Julia Steils Paçacıoğlu
I began my university studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where I studied biology, languages, and anthropology. In my second year, I decided to take time off, during which time I received my certification in Swedish Massage from the Sebastopol Massage Center in California, USA. I resumed my education at New College of California, where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Culture, Ecology, and Sustainable Communities. After the amazing experience of witnessing the birth of my nephew, I decided to earn my advanced training certificate in Bodywork for the Childbearing Year in 2001.
That same year, I trained as a DONA labor doula (birth assistant), studied Shiatsu, which I applied towards pregnancy, and later completed the Heart and Hands Midwifery Program. This background has given me an excellent working knowledge of both the mechanical and emotional aspects of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum.
As a Certified Instructor of Infant Massage with the Foundation for Healthy Family Living, I learned how to listen deeply to babies and their families. This training has lead me to help promote healing touch and compassionate communication within the family. My certification as an American Heart Association CPR Instructor has inspired me to encourage self-education in matters of health and well-being.
In 2002, my love of oriental dance led me to create BirthDance in companionship with the visionary artist Barbara Getrost in California. I have also led and organized courses, seminars and trainings in childbirth preparation and women’s health across northern California, including The Nature Of Birth conference featuring Suzanne Arms, Jeanine Parvati Baker, and Rahima Baldwin-Dancy. I have furthered my ability to support breastfeeding mothers through participation in La Leche League and through apprenticeship with local midwives.
My training with Birthing From Within began after my move to Istanbul in 2003. Having come from a community in which home birth and non-interventive natural births in hospital were quite common to one in which cesarean birth was the norm came as a great shock to me. I found myself appalled and angry, blaming doctors, nurses, hospitals and parents for what I saw as “wrong” decisions and protocols. After realizing that I could not continue my work this way, I enrolled in the Birthing From Within Mentor program, which was like a balm in its embrace of nonjudgmental approaches to all aspects of birth and parenting. The true depth of understanding, compassion and forgiveness that the work of Birthing From Within instills has redefined the way I support parents. Maintaining the seemingly paradoxical relationships between perseverance and surrender, knowing and not-knowing, stretches my boundaries constantly, as parents who have taken my classes can relate, and yet is the most satisfying work I have ever engaged in.
My boundaries were further stretched with the birth of my son in 2010, and continue to stretch daily! The birth of my son, and the need I saw in so many families in Istanbul, inspired the creation of the İçsel Doğum Doula Training, which opened in 2011.
In addition to my work with families, I also enjoy playing in the garden, singing and painting with my son, hiking and exploring natural places, and continuing to stretch my boundaries through yoga.
Prior to and alongside my work with pregnant women, I worked in the childcare sector for over 10 years. My experience includes working as both a nanny and as a preschool teacher in a Waldorf inspired program. This has allowed me the honor of witnessing many children’s and families’ developmental processes.
I have a deep affection for children and respect for the miracle of birth and will enjoy this opportunity to support you and your family throughout your incredible journey.