Meet Karissa Raya


MEET KARISSA
FOUNDER OF OLIVE LA VIDA
PROFESSIONAL DOULA
EMPOWERING WOMXN

WHAT IS THE BEST AND WORST DECISION YOU'VE EVER MADE?
DROPPING OUT OF COLLEGE WAS THE BEST AND WORSE DECISION I HAVE MADE. I DON’T LIVE WITH REGRET. I VERY MUCH TRUST IN THE UNIVERSE AND BELIEVE THAT ALL THINGS HAPPEN WITH DIVINE INTENTION.  THE REASON I THINK IT WAS THE BEST DECISION IS BECAUSE I THINK I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO TAKE THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED. THE COLLEGE GRADUATE THAT ENTERS THE WORK FORCE TO WORK FOR 45 YEARS ISN’T FOR ME. I HAVE ALWAYS HAD AN ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT BUT ALWAYS FELT CONFLICTED BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE GET A JOB AND BUILD A CAREER.  

WAS NAVIGATING COLLEGE (IF YOU WERE A FIRST-GENERATION STUDENT) DIFFICULT
NAVIGATING COLLEGE WAS INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT FOR ME. IN MY FIRST YEAR OF COLLEGE I EXPERIENCED SEVERE DEPRESSION AND DIDN’T KNOW IT. ONLY UNTIL RECENTLY UPON REFLECTING MY EXPERIENCE DID I REALIZE I LEFT COLLEGE BECAUSE I WAS SO DEPRESSED AND HAD NO RESOURCES OR SUPPORT.  I SOUGHT OUT A THERAPIST ON CAMPUS AND THAT PERSON DIDN’T HELP. HAD I FOUND THE RIGHT SUPPORT MY EXPERIENCE MAY HAVE ENDED DIFFERENTLY.  

WHAT IS YOUR PASSION IN LIFE?
MY PASSION IS TO HELP. I AM A 2 ENNEAGRAM, "THE HELPER”. THIS MAKES SO MUCH MORE SENSE TO ME NOW AND KNOWING MYSELF SO DEEPLY ALLOWS ME TO WORK WITH STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES TO BE MY BEST SELF. 

WHEN DID YOU FIGURE OUT WHAT YOUR PASSION IN LIFE WAS? HOW? WHAT EVENT LED TO THE DISCOVERY?
EVERYTHING CHANGED FOR ME WHEN I GAVE BIRTH TO MY DAUGHTER. IT’S AS IF I WAS WEARING INCREDIBLY SMUDGED AND DIRTY GLASSES FOR 28 YEARS AND FOLLOWING THE EXPERIENCE OF CHILDBIRTH I CAN SEE THROUGH CRYSTAL CLEAR LENSES. I KNEW THAT MY PURPOSE WAS TO SUPPORT OTHER MOTHERS THROUGH THEIR TRANSITION INTO MOTHERHOOD. I ANSWERED THAT CALLING BY BECOMING A DOULA. A DOULA IS A BIRTH SUPPORT PERSON, SUPPORTING BIRTHING PEOPLE WITH EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL NEEDS (NON-MEDICAL SUPPORT). I SUPPORT USING ESSENTIAL OILS AND RECLAIMING BIRTH TRADITIONS AND PRACTICES THAT ARE BEING ERASED DUE TO CULTURAL AMNESIA. IT WAS A YEAR AFTER MY DAUGHTER’S BIRTH THAT I ALSO STEPPED INTO MY SKILLS AS A PHOTOGRAPHER.  

WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
OLIVE LA VIDA IS MY BIRTH WORK AND PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS.  AS A FULL SPECTRUM DOULA I SUPPORT WOMEN THROUGH THEIR LABOR, HOLDING SPACE THROUGH ABORTIONS OR MISCARRIAGE AND IN THE CRUCIAL POSTPARTUM PERIOD, ALSO KNOWN AS LA CUARENTENA (THE FIRST 40 DAYS AFTER BABY IS BORN). I AM A PLACENTA SPECIALIST AND ENCAPSULATE PLACENTAS FOR CONSUMPTION. MY PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICES RANGE FROM BIRTH, LIFESTYLE, AND BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY. MOST RECENTLY I HAVE BEGUN OFFERING BRAND STYLING SERVICES FOR BUSINESSES THAT ARE SPIRITUALLY, INTUITIVELY AND PURPOSEFULLY DRIVEN.  

WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN GETTING TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE HAS BEEN THE CATCH 22 OF ATTAINING THESE MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF CREATIVE ENERGY FOLLOWING THE BIRTH OF MY DAUGHTER, BUT, LIMITED IN MY CAPACITY TO ACT ON THAT CREATIVITY. RAISING A CHILD IS DIFFICULT AND ANY MOTHER WOULD SAY THE SAME. THE MOM GUILT, LACK OF CHILD CARE AND MY OWN DEPRESSION LIMITED ME. I AM SO HAPPY TO SHARE MY EXPERIENCE AND BE AN ADVOCATE FOR MENTAL HEALTH. RECENTLY, I EXPERIENCED A DEPRESSIVE EPISODE AND IT SCARED ME BECAUSE DESPITE THE OILS, THE AFFIRMATIONS, THE MEDITATION AND AWARENESS IT WASN’T GETTING BETTER. I FACED IT WITH THE HELP OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND AN INCREDIBLY SUPPORTIVE SPOUSE AND AM IN A MUCH BETTER PLACE.   

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON WHAT RESOURCES TO TAKE A LOOK AT IF A PERSON IS INTERESTED IN DOING SOMETHING SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU DO?
MY ADVICE FOR MAMAS THAT FEEL THIS TRANSFORMATION AND BEGIN THEIR HEALING IN MOTHERHOOD IS TO MAKE CONNECTIONS WITH OTHER WOMEN DOING IT TOO. THE BEST THING ABOUT MOTHERHOOD IS THE FRIENDSHIPS YOU MAKE AND I HAVE USED INSTAGRAM TO MY GREATEST ADVANTAGE MAKING CONNECTIONS ONLINE AND IN REAL LIFE.  
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