We have a community mission.
We've been supporting new parents in Kalamazoo since 2005. We're all about helping families have great births, and nurturing them through the early months of parenting.
Hey, it's Jessica English. I'm the owner of Birth Kalamazoo, and I'm so happy to tell you our story. I started our group when I was getting more requests for doula services than I could handle on my own. From the beginning, my vision has been to create a community of talented, like-minded birth and baby professionals who can support families with skill and kindness at a really tender time. Together, we can speak with a bigger voice, and touch more families.
This is our Kalamazoo office. We love having such a cozy space to connect with families. There's a family of deer living nearby, sometimes you can catch a glimpse of a mama and fawn. Always a good sign.
It's good to know what a business really believes in. Here's a look at our core values.
We believe birth matters.
You've probably seen that phrase already, woven throughout our site. It's big for us. Research tells us that parents remember their births for their whole lives, right down to the smallest detail. And what happens during the birth can also impact self esteem, self confidence, and parenting. It's not as much about what interventions someone does or doesn't have, but it's about how they were treated. Were they respected? Did they have a voice, and a choice — and did they even know that was possible? Studies show that at least 9 percent of birthing parents in the United States experience diagnosable PTSD after their birth, and even more have post traumatic stress symptoms. That doesn't have to be. One of our most important goals is to help people have better, more supported births.
In the U.S., we do a terrible job supporting new parents. We can do better.
Humans are meant to have our village around us after we have a baby. In cultures throughout time, new parents have been nurtured and supported in the days, weeks and months after a little one arrives. People come with food, they care for the older children, help with breastfeeding, and make sure the new parents get plenty of rest. We need to heal after birth. We're learning how to parent either for the first time, or with the new twist of a busy toddler and a newborn. We need time, space, encouragement and suggestions for bonding. We need to find our own way, and our own voice. Most American parents don't get that kind of postpartum experience. We send people home to their isolated little boxes and tell them to figure it out. We're Midwesterners, so we're used to pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. But too many new parents suffer through those early months, and we know it can be different. We help people enjoy their fourth trimester with their babies, instead of just surviving it.
Education makes a difference.
We get so upset when we hear people say, "I didn't know I had a choice." It's our goal that our clients and students will never feel that way. We love learning, and we have so much information about birth, about adjusting to life as new parents, and about babies. This is what gets us excited more than anything else in the world! We love sharing evidence-based information in our classes, and when we're working as doulas — because we see that it makes a difference for families. Actually, it can change your life.
You have the right to make your own decisions.
Your birth, your baby, your voice. Whether we're encouraging you to communicate with your doctor, midwife or pediatrician, filling you in on options you didn't even know you had, or helping you find your way as a new parent, we don't have any kind of agenda. We'll lift you up to make those choices. They belong to you.
Good for the client, good for the doula, good for the community.
We love being of service, and we are always thinking about what's best for families. That's why we don't charge extra for long births, and why we have a special fund to support low-income families. We also care about supporting great doulas who can stay in this work for a lot of years. (That's one of the reasons our doulas won't ever be the cheapest option around.) I personally put a lot of time into supporting and mentoring my doulas, because I want them to be the absolute best they can be in supporting you. It's also important to us to support our community, whether that means collaborating with other organizations that are doing great work, volunteering or bringing in speakers. We believe a small business can be successful and also ethical, fair and kind.
Everyone is welcome here.
If you are pregnant or a new parent, we'd love to support you. Our clients have included traditional families, parents of all religions or no religion, single parents, people who are placing their babies for adoption, teen parents and 40-somethings, two-mom families, and nonbinary and trans parents. We'll do our best to meet your needs with respect and kindness. Tell us about yourself, and we'll connect you with the right doula and great resources.