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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kia-gianni thigpen, b.S

intermediate birth + Postpartum Doula

My path to birth work was gradual, yet consistent. I started as a newborn nanny and nurse support person in the Bay Area of California. After becoming a medical assistant and scribe in the Emergency Department, I continued supporting birth because I appreciated the different shapes and sizes birth journeys and families came in. Fast forward 5 years and I have managed to combine my passions for birth and advocacy into my role as a birth and postpartum doula!

As your doula — I provide culturally competent, emotional, physical and educational support. I am an active listener and protector of your rights and wishes. I am with you to be the hands-on comfort, and confidence booster your family can use to reach your birthing goals. I work to provide compassionate, non-judgemental, aware, and evidence-based support. My intention is to welcome calm and confident energy into your birth space.

I believe you already possess the necessary tools to bring life into this world and I'm here to ground you while you rock it!

Fun fact: I teach sexual health education and mindfulness to justice-involved youth.

Education

  • BS, Neurobiology, University of California Berkeley

  • Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula (DTI)

Specialties

  • Single/solo parents

  • Breastfeeding

  • Sibling support

  • Health and wellness

  • Postpartum support

 
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brandi evans

postpartum Doula

I’ve been passionately caring for babies since I was 15 years old. My first job was babysitting my prematurely born twin cousins for a summer while my aunt, a single mom, worked. Family members saw the love and patience I had with those babies, so when they encouraged me to make taking care of babies my profession, I listened.

Today I’m a certified Newborn Care Specialist, a Postpartum Doula and a new mom. Since giving birth myself, the connection that I have with clients has deepened. I know the feeling of being a new parent and can help my clients get through the day-to-day challenges of caring for their baby.

I absolutely love what I do and I’m grateful to be able to help others.

Specialties:

  • Overnight support

  • Newborn care

 
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cassandra christopher

Certified Lactation Counselor + educator

Cassandra is a Certified Lactation Counselor and mother of two little boys. After an extensive career performing on Broadway and touring internationally and the birth of her 2nd son, she discovered a passion for helping moms feed and care for their babies. She is an active ambassador to free women’s voices in their births and infant feeding and works to help #normalizebreastfeeding. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook @babyfeedingcounselor as she helps to educate women and families and pursues her IBCLC credential.

 
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tanisah Marin-evans

Advanced Birth + Postpartum Doula, Certified breastfeeding counselor, Childbirth educator

I'm an Upper West Side / Harlem-based doula and childbirth educator whose been supporting family, friends, and clients throughout the birth process for over 20 years. As a child I planned to be an obstetrician; however after having children of my own without the support of a doula, discovered that my passion is for supporting families.

I believe strongly that the person giving birth has an innate ability to birth their baby and I hold no preconceived expectation or hopes (other than safely) of how a birth should happen. I strive to educate, nurture, support and bring peace to families through a calm demeanor, warmth, humor and a profound passion for what I do.

I've now attended over 155 births and served more than 70 families with postpartum services. I look forward to getting to know you and working together.

Fun fact: I have 3 kids and dozens of house plants!

Education

  • DONA Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula (CD,PCD-DONA)

  • Certified Lamaze Childbirth Educator (LCCE)

  • Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC)

Specialties:

  • Single/Solo Parents

  • Sibling Support

  • Women over 40

  • 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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claudia gerbracht

Beginner Birth + Postpartum Doula, Certified Breastfeeding Counselor

I see birthwork as a creative and political act: a way to directly respond to the gaps in healthcare through grounded emotional and physical support. My goal as a doula is to offer practical care to all growing families, through a blend of solid knowledge and strong intuition (plus a big, warm laugh!). I'm a calming and reassuring presence, there to educate, comfort, and then get out of your way. 

Before birthwork, I worked in the arts as a project coordinator. While I enjoyed transforming a gallery, the sacred work of supporting birthing folks through their journey can't compare!

Fun fact: I'm also an artist and amateur woodworker - I've even built a birthing chair!

Education:

  • Ancient Song Doula Services trained Full Spectrum Doula

  • Certified Lactation Counselor

  • Member of Manhattan Birth Mentorship Program 

Specialties:

  • Queer families

 
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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