Meet the birth doulas
Our doulas are all trained and mentored by Birth Kalamazoo's owner, Jessica English. We look for doulas with this sort of magical combination of hands-on skills and the the ability to connect deeply with families. Our doulas come to us with a great foundation, but they also benefit from intensive mentoring, advanced education and dedicated support as they grow in this work. We're all professionals, and we're deeply committed to helping you have a positive, centered birth experience. If there's a doula whose bio calls to you, please ask to connect with her! Otherwise, Jessica and Tye'Ya are great doula matchmakers. Let us know a little about your personality and what you'd like for your birth, and we can get you connected to a doula for an interview.
JESSICA ENGLISH, OWNER
AdvCD/BDT(DONA), PCD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE
Jessica is the owner and founder of Birth Kalamazoo. She is an advanced certified birth doula, certified postpartum doula, and certified childbirth educator. Jessica has advanced training in using the rebozo during birth, preventing and treating birth trauma, Spinning Babies, VBAC and cesarean prevention, pregnancy and birth after infertility, and cultural humility. In her sister business, Heart Soul Birth Pros, Jessica trains new doulas for DONA International and new childbirth educators for Lamaze International. She's also a frequent speaker at national conferences and is hired often by hospitals and nursing organizations to train nurses in hands-on labor support skills. As a doula, she loves helping women find strength that they didn't even know they had. When she's not taking care of families or training birth professionals, Jessica is also a hockey mom (x2) and she loves spending time on the water with her husband Keith and their boys. Learn more about Jessica.
DANIELLE KRASINSKI, CERTIFIED BIRTH DOULA
As a registered dietitian, Danielle has experience in supporting people with healthy living. She's been a doula since 2014 and loves witnessing that moment when babies come into the world as well as the sweet, tender time right afterward. She has advanced training in using the rebozo during birth. Danielle is the mom of four, and she's had two hospital births and two home births. When she's not supporting clients she loves home schooling her little ones, running and being with her family. Danielle is certified by DONA International. Danielle is currently sharing call time with Jessica, and not accepting solo clients.
JENNIFER CARPIO-ZELLER, CERTIFIED BIRTH DOULA
In the 1990s, Jennifer become a mom and got passionate about birth. She worked for a few years as a childbirth educator and doula, then took some time away from birth work to focus on raising her family. Jennifer took her second doula training in 2016, and she's now a certified birth doula with DONA International. She also has also taken a rebozo training. Her clients are drawn to her nurturing and easygoing personality, combined with the strength to pull them through if they ever start to doubt. When birth isn't calling, the great outdoors does. Jennifer loves hiking and spending time at the beach with her family.
JANELLE HAYNES, CERTIFIED BIRTH DOULA
Janelle Haynes is certified as a birth doula with DONA International, and she's also taken an advanced workshop on using the rebozo during and after birth. Her background in nonprofit work prepared her well to care for families. Because she's also trained as a postpartum doula, she loves the continuity of caring for families from pregnancy all the way through the fourth trimester. Whether she's supporting a family through a birth or helping them settle in with their baby for weeks afterward, one of Janelle's natural gifts is to help people feel encouraged and uplifted. She loves helping families have positive, empowering and memorable birth experiences. Janelle is also a mom herself. Outside of her professional roles, she loves sewing, decorating, events planning and being outdoors.
RACHAEL NOFSINGER, BIRTH DOULA
Rachael Nofsinger is a massage therapist and birth doula. In her massage role, she cares for clients during their pregnancies and in the homes after the new baby arrives. As a birth doula, Rachael draws on her massage training to help with emotional and physical relaxation and relief. Although she’s a very hands-on doula, she also really enjoys facilitating the connection between her client and their partner (if they have one). Rachael lives with her husband and step-son. When she’s not in the massage therapy room or with a doula client, she enjoys backpacking, riding her horse and kayaking. Rachael completed her DONA International birth doula workshop in 2018 and she is working to complete her certification. You can read more about her prenatal and postpartum massage work here.
JAYNI ANGELI, BIRTH DOULA
Although her background is in behavioral psychology and marketing, Jayni is currently pursuing a master’s degree in nurse midwifery – she sees it as fulfilling her destiny. Jayni attended her DONA International birth doula workshop in 2018 and fell in love with this work at her very first birth. She is also trained as a postpartum doula and equally enjoys supporting families on the other side of birth, at home with their babies. Jayni knows the value of self-care and she works hard to help moms tap into their strength to build healthy, strong families from the beginning. Outside of birth and fourth trimester goodness, Jayni is a beekeeper and enjoys the outdoors and yoga with her significant other.
AKILAH BOSWELL, BIRTH DOULA
Akilah loves to support the birth of a baby, but especially the birth of a mother. A former nanny, she has also worked as a manager and trainer in the adult foster care system, which taught her to think on her feet and support the unexpected. She’s currently finishing her degree in bio med and business, as well as studying to become a certified lactation counselor (certification expected in September 2019). Akilah completed her DONA International birth doula workshop in 2019, and she’s working on finishing up her certification requirements. Outside of the birth world, you can often catch her practicing aerial yoga.
ALLYSON MCCLELLAN, BIRTH DOULA
As a social worker and a birth doula, Allyson’s mission and philosophy is all about supporting people and helping them tap into their power. She loved the nurturing team that surrounded her in her own births, and she’s now working to be a piece of that village for other parents. Allyson is trained in a number of healing modalities, and she is a Reiki master (available to doula clients who want that support during their birth). As part of her master’s degree program, she’s completing an internship with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors at the YWCA of Kalamazoo. Allyson took her DONA International birth doula workshop in 2018, and she’s currently working toward certification.
HOLLIE REAMES, BIRTH DOULA
When her cousin invited Hollie to attend her birth, she instinctively knew she couldn’t just be a bystander. Instead, Hollie jumped right in and helped hands-on to support her family members through that incredible process. A baby was born, and a doula was born! Before she found birth work, Hollie spent time as a certified nursing assistant, a photographer and a stay-at-home mom. She calls herself “a nurturer by nature,” and she loves helping families to find confidence, know their options, and discover that birth doesn’t have to be scary but can actually be beautiful. When she’s not on call for families, Hollie loves to travel internationally. She completed her doula workshop with DONA International in 2018 and she’s working to finish up her certification requirements.
TERESA YOUNGBLOOD, CERTIFIED BIRTH DOULA
CD(DONA), PCD(DONA), SBD
Teresa's background as a registered nurse and a VBAC mom informs all of her work with families. In addition to her birth work, she is also a certified postpartum doula and especially loves the continuity of care when she can provide both services for families. Teresa has special training in grief and loss and is certified as a Stillbirthday Birth and Bereavement doula. She is also trained to use the rebozo for birth and postpartum. Teresa runs Birth Kalamazoo's VBAC & Cesarean Support group, where women gather quarterly to talk about their cesarean birth experiences and VBAC plans. Her favorite part of being a doula is seeing a woman become confident in herself as she makes the best choices for herself and her family. When she's not with clients, Teresa stays busy as the mom of five and turning the food her family grows into delicious meals. She has been a birth doula since 2015 and is dual certified as a birth and postpartum doula with DONA International. Teresa accepts postpartum doula clients year-round, but attends birth only in the summer months.
KAMA TAI MITCHELL, CERTIFIED BIRTH DOULA
Kama Tai Mitchell is a healer, mama, yogi, doula and dancer. She has spent most of her life claiming and sharing body awareness. A practitioner and teacher of Para Yoga, Kama has also taken numerous trainings with many master dance teachers of the African Diaspora. A certified doula with DONA International, she encourages women to own their bodies and their birth experience. Kama is an advocate for birth justice, racial equality and mental health awareness. She is co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit Rootead, which supports women of color. She is certified in belly binding through the Zulu Birth Project and has training in reflexology and massage. Kama loves nature (especially the ocean), babies and all forms of art. Kama is taking a six-month hiatus from attending births, but is available for due dates beginning in April 2020.
JESSIE DAAM, CERTIFIED BIRTH DOULA
Jessie supported a friend's home birth in 2009, and she has love birth ever since. In 2015, she took the next step as a birth doula, and she's now certified with DONA International. As part of her continuing education, Jessie has taken an advanced training on rebozo techniques to support birthing families. The mom of two, Jessie has had two natural hospital births herself and a home birth with her twins. Her clients describe her as sweet, calming, and full of helpful ideas for their births. She especially loves supporting women to achieve their goals, ending with the euphoria that overcomes a mom when that baby is finally on her chest. When she's not attending births, Jessie enjoys photography, natural living and spending time with her daughters. Jessie is currently on maternity leave with her twin girls.
MELINDA MONCADA, CERTIFIED BIRTH DOULA
The mom of two amazing boys, Melinda has been a doula since 2014. A native of Southwest Michigan, she's supported families in both Washington, D.C., and the Kalamazoo area. Melinda is also a postpartum doula and she enjoys the special connection with families when she gets to support them through birth and also after their little ones are born. She loves walking alongside parents to help them find empowerment to make decisions about their pregnancy, birth and parenting. She speaks fluent Spanish and is trained to use the rebozo with the Gena Kerby Method. When she's not working, you can find her traveling, cooking, reading, or swimming and paddleboarding with her family. Melinda is certified as a birth doula with DONA International. Melinda provides backup support to our other doulas, but is not currently accepting solo clients.
TYE'YA STORMS, OFFICE COORDINATOR
Tye'Ya has a background in real estate management, so supporting Birth Kalamazoo's work with parents and babies is extra fun. You'll communicate with her when you're making your connection with a doula, and for paperwork and payments. When she's not supporting parents and doulas, Tye'Ya loves time with her family and shenanigans with her friends — especially if either of those is happening at the beach.