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Resource Guide for Black Moms in the DMV

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Resource Guide for Black Moms in the DMV

The creation of this resources guide was a collaborative project by some of the black women who work with Doulas of Capitol Hill and our sister company Doulas of Prince George’s County. Spear-heading the project was Charissa Young, birth and postpartum doula, prenatal yoga instructor, and owner of Luxe Mamma, a company which creates luxury gift boxes for new moms as well as services for pregnant moms.

Additional resource collaboration came from Jade Hillery, birth doula with Doulas of Capitol Hill and reproductive health champion. Jade has her Masters in Public Health in Health Education and Promotion.

It was important to all of us at DCH and DPG that this guide be created for black women and by black women and have only auxiliary support by those who are not black women . We did try to include as many resources of businesses owned by women /people of color in the DMV or for those national organizations or resources whose purpose is explicitly to further the health, well-being, and support of black women.

Thank you to both Charissa and Jade and all the providers on this list!

The guide is by no means exhaustive, and we are sure to have missed some fantastic resources and providers. If you have a provider you think we should know about please send us an email or message us on Facebook or Instagram. Additionally, if there is a category you think we omitted, please let us know! This is YOUR story.

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Acupuncturist-

Fertile Living- Njemile Carol Jones

Mahlia Joyce, L.Ac.

Safiyyah Camara

Advocacy-

Black Mamas Matter Alliance

Black Women Birthing Justice

Center for Reproductive Rights

Mamatoto Village



Birth Trainings-

Doula Training International- includes “cultural humility” in all their trainings and have scholarships for doulas of color

Shafia Monroe Consulting- doula training, cultural competency, motivational speaking



Birth Doulas and Postpartum Doulas, Placenta Encapsulation, Overnight Newborn Care-

Doulas of Prince George’s County, serving all of the DMV

Blog-

Mocha Manual

Books-

Battling Over Birth: Black Women and the Maternal Health Care Crisis- Julia Ophara, Helena Arega, Dantia Hudson, Linda Jones, and Talita Oseguera

Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy, and Childbirth- J. Chinyere Oparah and A. Bonaparte

The Body Is Not an Apology- Sonya Renee Taylor

Breastfeeding-

Black Breastfeeding Week

Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association

Black Women Do Breastfeed (non-profit org)

Hospitals more likely to formula feed children of black mothers, study says.

Charnise Littles Doulas of Capitol Hill and Doulas of Prince George’s County

PG County Breastfeeding Coalition, coming soon!

DC Breastfeeding Coalition

Chiropractor-

Palmercare, Dr. Ted Davidson, Dr. Aldwin Martin, DC location

TruCentered Chiropractic -Bryant Harris, Annapolis, MD



Documentary-

The American Dream: Birth in America for Black Mothers

Groups-

Mocha Moms Northern PG County Chapter

Mocha Moms Inc Members in DC, MD, and VA
Mocha Moms Inc Waldorf

Herbal-

Ancestral Wisdom of Medicinal Plants

Luxe Mamma- Charissa Young

Mama Luvs Herbals- Jamila Talbot

Massage

Kim Stinger- Doulas of Capitol Hill,  Licensed Massage Therapist providing prenatal, postpartum, and induction massage.

Midwives

Anaya Sangode-Ayoka, GW Medical Faculty Associates

Claudia Booker Birthing Hands

Kandace Thomas GW Medical Faculty Associates

Dr. Kai Parker DC Midwife, Natropathic doctor

Ebony Marcelle- Community of Hope Family Health and Birth Center

Mental Heath-

Akoma Counseling Concepts- Silver Spring, MD

Diversified Lifestyle Counseling Services

Sunflower Wellness, Lindsay Vick, hypnotherapy, reiki, Alexandria, VA

Therapy for Black Girls Directory

Naturopathic Doctors-

All Things Natural Wellness Center Dr. Veda Johnson and Dr. Paula Stewart

Dr. Kai Parker DC Midwife, Natropathic doctor

Nutrition-

TaKisha August, nutritionist

Muriel Vanderpuye, personal chef and postpartum doula with Doulas of Capitol Hill

OBGYN-


Charlene Carter - George Washington Medical Faculty Associates

Moore OBGYN

Podcasts-

Therapy for Black Girls (by Dr. Joy Harden Bradford)

Pediatricians-

Healthy Home Pediatric Dr. Jalan Burton, Capitol Hill

Washington Pediatrics- Dr. Nicole Lang

Pediatric Dentists-

Children’s Choice Dental Dr Jonelle Anamelechi

Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry Dr Avionne Hill

Yoga-

Charissa Young- Luxe Mamma


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International Children's Book Day: book clubs, book stores, and baby books, oh my!

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International Children's Book Day: book clubs, book stores, and baby books, oh my!

At Doulas of Capitol Hill we love to celebrate all the things, especially those related to mothers and their children.

Today is International Children’s Book Day so we wanted to share some of our tips for this wonderful day of fun and reading!  

local bookstores for kids

Our founder, Emily Smith, started a Mother- Daughter book club when her daughter was in preschool with the hope to continue through the end of high school! The book club was inspired by reading an article in Mothering magazine when her daughter was an infant.  

Emily loved the idea to create and gather a group of girls and women together to tackle challenging topics such as peer-pressure, menstruation, and even death, in the context of classic and contemporary literature, and with the safe space of their friends and their friends’ moms, who they would grow to trust.

Here is a list of the Top 5 Books for Mother/ Daughter Book Club:

Preschool/ early elementary (age 4-7):

  1. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

  2. Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

  3. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

  4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

  5. Black Beauty by Ana Sewell

Middle to late elementary (age 8-10)

  1. Recipe for Adventure (series) by Giada De Laurentiis

  2. Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

  3. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

  4. Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacquelin Kelly

  5. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by Bryan Mealer and William Kamkwamba

Middle school (age 11-12)

  1. Fairest by Gail Carson Levine

  2. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

  3. Hope is a Ferris Wheel by Robin Herrera

  4. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling

  5. Seraphina and the Black Cloak

Top local and on the web sites for books and book clubs:

2nd and Charles, Woodbridge, VA and Chantilly, VA

A Mighty Girl .com

Bonjour Books DC, Kensington, MD

Hooray for Books, Old Town Alexandria, VA

Literacy World Wide. org

Novel Books, Clarksburg, MD

Politics and Prose, Conn. Ave NW, The Wharf SW, Union St Market NE

Reading with Lauren VIP (local Usborne distributor and also a former doula client of Emily’s!)

Solid State Books, H St NE Washington, DC

Wonder Books, Gaithersburg, MD


Top 5 books to prepare big sister (or big brother) for the new baby on the way:

best books to prepare for baby
  1. Where do babies come from?  (a lift-the-flap Usborne book)

  2. Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers

  3. Baby Born by Anastasia Suen illustrated by Chih-Wei Chang

  4. Contemplating Your Belly Button by Jun Nanao, illustrated by Tomoko Hasegawa

  5. Baby on the Way by William Sears, MD, Martha Sears, RN,, and Christie Watts Kelly, illustrated by Renee Andriani

mother daughter book club

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International Women's Day 2019

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International Women's Day 2019

By Ashley Woolsey, social media manager

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Today is International Women's Day. We know that the transition to becoming a mother can often shift our perspective of what that means about our identity.

It is often hard to remember who you once were before you became a parent and it's equally difficult to separate yourself from that role and discover who you are now. As a woman, as a person, as an individual. For a lot of new parents the return to work postpartum comes with so many emotions. Especially in the US where our family leave is scarce and often non existent. This means a faster return to work for those who are not emotionally, mentally or even physically ready. 

On the other hand there are those of us who thrive at work. Who crave for our brains to be simulated and to grow and nurture our careers. Some of us are ready almost immediately to get back into that environment and reclaim the ideality of the 'who we once were" woman. But whatever the case may be, the transition will still be a challenging one given that you have just given birth and your mental and physical self need to heal and replenish. 

If you are a breastfeeding or pumping parent, no matter your mind set on going back to work, you still have a new challenge of producing and maintaining a supply for your child while apart.

The Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington  is a wonderful resource for new parents to learn and get advice on how to best do that. They offer classes on breast pump basics  and pumping strategies for retuning to work . You can learn about how to maintain your supply, how to properly store your milk, and how to continue a breast-feeding relationship with your child when you're back together. 

You absolutely don't have to be a breastfeeding or pumping parent to benefit from their class offerings. They also have a prenatal and postnatal rights at work class taught by lawyers in the field to help guide you in planning and executing your new work/family life role. And lastly they offer a return to work support group which is a great way to connect to other parents in your position and to express your feelings and concerns with going back to work by receiving support and advice.

Being a women in and of itself comes with it's own unique sets of challenges that only grow as you become a mother.

At Doulas of Capitol Hill we pride ourselves in helping women find their old identities and discover new ones as we help guide you though this change. Our postpartum doulas are always there to be a shoulder to lean and learn on. Our Lactation Consultants are available to come to your home and support you in your breastfeeding and pumping needs one on one, and our DCH Village is a 24/7 support group on Facebook that creates a safe and non judgmental space for you to ask questions and meet new people who are in the same stages of life and motherhood. We are in the business of women supporting and empowering women and today, like all days, we celebrate you. Happy International Women's day!

Ashley Woolsey is social media manager at Doulas of Capitol Hill and creator of the blog Motherhood Tabutiful. She speaks sarcasm fluently, drinks coffee through an IV, and I has a deep and possibly borderline obsessive love towards all things Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ashley is a self-described advocate for social justice and human rights and if there's a march she’ll probably be there with her sister.

Ashley Woolsey is social media manager at Doulas of Capitol Hill and creator of the blog Motherhood Tabutiful. She speaks sarcasm fluently, drinks coffee through an IV, and I has a deep and possibly borderline obsessive love towards all things Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ashley is a self-described advocate for social justice and human rights and if there's a march she’ll probably be there with her sister.

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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Jacquelin Knighton

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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Jacquelin Knighton

Jacquelin Knighton is a birth doula, postpartum doula, placenta Encapsulator, and childbirth educator. She has been with Doulas of Capitol Hill since 2017 and is the co-owner of our sister company,    Doulas of Prince George’s County   , which also serves the entire DMV.

Jacquelin Knighton is a birth doula, postpartum doula, placenta Encapsulator, and childbirth educator. She has been with Doulas of Capitol Hill since 2017 and is the co-owner of our sister company, Doulas of Prince George’s County, which also serves the entire DMV.

VBAC and breastfeeding
  1. When did you find your Passion, or when did it find you?

    I decided to become a doula based on my own birth experiences. My son was born via C-section which was a horrible experience for me and I ended up with postpartum depression. When my husband and I decided to get pregnant with my daughter, I knew I was going to do everything differently. I wanted to have a VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean,) so I hired a doula, started seeing my chiropractor….all the things. My daughter was born vaginally, and it was the most perfect birth experience for me. It was then I decided that I wanted to help other women have the same birth experience I did with my daughter. I wanted to educate them on their options and help them learn what they can say no to,  and become advocates for themselves. So I became a doula. Later, I opened up Doulas of PG County with Emily to serve black women like myself who are dealing with maternal health disparities and racism in birthing spaces.

  2. If a kid walked up to you asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ‘em your best tip, what would it be?

    Life goes on. I have found solace in these three words many of times. When life feels like it’s going to swallow you whole, one thing remains true about it... It goes on. Think about that when you want to give up, you are heartbroken, or can’t find your way. Tomorrow is a new day.

  3. What do you love about your life?

    I love that when I stop and reflect, I realize that I am happy everyday of my life. Maybe not all day but every day and I have my husband, and children for that. I have created a life for myself that brings me so much joy and it’s not lost on me that God has made it all happen.

  4. What did you want to be when you grew up?

    A lawyer and a mom.

  5. How do you like to be told you’re doing a good job?

    My love language is gifts.

  6. Who is your role model and why?

    Michelle Obama because she embodies the very essence of elegance, persistence, grace and beauty.

  7. If you had any superpower, what would it be?

    Teleportation.

  8. How would you describe your (doula) style?

    Educational and warm with a bit of sarcasm.

  9. Describe yourself in 5 words.

    Loyal, blunt, trustworthy, optimistic, Integrity.

Doulas of PG County
Doula in PG County

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Business Spotlight: Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry

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Business Spotlight: Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry

We are SMILING today as we share a guest blog by Dr Avionne Hill for Children’s Dental Health Month.

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One of the specialties provided at Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry is tongue tie and lip tie laser revision, or frenectomy. This can be a simple, but often necessary procedure for some newborns if the tongue or lip tie is causing restrictions making it more difficult for the newborn to remove milk from the mothers’ breast. We encourage all our clients to be evaluated by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant if they are concerns their baby isn’t getting enough milk. Whether the mother is breastfeeding , formula feeding, or combo feeding, a tongue or lip tie which goes uncorrected can contribute to later concerns such as cavities, reflux, and speech problems later in life.


February is children’s Dental Health Month.

This month is dedicated to focusing the spotlight on the dental health of children and the important role it plays in their overall health.

One of my favorite highlights as a pediatric dentist is witnessing the joy, the relief, the gratefulness I see in parents who have had a first successful dental visit with their baby. 

For many parents the anticipation leading up to their child’s first visit can be stressful. Many times this may be heightened by their own past dental experiences. At Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry we consider the facts and documented statistics regarding childhood cavities. Even though it is a preventable condition, cavities in children remains one of the most common childhood diseases.

The current recommendations of both the Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatrics Dentistry, collectively advise parents to seek dental care for their baby by the time their first tooth arrives and no later than their first birthday. Understanding this, is the reason why we form a partnership with our families to focus on early intervention to aid in the prevention of cavities. We make every effort to make sure our parents and their little ones feel at ease before and during their visits with us.

Though a child’s full complement of baby teeth may not be present in their mouth by their first birthday, it is important to educate parents on how to properly care for these teeth. We also give parents tips on how to brush their baby’s teeth effectively and safely as more teeth erupt into their child’s mouth. We understand that brushing a young child’s teeth can be challenging and we give parents helpful tips and techniques to help them be successful.


During your visit with us at Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry your child’s diet will be discussed . We will examine your baby’s teeth, gums and oral cavity to check for cavities and discuss any concerns you may have. We will also make toothbrush and toothpaste recommendations suited for your baby.

February, is Children’s Dental Heath Month, which is a great time to visit us at Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry and start your baby on a lifetime of healthy smiles. We look forward to seeing you.

Best,

Dr Avionne Hill

Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry 

Washingtonian Top Pediatric Dentist

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More on Dr. Avionne Hill

Dr Hill is a Washingtonian top pediatric dentist and has been listed in every top dentist Issue of the Washingtonian Magazine since 2013 . She was born in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago and migrated to Northwest Washington D.C. to further her education .

She received her Doctorate in Dental Surgery at the University of Maryland Dental School . She then completed her specialty training in Pediatric Dentistry at Howard University College of Dentistry .

At Rose Park Pediatric dentistry she surgically releases soft tissue oral restrictions (tongue ties) with compassionate care to infants, young children and teenagers to aid them in feeding , eating and speaking .

She is devoted to educating parents and other health providers about the effects that oral restrictions (tongue ties )can have on infants and children. These effects can last well into adulthood if not diagnosed and treated at an early age .

Rose Park Pediatric dentistry also provides preventative dental services and interceptive orthodontic treatment to children and teenagers. Dr Hill has the advantage of recognizing early dental and orthodontic problems in children and teenagers and addresses them as soon problems are identified.

She has furthered her training and continuing education to ensure Rose Park Pediatric Dentistry offers the latest technology and techniques in the field of pediatric dentistry.

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Valentine's Date Night with In Home Personal Chef

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Valentine's Date Night with In Home Personal Chef

This #valentinesday Doulas of Capitol Hill is bringing the date night to you. Between February 10-16 we are offering an in home personal chef #datenight. One of our amazing team #chefs will come to your home and prepare a 4 course meal (and clean it up!) all under the comfort of your own roof. Space is very limited and we are booking now. Booking is not limited to DCH clients or even parents. All couples are welcome! For more information email us info@doulasofcapitolhill.com
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2019: Better Cooperation

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2019: Better Cooperation

Each year Doulas of Capitol Hill chooses a single word to be a guide for the year ahead. Our year for 2019 is “Better.”  

We identified three specific ways in which we can be “better” than we were a year ago.  We strive to be Communicators, aim to be better at Cooperation, and intend to better at Climbing.  We chose these three target areas as they are also “milestones” reached by three year-olds and our company turns three in February.

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Today, we will share the ways in which Doulas of Capitol Hill plans to be better at Cooperation in 2019.

1. We’ve started 2019 out with a large team of birth doulas, postpartum doulas, placenta encapsulators, and lactation consultants. We value having a big team because it means more choices and options for our clients.  Doulas of Capitol Hill, and our sister company Doulas of Prince George’s County, can be a one-stop-shop for all things pregnancy, birth, and baby-related. You want an expert by your side and we are honored to be invited into your story!

However, a challenge to any group as it grows is continuing to be in relationships with one another where we are known and our differences are celebrated.  We need to have spaces created for us where we can be authentic, where assumptions are left aside, and non-judgmental listening is made a priority.  

To address this challenge we’ve launched our 5 Star Mentor program!  

The 5 Star Mentors are a select group of doulas who are know for their experience level and leadership qualities. They will facilitate small groups of 3-5 other professionals, meet regularly, learn from each other, connect as a community of professionals, and receive mentorship, when needed.

One of Doulas of Capitol Hill’s Three Guiding Principles is “Grow the Profession.” 2019 will be a year for us to become BETTER at COOPERATION, so our professionals can grow together!

2. The 5 Star Mentor program benefits our professionals, yes.  But it also benefits our clients in two ways.. First, each of the small groups will be hosting one of our quarterly DCH Village meet-ups. These are in-person events we hold for our clients to hang out with other parents.  Some of examples of past DCH Village get-togethers were wine and painting at Wine & Design in Alexandria, picnic at the Winery at Bull Run, cry-baby matinee at AMC Courthouse in Arlington, Brewery get-together at Biergarten Haus in DC, Baby Bar Takeover at Boxcar Tavern in Capitol Hill, and our Snowflake Diaper Drive to benefit the DC Diaper Bank.  

We know our clients choose the birth doula or postpartum doula to invite into this intimate time in their lives with a mix of experience, personality, and trust.  

For expectant parents for whom experience is the primary priority, the second way this 5 Star Mentor program benefits clients is that we’ve made it easy to identify the most seasoned doulas on our team, showing who the 5 Star Mentors are at the top of their website bios.

3.  The third way Doulas of Capitol Hill will continue to focus on COOPERATION in 2019 is with our Affiliates and Partners, who are other local business we love and who love us back!  

Shout-out to Nested, who offers all our group childbirth classes at their offices in Chevy Chase and at the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington, to Emily Souder of Nesting Space LLC, author of Birth Story Brave, and Concierge Physical Therapists, our long time affiliates offering in-home physical therapy to clients throughout the DMV.  

We’re happy to continue our affiliation with Motherhood Tabutiful, Lavender Retreat, Heidi Daniels the DC Birth Photographer, ICAN of NOVA, and Washington Pediatrics.  One new affiliate we recently joined up with is Fran Darnell of Dynamic Core, who offers her Dynamic Mama Pilates and coaching series at Rooted Pilates in Capitol Hill. Stay tuned for some new affiliates to join us this spring and later in the year as well!  

We believe when people support each other, incredible things happen.  

Doulas of Capitol Hill has an amazing group of skilled women who are passionate about the work we do supporting families. Author Paulo Coelho said “when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” We couldn’t agree more!




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2019: Better Communication

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2019: Better Communication

Each year Doulas of Capitol Hill chooses a single word to be a guide for the year ahead. Our year for 2019 is “Better.”  

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In February of 2019 the company will celebrate its’ third birthday and with that came some reflection on what milestones and abilities three year-olds are reaching.

When compared to two year-olds, who are notoriously marked as “terrible,” three year old’s seem to be light-years ahead in their abilities. Not YOUR two year-old, of course, but all the others!  

We identified three specific ways in which three year-old’s are “better” than they were a year ago.  They are better Communicators, they are better at Cooperation, and they are better at Climbing.

Today, we will share the ways Doulas of Capitol Hill plans to be better at Communication in 2019.

  1. In January 2019 we have added to our client evaluation form a survey of our clients success rates getting reimbursed by their health insurance for services.  Additionally, if they had success, or lack of, with payment or reimbursement through a Health Savings Account or Flex Spending account to pay for doula services or to pay for lactation support, we want to know! Is my doula covered by insurance?  And can I pay for my doula with my HSA or with my FSA? These are questions we know people are asking, so we’re making it our intention to get some answers!

  2. As a team we are going to be communicating Better as well, by adding in a weekly behind-the-scenes Zoom call for our professionals to communicate together about the challenges and the wins we experience in supporting families through pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and the newborn period.  

  3. And lastly, we plan to see some new and unfolding ways of communicating with our clients by continuing to add things to our Client Portal, which is a password protected page on our website created exclusively for our clients, past, present, and future.  The Client Portal is a special collection of resources combined with DCH and our Affiliates and Partners. We can’t unveil all the goodies 2019 has in store, but one we are excited to give a hint about is a Birth Affirmations Printable. When our Birth Affirmation Printable is released we’ll be sure to practice good COMMUNICATION and let you all know!  

We want everyone to know that BETTER doesn’t mean that things were bad in the past.

It’s just an acknowledgement that we’re still learning and improving in the ways walk out our Three Guiding Principles: Support the Family, Build the Community, and Grow the Profession.  As always, we welcome your comments and feedback how we can be BETTER!



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Team Member Spotlight!  Meet Kim Hawkins

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Team Member Spotlight! Meet Kim Hawkins

Kim Hawkins is a birth doula, postpartum doula, certified lactation counselor, placenta encapsulator, and childbirth educator. Kim is also a 5 Star Mentor with DCH. She has been with Doulas of Capitol Hill since our launch in 2016.

Kim Hawkins is a birth doula, postpartum doula, certified lactation counselor, placenta encapsulator, and childbirth educator. Kim is also a 5 Star Mentor with DCH. She has been with Doulas of Capitol Hill since our launch in 2016.

  1. When did you find your Passion, or when did it find you?

    I knew I liked health subjects way back in high school when I found Anatomy class absolutely fascinating! That continued throughout college as I got my degree in Kinesiology and began to work at government fitness centers in 2007 when we first moved to DC. Fast forward to the birth of my first child and a career switch into Public Health policy. As I began to hear more and more about how the biggest differences being made in health was when there was one-on-one support,  my love of health, birth and support all combined in a huge AHA moment of my life. I wanted to work in a field I knew would bring joy and fulfillment into my life. I love seeing parents change from being nervous about what to expect and then settle into their parenthood journey.

  2. What makes you proud of yourself?

    I am proud I am showing my kids that work can be exhausting but incredibly rewarding. My favorite birthday card was one from my daughter telling me she loves what I do. It was reaffirming that even though this job sometimes takes me away from them at odd hour, it’s worth it. I’m proud that I work on teaching them you shouldn’t depend on other for your own happiness and having resiliency in life is important. I’m proud that some day they will see you’re never too late to follow joy and passion in your life. I’m also proud that I am always wanting to learn and continue on a path of creating authenticity in my life.

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3. What do you love about your life?

What I love about my life is it’s always teaching me new things. Growing and stretching can be painful but getting on the other side can be rewarding. I of course love my husband and children, parenting is hard and humbling work but the moments of pure joy can sustain for a while. And I love wine. And coffee. I’m a cliché but there is a reason they exist!

4. What did you want to be when you grew up?

I can’t even remember! I think they always involved some type of service (teacher, nurse, etc.). I also look back and realize there wasn’t a lot of discussion of what options were available when I was a little girl. I hope to keep changing that conversation with my kids.

5. Tell me about your favorite book or movie.

I am a huge reader, always have been, and while my ability to find time to read has changed over the years there is still nothing I love more then going to a book store and buying books. My all time favorite book is “I Know This Much is True” By Wally Lamb. I have re-read many books over the years (shout out The Baby-Sitter’s Club books all through my childhood - the Disney Cruise is their best special book and I am Dawn FWIW) and this is one I try to read every year or two. Since becoming a parent I’ve noticed I read books and watch movies through different eyes and books and movies I either re-read or watch have changed them for me. For example, in Home Alone I now just think how annoying Kevin is and feel the panic of the mom in the movie!

6. How do you like to be told you’re doing a good job?

  1. By being directly told I am doing a good job!

  2. Hearing from clients, whether it’s a week or years later on how they are doing is very humbling to know I was there when they became a family.


7. Who is your role model and why?

Women who keep fighting to find their path and stumble along the way but persevere. It’s hard work and never ending but seeing others keeping to fight help inspire me to not give up my goals and dreams.

8. If you had any superpower, what would it be?

To be able to finish my to do list every day! So freeze time? Work at super speed?


9. How would you describe your (doula) style?

I use humor to help get through parts and honesty I feel goes a long way. Women in labor don’t want to be placated or lied to, they want honestly and authenticity as they go through the humbling experience that is giving birth to your child. Even when a mom is not able to fully communicate how she feeling or what is going on I’m always remembering she is herself and it may be deep inside but speaking to her directly and honestly the entire time is important!

10. Describe yourself in 5 words

  1. Honest

  2. Authentic

  3. Funny

  4. Nurturing

  5. Fiery (my mama bear can come out fiercely and quickly!)


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2019 Will Be BETTER!

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2019 Will Be BETTER!

By Ashley Woolsey, Social Media Manager

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In September, Laura Macone, clinical social worker and therapist in Alexandria, came to an #ICAN meeting. When touching on the subject of #postpartumdepression she asked the question “could this be better?” This question stuck with our founder, Emily. Not just for the subject of #PPD but with all things related to motherhood, family, and even with our agency as a whole. Emily has chosen the word “better” to be our word for 2019 in an attempt to ask herself, our doulas, and our team, “could this be better?” It is a non judgmental question, which has always been one of the things we pride our agency on being. It isn’t saying things were, or are bad. It’s just asking, “could they be better?”

And what does that mean for our agency moving forward? If the answer is a simple, yes it could be, then how can we, not necessarily fix it, but change it in a way that is more efficient and overall, well, better? In the weeks to follow we will try to break this word down a little more and let you all in on how we intend to make our agency a more improved and overall better experience for everyone involved. Because we are in the business of helping families and we consider you all a part of our Doulas of Capitol Hill family. So lets make 2019 better for all of us! 

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Prioritizing Self-Care During the Holidays

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Prioritizing Self-Care During the Holidays

Emily Souder, LCSW-C, MA, MSW

Start the slow cooker at 8 am. Schedule flu shots for the littles. Order a birthday gift for the neighbor’s little girl. Clean up goldfish crumbs. Work on that business project.

Sound familiar? This is a pretty typical train of thought for me when I’m running through my mental to-do list. Carrying this mental load around is exhausting. Yes, a paper list helps, but there are still a lot of things to juggle! This list is just on a normal day, but during the holidays, the tasks stack up in a way that just doesn’t happen during the rest of the year.

Get napkins for the preschool party. Order school photos. Return boxers to the store because you bought boys’ boxers for your husband (oops). RSVP to the work happy hour. Make brownies for the neighborhood party. Do we need to send out holiday cards? Do I have spinach in my teeth?

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The topic of imbalance of emotional labor between moms and dads has been making its way around the internet, and with good reason. We carry so many of the unspoken, behind-the-scenes tasks around with us, and it’s frustrating! Even when we have supportive, present partners, it can feel that we are thinking of things that aren’t even occurring to them, and that can feel lonely. We start to think that if we don’t show up in this way, our world will fall apart. It’s scary to let go.

Let’s try something on together. What if we were able to help counteract the effects of this labor imbalance by prioritizing self-care?

Self-care looks different for everyone, but it can include setting boundaries, delegating tasks, making it to that yoga class, and saying no to the holiday happy hour.

This season, I created a free holiday challenge for moms called Rock the Hustle & Bustle specifically for this reason. Moms can benefit from their own space to practice (and it does take practice) making their wellness a priority this holiday season so they can show up for their families in a healthier, more compassionate, more energized way. We don’t have to feel depleted after the holidays!

Here are some things to consider about the holidays and caring for yourself:

  1. Missing out won’t kill you. It might be uncomfortable, but think about this: by missing out on that thing, what are you getting to participate in? What are you saying yes to by saying no?

  2. We can make choices. If the neighborhood party feels like a source of stress, can you pick up a store-bought dessert instead of making one from scratch? Can you skip it and stay in for a cozy movie night with your kiddos?

  3. Others are practicing it too. There are other moms and parents finding their way alongside of you, and reaching out and making connections with others can be a way to feel energized by friendship and to even have a reality-check partner when you wonder if you’re taking on too much.


So what do you think? Is it time to try something a little different this year? It might feel funny at first, but the benefits will have you feeling so glad you gave it a try.

Emily Souder is a licensed clinical social worker, life coach, mama, and writer in Maryland. She helps mom entrepreneurs who are feeling lost in the demands of motherhood and out of touch with themselves achieve clarity, focus, and empowerment using intuition-informed guidance, mindset work, and skill building. She is married to her best friend (so cheesy, but so true!), has two littles (ages 1 and 4), and is on her own path of rocking her authenticity.



Website: www.nestingspacellc.com

IG: www.instagram.com/nesting_space/

FB: www.facebook.com/nestingspacellc/



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Tips for Lower Back Discomfort in Pregnancy

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Tips for Lower Back Discomfort in Pregnancy

Staying Healthy for the Holidays includes taking care of your body physically. Today our wonderful affiliate and friend, Katie Bayer of Concierge Physical Therapists shares with us tips for lower back discomfort in pregnancy.

In this video she talks about how to reduce stress in your lower back, breathing and relaxation techniques, and offers simple and effective stretches that are safe for the pregnant person.



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Health Care Quality Week: Interview with Dr. Nicole V. Lang MD

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Health Care Quality Week: Interview with Dr. Nicole V. Lang MD

October 21-27 is Health Care Quality Week and Doulas of Capitol Hill is honored to feature one of Washington, DC’s most loved pediatricians, Dr. Nicole V. Lang, MD, and her practice at Washington Pediatric for this month’s Local Business Spotlight.

Dr. Lang is a board certified pediatrician with over 22 years experience in caring for children in the Washington metropolitan area.  She is the Founder, President and CEO of both Washington Pediatric Associates and the specialized extension of her practice called, Premier Pediatric Concierge Care.  The Concierge Service provides an even more personalized convenient and comprehensive approach to health, education and wellness. 

She is recognized locally as one of Washington DC’s Top Pediatric Doctors according to Washingtonian, Washingtonian Mom, Washington Parent and the Washington Post

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What led you to this career?

My life’s calling, since the age of 7, was to be a pediatrician. I am the first doctor in my family and greatly value taking care of “my children.”  I am truly living my dream. 

What do you enjoy most about work?

I absolutely enjoy helping new parents navigate parenthood and watching the evolution of growth and development of my children over 21 years.  I also love being able to positively influence children during their formative years. My motto is to help children make “Smart, Healthy, Safe Choices in Life” and encourage them to reach their full potential. 

If you are a parent, how was your birth and postpartum?

I am the proud mother of my daughter, Nia. I had a wonderful natural child birth experience in a hospital setting. I needed a lot of support with breastfeeding during the postpartum period and ultimately did find balance with supplementing with formula. I always say that my baby had the best of both worlds and is thriving today. 

What resources would you want parents to have?

I want all parents to have the book Touchpoints, written by my mentor and world renowned pediatrician, Dr T Berry Brazelton. This book focuses on a child’s social and emotional health, which is just as important as a child’s physical and cognitive well being.  He stresses the importance of having a holistic look at a child and supporting the family in any way possible. 

What's one thing you think the world needs to do to improve the lives of new parents (or people living in our service area)?

New parents need longer maternity and paternity leave to be with their newborns. We need to be a family centered society to help foster the love and support a new family needs in order to thrive. 

What do you think is the hardest part of expecting baby or becoming a parent?

The hardest part of becoming a parent is the amount of pressure parents (especially mothers) put on themselves to be the perfect parent. There is not just one way of parenting. It is a process of trial and error. It is important to trust your gut intuition because it will always lead you in the right direction.  Trust the process and remember Self-Care along the way. (Remember the airplane rule: parent put your oxygen mask on first then help your child).

What products or services do you personally love?

I am a wellness advocate for the company, Doterra.  I utilize a wide variety of their products personally and in my practice- from essential oils, soaps/lotions to vitamin supplements.  There is a new baby/kid product line now available too, that I love. This company also has a wonderful humanitarian mission that helps support poor communities around the world. 

How do you start each day?

My mother always taught me to count my blessings. I start each day with a prayer of gratitude for the gift of life, family, friends and nature.  I ask God to guide me and give me strength for the day.  I also tell my husband and daughter that I love them dearly. 

What's your favorite thing to do in DC?

My favorite thing to do in DC is to spend time with my family and friends—i.e. hiking in Rock Creek Park, visiting the Smithsonian museums or trying different ethnic restaurants (Cher Cher Ethiopian restaurant is our favorite)—as long as I am with my loved ones, I am filled with JOY!



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Best Nursing Bras Available For Well Dressed Mammas!

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Best Nursing Bras Available For Well Dressed Mammas!

We are very excited to bring you the first blog in an anticipated ongoing series that focuses on awesome women in and around DC! We look forward to highlighting some of the fantastic work they are doing, enjoying the stories about their children, and doing what doulas do best- supporting women!  Today’s blog features Concetta Aires, owner of Well Dressed Mamma, an in-home nursing boutique that allows you to be fitted for and purchase nursing bras in the comfort of your own home. If you are reading this from an area outside of the DMV, visit her website and order her products online!

   Tell us your story-how did you get into this line of work?

After I had my daughter, I had every intention of going back to my financial reporting job. I loved the company but wasn't in love with what I was doing or the amount of hours I was working. I had recently gotten my MBA and was interested in taking a leap of faith and trying to start my own business. After chatting with a Mom friend, she gave me the idea of doing nursing bra sales after she had such a bad experience finding the right bra for her. I immediately related to the horrors of finding a well fitting, good looking bra (among other necessary nursing items) after I ordered a few terrible nursing bras online and had grabbed others from Target and Buy Buy Baby that were uncomfortable. I knew that if I was going to nurse for the long haul, I needed to be comfortable and feel beautiful so I started doing the research to find quality, good looking products. After a few months I found companies that I not only believed in but loved their products and Well Dressed Mamma was born.

 Tell us about your daughter!

My daughter just turned one which is so hard to believe! When people say you will never feel love like the love you have for your child, I was cynical (maybe because I'm madly in love with my husband) but boy were they right. She's funny and beautiful and so much fun to be around. Her smile and giggle light up a room and she's always happy. She is laid back, like her father, and also extremely determined. I feel so lucky to be able spend every day with her and to learn from her! 

Well Dressed Mamma's Guide to Selectinga Nursing Bra

 You mentioned having a hard time finding a good nursing bra. Do you have a favorite?

I love all the bras I carry but the two I wear the most are the Cake Cotton Candy Bra and the Bella Materna Plunge Bra. I absolutely LOVE the Cake Cotton Candy Bra as a light exercise bra. It is insanely comfortable and cute; I have to hold myself back from buying one in every color! I wear it around the house, to spin classes and I'm almost always wearing it when I'm out in my active wear. I'm also always wearing the Bella Materna Plunge Bra. I love the fact that it turns into a racer-back which is perfect for my summer wardrobe and it also gives a great shape without a wire and is a perfect everyday bra. 


What is the most stressful thing about running your own business?

The most stressful part of owning a business is finding the time for the paperwork and to do all of the behind scenes work such as advertising. I have always been a finance professional with a love for sales so it's been a big switch. I try to capitalize on Kennedy's morning nap but sometimes it feels like there are just not enough hours in the day! Trying to have it all is stressful and at times it means some things have to give.

What is the best thing about running your own business?

I love the flexibility of running my own business. Although I still work a lot of hours, I can usually fit them in while Kennedy is napping or after she has gone to bed. My favorite part of my particular business is definitely the clients. I love meeting and helping new moms. I have met many of my best friends through selling them bras or organizing events for my clients. It is such a rewarding experience leaving a mom's home with them feeling confident, pretty and COMFORTABLE in their new (or expanded) role.

What do you think is unique about running a business as a woman?

I think running a business as a woman is challenging especially because we tend to not promote ourselves enough or feel that we are worth the service that we are providing. I also feel like we tend to take on too much. Trying to take care of a household and run a business ensures I never have down time- as I'm sure most parents can relate to.

What is your plan for the next year?

I would love to expand into clothing. Look for some clothing beyond tank tops as early as the spring! I would also love to grow and share my experience with other moms that could benefit from selling the bras. It would be a chance to make new connections and receive income from a part time job while still being flexible for a baby or toddler at home!

 Taking the plunge into motherhood is such a challenging time in every woman's life. Being able to provide them with a service that takes the stress out of shopping for nursing bras no matter where they live is taking one small thing off of their plate. It is such a special time and breastfeeding is such an extraordinary thing that I feel all woman should have the opportunity to feel and look beautiful doing it.

 How do we tell everyone to purchase bras from you? 

If you're in the market for nursing bras, I guarantee you that I carry at least one that you love. I come to you with a crate full of goodies and allow you to try on the items in the comfort of your own home. I'll give you honest feedback because the most important part of my business is having satisfied customers. All nursing bras fit differently so it is important to get measured and to try on a few different sizes to find the perfect bra for you!

 Thank you, Nicole, for giving me the opportunity to tell my story! 
 

Please visit Concetta’s website at  www.welldressedmamma.com to schedule an appointment/make online purchases or email her at welldressedmamma@gmail.com

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