The Bravest Woman I Know

by Jenny Wise Weich '96

When Katie and I attended Scripps together for one year, in 1996, I waited with excitement and occasional trepidation to hear the latest yarn my first-year mentor group would tell me about Katie’s dramatic adventures. “Swimming naked in which pool? The fountain by the CMC fishbowl? During lunch? As part of an improvisation class assignment?” I would gasp. After a while, I just asked them to let me hear it straight from my sister and best friend, Katie Wise ’97. Katie has always been my role model when it comes to facing fear with a laugh. Since childhood, she has pushed aside fear like so much garbage. She has continued, as an adult, to push the envelope as a comedian, actor, writer, director, and currently as a doula birth coach.

So when my husband, Greg, and I decided we wanted to have a baby, I had to face my most deep-seated fears: dying in childbirth or becoming clinically depressed as a post-partum new mother. I could be intellectually convinced that 97% of American births cross the finish line with healthy mommies and babies, but I had fought clinical depression before and knew I had real risks to manage. We decided to visit a medical expert at UCLA. Katie immediately agreed to come when we invited her to join us as our doula. A doula is a birth coach and expert, but Katie, as per usual, pushes that envelope and is so much more.

February 6, 2006: Katie, Greg, and my mom were right with me during the birth, encouraging me and providing calm, assured voices. They cheered me so loudly during pushing that the charge nurse had to politely say, “Coaches, can you please quiet down? Jenny needs to hear the doctor now — the head is crowning!” Only four hours after initial labor began, I was nursing my red-headed, gorgeous baby boy, Ian! To my amazement and delight, and thanks to hypnobirth techniques, I had experienced no fear, just intense sensation, excitement, and a natural birth beyond my wildest dreams! Katie not only helped me overcome my fears of giving birth, she gave up a month of her Santa Monica-based pre-natal yoga and doula service business to come and stay with us in Colorado. She helped Greg with Ian’s night feedings, cooked, shopped, and organized our house to support Ian, Greg, and me, her grateful sister.

So, who’s afraid of motherhood? Natural childbirth? How to reorganize your life as a new family? Not me. Because throughout all of my life, Katie’s exuberant faith and humor keeps me laughing, growing, and believing in myself.

Watch out, world, here come the Wise women!


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