Meet The Founders

 
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NAIMA BECKLES, LCCE, CD(DONA), CBC

Co-Founder, Childbirth Educator, Advanced Doula, Breastfeeding Counselor

When I was pregnant with my first son, I discovered a world of amazing supportive people—doulas, childbirth educators, and care providers who helped me navigate birthing, feeding, and caring for my babies. I thought, "Why doesn’t every pregnant person have access to this information and support?" Labor is hard work. It’s easier to embrace that safely when you’re confident and relaxed.

I'm a very pragmatic person. I think of doula services as "birth project management" and love teaching down-to-earth childbirth education classes at City Births in Midtown Manhattan. I'm also a big fan of Pilates!

Fun fact: I used to be a middle school teacher.

Education

  • Lamaze certified Childbirth Educator

  • DONA certified Doula

  • DONA certified Lactation Counselor

  • Training in acupressure, and massage for labor support

Specialties:

  • Postpartum support

  • Twins

  • IVF conceived births

  • Supporting clients who’ve experienced loss

  • Women over 40

  • Single mothers

 
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MICHELE ARRIETA, LCCE, CD(DONA), CBC

Co-Founder, CHILDBIRTH EDUCATOR, Advanced DOULA, Breastfeeding Counselor

I learned what a doula is by being thrown into the deep end. The first birth I attended was my good friend’s very long homebirth. But helping women’s reproduction runs in my family! I come from a long line of women's healthcare providers and advocates: my dad runs a women’s health clinic and my grandfather was an OB-GYN. I use my theatrical and comedy background to make my classes a fun, informative, and a memorable experience. My wife and I live in Philadelphia with our daughter (who is the cutest and most genius-est ever). We built our family through adoption, so feel free to ask away when I tell you that I breastfed her when she was a newborn.

Education

  • Lamaze certified Childbirth Educator

  • DONA certified Birth Doula

  • Certified Breastfeeding Counselor

Specialties:

  • Queer Childbirth Education

  • Adoption

  • Inducing Lactation

 

Meet the Team

 
 
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DANI KATZ, CD(DONA)

Advanced birth + Postpartum Doula, Certified Breastfeeding Counselor

I grew up in the suburbs outside of New York and moved to the city to complete a degree in nutrition at Hunter College. I have been teaching various types of yoga for the past 5 years and after so many pregnant students started coming to my classes, I finally decided to become a Prenatal Yoga Instructor. This opened up a whole new world of birthing to me. Being in the presence of birth feels so natural and right. I am deeply called to serve women in this capacity. I utilize yoga and breath work during births, and can also use medicinal-grade essential oils during births (if desired!). My goal is to hold a calm and blissful space for babies to be born into.

Fun fact: I also play the trombone!

Education

  • BA in Nutrition from Hunter College

  • Certified Prenatal Yoga Instructor

  • Certified Aromatherapist

Specialties:

  • Queer families

  • Prenatal yoga + breath work

  • Aromatherapy

 
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Ekua Ansah Samules, MPH

Intermediate birth + postpartum Doula, certified Breastfeeding Counselor

I have worked with a range of private providers and non-profit organizations, serving pregnant and parenting women, youth, and families for over 15 years. I have attended dozens of births while building a Harlem-based community doula program. I am a wife and mother of 3 teenagers.

Fun fact: I love to cook, clean, and give massages!

Specialties:

  • Breastfeeding support

  • Postpartum meal-prep

 
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Jeanette samyn

intermediate birth + Postpartum Doula

I started toying with the idea of birth work when I became pregnant with my first child. I was the first in my immediate circle to navigate pregnancy; though my friends are incredibly supportive, none of them were quite prepared to join me in learning all I could about how things were already changing in my body, as well as what changes might lie ahead. Things started to come together when my partner and I found a doula we loved.

I work to help clients experience the four trimesters of pregnancy according to their own needs and desires. I want to help you ease into change in the ways that feel best to you, with evidence-based resources, physical and emotional support, positivity, and careful listening. In order to help you ground, relax, and gather strength, I use movement, breathing, massage, stretching, visualization, and other techniques.

Education

  • Ph.D., English Literature, Indiana University

  • CHB Trained Birth and Postpartum Doula

Specialties:

  • Reiki Practitioner

 
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MARY PLESS

Advanced Birth + Postpartum Doula, Certified breastfeeding counselor

I inherited a passion for birth and the maternal-child bond from my mother, who is a much loved and appreciated nurse and lactation consultant. I grew up visiting the nurseries in the hospitals where she worked, and sat in on the breastfeeding groups that she ran.  Birth and postpartum support have always been on my horizon.

I love the diversity of doula support and working with expecting and new parents.  I'm dedicated to providing encouragement and meeting parents where they are in their hopes and expectations for labor and the postpartum experience. 

Fun fact: I love snuggling with my cheeky Australian cattle dog!

Education

  • Certified Breastfeeding Counselor

Specialties:

  • Queer families

  • Twins

 
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LAURA MAX HOLDER

Intermediate Birth + Postpartum Doula, Certified Breastfeeding Counselor

When I first meet a client, I like to think of myself as a blank canvas. Let’s paint your birth story together! I am a quiet force helping to support my clients through information, experience and a non-judgmental approach to labor and birth. If life has taught me anything, it is that people perform better when in loving and fully supportive environments and it brings me great joy knowing that I am helping to create just that.  I have an 11-year-old daughter, and I know first hand just how isolating and traumatic pregnancy and childbirth can be. For this reason, I am passionate about being there for my clients in a way that leaves them feeling empowered and cared for. As your doula, I am committed to you and your birth plan all while providing comfort, patience and my full support!

Fun fact: I enjoy creating all-natural products and cooking delicious healthy meals! 

Education:

  • ASD Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula

  • BA, Hunter College in Sociology and Psychology

  • 10 years of experience working in the field of developmental disabilities

 
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MARY A. Whitlock

Intermediate Birth + Postpartum Doula

Born, raised, and living in New York City, I understand and embrace the overwhelming demands and stresses that city life puts on families. In 2017 I took massive action and left my position as a Fashion Design Director to seize my purpose. I am inspired and passionate about providing families with the resources, empathetic support and nurturing to maintain a balanced life. I am deeply grateful to all of my teachers, including Debra Pascali-Bonaro and Dr. Vijaya Krishnan, for the life experiences that have brought me to this very moment.

Fun fact: I completed an internship at the Healthy Mother & Natural Birth Sanctum in Hyderabad, India.

Education

  • DONA trained Postpartum Doula (under Debra Pascali-Bonaro)

  • Certified Health and Wellness Coach

Specialties:

  • Health & wellness coaching

  • Ayurvedic cooking

  • Traditional postpartum care

 
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Lucy thoroman

Beginner Birth + Postpartum Doula, Certified Breastfeeding Counselor

My passion for birth and the maternal-infant bond began and grew during my career as a nanny. I knew that I wanted to move from providing exclusively infant care to providing care for the entire family. Now I am grateful to be able to support families as a doula full time. My mission is to protect and enhance your birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding experience by providing you with heartfelt care.

Fun fact: I love knitting and growing my own food!

Education:

  • DONA trained birth and postpartum doula under Debra Pascali-Bonaro

  • Trained in comforting touch under Yiska Obadia

Specialties:

  • Vegan or Vegetarian meal prep

 
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Shalini Eddens

BEGINNER BIRTH DOULA

I accidentally found myself drawn to birth work when one of my best friends asked me to be part of her birth team. I then supported my sister to birth my adorable niece, who is now 2 years old. These births inspired me to take the plunge and do a doula training. I have since been privileged to serve other families as clients. Serving in birth work I feel is a purpose and a calling for me. I bring to my doula practice over 20 years of working in social justice and women's health/rights, starting with my work with women and trans people living with HIV. My goal is to support the birth experience to be a healthy and beautifully transformative process for both parents, family and baby. 


Fun fact: I went to a boarding school in India for High School.

Trainings: Ancient Song Doula Services

Education: Master in Public Health