and my sister in labor in 1981. And then, my second child was on the way. During that pregnancy, I studied with the Tacoma Childbirth Education Association and began teaching childbirth preparation classes.
With two small children to raise, I was unable to afford out-of-pocket midwifery school, so I decided to pursue being a doctor. After three years of pre-med, I learned that being a doctor wasn’t where my heart was at (and I still couldn’t afford midwifery school) so I worked in healthcare administration for the next 16 years. I left that work in December 2000 before the birth of my third son, and decided to return to my original passion and resumed teaching childbirth classes and became a professional doula. I became a certified doula in 2002, and a Certified Mentor with BIRTHING FROM WITHIN®.
Because of my experience working with families in all stages of their parenting journeys, and my interest in pre- and perinatal psychology, I began offering pre-conception counseling in 2003. I expanded my counseling services to offer support to new families as they made decisions about their birthing options, and to help families resolve disappointment or trauma after difficult births.
In 2004, I started training people to be birth doulas. And in 2006, I fulfilled a years-long dream and held the first Sacred Doula Training at Breitenbush Hot Springs. The joy I felt at manifesting this dream, and the rewards from uniting with many other kindred spirits around the sacredness of birth, made my heart swell and further ignited my fire to share my passion. I now offer the Sacred Doula Training annually each Spring. But I couldn’t limit the sacredness of learning from and about the divine feminine, while sitting in circle, to just once a year, so I created the enCircle Birth Doula Workshop which is offered every other month in Seattle.
I am also fortunate to work with aspiring doulas and midwives as an instructor at Bastyr University. I am a Senior Instructor at the Simkin Center for the Birth Doula Skills Workshop.
Becoming a Visionary
My life’s work is to heal the world and manifest peace by changing the nature of how we do things – from how we eat, to how we birth, to how we work. I presented my vision of Birth as a Peace Movement at the University of Washington in May 2006, and have conducted advanced doula trainings on Newborn Consciousness and Ensuring Gentle Birth for Babies.
My intention as an educator, trainer, mentor and leader is to facilitate self-discovery in others, and to raise awareness of the optimal state of being human. I teach about the consciousness of babies from pre-conception and onwards, and about the abundance of health that is offered by our planet. I derive my greatest joy witnessing the transformation a person goes through in their parenting journey or blossoming into a new career, as well as from watching a seed turn into a fruiting plant. I am honored to be able to work with people at this incredible time in history, to do what I love, and call it my ‘work’.
Becoming a Farmer
I am passionate about honoring our earth and our environment – the universe. I started my first organic garden in 1996 by reading books, plowing up my back yard, and building raised beds. I’ve had a garden ever since, either at my home, or at a local P-Patch. In 2009, I spent six months on a small permaculture farm in Snohomish, learning how to raise small farm animals, my own food, and live in harmony with land. I trained as a Master Gardener, and became a certified Food Preservation Educator. I created a suburban farm in 2011, and am now urban farming on Beacon Hill in Seattle, raising chickens and ducks, and tending a large garden. I built a greenhouse in my front yard, and now sell vegetable, culinary and medicinal herbs, and flower seedlings.
Sustainable food production, social justice regarding food access, and food as medicine are issues that I am invested in. I try to raise as much of my own food as possible, and share with my neighbors. I know that every little bit we can do together as a community to have control over our food sources will improve the health of our bodies, and our planet.
I love reading, learning from children, gardening, dancing, hanging out with trees, being in water, and sunshine. I LOVE babies and would love to have had many more : )