LANSING, Mich. — Domonique Brace and Sharde' Burton are getting ready to celebrate the one year anniversary of their doula business, North Star Birthing Services.
The events that convinced Brace this work was her future began earlier.
“So, I have a 4 year old and she’s doing well and thriving now, but she was born 5 weeks earlier because I developed preeclampsia, it’s a condition when your blood pressure rises and it can’t be controlled. So, I had to have an emergency C section,” Brace said.
Brace still deals with emotional trauma that stemmed from her childbirth experience., and she said a lot of Black women have stories similar to hers.
Brace said that was one of the main reasons why she became a doula.
“In the United States, Black women are three times more likely to have complications or even die in child birth compared to their white counterparts,” Burton said.
The two women went through the 45-hour doula certification process during the pandemic. They started North Star birthing services in October of 2020.
“We’ve supported foster families and in the future we hope to support LGBTQ families,” Brace said. “Our business was not just created for women of color, but we do put that at the forefront and amplify their voices.”
So far, Brace and Burton have helped a total of 6 women. Burton provides resources for women before and during birth and Brace typically steps in after the baby comes and helps with things such nursery training and postpartum depression.
“What is so special about a doula is you may have your OBGYN, nurse or midwife in and out of the room, but I do not leave your side and I am there providing physical and emotional support,” Burton said.
“As a postpartum doula, my role is a little different,” Brace said. “I usually step in 12 weeks after a woman gives birth and that’s usually at her home and we usually spend around 20 hours a week or even if they need more and those services are around $20 a hour.”
While being a doula is a round the clock job, these women say they wouldn't trade their professions for anything.
My favorite part is just seeing a healthy and happy mother and child at the end of the birth ,” Burton said.
“Just seeing the babies grow and get bigger,” Brace said. “They start at 6 pounds, then they're 11 pounds and the moms be really excited to have us in their homes and welcome us in their spaces.”