Birth doula supports women through motherhood bumps

Between ACDC and Kiss concerts, Jan Martinka was living the fast life trying to raise two kids.

Birthing and postpartum doula Jan Martinka (center) chats with mom-to-be Levonne Padilla (left) and Sarah Levy

Birthing and postpartum doula Jan Martinka (center) chats with mom-to-be Levonne Padilla (left) and Sarah Levy

Kirkland mom Jan Martinka guides mothers through birth and postpartum

Between ACDC and Kiss concerts, Jan Martinka was living the fast life trying to raise two kids.

Then, at a Rolling Stones concert, she found out she was pregnant with her third child.

“It was pretty hectic,” she recalled of when her husband was a rock concert promoter in Milwaukee. So when Martinka was six months pregnant, the couple moved to Kirkland to raise their family.

Now a birth and postpartum doula, the mother of four full-grown children has supported other women for more than 20 years.

“Doula” is Greek for “women supporting women,” she explained. Pregnant women, or women dealing with postpartum issues use a doula to help guide them.

Martinka has participated in more than 100 births, from c-sections to water births and from at-home deliveries to births at Evergreen and Overlake hospitals. Her clients span Microsoft employees, her own son and daughter-in-law, and most recently she is supporting a close family friend, Levonne Padilla.

“I got lucky,” the Kirkland resident said of Martinka, her best friend’s mother whom she has known since childhood.

Padilla, who is expecting her first child this April, has used Martinka’s guidance to help the mom-to-be find a good doctor and set up a birthing plan.

“I’m so nervous, so I ask tons of questions and she’s always telling me, ‘you’ll be fine,’” Padilla said. “It calms me down.”

Martinka said she enjoys working in partnership with the birthing couple or mother. She helps clients set up a birthing plan, attends prenatal visits with them and supports what they want, whether it be an epidural or no drugs during delivery.

But new moms, like Sarah Levy, also know how challenging motherhood can be after their baby is born.

“Women don’t get help because they think they should be able to do it all and they shouldn’t have to do it all,” said Levy, who recently gave birth to daughter, Chloe. “That’s the whole point of having a doula.”

A child psychologist for her practice, The Prepared Mom, Levy said she has worked with women through their pregnancies.

“For me I learned that I don’t know enough and I really wanted the extra support,” she added.

Martinka goes to Levy’s home and offers support through all of the “firsts”: how to breastfeed properly, put the baby to sleep and bond with the baby.

Levy considers herself a typical new mom and wonders “if I’m doing everything right and I’m still unsure. It doesn’t matter what you do or who you are, I think new moms all tend to experience those same feelings of insecurity and fears and it’s good to know that that’s normal.”

Martinka said it’s rewarding “just helping a new mom figure it out.”

She recently helped a mother who was experiencing sore nipples because her baby’s latch was off. Martinka propped the mother with pillows, showed her how to position the baby and then breastfeeding became easier.

She also offers support to mothers who experience postpartum depression.

“If I knew then what I know now, I’m sure I would have had a doula,” Martinka said of her own pregnancies.

She remembers sitting up in the middle of the night with her newborn and crying because she was so tired.

“Just know that you will get through this,” is the advice she gives to new mothers.

Martinka’s rock n’ roll lifestyle has not left her completely. She recently had a couple ask if she could play AC/DC during the birth of their child. She obliged.

But between supporting other women and enjoying her own grandchildren, she has learned to slow down.

“So that’s what I tell my new moms –- it goes so fast. One minute you’re holding a baby and the next minute your son is graduating from college. So what I tell them is you need to enjoy this time because it’s gone in a snap.”

For more information about birth and postpartum doula Jan Martinka, visit www.janmartinka.com or call her at 425-444-7870.

Postpartum depression

According to Mayoclinic.com, postpartum depression may appear to be the baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and longer lasting, eventually interfering with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Signs and symptoms of postpartum depression may include: Loss of appetite; insomnia; intense irritability and anger; overwhelming fatigue; loss of interest in sex; lack of joy in life; feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy; severe mood swings; difficulty bonding with the baby; withdrawal from family and friends; thoughts of harming yourself or the baby.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe High Country
Car review: 2021 Chevy Tahoe 4WD High Country

By Larry Lark, contributor Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for short, in the… Continue reading

2021 Lexus NX 300h
Car review: 2021 Lexus NX 300h

By Larry Lark, contributor The 2021 Lexus NX 300h luxury sports utility… Continue reading

Mazda’s 2021 CX-5 compact sports utility vehicle. Courtesy photo
Car review: Mazda’s 2021 CX-5 compact sports utility vehicle

By Larry Lark, contributor Mazda’s 2021 CX-5 compact sports utility vehicle continues… Continue reading

2021 Toyota Corolla XSE. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Toyota Corolla XSE

By Larry Lark, contributor Toyota’s venerable Corolla received a bumper-to-bumper, wheels-to-roof transformation… Continue reading

2021 Volkswagen Atlas. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Volkswagen Atlas

By Larry Lark, contributor Volkswagen’s full-size Atlas SUV received a bold refresh… Continue reading

2021 Chevrolet Blazer. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Chevrolet Blazer

By Larry Lark, contributor When it comes to certain car models they… Continue reading

2021 Lexus RX 350L. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Lexus RX 350L

By Larry Lark, contributor It’s always a good day when a Lexus… Continue reading

The Cadillac CT4 is designed to appeal to a new generation of Cadillac buyers with its athletic design and astute driving dynamics. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2020 Cadillac CT4 Premium Luxury

By Larry Lark, contributor With apologies to Oldsmobile, “the 2020 CT4 Premium… Continue reading

2021 Mercedes E-350 luxury sedan. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Mercedes E-350 luxury sedan

By Larry Lark, contributor Mercedes-Benz occupies rarified air in the automobile pantheon.… Continue reading

2021 Ford F-150 Platinum. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2021 Ford F-150 Platinum

By Larry Lark, contributor It’s always a call to action when a… Continue reading

Eleanor Knight, 14, and her younger brother, Ivan, then, 9, horse around while waiting to surf a wave on the Class III Wenatchee River. Courtesy photo.
Kayaking kid conquers raging rapids

“Between Two Swims” captures family’s brave adventures on film.

Classic Eats Restaurant owner Tony Hayes distributing gift certificates to Highline School District staff. Hayes is one of many King County residents that have been giving back during this time of need in 2020. Courtesy photo/Tony Hayes.
Local fundraisers take on new meaning during pandemic

With these hardships have come stories of the power of community crowdfunding in our own backyards.