I’m Lara Stewart-Panko, a birth & family professional with over 2 decades of experience helping people connect with greater peace, empowerment and wellbeing. I hold degrees in Social Work & Sociology, I'm a certified hypnotist and parenting coach, and I’m a full-spectrum birth & postpartum doula. My extensive continuing education encompasses many fields, including early childhood development and learning, interpersonal communication and relationship dynamics, sexuality, trauma, bereavement and specialized applications of hypnosis.
I’ve worked in child welfare and been an educarer for children of all ages. In my role as a counsellor I’ve supported individuals, couples and families through a wide variety of experiences. I’ve cared for many, many people who’ve been touched by mental illness, and I am no stranger to mental illness myself. I’ve had the joy of facilitating lots of parent & baby groups, and I’ve taught hundreds of workshops about personal and family wellness with a focus on childbirth education. I attended my first birth as a doula in 1992 and I continue to serve in this role.
I’ve been married since 1998, and our child was born in 2002. I know firsthand how hard parenting can be at times. How exhausting, stressful, or boring it can be. How we can find ourselves doing exactly what we don’t want to be doing to our kids. I know what rock bottom feels like, and I’ve walked alongside others who can say the same. I also know how difficult married life can be, and then, of course, there’s extended family members, friends, finances...life sure knows how to fill a diaper sometimes.
But with all that being said, over the years I’ve done a lot of learning and growing personally and professionally, and I’ve figured out what works much of the time, especially when it comes to self-care and living life with babies and children. I’ve discovered hacks and passive strategies and other things that are actually doable in real life. And finding these solutions and ways that work is what drives me. I also strive to bring compassion to all situations.
At the end of the day, my child’s wellbeing is what matters most to me. In order for my kid to be well, I have to be well, and I have to teach him how to care for himself. And the same way I want goodness and wellbeing for my kid, I want that for everyone, because everyone is somebody’s baby. So I want it for you. I want you to be well, and if you’re a parent, I want your kids to be well. That’s why I’m here and that’s why this website exists. I am determined to do what I can so that we are all as well as can be. I hope my offerings are of value to you, and that you feel good, because you are!