With celebrities like Kelly Ripa and Nicole Kidman speaking out about hiring doulas to assist during their childbirths, doulas are becoming increasingly more mainstream. What may have once been regarded as a "woo-woo" practice reserved only for hippy moms, has since transformed into a sought-after addition to many families' childbirth journeys. Even though doulas have become more popular, there is still a long way to go in conveying what it is a doula does and how they can be helpful to all mothers (not just those who, let's say, want to have a water birth at home).
That's where Molly Escobar comes in. You see, Molly is not just your average doula. The Bay Area-native behind Doulamee saw a gap in doula care between birth support and childbirth education, and has since made it her mission to bridge the chasm between the two. A certified birth doula, postpartum doula, and childbirth educator, Molly has combined her knowledge and passion to create an all-inclusive experience for her clients. Part of that experience is the B.A.B.E. Portal, an interactive resource hub that's pretty much a one-stop-shop for all your childbirth-related needs. She also has the B.A.B.E Course, a childbirth education course clients can take together with their families. Arguably, the best thing about Molly and Doulamee is that she is completely judgement free — so whether you want an epidural in a hospital or that water birth at home — she's there to support you and your choices no matter what.
We had the chance to chat with Molly and learn more about her philosophy, the B.A.B.E. Portal, her tips for new moms, and what the heck a doula even is.
For those that don’t know, or who have always been confused, what exactly is a doula?
Molly Escobar: This is a great question! A doula is a non-medical care provider who supports the birthing person, their partner, baby, and other support team members during the prenatal, labor, and postnatal stages of the journey. A doula provides evidence-based resources, helps navigate a “game plan,” communicates the mama's birth preferences with the birth team, and advocates for a positive birthing experience for the whole family.
How is that different than a midwife?
ME: First and foremost, a midwife is a health care provider, where as a doula is a non-medical care provider. Midwives deliver babies in hospitals, birthing centers, or even in your home. A doula doesn’t replace a healthcare practitioner, but rather works alongside the medical team, offering added services, such as helping with techniques to manage pain during labor and even providing support and help during baby’s early days.
That's awesome, and so valuable. What about your personal practice do you believe makes you different from other doulas?
ME: What makes me different? Well, my goal is to bridge the gap between birth support and childbirth education, with all the resources my clients need right at their fingertips. I offer the packaged deal: childbirth education, birth support, and access to the B.A.B.E. Portal, an online community space where you can discover your own confidence in birth, in a convenient and modern manner, regardless of your birth beliefs. I believe in team-driven, evidence-based support during prenatal, labor, and postnatal stages of pregnancy. Each experience is personal and unique, and I strive to ignite self confidence in my clients so that they are eager and able to find strength and inspiration in their birthing experience. I also work alongside the partner to support them equally during all stages of the journey. I provide support with zero judgement and welcome all families equally.
I love your judgement-free philosophy — can you tell me a little more about that?
ME: Absolutely! I believe in positive birth experiences, whatever that may be for each of my clients. Theres a quote I read by January Harshe of Birth Without Fear that says, "I don't care what kind of birth you have...a homebirth, scheduled cesarean, an epidural hospital birth or if you give birth alone in the woods next to a baby deer. I care that you had options, that you were supported in your choices and that you were respected.” I love that quote — it really explains it well. I am here to support my client's choices. Also, as a gay female in the Bay Area I am very passionate about all forms of family being honored in a respectful manner. Having a LGBTQ doula and knowing that your family dynamic is being personally understood and respected during such a vulnerable time is something I believe to be a key factor in a positive birth experience.
What inspired you to be a doula?
ME: My own mama who passed away in 2015 from Pancreatic Cancer. My mom was a single mom, which gave her and I a very intricate dynamic, one that allowed me to experience her not only as a mom, but as a woman who was hustling for her baby and the life we had as mother and child. I saw the strength that being a mother gave to my mom as a woman, and I will forever find strength and comfort in that inner lioness that every mama has. And what better place to tap into that familiar lioness than birth, right?
Let's talk about the childbirth education courses you offer. Could you tell me about the B.A.B.E. Course?
ME: The Birthing and Beyond Education (B.A.B.E.) Course is a complete childbirth education course for the modern family. The B.A.B.E. Course is designed to help educate families for a more satisfying, fully informed birth and parenting journey. I offer four different series variations, including a virtual option, making it a convenient and comfortable learning experience for everybody. B.A.B.E. does not strictly focus on "natural birth," but provides a range of options and information so each family can discover their own preferences. The B.A.B.E. Course includes a work book and access to the B.A.B.E. Portal.
Let's here more about this B.A.B.E Portal!
ME: Yes! I wanted to create an interactive space for the families I work with. I wanted to provide a safe space on the internet as well. We all know Google can be terrifying, so having a clickable resource list is convenient for the modern family. Not to mention going paperless is much better for our Mama Earth! The B.A.B.E. Portal is a password protected online collection of evidence-based resources to support all things birth. It is a supportive web-based community where you can explore local perks, live chat with a doula, research, connect with others, and most importantly, discover your confidence.
What is your favorite part about your job?
ME: My favorite part of my job is watching these lives begin! It sounds kind of cliché, I know, but I leave each birth in complete awe every time! I mean, seriously, who else leaves work on a complete natural high? There is nothing better!
What advice do you have for women either who are already pregnant or planning to be one day?
ME: Love, nourish, and respect your body by filling it with whole foods, and encourage your birth partner to do the same. Get to know your prenatal care providers and of course hire a doula!
Self care is also so important. Whatever brings you peace — do it. I believe wholeheartedly in therapy, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed by this massive transition. Find your tribe, because new families deserve a little extra TLC! Listen to your intuition, lay low, and enjoy your new little soul.
Here at livingly our motto is "live life beautifully." What does living life beautifully mean to you?
ME: For me, living beautifully means loving, empowering, and supporting those in my life. I hope to doula those I love always, whether they are in labor or choosing which pair of boots make their ankles look best. If those I love feel empowered and supported when they are with me, then I believe I am living beautifully.
Do you have an inspiring woman in your life that you think should be featured on Livingly? We'd love to hear about her! Email us at email@example.com