My name is Joyce Zara, I am a Full Spectrum Doula/Birth Companion, poet, storyteller, grief tender, survivor, culture bearer, and a ceremonialist residing in Portland, OR. I am a 1.5 generation Batangueña-Bisaya Filipino/x. I was born in Daly City, CA and when I was a month and a half old baby, I moved to the Philippines and lived there for a decade with my family. I grew up in a barangay (village) where traditional Filipino practices and customs were common. I was raised by my aunts and grandmothers in a village while my parents worked hard to provide for me and my siblings. I have always been surrounded by large families and childbearing for as long as I can remember. My vivid memories of my ancestral lands deeply influences my way of living life as a ceremony. I believe that my birth work is an ancestral calling to heal familial wounds, to cultivate intergenerational healing, and to re-village with a decolonizing lens as the driving force behind my labor of love.
I was trained and certified as a full spectrum doula by Roots of Labor Birth Collective in Oakland, CA. After serving marginalized birthing people in the Bay Area, I started my own small doula business. I founded Urduja Doula in dedication to my decolonization path and to my many mothers who raised me, most of them are now ancestors, as well as recognizing the warriorship of my ancestors. Urduja is a pre-colonial warrior and a leader who was a babaylan (shaman, priestess) that deeply inspired me to remember the powerful medicine of my people.
My values and philosophy: I believe in a gentle approach to supporting and caring for the gestational person and families while maintaining trust and respecting each individual’s unique process and journey. I offer individualized care rooted in mind-body-spirit wellness, ancestral healing practices while honoring physiological birth in trauma-informed ways. I embody justice by following the reproductive justice framework in supporting birthing folks having an autonomous, compassionate, and empowering reproductive experience. I believe that birth as a ceremony and I believe in reclaiming traditional practices rooted in revolutionary parenting and cultivating a sustainable future. I am passionate about providing full spectrum doula care to marginalized communities (BI&POC, LGBTQI2S+, low-income, im(migrants), etc.) in my birth work.
Certification & Education:
Certified Traditional Health Worker (THW) Birth Doula | Oregon Health Authority
Certified Full Spectrum Doula – Training for People of Color | Roots of Labor Birth Collective
Certified Breastfeeding Peer Counselor | WIC Contra Costa County
Certified First Aid CPR & AED
Certified Holy Fire Reiki II Practitioner | Eugene, OR
B.S. Recreation Therapy | San Jose State University
Childbirth Educator (in-training) | Whole Body Pregnancy
Queer and Trans Reproductive Support | Birthing Advocacy Doula Trainings
Abortion Doula & Postpartum Doula (in-training) | Birthing Advocacy Doula Trainings
Milk Magic Educator | Nurturely
Herbal Medicine for Birth Support | Hood Herbalism
BIPOC Birthworker Mentorship Program | Birth Bruja
Supporting Survivors who Birth | Birth Bruja
Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss | The Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death
Giving Life | Muse Medicina
Gender Affirming Practice | Love Over Fear Wellness and Birth
Decolonization School | Center for Babaylan Studies
Healing Cycles of Harm BIPOC Cohort Trainee | Reclaiming Our Own Transcendance (ROOT)
The Lunar Apothecary | Worts + Cunning Apothecary
Mahayana Buddhism & Himalayan Art | Wisdom Study Abroad, Ladakh, India
De La Salle Lipa | Lipa City, Batangas, Philippines
I am fluent in both English and Tagalog.*
*Marunong po akong mag basa at sulat sa Tagalog.