Labor Doula Instructors
Mermalien Abiana Bey
When I was in labor with my son, I was unaware that a labor doula was an option for moms in labor. By default my sister, who had delivered her sons by planned cesarean section, was appointed as my support person. She was unaware of how to assist me with an unmedicated birth. I felt like the hospital nursing staff was very unsupportive which resulted in feelings of fear and anxiety. Although my son’s birth was wonderful, I learned a great deal about the wonders of birth and the value of a “good” support team. My decision to become a Labor Doula is very personal as a result of my own birth story and my goal as a doula is to support expecting moms and partners in achieving a successful birth.As a childbirth educator and labor doula, I teach that birth is a process! I am aware of the stages of labor, and provide several comfort measures, relaxation techniques, and acupressure during labor. Most importantly, I want my clients to be aware of ‘informed consent’ regarding any medical and non-medical procedures. I’m there to support moms and partners with my knowledge as a doula and years of experience working with hospital staff, OBs and midwives. I completed my labor doula training with Dona in 2009 and recertification 2017. In the last seven years, I’ve attended over 270 births (VBACS, 95% Vaginal delivery rate) and have taught over 1000 expecting parents in childbirth classes. I’m certified in Rebozo techniques and am a certified Breastfeeding and Lamaze trained educator. I’ve assisted deliveries at Medstar Washington Hospital Center, George Washington University Hospital, Inova Alexandria, Inova Fairfax, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital, Ft Belvoir Hospital and Sibley Memorial Hospital. I welcome the opportunity to work with you and your partner and to attend your baby’s birth.
I have been interested in babies and the birth process for as long as I can remember. I always knew that I wanted to have children of my own, but once I started having babies (I have 4, including a set of twins), I got interested in being on the other side of birth as well. I began my birth working journey in nursing school with plans to become a midwife, but got sidetracked by doula work. I was asked to attend the births of a number of my friends and found the one-on-one work of a doula so much more satisfying than nursing, so I detoured and certified with DONA.
My own experience with birthing babies and working with birthing families has taught me that any birth will be better if you are informed and feel like you have some control of the decision-making process. I also believe that everyone can benefit from a calm, knowledgeable, experienced person who is a continuous presence during the birth process, regardless of your birth plans. I love learning about the birthing process and how to help families through it. As a result, I have attended Bradley classes, hypnobirthing classes, childbirth yoga classes, and have studied lactation education, VBAC education, and various comfort measure techniques. I have attend Bradley classes, hypnobirthing classes, childbirth yoga classes, and have studied lactation education, VBAC education, and various comfort measure techniques.
During my first pregnancy, I read any and everything I could about birth and our birthing bodies. What our bodies are capable of really captivates and fascinates me. When my son was born via cesarean birth, it really threw me for a loop and I wasn’t prepared at all to have a cesarean birth. It was during this time a passion was awakened in me to assist women and families in any way I could, with a special interest in VBAC and cesarean moms.
I wholeheartedly believe that women should have access to non-judgmental support and to know their options as a means of making the best decision for herself and her family during the childbearing years. I went on to have 2 more sons both un-medicated, one experience being a water birth. It’s with each of my personal experiences and training that I am able to provide support no matter what kind of birth you have.
I began self-studying for all things birth related in 2009 and at the end of 2014 became a certified birth doula through Birth Arts International. I am also certified in Rebozo, The Gena Kirby Method, Basic Life Support, attended workshops on fetal positioning (Spinning Babies), and I am a trained peer support leader for women coping with Perinatal Mood Disorders. I am the founder of the International Cesarean Awareness Network of Fredericksburg chapter and also helped with the inception of a local postpartum mood disorder support group. I currently am a certified birth doula and work as a midwife assistant.
Since April of 2015 I have attended 20 births (cesarean birth, medicated vaginal birth, un-medicated vaginal birth, home birth, hospital birth, water birth, VBAC, etc). I have worked with clients in the following hospitals: INOVA Fairfax Hospital, INOVA Fair Oaks Hospital, George Washington University Hospital, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center (formally known as Potomac Hospital), INOVA Alexandria, Virginia Hospital Center, Mary Washington Hospital, and Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center.
I have lived in Virginia most of my life and have been married to my husband for 6 years now. Together we have 3 sons and 1 fur baby, our dog Abbie. I am an avid book reader and I love to do just about anything outdoors, including spending time caring for my garden and hiking.
My doula passion began in 1997 during the birth of my first child when we quickly realized my partner was going to miss our first birth. A Doula was gifted to me on the way to the hospital where she met me. I learned very quickly that with out her I would have been scared and alone. She didn’t know me at all, yet she knew so much along every step of the way. She never left my side and gave everything she had to me…a stranger…to better my story and guide me to see what she already knew was in me. Strength. Confidence. Ability. I knew, as I looked into her eyes moments before the birth that “doula” was a calling for my life purpose.
I believe that all mothers deserve to be pampered, loved, and cared for – not only by their main support person – but also by the reassurance, comfort, and encouragement of someone not intimately connected to them who is well educated in labor, birth, and postpartum care. This can help ease the birth process and postpartum time for all members of the family as they learn to connect with themselves, their partners, and their new baby. I have served families since 1997 with education both hands on and by my lending library. I started attending births regularly in 2013 and have now attended over 40 births. I am trained in: Childbirth Education, Birth Doula, Postpartum Doula, Placenta Encapsulation, Belly casting, Acupressure for Labor and Birth, and Bengkung Belly binding. I am Certified in: Gena Kirby Rebozo, Gail Tully Spinning Babies, and Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC).Each client and each birth deserve, and will receive the very best I have to offer as I continue to educated and grow myself in many areas of the birthing world. My husband and I have been married 19 years and we have 3 children we love supporting as they grow and learn to define who they are and what passions drive them to growth. We also help to raise a sweet girl who has been in our lives since she was a new born.
I live in Springfield, VA with my rock musician/film critic husband of ten years, Eddie. We have two beautiful daughters who are four and seven years old. The birth of my daughters in less than ideal circumstances and our journey to breastfeeding ignited my passion about birth choices and breastfeeding advocacy. I am a CBI and DONA Trained, Madriella Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula.
In addition I am a Childbirth Educator, an AHA Infant CPR instructor, a certified Reiki practitioner, and an independent encapsulation specialist.I have attended both Bradley and Hypnobirthing classes and in my practice I frequently use a rebozo after learning techniques.
I joined Momease about two years ago has a student doula. I’m pursuing the final steps of my certification process through DONA International. I am specialized in the tools of yoga and meditation that focuses on deepening the connection of breath and body to channel awareness and strength in every moment of the birthing journey.
I teach prenatal yoga and also have a background in holistic nutrition. I believe strongly in the beauty and power of the birthing experience and am known to continuously listen, support, educate and empower laboring parents to create the most nourishing birth experience possible. With experience supporting two supervised births in INOVA Alexandria and another birth at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, I have learned to cultivate a positive spirit within the hospital team to best support mom and ensure that every decision is rooted in the informed vision of mom and partner. My professionalism, calm and compassion is apparent in every interaction, and am continuously humbled to accompany every mother through this transformative journey.
Mermalien Abiana Bey
I am a new student doula with Momease. I’ve attended two births with Carolyn Alexander at Sibley Hospital, one in June 2017 and the other just this past October. In the Spring of 2016, I had an amazing opportunity to attend a doula training with Ms. Nilijah Brown of The Birth Well (thebirthwell.com) at Centro Ashe Herbs & Education (centroashe.org), located in Manzanillo, Costa Rica.
I was grateful to have the chance to learn what a doula actually does. Each day, I became more knowledgeable and more infatuated with the idea of helping a women give birth. I learned about the different stages of the birthing process, how they affect the mom and different techniques to aid her during those times. Some of these comfort techniques include using the rebozo, pressure point stimulation and massage, aromatherapy, soothing talk, using the birthing ball and more recently the peanut ball. I’ve also learned different stretches and lifting techniques that are good to help bring the baby down.
The most reassuring piece of advice that I’ve heard as a doula was that the baby can’t stay in there forever! As I gain more experience and wisdom, I hope to bring more peace and poise into the labor room. In the future, I will expand my skills to include post-partum work, herbal healing, and womb massage.