It has been another exciting year for GR Doulas LLC! As we reflect on the year, a theme makes itself glaringly obvious: new. Everything's new!
We got a new name!
After contemplating it for a couple of years, we finally decided to take the plunge and re-brand! We will always feel sentimental about Over The Moon Doula Services and the success it brought us, but we felt that we’d outgrown it and opted for a location-based named. On Sept 13th we officially relaunched as GR Doulas LLC. Despite the additional work that a name change creates, we have been very happy with our decision!
We took on a new doula!
Also in September, we welcomed the newest member of our team, Ginger Hollemans, LMSW. Ginger is a licensed social worker, midwife's assistant and now a birth doula pursuing certification through our certifying agency, DONA International. She has quickly become a valued member of our team and we are so happy to have her on board! The positive feedback we’ve gotten from her clients about working with her has solidified our confidence in bringing her on the team. We can not wait to unveil the phenomenal services Ginger will make available to our clients in 2017!
We added new services!
GR Doulas past of offering only birth and postpartum doula services came to an end in 2016, as we rounded out our service menu. We added three new services: placenta encapsulation, infant massage instruction and childbirth education.
In February, Megan began her training through International Placenta and Postpartum Association (IPPA) as a placenta encapsulation specialist. This service proved to be instantly very popular, as Megan has already encapsulated over 20 placentas! In November, she was given the opportunity to raise awareness about placenta services when she was featured on WOOD-TV 8 - check it out! Through her hands-on experience, and completion of her training program, including passing bloodborne pathogens awareness and safe food service exams, Megan finishes 2016 as a Certified Professional Encapsulation Specialist.
In August, Cassie completed her infant massage instructor training through Infant Massage USA. Infant massage offers many benefits for both parents and babies including better sleep for babies and lower stress levels for parents. Classes are designed to help parents connect, communicate and bond with their babies through learning the strokes of infant massage as well as infant communication cues and states of consciousness. Individual and group classes will both begin in January 2017.
Fall of 2016 finally unveiled the path to take toward providing childbirth education. It's always been part of our long-term business plan and it feels great to finally have the pieces fall into place. In November, Brenda was chosen to be Michigan’s first GentleBirth childbirth education instructor, and was awarded a full scholarship for her training.
Brenda is currently completing her instructor training and certification. GentleBirth childbirth education offers many benefits including preparation through learning about the physiological process of birth, familiarizing parents with their options and notably, preparing body and mind for birth and parenthood through mindfulness and hypnosis training. GentleBirth helps mothers build their confidence and emotional resiliency for birth, regardless of their preferences or circumstances. Stay tuned for more information on this class, beginning in early spring 2017!
We did community outreach!
(Ok, that's not really new at all!)
The year would not have been complete for this service business without community involvement!
In February we spearheaded an initiative called The Period Project, in which we rallied all of West Michigan to collect more than 7,000 pads and tampons. The drive benefitted HQ GR, a shelter for teens and young people struggling with homelessness. The project caught the attention of the local news! Click here to see the story!
In May, GR Doulas brought other women-lead businesses together to honor our 100th client!
We made some great friends and connections and had a lot of fun spoiling our 100th client with gifts from some awesome local business with women at the helms.
We completed a second year of *free* Know Your Options classes at Babies R Us and have watched it continue to grow! This monthly class is truly an act of community service, bringing awareness to many options and patient rights of which many birthing mothers are unaware. We take time away from our families to do this class. We schedule our paying clients around it. And we provide it for free. Though there are many budgets that cannot accommodate the cost of a certified professional doula, we want our knowledge of the maternity care system as consumers to be available to anyone who wants it. Providing this class is good for our hearts, and we believe good for our community as well.
We were grateful to connect with MSU medical students in 2016! The Women’s Health Interest Group board invited GR Doulas to sit on a panel of birth workers to field questions from primarily first-year medical students. Megan represented the group, sitting on the panel with a local OB-GYN, two local Certified Professional Midwives specializing in homebirth, and an esteemed colleague in doula work. Because working collaboratively with community partners in one of our group’s core values, this opportunity was very fulfilling for us!
In addition to all of our new services, our "bread and butter" stayed the same: excellence in birth and postpartum doula services. We continued facilitating quarterly Mother’s Gatherings, where our clients have a chance to meet and connect with one another. This year we also expanded on the ways we keep in touch with former clients by adding a family picnic - It was so fun to reunite with our families and see how the babies have grown!
We are so thankful for everyone who has supported our business this year, and has allowed us to support their birthing and newborn care journeys. We look forward to continuing this amazing work in 2017!