The Story of Shifra's Tent
Shifra and Pu'ah are midwives in the biblical story of the Exodus from Egypt. In that story, Shifra and Pu'ah are instructed by the Pharaoh of Egypt to kill every boy delivered to the Hebrew women they serve. The midwives disobey, telling Pharaoh that the women are such expert birthers that their babies are born before the midwives can arrive. In this way they save the lives of many infants.
The story of these brave midwives illustrates how a birth attendant's loyalty is with the mother and her child. She protects them and advocates for their health and happiness and is not subject to any higher authority that may attempt to interfere in harmful ways. This is my commitment as a doula.
"Shifra's Tent" is a reference to the "red tents" that ancient communities built for women to enter while they were menstruating or giving birth. The name congers images of a safe and cozy space where women honor, celebrate, and take care of one another, with support and respect from all the loving members of their communities, both men and women.
This name is rooted in respect for our ancestors and their traditions. As a doula, I strive to learn from the stories of all the brave women who have come before me, and to learn from and educate the women around me as we all work towards a happier and healthier birth culture.
Who I Am
My name is Sarah Schuldenfrei (that's SHOL-den-fry). I am a woman, a sister, a daughter, a partner, and a friend. I have lived in a number of places - the suburbs of Philadelphia, Maine, New York City, Israel, and Oregon, to name a few - and I have found myself at home here in Vermont.
When I'm not studying about birth and herbs or growing vegetables and medicinal plants, I work as a baker of artisan breads and yummy pastries. I love baking, especially crusty sourdough breads in a wood-fired oven early in the morning as the sky is just beginning to turn pink. If you're interested in my life as a baker (or just in good bread), you can find more information here.
I now live in West Townshend, Vermont. I am pursuing birth work and herbal training, baking, gardening, and learning about how to build community. I also love to dance, make baskets, pottery, and music, and collect delicious wild mushrooms and edible and medicinal plants.
I graduated from Barnard College in 2010 with a BA in Environmental Policy and Middle East Studies. Studying the challenges of sharing water in the desert helped guide me to a life of commitment to sustainability. It also taught me to be in awe of our universe's miracles, like water, and birth.
Above photo by Kiqe Bosch
I trained as a birth doula with Michelle L'Esperance, CPM of Warm Welcome Birth Services in 2013, and am a Warm Welcome Certified Doula.
I am certified in neonatal resuscitation, and completed a midwifery assistant training in the fall of 2014. It is an exciting privilege to work as an assistant to homebirth midwives in southern Vermont.
I also practice herbal medicine, and have studied with several amazing teachers. In 2011 I attended the Columbines School of Botanical Studies in Eugene, OR. Since moving to Vermont I have studied with Helena Wu, midwife and herbalist, in various capacities, including attending a workshop on herbs for childbirth.
I am currently enrolled in a course with Aviva Romm, M.D. (also a midwife and herbalist) in Herbal Medicine for Women, through which I will become certified as a Women's Herbal Educator. I hope to use these skills and knowledge to benefit the women I serve as a doula.