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Be Welcome.

Hello, my name is Tazneem.  I am a full spectrum doula and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) serving the Brussels, Belgium metropolitan area.  I speak English, French, Spanish and Italian.  My business is licensed (with a VAT number) and insured.  Let me tell you a bit about myself. 

I first came to birth work as a nursing extern at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, in New Jersey, in the summer of 2013.  When I interviewed for my externship I was running high on the adrenaline of medical-surgical procedures and new knowledge, and I applied to extern in every department except maternity.  My first baby had just turned 2 years old, and we had had a rough journey.  I had sought out a midwife and planned for an unmedicated birth, but my baby had other plans.  After a 48 hour induction, she was born by cesarean section;  IUGR (intrauterine growth restricted) and less than 4 pounds (1.7 kilos) at full term, she was placed in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for a week.  She never took to the breast, and I began a six month exclusive pumping journey.  All of this was fresh in my mind as I watched the long line of hopeful nursing externs lining up to interview for obstetrics... while I headed straight for geriatrics.  

A twist of fate brought me to OB-GYN anyway.  I spent half of that summer on the hospital's postpartum unit, and the other half in labor and delivery.  The nurses who took me underwing were exceptional people.  Still, I saw many ways that birth experiences could be improved, and I felt a calling.  By the end of that summer I was consumed with a deep passion for anything birth and baby related.  I found myself spending free time watching YouTube videos of childbirth and cheering as if they were Sunday sports (I still do this!).  I went back to nursing school that fall with the single-minded purpose of returning to perinatal care, maybe someday midwifery. 

When my externship ended, I was hired as a nursing assistant on the unit, and continued to nurture my passion.  I received my RN (nursing license) in August of 2014 and there was no question where my heart belonged: perinatal care.  I continued on at the same hospital unit, now a nurse.  I have had the privilege of supporting many families during their birth and baby-feeding journeys, through the exhausting postpartum period, and through the pain of loss as well.  I have helped friends and strangers via the internet and FaceTime, and in their homes, in person.  I have exalted in each and every experience I have been able to share. 

During my time as a nurse, my second child was born in a triumphant, unmedicated vaginal birth (vaginal birth after cesarean, or VBAC), and I was able to breastfeed her for two beautiful years.  This made me especially passionate about VBAC, access to VBAC, and birth autonomy in general.

In the fall of 2017, my family decided Europe would be a better fit for us, long-term.  My heart nearly broke to leave my duties to my amazing hospital patients and colleagues, but I am excited to open this new chapter in my life as I continue to advocate for those who would honor me with that privilege.  I also lived here in Brussels for 5 years previously, from 2005-2009.  

 

A Journey
(Nikki Giovanni, 1943)

It’s a journey . . . that I propose . . . I am not the guide . . . nor technical assistant . . . I will be your fellow passenger . . .

Though the rail has been ridden . . . winter clouds cover . . . autumn’s exuberant quilt . . . we must provide our own guide-posts . . .

I have heard . . . from previous visitors . . . the road washes out sometimes . . . and passengers are compelled . . . to continue groping . . . or turn back . . . I am not afraid . . .

I am not afraid . . . of rough spots . . . or lonely times . . . I don’t fear . . . the success of this endeavor . . . I am Ra . . . in a space . . . not to be discovered . . . but invented . . .

I promise you nothing . . . I accept your promise . . . of the same we are simply riding . . . a wave . . . that may carry . . . or crash . . .

It’s a journey . . . and I want . . . to go . . .
— Nikki Giovanni, 1943