JOYFUL BIRTHING’S DOULAS
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. Our fees range from $1500-$2200.
Joanne Flaherty completed her birth doula training and certification through Doulas of North American International (DONA). Joanne is passionate about helping her clients feel safe and empowered, both prenatally and during labor and birth. She brings maturity, experience, and calming guidance to pregnancy, labor, and birth. She is collaborative in nature and works seamlessly with the entire care team, including all family members and medical staff. Joanne strives to provide an environment in which her clients feel safe, loved, and empowered. Joanne believes the skills she has learned in her over 12-year practice of yoga and meditation, such as breathing, linking breath with movement, clearing the mind, and focusing, can be useful to birthing people. Joanne has attended over forty (40) births and is comfortable supporting all types of births. Joanne has attended Spinning Babies® Workshops and is a Spinning Babies enthusiast. Joanne lives in Georgetown with her husband, John. She has two daughters, Meaghan (1991) and Erin (1993), who were born in the hospital, without any medical intervention. Her two positive birth experiences led her to doula work. Her joy of working with birthing people, and their loved ones, has kept her on this journey and she wants to convey that same positive experience with other families. Before her calling as a birth doula, Joanne earned her Master’s Degree in the Arts and Humanities and has worked for the past twenty years in a historic preservation organization.
WHAT JOANNE’S CLIENTS SAY:
“My husband and I are first-time parents and decided to have a doula be part of the birth because we wanted to have the guidance of someone experienced with the process. I was initially a little nervous about having a stranger be such a big part of what is a very personal and intimate experience, but Joanne is such a warm and caring person that I felt completely at ease with her. We met with Joanne twice before the big day to create a set of birth preferences and she was always available by phone in case I had questions or concerns. Joanne did a great job of presenting different options without interjecting too much personal bias and was fully supportive of my choices. I ended up needing to be induced and Joanne was absolutely instrumental in helping my labor to move along quickly and allowing me to delay an epidural as much as possible by suggesting different positions/techniques. Overall, Joanne has a great sense of humor and is just a joy to work with. Highly recommended!” -Sarah J.
“Joanne helped me have the strength to bring my son into the world via VBAC. She calmly gave me support, especially at moments when I wasn’t sure if I could do it. She worked great with both my husband and sister who were there to support me as well. Giving us all ideas and suggestions. She also made sure the hospital staff were aware of my wishes, desires, fears, and hopes. She brought a calm and grounding presence to my delivery that I am very grateful for.” -Jenny T.
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.
WHAT JOY’S CLIENTS SAY:
“One conversation with Joy and I knew she was the one. I ended up having to be induced because I was nearly 42 weeks but Joy helped me plan the induction based on my intuition and not the doctor’s timeline. I labored for a total of 13 hours before pushing for 4 hours. I was able to do so unmedicated (even with Pitocin!) and could not have accomplished that without Joy’s suggestions and calmness. However, my doctor decided four hours was long enough, and even though the baby’s heart rate was fine, it was time to consider an intervention. After much back and forth with the doctors and my husband, we decided to allow for a forceps delivery to avoid a cesarean. Had I not had Joy’s support, I very easily could have given in to a cesarean just because I was drained and feeling defeated by my doctors. I owe our happy ending to Joy who along with my husband kept me positive, calm and never failed to remind me that my body was made for this.” -Jenna
Jenny is a DONA-certified Birth Doula, VBAC Link-trained VBAC Doula, PAIL (Pregnancy and Infant Loss) Advocate, and a CAPPA-trained Childbirth Educator. Her passion for supporting birthing people goes back many years to the mid-1990s, when she acted as labor companion for a pair of close friends. The experience literally changed her life, and pursuing a career in birth support became a long-harbored dream. In 2017 she made the decision to put aside her long-standing career as a graphic designer, and train to become a birth doula. Since then she has had the privilege of supporting over 40 birthing people on their journey through pregnancy, labor, and birth. Her approach is client-focused and evidence-based, using a variety of resources and techniques to assist her clients in making informed decisions, and preparing for their ideal birth.
When she’s not supporting birthing clients, Jenny does book design for independent authors. She also enjoys kayaking the beautiful lakes and rivers near her home, knitting, exploring the history of New England, and gardening.
WHAT JENNY’S CLIENTS SAY:
“For me and my husband, having our first child during the pandemic was a daunting prospect, especially since the rest of our family lives on the west coast. So we decided to hire a doula to assist us since we couldn’t have either of our mothers support us in the hospital. It turned out that hiring Jenny was one of the best decisions we could have made as expecting parents! She was incredibly helpful during the weeks leading up to our daughter’s birth and absolutely invaluable while I was in labor. She soothed me while I was in pain from back labor contractions and she helped me get some much-needed sleep before giving birth. With her support, I managed to dilate to 7cm before having an epidural (which is impressive given my extremely low pain tolerance and speaks to Jenny’s ability to help me cope!). If you’re a first-time mom and you need a calming, soothing, caring person in your family’s corner, then Jenny is your woman. You will not regret hiring her!” -Alexandra T.
” ‘The Mary Poppins of Doulas’: Choosing a doula is a very personal and important decision. I had a tough time choosing a doula for the birth of my second child as I wanted someone to truly support my birth and choices. I am evidence-based and need hard facts for my decision-making. From the moment I spoke to Jenny, I felt that she will support my choices and be there for me without judgment. She embodied the meaning of doula – to support a birthing mother. Jenny was interested in getting to know us personally, our medical history, and our choices. She is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of birth. Jenny does not have an agenda, she heard what I hoped for/feared/worried about and translated it all into the support that I needed. I met Jenny at the hospital when I had my planned C section. She was my ONLY support person in the hospital. I am forever grateful for her presence. She added to my confidence and joy I experienced. She comforted me and helped me stay calm. She knew when to speak and when to hold back. Having Jenny in the OR made me feel secure, focused, and positive throughout the operation. Thereafter, she stayed with me throughout my stay in the hospital. She was there for me like a family member. She comforted me, helped me nurse my baby, held my baby and was there for me anytime I needed her. The hospital had a graveyard schedule for newborn screening, Jenny would stay up to be with my baby as I did not want to leave my baby alone with the nurse. During my postpartum visit at the OBs office, the nurses mentioned how great she was to have in the room! Jenny is truly passionate about what she does and being a doula is her calling. She is an incredibly caring and compassionate person. My birth story wouldn’t have been the same without her. I don’t know how we would have managed without her. I would recommend her to anybody who wants a doula as I am confident that you are in great hands.” -Anuja S
Oonagh is originally from Ireland and has been living in the Boston area for over 20 years. She completed her training as a doula through Doulas of North America (DONA) and is a Certified Birth Doula. Oonagh has two teenage sons, and during birth, she wished she had a Doula’s expertise and support; she wanted more information and guidance but didn’t know where to turn. Since then, she has always wanted to help women feeling similar worries and anxieties during birth. Oonagh is the youngest of 5 children and grew up surrounded by large Irish families. Before becoming a doula, Oonagh worked in the skincare industry for over ten years. Empowering women to look and feel their best is one of the main inspirations why she became a doula, where she can leverage those skills in a more nurturing setting. Oonagh believes she can take her experience and use it to enable birthing experiences filled with compassion, caring, and understanding. Oonagh has a passion for helping women in any life stage, especially as they bring new life into the world – whether through emotional support, information, physical support, guided meditation, relaxation techniques, or birthing positions. Oonagh has assisted with over 20 births and is comfortable supporting all types of births, She’ll bring creative, motivating, and kind energy to help guide a woman in their journey into motherhood. Everyone deserves support and encouragement during pregnancy and birth. One of Oonagh’s passions is to make the world a better place by making birth education and support more accessible, regardless of race, sexual preference/identity, and religion. Oonagh is planning on further education in high-risk pregnancies. She is a firm believer in Spinning Babies and currently is finishing her Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) course. Oonagh’s outside interests include spending quality time with her husband and her two boys, travel, reading, hiking, biking, and barre.
WHAT OONAGH’S CLIENTS SAY:
“I feel so incredibly grateful to have experienced pregnancy and childbirth with Oonagh by my side. Throughout my pregnancy, she was always available to answer my questions, lend an empathic ear, and refer me to reliable and evidence-based resources. During our prenatal sessions she provided my husband and me with useful information related to childbirth and helped me develop my birth preferences. Oonagh was supportive of my preferences and decisions and never made me feel like she was pushing a particular birth plan on me. During delivery, she was a calming presence and her support meant the world to me. In the first couple hours after birth, Oonagh helped me to establish breastfeeding, took photos of my husband and me with our beautiful new daughter. I felt so lucky to have had such a loving, dedicated, skilled, and helpful doula!” -Kristen B.
“Oonagh’s gentle, kind, and steady effect gave me the confidence, guidance, and reassurance she needed to revel in the experience of birthing. Oonagh’s knowledge of delivery room procedures, operations, and employees was supreme, and her cool confidence allowed us time to take a break, regroup, and experience the sublime moment of birth.” Kate A.
Since 2014, as a birth doula I have helped over 100 families welcome their baby. I hold current certifications as a HypnoBirthing Practitioner, Birth Doula, Spinning Babies Practitioner, Lactation Counselor and Pediatric Sleep Consultant. I am passionate about all things birth and baby but especially empowering women and their partners to make informed decisions about their birthing, to approach birth with a sense of trust and calm, and to ultimately have a safe, joyful birthing experience- one they feel completely at peace with. Each and every birth I support– whether natural, epidural or Cesarean– humbles me. In addition to managing Joyful Birthing & Beyond, I also work for Cleo as a Senior Family Guide, Birth Specialist, and Sleep Specialist, helping hundreds of families navigate the demands of pregnancy, postpartum, lactation, newborn care, sleep challenges, parenting, and the transition back to work. My work in this field over the past 7+ years led me to become a mother once again. In the fall of 2021, I gave birth to my third child. In this way, I have a renewed sense of what it means to be pregnant, a birthing person, and a new mother!
I am currently offering VIRTUAL DOULA SUPPORT to a limited number of clients. Please reach out for more information.
WHAT ELLIE’S CLIENTS SAY:
“I felt comfortable with Ellie the moment I met her and it was obvious that she would be an asset. Ellie has such a wealth of knowledge about so many aspects of birthing. I had my baby when COVID restrictions peaked. My husband was with me, but Ellie couldn’t be in person. So we zoomed. I can’t express how amazing Ellie’s presence (even virtually) in the delivery room was. I felt more at ease under her direction and encouragement. She and the medical professionals in the room worked as a team. It was seamless. Ellie met me right where I was in each stage of my labor. It was almost eerie how she knew what I was thinking and what I needed to hear. Specifically, as it came time to push, she reminded me that I could trust myself and instructed me to do what my body was telling me to do. Those words got me through. I was amazed as I held my baby shortly thereafter! Probably the biggest testimonial is Ellie herself: she’s a wonderful person and perfect for this job. She’s both kind and fierce, gentle and energetic, knowledgeable, yet humble and focused on you. I look back on that time with a joy that is in part because Ellie helped to make it as peaceful and empowering as possible.” -Megan Berger
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS A 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.
WHAT DOES BIRTH DOULA SUPPORT INCLUDE AT JOYFUL BIRTHING?
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.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MIDWIFE AND A DOULA?
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.
WHY HIRE A BIRTH DOULA?
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.
WHAT’S MY PARTNER’S ROLE?
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!
IS VIRTUAL SUPPORT AN OPTION?
Due to the impact of COVID 19, the Joyful Birthing team has become adept at providing virtual support. As such, virtual support is always an option when preferred or when in-person support is not possible. Impressed by how well virtual support works, Ellie is now exclusively providing virtual support to her clients. Virtual support includes the same package items listed above but via Zoom. It is amazing what we can accomplish via video! Your virtual doula will be there for you just as she would in person via video through every contraction until your baby is safely in your arms. She will talk you through your contractions, offer suggestions for position and activity changes, help to ensure your birth preferences are honored, and guide you through any decision that may need to be made- she will be a source of continuous comfort and guidance for both the birthing person and partner throughout the birthing process.