When Hanna Tverdokhlib received an early morning call on February 24, she knew it was time to drive to the hospital. Her client needed her by her side. Hanna is a certified doula in Long Beach who provides expectant mothers with physical, emotional, and informational support.
“She was under a huge amount of stress,” says Hanna about the pregnant Ukrainian woman who hired her a few months prior. Her client had been up all night following the news about the unprovoked invasion in Ukraine by Russian forces. Hanna is also from Ukraine and says the stress of watching their country under attack led to her client having early contractions in her pregnancy.
Hanna met her client at the hospital to offer support and communicate her client’s needs to the doctors, who eventually controlled the contractions bringing the mom-to-be and her baby back to safety. These are the moments that stand out when we think about the ability of women to provide healing and promote hope, this year’s official Women’s History Month theme.
Professional doula and certified cactation consultant Hanna Tverdokhlib and her son.
Hanna was a journalist in Ukraine, but she believes her true calling is to support mothers and mothers-to-be. When she migrated to the U.S. with her family two years ago, she decided to forge a new career path. It was then that she found JVS SoCal.
Hanna first joined Healthworks®, JVS SoCal’s Certified Nurse Assistant program. “The CNA training was my introduction to the healthcare industry, and it taught me how to care for people with compassion,” she says. She then learned about WoMentoring, our six-month career development program that pairs women with a mentor and helps them define career objectives and goals.
It was during her time at WoMentoring that Hanna found the doula profession. Elise Levine, her mentor, guided her through the process of searching for additional programs that would allow her to meet her objective of helping other mothers. When she learned about a lactation consultant training program and the doula certification, Hanna knew this was the path to follow and decided to pursuit both. But there was one problem, she needed the funds to complete these programs.
That is when WoMentoring program coordinator, Diane Shapiro, stepped in. Diane applied for a Women Leadership Network’s Impact Grant to help Hanna pay for these two certifications and to have her studies from Ukraine verified. The WLN’s Empowerment Fund is intended to help JVS SoCal client’s get closer to their career goals by removing obstacles hindering their progress.
Hanna received the funding to complete her career objectives and today with her new career, she is poised to promote hope amid the growing crisis in Ukraine and the distress her community is facing globally. During this time, Hanna is offering her services free of charge to Ukrainian women in Long Beach and its surrounding areas who are experiencing challenges or need translation help during their pregnancy.