• Sheila Vuckovich
  • Illinois Ambassador

Hello, I am Sheila Vuckovich. My husband and I live in a suburb of Chicago. After the birth of our 7th child in 2005, I enrolled in a DONA postpartum doula course. I wanted to help people have a more positive experience navigating that special time after adding a new baby to the family. It was not too long before I decided to go back to school and earn a Bachelors of Health Science. I studied health science because I am passionate about improving overall health outcomes for people that I know and love.

Currently I am blessed to work for Catholic Charities Diocese of Joliet as a Doula in their Healthy Families Illinois program HFI. I am a CD (DONA) Doula and a Certified Lactation Counselor. HFI is a voluntary home visiting program that helps new and expectant parents strengthen their family’s functioning and reduce their risk for child abuse and/or neglect. It is an honor to support these amazing families during their pregnancy journey.

Helping people plan for the birth of their baby while encouraging them to become advocates for themselves is very rewarding. Learning the horrific statistics of maternal outcomes in Illinois has ignited a desire in me to work very hard to help educate people so that no family has to go through such a devastating loss. The statistic that stillbirths are 10x more likely than SIDS came as a complete shock to me. I want to help reduce that statistic.

I have two lifelong friends who have experienced the loss of grandchildren who were born still. Witnessing their grief first-hand and feeling so helpless on how to support them led me to enroll in Nneka Hall’s PAILAdvocate course. I was at first shocked and then angry to learn the horrifying statistics and racial disparities involved in maternal health outcomes.

I learned about Count the Kicks from Nneka Hall and was really impressed with how much this information has resulted in improving birth outcomes in Iowa. I am excited that I will be able to share this important information and hope to have the same positive results in Illinois. When I tell expectant mothers about this crucial information, it is my hope that counting kicks will help them feel a closer bond with their baby while building confidence to advocate for themselves if they suspect something is wrong.

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