Meet Our Doulas: Patsy Brooks

November 2, 2016

When I set out to create a doula agency, I knew I wanted to hire an amazing team. Last spring, when this idea was brand new and I was just beginning, I sat down with a colleague, Patsy Brooks, to catch up over coffee. By the end of that coffee date, we agreed she would be the first independent contractor with Madison Family Doulas.

I've known Patsy for many years, and when I was a solo postpartum doula, I often referred clients to her when I was unable to meet a scheduling need. I have grown to trust (and adore) her. I think you will, too.

Here's a little about Patsy, in her own words.

How did you first become interested in doula work?
In 2007 I had no idea what a ‘doula’ was. I was talking to my daughter’s best friend from preschool while we decorated for my daughter’s 21st birthday surprise party. She told me she wanted to be a midwife. I excitedly responded that I had always wanted to be a midwife. She said I could still be a midwife. I responded no way did I want to go back to school. Then she said I could be a doula. I said what? Her response changed my life forever. She said, “I know, I could be the midwife and you could be the doula!” The next day I Googled doula and registered for the next doula training in Madison. Thank you Ellie!

What is your favorite season?
Autumn, Spring, Winter, Summer. All of them in that order. Why else would I live in Wisconsin?

If you could see one artist/band in concert, dead or alive, who would it be?
Toss up between Carol King (It’s Too Late Baby) and James Taylor (Shower the People You Love With Love). Changed my mind. Both in concert together.

Coffee or tea?
Gotta have my coffee. Fresh ground and fresh brewed from Guatemala with 2 T of half and half. If someone happens to be living with me at the time, I cajole them into bringing me coffee in bed. If I am by myself, I set the timer and bring my coffee back to bed with me.

Favorite accessory to wear?
Always earrings. I feel naked if I forget to put them on. Second is a scarf but not in summer necessarily.

Last meal you cooked?
Yesterday I concocted a crock pot recipe with what I had on hand…pork chops, shredded cabbage, chopped apple, stone ground Dijon mustard and Trader Joe’s butternut squash soup. Delicious!

Favorite activity to do in Madison?
Selling my daughter’s artwork at the Dane County Farmers’ Market. I get to meet so many people…old friends and new. Plus I get to soak up all the great feedback about her amazing artistry. Second favorite is attending free jazz performances (or anything free really).

Where did you grow up?
In Madison, WI at the corner of Francis and Johnson Streets for the first 17 years of my life. Free prize to anyone who can remember what it was called before the Nitty Gritty. (No kidding!)

Hobbies/activities you partake in?
“Do what you love. Love what you do.” Spending time with babies and children is my #1 activity. I am also a Fit Bit nut. I keep track of steps, flights, miles, calories, minutes, water intake, activities, sleep…daily. Gardening is my therapy, especially weeding. I love color and fabric so anything related will be reflected in my home.

Favorite quote?
“Children ask the world of us.” Women's Action for New Directions

Professional goals?
Keep on keepin’ on. For as long as I can.

Who do you look up to most?
Marian Wright Edelman, American activist for the rights of children. She has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. She is president and founder of the Children's Defense Fund and author of Stand for Children.

Movie you can watch again and again and not get tired of?
Roxanne with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah. It never fails to make me laugh.

What did you want to be when you grew up, as a child?
Single-mindedly a teacher, always. I went on to receive my undergraduate degree in secondary education. I taught at the high school and college levels and was an educational administrator. I retired from the University of Wisconsin School of Education in 2014.

Favorite room in your house?
Undoubtedly my bedroom. It is my sanctuary where I am surrounded by artwork created by my children. It is where I go to meditate, to breathe, to center, to be inspired, to find peace

Michelle Ellinger is the Owner and Director of Madison Family Doulas in Madison, WI. When not busy with day-to-day small business operations, she is active in her community and public education. Michelle has three school-aged sons and enjoys hiking and cooking.