2017 has proved to be another exciting year for the GR Doulas team! In addition to serving over 150 families, we’ve had been some big changes and exciting adventures in our business. Here are the highlights!
We added two new doulas to our team this year! Christie Salazar joined us in July. Christie offers birth doula services and brings a worldly quality to the team - she began her doula career in England! Do you have any questions about the one of the newest pain relief options in Grand Rapids: Nitrous Oxide? Ask Christie all about it, it’s used regularly in England. Brooke Henning is the newest member of our team, she joined us in November. Brooke is not only bringing a new face to our team, but an entirely new service as well. We are proud that Brooke offers postpartum overnight support to our clients. Are you the exhausted parent of a newborn? Brooke can help! She allows parents the opportunity to sleep while she takes on middle of the night bottle feedings, diaper changes, and soothes babies back to sleep. If you are breastfeeding, she can bring your baby to you to nurse, then allow you to fall back as she handles the rest of baby’s care.
We also are thrilled to have one new partner business - Annica Marie Photography. Annica photographs the process of life. Her services include photography for pregnancy, birth, newborn, and breastfeeding. Whether you're in the market for these services or not, you’ll definitely want to take a look at her beautiful portfolio!
We debuted two new classes and one support group this year! Cassie taught her first infant massage class this past January. This class is a 4 week series that can be taken in a group setting or privately in your home. During classes, parents learn the Infant Massage USA stroke routine as well how to understand baby’s nonverbal communication cues.
Brenda did her first GentleBirth class in May. GentleBirth is a one-of-a-kind curriculum which includes training and education in mindfulness, hypnosis, sports psychology, physiological childbirth, evidence-based maternity care and more! Brenda is the only GentleBirth instructor in Michigan and one of the first in the country.
Ginger Hollemans began running a postpartum support group in partnership with Mandi Garvey from Michigan Born and Raised. The group meets on the first Wednesday of every month and welcomes people from all walks of life with a variety of postpartum experiences. The group offers a safe space to discuss the realities of postpartum life with a newborn and coping techniques for the challenges that come with it.
Over 61 families came through our classes and groups this year, not to mention all of the families who continue to attend our Know Your Options class!
Several members of our team added new letters behind their names this year! We truly value certification at GR Doulas and collectively earned 5 new certifications. Cassie and Ginger each earned birth doula certifications from DONA International. Cassie also earned her postpartum re-certification from DONA. Brenda earned her GentleBirth certification and Cassie became a Certified Educator of Infant Massage, having completed the process through Infant Massage USA. When you work with a GR Doula, you are choosing a professional who is knowledgeable on up-to-date practices and recommendation and who holds herself accountable by adhering to the scope of practice set forth by her certifying body.
In addition to all of these exciting new things, we continued our many traditions. We held several mother’s gatherings which provided opportunities for clients to spend an evening with us, talking about all things birth and motherhood. As always, we collected feminine hygiene supplies to donate to HQ. HQ is a drop-in center for youth ages 14-24 who are experiencing homelessness or unsafe/unstable housing. We are proud to have an ongoing partnership with them to help them meet the needs of youth who count on them for help. We hosted our second annual picnic with a special treat this time! We hired local artist Ivan Jenson to provide his infamous pop-up portraits for our clients.
As always, we worked on improving the excellent services we offer. Our continuing education endeavors included a Spinning Babies workshop, an Evidenced Based Birth presentation, breastfeeding conferences, a training in diversity and inclusion, and and our very own first ever GR Doulas skills workshop.
We are so excited to support many more families as they welcome their babies into the world in 2018.
Wondering what new and exciting things we’ll do next year? We can’t wait to tell you about our News Years Resolution tomorrow!!