BLOOM offers future mothers information on birthing process
Published 10:16 am Tuesday, February 15, 2022
By SASHA JOHNS | Community Columnist
Heather Felder knows firsthand what it is to need emotional and informational support during one of the most important events of a woman’s life.
A mother of three, her own experiences set her on a journey to become a doula. Doulas are usually women who provide support physically, emotionally and informationally in all areas related to childbirth from prenatal and postnatal care, to miscarriage and even infant loss.
They are not midwives, but professional trained birth support
After giving birth to her third child, Felder became a doula, serving her passion to give women the support she knew so many like her needed.
The daughter of a doctor, she grew up aware of the needs of people in underserved communities.
She focused the direction of her practice specifically to women in rural areas where there were fewer prenatal options available.
This led her and her family to make their home in a small farming community just outside of Columbiana called the Kingdom.
The demands and the calling for her services made her eventually realize that her work was not sustainable as a solo venture, so she sought out two other women, Jeanna McNeil, who lives near the 280 area, and Kara Edwards of Remlap, to expand and strengthen the reach of their services.
Together, as independent business women, they formed the collective umbrella they now call BLOOM Alabama Doula Collective.
“Our goal is to make sure that mothers don’t leave their experience with preventable trauma,” Felder said. “Hospitals can only teach hospital policy, and doctors have to support that. As doulas, we are able to give evidence based childbirth education so that you can decide the kind of care that you want.”
BLOOM began serving Shelby County and beyond in very early 2020. Obviously as the pandemic came into play they met with some roadblocks to their goal of offering in person support during births, but they did find ways to pivot and focus on building a birthing community as they held zoom gatherings once a month where women could share their stories and encourage each other during their pregnancies.
They continued to attend births in areas where their services were accepted and offered virtual support in areas where they could not be with their clients due to COVID protocols.
BLOOM strongly believes that there is no wrong way to birth, whether a mother chooses a hospital or home birth, or whether a client chooses a natural birth or cesarean birth.
Their goal is for mothers to be informed, heard and respected.
BLOOM helps clients gather all the research and information that they are interested in so that they can make their own informed decisions, and encourage collaborative and productive conversations with their healthcare providers so that everyone is on the same page.
The women of BLOOM would love to connect with you if you have questions about birth in any area.
This year, they plan to return to holding their monthly gatherings in person and strengthening the community they’ve built during the pandemic.
To learn more about BLOOM Alabama Doula Collective, check out their Facebook page by the same name or contact them at Bloomalabamadoulacollective@gmail.com.