Birth Doula


A birth doula is a trained childbirth expert, offering emotional, physical, and informational support during pregnancy, labor & delivery, and the immediate postpartum period. She has expertise in a variety of coping strategies for the different stages of labor, utilizes different laboring positions to help facilitate labor progress, has familiarity with the common medical interventions and pain-medication options, and is often knowledgeable about natural alternatives, such as acupressure, aromatherapy, rebozo techniques, etc. To understand the full stope of what doulas do, have a look at the blog post: 20 Things A Doula Does.


Many people confuse doulas with midwives. A doula does not have formal medical training and is not responsible for the health and safety of mother and baby, which frees her up to meet the mother’s non-medical needs which are often left unmet by our current maternity model (including midwifery care), specifically continuous emotional and physical support. A doula only has one client at a time, so she can provide her client with 100% of her attention and care. On the contrary, a midwife has extensive medical training and experience, and is responsible for the health and safety of both the mother and the baby; therefore, she often does not have the time or energy to offer extensive emotional or physical support and comfort to the mother. Midwives are often managing multiple patients at a time, similar to OB’s.


There are so many benefits to having a doula. Evidence shows that doula support significantly reduces the risk of complications during labor & delivery and increases the mother’s satisfaction with her birthing experience. A doula fills in the gap left by our maternity care system, staying with the woman and her partner throughout the duration of labor & delivery (hospital staff and providers come and go, often leaving a mother and partner alone for long stretches of time), can help couples understand options available to them so they can make fully informed decisions about their care, and ensures that a couples birth wishes and preferences are honored and respected. To learn more about the benefits of doula care, check out this site: Evidence for Doulas.


The most common misconception about doula support is that a doula replaces a partner’s role. Every doula has a different approach and philosophy, but most doulas believe in the importance of the partner’s role and working together as the mother’s primary support team. The best doulas will support both the mother and the partner, empowering and guiding the partner to best support the mother. To learn more about how a doula and a partner work together, have a look at the blog post: Doulas Are for Partners, Too! 


Our standard birth doula package includes one free phone consultation and interview; 24/7 phone, text, and email support from the time of hire; one prenatal meeting at your home to go over your birth preferences and help to prepare you for the big day; attendance at the birth and immediate postpartum & breastfeeding support; one postpartum visit within 2 weeks of delivery; and one month of unlimited newborn & breastfeeding consultations via the phone.


The doulas at Joyful Birthing share the philosophy of supporting couples to achieve a positive, empowering birthing and postpartum experience, on their own terms as they define it. We believe that every woman deserves the compassionate support of a doula, regardless of her hopes for the birth. Our practice is focused providing evidence-based guidance, respectful support, and staying current with best practices for supporting couples through pregnancy, labor & delivery, and early parenthood. We serve the greater Boston area, including the South Shore, North Shore, seacoast New Hampshire, and surrounding areas.

Ellie Lindenmayer, HBCE, CD(DONA), CLC, MA
Founder, Joyful Birthing
Birth Doula

Ellie is a certified DONA International birth doula, HypnoBirthing® Practitioner, Certified Lactation Counselor, and mother to Pax (age 7) and Laura (age 5) with over five years of experience as a birth worker. After working as a high school English teacher for 10 years, the birth her two children prompted her to found Joyful Birthing in 2014. She has since attended over 80 births across the greater Boston and North Shore area at over 15 area hospitals and taught over 100 couples the HypnoBirthing method. Ellie has completed extensive training in birthing and lactation, including Gena Kirby Rebozo, Spinning Babies®, and the American Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice. Ellie brings her heart and soul to each and every birth and is committed to providing couples with the unique support, guidance, and encouragement that they need in order to have the most empowering experience possible.

Tara Stevens
Birth & Postpartum Doula

Tara is a trained birth and postpartum doula with over 10 years of experience serving families as a doula and midwifery assistant. She gained her first birth experiences as a volunteer doula at a freestanding birthing center in South Texas, followed by an intensive midwifery preceptorship at a rural clinic in Senegal. Since then, she has organized a community childbirth education group, assisted midwives at homebirths, and helped new parents to thrive as a doula. Whether practicing comfort measures with a pregnant couple, helping a mom keep her strength through a long labor, or working with a new baby to develop a comfortable latch, she is dedicated to supporting parents from conception through the first hard, rewarding year as a new family. She is currently pursuing her nursing degree with plans to continue serving growing families as an RN in 2021. Tara is the mother of 3-year-old twin girls who light up her world.

Joy Smith 
Birth Doula

Trained as a Birth Doula in 2003 by Penny Simkin, noted author and co-founder of DONA International, Joy brings a wealth of experience in birth work and has attended over 100 births.  She has always had an interest in pregnancy and childbirth, but it wasn’t until birthing her own babies that the passion for helping others navigate their births was sparked. From 2004-2006 Joy completed her training in the art of homebirth through WomanCraft Midwifery School and gained further birth experience through her subsequent apprenticeship. Joy’s belief that emotional preparation is the key to a positive birth experience inspired her to become a Childbirth Mentor under the Birthing From Within philosophy so that she could compassionately guide parents on their unique birth journey. In 2014 Joy added to her birth work by becoming a Level II Reiki Practitioner and now enjoys bringing this gentle healing art form to pregnancy, birth and all who can benefit from physical and emotional healing. Joy is a mother to five amazing children, “Nani” to a sweet grandson, and a passionate homeschooler.

Kathleen Maillet, CLE, CLC
Birth Doula

Kathleen has been doing birth work since 2011 and has attended over 100 births. The birth of her daughter, Satya (age 18), remains to be the most empowering event of her life. It is this experience and her commitment to empowering women that led her to become a professional birth, a postpartum doula and a certified lactation counselor. In addition to her work in birth, Kathleen also has a career in healing as a Certified Reiki Practitioner and a Holistic Health Educator. As a doula, Kathleen is known for creating a team at the hospital, with your choices leading the way. It is Kathleen’s intention that your childbirth experience works for you. Kathleen considers childbirth to be a “right of passage” for every woman and is honored and privileged to be present to support and guide women and families during this miracle of life.

Hilary Witcher
Birth & Postpartum Doula


Hilary is Birth and Postpartum Doula, trained by DONA International, and a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist. Pregnancy and childbirth have been her passion since she found out she was pregnant with her first child over 11 years ago. Her birth and postpartum experiences – both wonderful and challenging – fed her spirit and inspired her to give back to other new parents. This passion has stayed with her through the years as she’s worked with families and her own children have grown. Hilary participates in both Mt. Auburn Hospital’s Volunteer Doula Program and Joyful Birthing’s Mentorship Program. Hilary is here to help you and your family along your journey of parenthood in an open, non-judgmental manner. From your pregnancy through your birth and beyond, her hope is that her knowledge, experience and support can help guide you to have a positive birth experience and to become the parents you know you can be.



In your initial inquiry, please include your home location, where you plan to birth, and your estimated due date. Based on doula availability, you will be matched with one or two of our birth doulas. If you have a preference for a specific doula, please include that in your initial inquiry. Our schedules tend to fill months in advance, so we encourage interested clients to reach out sooner rather than later. If you are interested in postpartum support, please include your home location, estimated due date, and a description of the support you are seeking (length of time you’re seeking support, number of children, etc.). We offer one free consultation over the phone as well as one in-person meeting to allow prospective clients to ask questions, get to know us and our services, and to determine if we are a good match.