In college, I decided I wanted to be so adaptable that I could drop out of a hot air balloon into any human community on earth and be fine. I traded my contact lenses for glasses, threw away my orthodics, and started exploring how to ditch my thyroid medicine. I followed my martial arts family to their native land of Hawai'i and began to get curious about nature connection and my own heritage. After graduating with a BA in Chinese language and culture, I joined the ADAMAH fellowship, then in its first year, and learned about Judaism and organic farming while living in a tent in the woods with a community of earthlings of shared heritage and curiosities. I acquired my Hebrew nickname, Nets, tried it on, and it stuck. I also met my future husband, Jakir, and he stuck too. Now we live at a different Jewish retreat center, and Jakir continues his visionary leadership in the Jewish environmental movement. My midwifery journey grew directly out of my farming experience, though I do believe its seeds were planted by my mother long ago.
I have been attending births for the last 18 years, gradually working towards becoming a homebirth midwife while raising children, homeschooling, and expanding my knowledge and practice of natural healing modalities. I have served as a doula, midwife assistant, and midwife under supervision for about 100 births in the Baltimore and DC areas, learning from many wise and experienced midwives and mothers along the way.
In 2005, I trained as a doula, labor assistant, and monitrice through ALACE (now ToLabor) and later re-certified with The Matrona as a holistic doula. I trained as a childbirth educator with BirthWorks, International in 2009 and have taught both group and private classes to help families prepare for natural birth. In 2014, I completed The Matrona's program of study in Holistic Midwifery and Homeopathy. My midwifery training continues under midwives Bayla Berkowitz and Karen Carr, and I hope to serve as a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and Maryland Licensed Direct-Entry Midwife (LDEM) beginning in 2023. Here is my Birth and healing-related resume.
Healing and Bodywork:
Many years ago, I began a self-healing journey to reverse Hashimoto's (autoimmune) thyroiditis. This diagnosis has led me on an incredible path of learning, healing, growing, and helping others. Raising children has also presented abundant opportunity for deep dives into holistic health and healing and helped me recognize that parents are the original primary care provider, and community support is crucial for individual and collective well-being! My learning continues to expand and deepen in the areas of traditional foods, functional nutrition and supplementation, herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, homeopathy, emotional sovereignty coaching, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, medicinal essential oils, and Hawai'ian Huna wisdom.
I was drawn towards Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy about nine years ago, due to the gentle, reverent, and non-invasive quality of touch and attention and the intention to follow the body's "inherent treatment plan." I completed over 900 hours in training as a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist under Mimi Ikle-Khalsa through the Heartwaves Healing Institute in Glen Echo, Maryland and certified as an RCST in January 2021. RCST stands for Registered Craniosacral Therapist, under the certifying body of the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America. In 2022, I completed a month-long course in working with babies under cranial osteopath Jonathan Evans of Kindred Academy. I've really been enjoying working with babies, who are so responsive to this gentle therapy and often show its effectiveness immediately!
My original and hereditary passion is dance. My mother's mother, then my mother, and then I were all dancers. I studied and performed classical ballet for ten years as a child. Then I discovered martial arts and earned my second degree black belt at Kim Studio under Grand Master James K. Roberts, Jr. For the last 18 years, I have been practicing and occasionally teaching Yang-style Taichi, which I studied under Sifu Paul Ramos of Wu Shen Tao. Movement continues to serve me as a source of joy, release, grounding, spiritual connection, and embodiment.
On a more personal note, I was blessed to be raised in a health-conscious, quirky and creative home influenced by the principles and practices of Ayurveda, authentic movement, Jewish culture, and a deep appreciation for the wonders of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. I have studied and practiced various styles of dance, martial arts, meditation, earth skills, homesteading, homeschooling, parenting, and earth-based Judaism. I speak and understand some Mandarin Chinese, te Reo Maori, Hebrew, and Spanish.
Our family enjoys living, working, and playing by the Pearlstone Center, in Reisterstown, Maryland. My husband, Jakir Manela, can be found visioning, leading, co-creating beauty and justice through his work as CEO of Hazon, and walking our dog in the woods around the Pearlstone Campus. All four of our children were born at home with our beloved midwife, Karen Carr - Lev in 2007, Shama in 2010, Yovel in 2014, and Amani in 2017. I chose to stay home with the children for many years while we breastfed each baby for two years, co-slept, cloth-diapered, practiced baby-wearing and elimination communication, and homeschooled, inspired by Waldorf education, Coyote Mentoring, unschooling, and our community of brilliant, wise, and loving parents and children. Now my children go to school while I share what I've learned so far and continue to be humbled by this journey into the ever-changing unknown.
Called to protect and amplify the sanctity of the creative processes of birth, healing, play, and growth, I work comfortably and respectfully with all kinds of families and individuals. I am always honored and amazed in the presence of healing, gestation, and birth. My clients are my heroes. Please be in touch!