Wenda Clinard

Director of Student Experience

I arrived at this work via a path that has now come full circle. I became a certified birth doula in 2006 and began working with pregnant and birthing families. Early in my work as a birth doula it became apparent to me that those suffering a loss during pregnancy are not always fully supported. I had two miscarriages of my own and have carried the scars of little to no support. I know how important it is to feel supported during a difficult time and how that support might change the trajectory of one's life. I began delving into trainings, including Supporting Women Through Perinatal Loss with Miriam Maslin and Resolve Through Sharing (RTS) Bereavement Training. When the local Planned Parenthood was looking for people to "hold the hands" of those having surgical procedures, I thought "I can do that", volunteered and then was hired as a part-time doula. I began identifying as a Full Spectrum Doula.

I now see clearly that throughout my journey I have been drawn to supporting those facing a “transition”. My desire to work in the area of death and dying was heightened after sitting vigil with my mother as she died. I felt as if I was watching a sacred transition, similar to that of birth. As time has passed and those that I love have left the earthly plane I myself have evolved a bit more in my understanding of life and my place of “self” in it, viewing myself as a sojourner. There is a Buddhist saying "When the student is ready the teacher will appear", and I have been that student; as a daughter, sibling, friend, wife, mother, co-worker and doula. I carry an innate desire to "hold space" for others. For me, receiving my certificate from and becoming involved with the Conscious Dying Institute and now the Conscious Dying Collective, is re“membering”. I am graced with a sense of peace, a feeling of belonging, an intuitive knowing and purpose. There is a 2nd line to the above quote which was written by Lao Tzu that reads, "When the student is truly ready, the teacher will Disappear".