The Inspiring Journey of Amanda Poteet-Woolen

by | Jan 2024

AMANDA POTEET-WOOLEN has become a household name to thousands of families across Southern Kentucky. She is the longestworking and most experienced birth doula and a lactation counselor, childbirth and lactation educator, and placenta encapsulation specialist. She has also helped countless expectant families walk through loss.

To sum it up, she’s every expectant parent’s “birth bestie.” Mostly raised by her maternal grandparents, who were deeply rooted in Appalachia, Poteet-Woolen said, “My childhood was rich because these two chose to stand in a space for me. Looking back, that really made all the difference. They encouraged me in ways they weren’t, such as regularly buying books for me that they couldn’t even read.”

When Poteet-Woolen was in the fourth grade, she learned she was going to have a little brother. As her mother progressed through each trimester, she grew more and more fascinated with her mother’s expanding belly. She consumed every book on the subject at the library. When asked what career she would choose for a class assignment, she told her class that she was going to deliver babies.

“You can imagine how that went over. Everyone thought it was a massive joke. My English teacher told me I should write about becoming something achievable like a teacher. I was embarrassed but agreed to change from delivering babies to teaching. I tucked away the birth idea, but it never fully left me.”

After Poteet-Woolen married and gave birth to their first child, the longing to help other women through the process resurfaced even stronger. “My husband and I left the hospital feeling like something was missing. It was then that I dove into working as a birth doula. Through facing my own struggles, my passion found me again.”

Poteet-Woolen fought hard to achieve her dreams. While opportunity was not always abundant for her family, she wants to leave a legacy like never before. “Every trial and tribulation has led me
to a life of serving women and children in my community with an open heart and open arms. I turn no one away who seeks me out. I hold a seat and space for anyone who needs it. That’s how you love women. You hold an unbiased space for them to move and share without fear. Through my own experiences in unsafe spaces, I discovered how to become a safe space myself, so no woman or child has to seek that alone.

“I do a lot of reading and continuing education classes. I’m constantly evaluating resources, reading articles, keeping up to date on statistics, connecting with other professionals in town, and working together to find better ways to serve families. As a doula and lactation counselor, I’m an active cog constantly moving in the machine that is working to transition women from pregnant to parent.”

Poteet-Woolen also works tirelessly to ensure a new generation of birthing doulas is ready to meet the needs of future generations. In chasing that goal, she has expanded the classes she offers to expectant and postpartum families.

“I teach a variety of in-home and inperson classes. I offer breastfeeding education, childbirth and home birth education classes to support breastfeeding families going back to work, feeding solids, weaning, newborn care, babywearing, cloth diapering, batch cooking, postpartum meal prep, new parenting education, birth planning, and a comfort measures course. Over the years, I’ve diversified my skills and education, so I’m able to provide a variety of courses for the birth and baby community.”

In April 2020, when 40% of the topselling infant formulas were out of stock, the panic faced by families resounded loudly across the nation. Poteet-Woolen sprang into action with “Every Scoop Counts.” Her online network provided 1,000 cans of formula to local families.

“Many nights I laid in bed and wondered how many full bellies went to sleep that night because our community and country worked together to love each other a little deeper.”

Her “Pass the Pump” initiative redistributes gently used pumps back into the breastfeeding community. She also created a donor program that connects mothers with an abundance of human milk to infants who are especially fragile, such as those in the neonatal intensive care unit.

WBKO News 13 named Poteet-Woolen a “hometown hero,” and VIP Magazine recently recognized her as one of the “40 Under 40.” GN

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