My name is Erica Leigh Liscotti. Helping people has always been a love of mine. My sister asked me to be present during the birth of her first child. The Doula my sister chose was very knowledgeable and helpful during her birth. This is what sparked my interest in this field. Shortly after my first baby was born, I knew I had to help women in this time of need. I had my mom, sister, and husband for support but I could have used someone more knowledgeable. when my sister became pregnant with her second child. I trained to be a Doula so I could be hers. Jan Mallak, founder of Heart and Hands, one of the most respected Doula services in Pittsburgh at the time, mentored me. My sister was my first client and she had a all natural birth.
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Throughout my career so far, I have attended many successful births. Included in my experiences are VBACS (vaginal birth after cesarean), inductions, epidurals, preeclampsia, cesareans, and many natural births. All three of my sons were all natural births and I breastfed them all for well over a year. When Jan retired, she dissolved Heart and Hands. That is when Ann and I decided to start a group of our own. We chose the name Nurturing Family because we wanted to include not only the mother but also the father and all others chosen to be part of the birth process. I love helping moms have the birth that they want, no matter what they choose, with no regrets. My husband and family are very supportive of my desire to educate and support women and their families. Hopefully we can all work together as a team.
My name is Ann LeCuyer. Through my own birth experiences I felt empowered and enabled to be a good mother. As a birth doula I want every mother to have a birth and mothering experience where she feels supported, safe, and empowered as well. Penny Simkin, co-founder of DONA, said her research found that birth is not just another day in a woman’s life. It is a day she will always remember and carry with her. A good birth team who protects a mother’s desires for her labor and enables her to birth her way helps her to feel nurtured, in control of her body ,and valid in her decisions. I am happy to be able to provide the knowledge and know-how to assist mothers in this beautiful rite of passage.
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I have been enjoying helping families as a birth doula , as a hobby and now professionally, for fourteen years. I have also recently trained to be a postpartum doula to extend to my service for families. My husband and I have four great kids. For hobbies I play guitar, banjo, and fiddle, as well as sing. We keep a backyard vegetable garden and spend quite a bit of outdoor time biking, hiking and camping. Throughout my career I have worked with the Midwife Center, having also delivered my children there. Additionally much of my professional knowledge comes from training and a close relationship with Jan Mallak of Heart and Hands Doula Service , of which I was a member. My education as a doula continues with each birth I attend and I love it.
Hi there! My name is Rachel Mine and I live with my husband in Ben Avon, PA.
My interest in becoming a doula started shortly after my sweet sister had her first child. She had a very difficult, dramatic birth that left her with a lot of negative emotions. I have always felt that birth should be a positive, moving, and exciting experience, an experience that leaves the mother feeling empowered and fulfilled. After watching my sister go through something so negative, I decided that I wanted to help other women and their families to have a positive birth experience.
While researching how to achieve this, I came across the term doula. This term is derived from ancient Greek and means “woman who serves”. I love that! Being able to serve another woman during such an important, transformative time in her life is so exciting and fulfilling to me.
As I travel the path of a doula (currently completing my certification via DONA International) I strive to show all of the mamas I come into contact with the beauty in their birth experiences, even if there are challenges along the way. The power and innate ability that every woman possesses is incredible, and I endeavor to support mamas and help them discover their own inner strength during this miraculous time. I look forward to many years of assisting in the preparation for and birth of precious little ones!
My name is Mary Ann. I have a mix of first-hand and educational experience when it comes to child development and child rearing. I have my bachelor’s degree from Point Park University, in which I minored in child development. I am also a seasoned yogi, practicing several variations of yoga (including prenatal), over the past 15 years. I have been involved with every setting from individual practice with DVDs, to small studios, to college classes.
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Personally, I have had four successful pregnancies – two of my own and two as a gestational surrogate carrier. My daughters are 13 and 7 years old, and my surro-babies are now 4 and 5 and a half. These experiences helped shape and forge my path towards becoming a doula. With my first daughter, I was a teenage mother, with very little emotional or physical support. I was two weeks past due and had to undergo a prolonged and difficult induction and chose to have an epidural.
With the following three, I was much better prepared and did my research. I had three unmedicated births with the midwives here in Pittsburgh and had wonderful experiences with each. These strikingly contrasting episodes have had a major impact on my perspective on the potential of the birth experience. I feel like I have gained the knowledge that a woman’s birth experience has the power to be one of the most traumatic, disparaging events in a woman’s life, and at the same time can be one of the most empowering and validating days of one’s life. Having experienced both of these extremes, I feel drawn to helping women and families create the latter.
My personal philosophy is that childbirth is an incredible, natural and significant time in a person – and a family’s – life. As mothers we have the power and control to make the most of this journey. My wish is to help as many families as possible to find the ways that help them achieve their own, personal, ideal birth vision so that they may take the next steps in their new lives with confidence and positivity.
Hello! My name is Rachel Phelos. I have been a caregiver in some capacity for as long as I can remember. I’ve always felt a particular pull towards mothers and babies. I wasn’t sure how this would turn into a practice. I began as a RN in 2007 and worked in several specialties within that title, mostly intensive care. I always felt the gentle, patient, full attentive care I so desired to provide was bogged down by excessive paperwork and strict policies and procedures.
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I saw the documentary The Business of Being Born about three years ago and immediately after I began looking into midwifery. My plans were put on hold, however, when my sister requested me to move in with her and help her bring her first daughter into the world. It was a very long and arduous labor process and there were many challenges in the months that followed. While at the hospital the nurses kept referring to me as the doula and thanking me for my service. I realized that my calling was not, at least for now, to become a midwife, but to rather participate in the awesome service of being a Doula. Here I can invest all of my focus and support, undivided, on one mother and her family. It is so very important and rewarding to be able to do this.
When I returned home I completed training under Jan Mallak and began walking the path of a Doula. So far I have attended eight births and spent over six months time as a live-in postpartum caregiver and two months as a drop-in caregiver. I have spent countless hours assisting in building the relationship of breastfeeding. Each experience has been unique in the type of support, length and level of involvement, and challenges met along the road. Flexibility is an essential tool for meeting whatever arises with a calming acceptance.
I see a great disparity in support throughout pregnancy, during childbirth, and in the tender months that follow. I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to share in easing and strengthening this process. I offer birth and postpartum services and I am currently working towards becoming a certified lactation consultant. Thank you and happy birthing!
I worked as a nurse at Magee-Womens Hospital for 35 years. The first 2 ½ years, I was a staff nurse in a unit called “Rooming-in”. As that time that unit was the only place that the dad’s could hold their babies. I loved to hand the dad his baby for the first time and see his face in awe of the miracle he was holding. In that position, I did a lot of teaching for the new mothers—bathing, breast feeding, etc.
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Then, I was offered a position as “Mother Teacher” and began to teach the General Prenatal Classes which were held in a large auditorium. Over the years, I taught Grandparents Class, Sibling Class, Adopting Parents Class, Children at Birth Class, Lamaze Classes as well as the General Prenatal Classes that were the backbone of them all. And I gave a million tours of the OB units, nurseries, and Labor & Delivery ( they built two new L&D Units while I was there). My title evolved into Consumer Educator over the years.
In 2004, I began my career as a Postpartum Doula. I love to work with new families, teaching parents and grandparents little” tricks of the trade”. Over the years I have become the “twin specialist”, having cared for many sets over night. I have also become the go-to over night specialist, since about 50% of my jobs have been over night.
My husband and I have been married for 41 years and have two grown children. We have no grandchildren, so I “borrow” them for a little while as I care for and fall in love with each precious newborn.
My name is Heather and I am a mother of two in Pittsburgh. I am a doula, a stay-at-home-mom, and a CPE (Certified Professional Ergonomist)!
Giving birth to a child is such a beautiful and incredible experience – one that has changed my life in so many indescribable ways. I’ve become incredibly passionate about the entire childbirth process from my own experiences and what I’ve read, researched, and learned through stories from my friends and family. The very first pregnancy book I read was Your Best Birth. After that book, I watched the documentary The Business of Being Born.
I then delved deep into educating myself on childbirth and what is has become in the United States. It breaks my heart to hear traumatic, painful childbirth experiences and especially from mothers (my friends!) who are not pleased with their personal experience.
So, I decided to become a doula to do what I can to help moms in this journey (and beyond?!). My friends have also repeatedly told me I would make a good doula, thus they have helped propel me into this destiny! I took my training with Jan Mallak (who is incredible) and was instantly hooked. I am MORE than excited to have an opportunity to serve women and do what I can to help create a healthy transition to motherhood.
My goal, as your doula, is to help you have the experience you desire – whatever that may be. I am here to support you, encourage you, laugh with you, educate you, massage your back when it hurts, suggest new positions to help get through labor – basically I am here to be anything and everything I can be to assist you through childbirth and your transition into motherhood.
I am thrilled you are considering hiring a doula and thrilled that you read my bio. I hope to have the chance to meet you!
PS. My picture is taken with my two children, Mary Alice and William.
I find great meaning and motivation in serving as a mode of support, comfort and advocacy for women entering motherhood. I discovered this passion while studying culture and reproductive health in Accra, Ghana, and have continued to foster this intrinsic interest through graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh. While researching the social and cultural determinants of health in relation to birth outcomes, I felt compelled to find a way to provide support to women on an interpersonal level.
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In my practice, I approach each birth with the understanding that multiple forces are at play in our daily lives. The moment is ever changing, but we can strive towards our birth vision with the power of mindfulness, compassion, massage, and social support. In addition, I aim to serve and listen to women in order to build upon one’s strengths and interests to overcome challenges we may encounter.
Our voices, bodies, hearts and minds are strong, but with support, they can become even stronger. I support my clients through pain management techniques, a flexible approach to suit each changing moment and woman’s needs, as well as through compassionate communication skills. I would be honored to serve as your doula. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in my services.
May your hearts, minds and bodies thrive with good health and happiness throughout your journey of pregnancy and motherhood!
Hello! My name is Tiana Lucero, I live in Pittsburgh with my boyfriend John and our french bulldog Louise.
My love for childbirth began at the age of 12, when I witnessed my Aunt give birth to her first child. I felt incredibly honored to be a part of such a special moment in her life. It was then I realized I wanted to be apart of this experience forever, providing continuous physical, emotional and informational support before during and after childbirth.
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I am originally from San Diego, California where I attended Massage Therapy School in 2007, and received my Holistic Health Practitioner Certification. Shortly after, I specialized in prenatal massage, finding so much joy in contributing to the care of mom. I am currently attending UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing and wish to pursue a career as a Labor and Delivery Nurse.
My love for all things childbirth continues to inspire me everyday. My goal is to help women achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible. Thank you for considering me to be your birth companion and to support you through this unforgettable moment in your life. I am forever thankful for this opportunity.
Hello, my name is Gracie Gaston. When I was a young girl and my mom was pregnant with my little sister, I would go with her to her midwife appointments. These were just routine, prenatal appointments, but they sparked my fascination. I was intrigued by the wisdom of the midwives, the comfortable, confident relationship between my mom and her healthcare providers, and their amazing explanations of how the female body works.
Since then, I’ve wanted to help women and babies in a special way. Of course, I was still fairly young and didn’t know exactly what that would look like. However, the autumn after my college graduation, I supported my beautiful sister-in- law during her labor and experienced the birth of my nephew. The moment he was born is a moment that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
Hi, my name is Emily! I am a mama, wife, photographer, dog trainer, animal lover, tattoo enthusiast and doula.
I had always worried I would be an anxious mother, constantly concerned about if I was doing things ‘correctly’ and afraid of what others thought about my choices. However, my birth and breastfeeding journey was filled with compassionate care providers, supportive family and so much love that it has taught me to trust in myself and the people I chose to have in my life.