For Clients

Melanie’s Story

I fell in love with Birth while having my own babies. 4 in 5 years. Each of their births were different, transformative, important. I learned a lot about myself while birthing my kiddos: 1) that I was stronger than I ever imagined; 2) that my body was full of magic; and 3) that my whole purpose in life was to support other people through this highly intense experience. My budding career in fashion and art flew out the window and while raising my rapidly growing family, I trained to become a Certified Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor, and Certified Professional Birth Doula.

 

I began teaching A Brighter Birth CBE classes out of my living room in 2008, with my 3rd baby sprawled across my lap or strapped to my back. After my 4th was born in 2009, I decided to put my Doula Certification to work and started attending births. Since then, I’ve attended close to 300 births, taught near 2000 families and have counseled many, many women with breastfeeding challenges. I’ve also facilitated CenteringPregnancy prenatal appointments alongside Midwives and Obstetricians, further allowing me insight and understanding of birth in a hospital setting.

 

As a Mother to 4 of my own, and within a blended family of 8, I understand what new and seasoned parents want in pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond. Meeting people where they are is one of my gifts, but respecting their individuality and finding what they truly need to feel safe while giving birth is my mission. I want every person I work with to LOVE their birth experience.

I trust the physiology of labor and birth… I trust women.

“Melanie was born to be a doula. She’s incredibly intelligent, patient, strong, and a fantastic listener. With just a few short questions, she was able to grasp the type of birth experience we wanted, never impeding with judgement or alternate beliefs. She knew when to be strong; she knew when to be gentle; she knew when to step back, and; she knew when to step forward – all without instruction, allowing me to labor. I cannot promise future clients that she can provide you with the exact labor experience you want (no one can!), but I can promise, without hesitation, that you will be SO grateful Melanie Headley was in the room while you were laboring your child into the world.” Doula client

“Melanie was born to be a doula. She’s incredibly intelligent, patient, strong, and a fantastic listener. With just a few short questions, she was able to grasp the type of birth experience we wanted, never impeding with judgement or alternate beliefs. She knew when to be strong; she knew when to be gentle; she knew when to step back, and; she knew when to step forward – all without instruction, allowing me to labor. I cannot promise future clients that she can provide you with the exact labor experience you want (no one can!), but I can promise, without hesitation, that you will be SO grateful Melanie Headley was in the room while you were laboring your child into the world.” Doula client

Childbirth Education

*As we navigate Covid-19, please note ALL class options are still being offered. We have converted them to virtual classrooms until further notice. Please don’t hesitate to submit an inquiry or any questions!*

 

Special Treat For ABB Birth Doula Clients -> Take 10% off all Classes!

A Brighter Birth Childbirth Education is based on the age old concept that Birth is Normal. We promote and endorse the idea of women’s bodies working naturally, intelligently and efficiently while understanding that every birth is different. Our resounding message is, “Birth is a Mystery until your baby lands on your chest”. We want to help you uncover the facts and prepare you for anything.

 

We firmly believe that an empowered birthing experience comes from being an active participant. Loving your birth is rooted in how you were made to feel on that day- was your voice heard? Were you in control of your body? Was your permission given for anything done to you or your baby? Was your partner included in each and every conversation? Were you supported every step of the way? Did you feel safe? The ABB method focuses on partner support, choosing the right birth team for you and building skill with tools and wisdom to enhance your experience and to feel as ready as you possibly can to bring your baby earthside.

“Before she even introduced herself, I knew Melanie was exactly the doula we needed. She carries with her both a grounded presence and divine connection that empowers the entrance of new life. Her fearlessness and sincerity present themselves in a manner which allowed my husband and I to experience victory and healing through a natural vbac, after a previous c section and infant loss. Melanie is dynamic in that she balances the spectrum of leadership and servanthood, attuning to your family’s needs at any given moment. I left my first meeting with her with the realization that her immense skill would fuel our highest good. With full confidence, I recommend Melanie Headley.” Doula Client/Student

“Before she even introduced herself, I knew Melanie was exactly the doula we needed. She carries with her both a grounded presence and divine connection that empowers the entrance of new life. Her fearlessness and sincerity present themselves in a manner which allowed my husband and I to experience victory and healing through a natural vbac, after a previous c section and infant loss. Melanie is dynamic in that she balances the spectrum of leadership and servanthood, attuning to your family’s needs at any given moment. I left my first meeting with her with the realization that her immense skill would fuel our highest good. With full confidence, I recommend Melanie Headley.” Doula Client/Student

The 4 Week Series $265:
  • 12 hours of Childbirth Ed, broken down into 3 hour classes over the course of 4 weeks
  • Thursday evenings 6-9pm
  • Sunday afternoons 2-5pm
  • Recommended for First Time Parents and VBAC Families, but not limited to
  • A fun, interactive, relaxed way of learning. Using multiple sensory techniques to engage the learner, the way YOU need to grasp the information #abrighterbirthcbe
  • Real Birth Stories- ABB alumni share their own birth experiences
  • This class focuses on the Physiology of Birth, the Why’s, What’s, How’s, When’s of Labor, Using your 5 Senses Wisely, the Hormonal Structure of- Labor, Birth, Breastfeeding, and the Postpartum Phase, Comfort Measures, Coping Techniques, Patterned Breathing, Counter Pressure, Labor Positions, Acupressure for the Laboring Woman, the Partner’s Role, the Doula’s Role and How to be your own Advocate. Common Interventions- how to avoid them, what to try instead, and when they become medically necessary. Preparing to Breastfeed, the Latch, the “Schedule”, the Normal Challenges of Breastfeeding and Breastfeeding Support. The First Week at Home with your Baby, your Partner and your “New Normal”.
  • Access to a well honed list of local RVA Pregnancy, Birth and Breastfeeding Resources
  • Packet of ABB Educational Materials Provided
  • $265 per couple

A Brighter Birth Wham Bam Workshop $150:
  • A One Day Workshop, 4 hours long from 1-5pm
  • A very condensed version of the 4 week series
  • Recommended for families who have experienced a birth before, but not limited to
  • This class will prepare you for What to Expect in your Birthing Location and How to Use the Acronym B.R.A.I.N to Help you Make Decisions. Choosing your Birth Team Wisely, Coping Techniques and Comfort Measures, Labor Positions, Hands On Counter Pressure/Acupressure for the Laboring Woman, and How to Prepare for Breastfeeding Success and the Postpartum Phase
  • Access to a well honed list of local RVA Pregnancy, Birth and Breastfeeding Resources
  • Packet of ABB Educational Materials Provided
  • $150 per couple

Private ABB Classes $195:
  • Either Childbirth Ed or Breastfeeding Classes in the comfort of your own home or in ABB’s centrally located office
  • 3 hours long, date and time TBD by YOU
  • Access to a well honed list of local RVA Pregnancy, Birth and Breastfeeding Resources
  • A packet of ABB Educational Material Provided
  • $195 per couple

A Brighter Breastfeeding Experience $125:
  • A One Day Workshop, 3 hours long
  • Learn the Ins and Outs of Breastfeeding from ABB’s Certified Lactation Educator, Sarah Cole and Certified Lactation Counselor, Hunter Moore
  • Topics like: Supporting your Baby’s Instincts, Milk Composition, Working on your Latch- that first time, and every time after, Avoiding Sabotage, How Do I Know My Baby is Getting Enough?, What is a Good Breastfeeding Schedule?, What Positions Should I Use?, Why Does it Hurt?, What Does a Good Latch Look Like?, Learning your Baby, How Often Should I Feed My Baby?, How Can My Partner Help?, What is a Clogged Duct? Mastitis? Thrush? Cracked Nipple? Bruised Nipple? Bleb?, Breastfeeding in Public, Going Back to Work, Finding your Tribe, Supply and Demand, Safe Milk Storage and more…will be covered.
  • Access to a well honed list of Breastfeeding Support Resources
  • $125 per couple

Doula Services

A Doula is there for you. She prepares you prenatally through discussing nutrition, exercise and education. She helps build your confidence. She normalizes the process and the experience. She holds the space. By creating a calm environment with dim lighting, soft sounds, counter pressure and massage, you are more likely to labor well and efficiently. She brings you amazing, cold things that smell good. She shows your partner how to press on your back, your feet, your hands. She explains what is happening. She explains to your partner what is happening. She reminds you of your goals. She reminds you again. She encourages you. And your partner. She guides you, she listens, she believes in you.

Birth is a mystery until your baby lands on your chest.

Unfortunately, you can’t control how this day will take shape; how your body will respond to the hormones of labor, how you will react to your body’s way of working or even how your baby will cooperate with the labor you create…the only aspect of your birth that you can truly control and plan… is your Birth Team. The people who will hold you up, reassure you, support and care for you…a team that you trust, a team that YOU choose.

 

This decision is the most important one you will make around your birth experience. Partner, Birth Location, Medical Care Provider and Doula- this is what makes up your team. I believe in YOU, in your individual goals and desires around this special day. I work with you prenatally, through Birth Consults, Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding Education, Doula Visits, and more to prepare you for all of the mysteries that may unfold. There might not be a way to control your birth, but there are certainly choices you can make to ensure that the day your baby is born you are surrounded by safety, joy and trust. I want you to LOVE your birth.

Having a Doula present for your birth can…
∙ Offer you a Consistency of Care
∙ Lower Cesarean Section rates by 60%
∙ Heighten your likelihood of a Vaginal Birth
∙ Facilitate Early Bonding with your Baby
∙ Increase your Breastfeeding Success
∙ Decrease Postpartum Depression
∙ Enhance your Birth Experience

Birth is a mystery until your baby lands on your chest.

Unfortunately, you can’t control how this day will take shape; how your body will respond to the hormones of labor, how you will react to your body’s way of working or even how your baby will cooperate with the labor you create…the only aspect of your birth that you can truly control and plan… is your Birth Team. The people who will hold you up, reassure you, support and care for you…a team that you trust, a team that YOU choose.

 

This decision is the most important one you will make around your birth experience. Partner, Birth Location, Medical Care Provider and Doula- this is what makes up your team. I believe in YOU, in your individual goals and desires around this special day. I work with you prenatally, through Birth Consults, Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding Education, Doula Visits, and more to prepare you for all of the mysteries that may unfold. There might not be a way to control your birth, but there are certainly choices you can make to ensure that the day your baby is born you are surrounded by safety, joy and trust. I want you to LOVE your birth.

Having a Doula present for your birth can…
∙ Offer you a Consistency of Care
∙ Lower Cesarean Section rates by 60%
∙ Heighten your likelihood of a Vaginal Birth
∙ Facilitate Early Bonding with your Baby
∙ Increase your Breastfeeding Success
∙ Decrease Postpartum Depression
∙ Enhance your Birth Experience

“We are so glad that we found Melanie and asked her to join our journey to and through birth. We first met Melanie when we interviewed her to be our doula. We found her real, approachable, non-judgmental, fun yet calm. Of course, Melanie is knowledgeable in all things birth – being a mother of four has certainly helped her with that. We were looking for a combination of smarts and the right personality; she was the perfect match for us.” Doula Client/Student

“Melanie was a dream to work with! Having taken her birth class, my husband and I felt incredibly comfortable with her. She was available to us at any point, and was at the hospital in what felt like no time when we needed her. Having Melanie as part of our support system definitely played a pivotal role in helping us have the amazing birth experience that we did.” Doula Client/Student

I have helped nearly 2000 families on their own journeys into parenthood, each of their stories have shaped my unique outlook on birth.

I became a doula because I know how important it is to feel safe when bringing your baby into the world. And what it takes to feel comfortable in the most vulnerable + powerful time of your life. I also know the magic that is birth and attending one is always an incredible honor- one that I take extremely seriously. I work hard for you to have the experience that you hope for, while preparing you and your partner for whatever twists and turns there may be.

 

Partner supported birth is at the core of my belief system, therefore, my role is NOT to take over for your partner, rather to enhance their ability to care for you. Facilitating that relationship is an integral piece of my work as a doula. In fact, I have been told that my presence at a birth has been a greater relief to the partner, taking the brunt of “labor Coach” off of their shoulders and enabling them to do what they do best, and what they are truly needed for in labor— to Love their laboring partner through it.

“Melanie was meant do exactly what she is doing – mentoring and educating people on the full birthing experience. And she does so with the warmest heart and unparalleled grace.” Doula client

Doula Package $1250:
  • Free consultation by phone or in person to see if we’re a good fit.
  • Signing of contract/half the Doula fee is due
  • Two prenatal visits. The 1st is a group appointment with my Doula Partners, held in the ABB office every 1st Tuesday of the month from 7:30-8:30pm, usually around your 34th week pregnant. The 2nd meeting is typically in your home, or an agreed upon location around your 37th week pregnant. The 2nd half of the fee is due at this appt. During these visits we’ll get to know each other better and simply, talk birth. I want you to go into your birth feeling confident and ready, we’ll figure out together what that means for you. We’ll discuss birth options and your vision. We can also work on labor positions, pertinent topics to your pregnancy, fear release, and comfort measures—the goal being to fill your “tool box” with different comfort items for you in labor, creating that confidence and fostering the belief that you can do anything.
  • A fine tuned, hand crafted list of local resources offering ALL kinds of services pertinent to pregnancy, labor, birth, breastfeeding and beyond.
  • A Lending Library of books, articles, A Brighter Birth handouts/lists, videos and more…
  • I am on call for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until you give birth to your baby. I want to hear from you with all the “is this normal?’s” and the “is this it?’s” That’s what I m here for. I want to hear about each of your 3rd trimester prenatal appts, screenings, ultrasounds. I want to hear when you’re 41 weeks pregnant and OVER IT. Seriously, call me, we’ll chat. I’m also available for phone calls/further consults or lactation appointments after your baby is born.
  • I’m also trained in Acupressure for labor, anxiety, strengthening contractions, pain relief, and pushing.
  • One postpartum visit in your home, typically 3-7 days after the birth. We will process the birth together, swoon over your precious baby, work on breastfeeding, discuss new baby care and I will make sure you have all the resources you need to succeed as a new parent/family.

Lactation Counseling

In Home Lactation Counseling $75:

I hold a CLC, Certified Lactation Counselor certification, from The Healthy Children’s Project. I exclusively practice by making home visits. In your space, on your time. I’m a stickler for brand new parents lying in, taking it easy at home, after their baby is born. So no rushing into my office, let me come to you.

 

Our appointments include an hour long counseling session in your own home, where you feel most comfortable, and where you will be nursing most often + a follow up consult phone call to see what’s working.

  • Whatever the challenge is that you’re experiencing, we’ll talk it through and come up with a plan together that fits your needs, and that is easy to implement.
  • Sore, cracked, bruised nipples? I will show you how to bring baby on to get the best latch, and how to sustain it. And talk about how to heal.
  • Going back to work? We can figure out a pumping schedule, and supply storing system.
  • Just need some reassurance that everything is working? I can help.
In Home Lactation Counseling $75:

I hold a CLC, Certified Lactation Counselor certification, from The Healthy Children’s Project. I exclusively practice by making home visits. In your space, on your time. I’m a stickler for brand new parents lying in, taking it easy at home, after their baby is born. So no rushing into my office, let me come to you.

 

Our appointments include an hour long counseling session in your own home, where you feel most comfortable, and where you will be nursing most often + a follow up consult phone call to see what’s working.

  • Whatever the challenge is that you’re experiencing, we’ll talk it through and come up with a plan together that fits your needs, and that is easy to implement.
  • Sore, cracked, bruised nipples? I will show you how to bring baby on to get the best latch, and how to sustain it. And talk about how to heal.
  • Going back to work? We can figure out a pumping schedule, and supply storing system.
  • Just need some reassurance that everything is working? I can help.

“I had a very difficult time breastfeeding. I honestly believe that I would not still be nursing today without her support and guidance. She empowered me to keep going and was available whenever I needed her in those first few weeks to listen, provide support and offer advice. Melanie is knowledgeable, compassionate, and caring. I cannot recommend her highly enough.” Doula/lactation client

Birth Consulting

Birth Consultations $50:

Are you pregnant? Congratulations! Welcome to an entire underground world that has been growing and expanding, shifting and evolving, waiting for you. The world of birth can be overwhelming. There’s a lot. Hospital or home? Doc or Midwife, or both? Doula? What classes will you take? Induction? Epidural? Hydrotherapy? Breast, bottle or both? What are you reading? Are you exercising? How is your diet? What is your postpartum plan? What will you do with your placenta? Do you plan to pump at work?…..Aaaarrrrggghhhh! (Where’s that face smacking emoji?) Let us help. Sit down OR pick up the phone with one of the Collective’s Professional Birth Doulas to help you find the answers to all these questions and more. You’ll receive a personalized checklist to get you started + TONS of RVA local resources to maintain your birth flow and help make that impending birthday a little easier.

“Melanie Headley is an angel. My wife and I believe that not as a comparison, but as an absolute truth. Melanie has so much love in her heart, and the unique ability to express that love through her caring work. Speaking from the perspective of the husband throughout the pregnancy and into the actual birth, I can say with absolute certainty that the entire process was not only “easier”, but illuminating because of Melanie’s work in the class and in the hospital. Her presence is always calming, reassuring, nurturing and positive. We feel so blessed to have had Melanie’s presence, both physical and spiritual, with all of us in the room when our daughter was born. She made friends for life with all three of us because of the angel that she is, and the way she lives her work. We would strongly endorse Melanie’s Brighter Birth class, as well as her doula expertise to any family focused on having a meaningful birthing experience.” Doula Client Partner/Student

“Melanie Headley is an angel. My wife and I believe that not as a comparison, but as an absolute truth. Melanie has so much love in her heart, and the unique ability to express that love through her caring work. Speaking from the perspective of the husband throughout the pregnancy and into the actual birth, I can say with absolute certainty that the entire process was not only “easier”, but illuminating because of Melanie’s work in the class and in the hospital. Her presence is always calming, reassuring, nurturing and positive. We feel so blessed to have had Melanie’s presence, both physical and spiritual, with all of us in the room when our daughter was born. She made friends for life with all three of us because of the angel that she is, and the way she lives her work. We would strongly endorse Melanie’s Brighter Birth class, as well as her doula expertise to any family focused on having a meaningful birthing experience.” Doula Client Partner/Student

Meet The Collective

A Brighter Birth is a Collective of hand picked, heart curated local, women.

Owners of their own birth service oriented businesses with the same philosophy around supporting families from fertility to postpartum. We all work together, creating a safe and sacred one stop shop for women and families to meet all of their needs during their reproductive phases. Our focus is on our clients’ experience. Adapting our services to meet their needs, ultimately facilitating an empowering transition into parenthood.

 

Each of these local businesses are strongly endorsed by ABB. Look out for special deals and pricing when bundling some of these services together!

Melanie Headley

Owner/Operator of A Brighter Birth. 

 

Birth Doula, Childbirth Educator and Lactation Counselor for ABB. Mama to 4 little people, lover of food, art, music, fashion, yoga and ALL things birth. I stumbled across A Brighter Birth when I was pregnant with my first kiddo 15 years ago. It was the only out of hospital CBE class of it’s kind, taught by the fabulous Chris Dewilde. My partner and I utilized every.single.tool we learned during our 46 hour birth experience, helping us feel empowered and confident in making decisions and working together. I was honored to take the class over in 2008 and began teaching out of my own living room (hiding all of my family’s crap upstairs and sending my 4 babies out of the house every week!:)

Melanie Headley

Owner/Operator of A Brighter Birth. 

 

Birth Doula, Childbirth Educator and Lactation Counselor for ABB. Mama to 4 little people, lover of food, art, music, fashion, yoga and ALL things birth. I stumbled across A Brighter Birth when I was pregnant with my first kiddo 15 years ago. It was the only out of hospital CBE class of it’s kind, taught by the fabulous Chris Dewilde. My partner and I utilized every.single.tool we learned during our 46 hour birth experience, helping us feel empowered and confident in making decisions and working together. I was honored to take the class over in 2008 and began teaching out of my own living room (hiding all of my family’s crap upstairs and sending my 4 babies out of the house every week!:)

Hunter Moore

Birth Doula/Childbirth Educator/Lactation Counselor for A Brighter Birth.

 

Hunter Moore is a toLabor trained professional birth doula who calls Richmond home after almost 15 years here. Hunter is also a VCU alumni with a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and years of experience in fashion and merchandising. It wasn’t until after the birth of her own daughter that she realized how support and empowerment from community could successfully impact the journey to motherhood. A quick career shift has allowed Hunter to settle beautifully into her true calling of supporting local mothers and families through educated and empowered birth. As a working mom herself Hunter finds such joy in applying her own life experiences to her life work now through birth work.

Sarah Cole

Birth Doula/Breastfeeding Specialist + Educator for ABB

 

Mothering isn’t something we were ever meant to do alone.  From pregnancy to postpartum, Sarah is passionate about bringing back personal woman to woman supportive care. Sarah is a mother of 4 boys ranging in ages from toddler to tween and has spent nearly 7 years of her life breastfeeding.  With these boys as her first teachers, wise women as her mentors, and breastfeeding and postpartum doula training, Sarah provides non-judgemental, compassionate support to new families. In addition to being a CAPPA trained postpartum doula, Sarah is a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist and is currently pursuing her 200h yoga teacher training (Beloved Yoga), and labor doula (ToLabor) certificates.

Sarah Cole

Birth Doula/Breastfeeding Specialist + Educator for ABB

 

Mothering isn’t something we were ever meant to do alone.  From pregnancy to postpartum, Sarah is passionate about bringing back personal woman to woman supportive care. Sarah is a mother of 4 boys ranging in ages from toddler to tween and has spent nearly 7 years of her life breastfeeding.  With these boys as her first teachers, wise women as her mentors, and breastfeeding and postpartum doula training, Sarah provides non-judgemental, compassionate support to new families. In addition to being a CAPPA trained postpartum doula, Sarah is a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist and is currently pursuing her 200h yoga teacher training (Beloved Yoga), and labor doula (ToLabor) certificates.

Cheyenne Varner

Birth Doula + Postpartum Doula

 

Cheyenne Varner is a woman of many talents and an incredible resource to our birth community. From her beautiful magazine Everyday Birth to her educational design work through The Educated Birth Chey is a wealth of knowledge and support. Cheyenne trained through toLabor and we are overjoyed to have her on the A Brighter Birth team and supporting clients as a birth and postpartum doula.

 

From Cheyenne: Supporting pregnant people is what I do. My role never looks quite the same, because no person or family I work with is! If I had to give my “style” a name, I’d call it “Quiet Strength.” I bring a calm, peaceful presence into birth spaces, anchored in the many hours of having gotten to know you, and my natural personality. As a doula I love spending time preparing for birth together with my clients, this is where you learn what to expect and how to create the experience you desire.

RVA Baby — Dr. Janet West

In-home Pediatric care for A Brighter Birth

 

After almost 15 years of working with families and newborns, and a mother of three herself, Dr. Janet West knows a thing or two about taking great care of babies. A Board Certified pediatrician and former military spouse, Dr. West has spent the majority of her career directing multiple pediatric clinics that served military families. She’s helped hundreds of parents care for their newborns, using compassion and gentle guidance while focusing on a holistic approach to her practice. Throughout her career, she recognized a common thread among families who were struggling with balancing the responsibilities newborns demand and the exhaustion they create. After obtaining her MBA, Dr. West started RVA Baby to provide them a better experience by offering medical services in the comfort of their own home. When she’s not working with clients, Dr. West loves spending time watching her twins perform at local venues, reading, listening to podcasts, and spending time with her granddaughter Kathryn Rose.

RVA Baby — Dr. Janet West

In-home Pediatric care for A Brighter Birth

After almost 15 years of working with families and newborns, and a mother of three herself, Dr. Janet West knows a thing or two about taking great care of babies. A Board Certified pediatrician and former military spouse, Dr. West has spent the majority of her career directing multiple pediatric clinics that served military families. She’s helped hundreds of parents care for their newborns, using compassion and gentle guidance while focusing on a holistic approach to her practice. Throughout her career, she recognized a common thread among families who were struggling with balancing the responsibilities newborns demand and the exhaustion they create. After obtaining her MBA, Dr. West started RVA Baby to provide them a better experience by offering medical services in the comfort of their own home. When she’s not working with clients, Dr. West loves spending time watching her twins perform at local venues, reading, listening to podcasts, and spending time with her granddaughter Kathryn Rose.

 

Lyra Parker Bray

Prenatal Massage Therapist

 

Meet Lyra Parker! She is a kind, devoted, empathetic practitioner holding safe space in Richmond, VA. In January of 2015, she completed her second professional Doula training with ToLabor, a certifying organization based in Richmond. Since that time, she’s provided full spectrum doula support to the RVA community. Several years ago, while holding space for a laboring client, she discovered a deep connection with therapeutic touch and was inspired by the immediate relief it brought her client during one of the most physically challenging events of her life. Because of this experience she decided to pursue the study of massage and bodywork.

 

Parker graduated from the Lotus School of Integrated Professions and is a VA Licensed Massage Therapist. Since graduating massage school, she’s trained with Claire Marie Miller in prenatal and postpartum massage and studied Acupressure for labor and delivery with L.Ac Keith Bell. She became a Practitioner of The Arvigo® Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy with the Arvigo® Institute in 2017, where she learned the art of abdominal massage for reproductive and digestive wellness. She’s also studied the Psoas/Diaphragm/Pelvic floor relationship with anatomist Tom Meyers of Anatomy Trains and works a couple days a week at a Women’s and Men’s Pelvic Health Physical Therapy clinic. Parker is fascinated with the pelvis, its dynamic structure and the way in which it communicates and moves with the entire body.

 

She is currently studying Visceral Manipulation with the Barrall Institute. VM assists functional and structural imbalances throughout the body including musculoskeletal, vascular, nervous, urogenital, respiratory, digestive, and lymphatic dysfunction. It elevates and treats the dynamics of motion and suspension in relation to organs, membranes, fascia and ligaments.Parker believes that massage is a moving meditation, one that brings people into harmony with their incredibly resilient bodies and an opportunity to slow down. She finds joy in her practice every day and hopes to give clients a unique and restorative experience. Accessibility and inclusivity are incredibly important goals of Parker’s work. Her practice is all-inclusive, honoring and supporting the identities of all. All are welcome here. In her free time, she is happy to be reading, cooking, hiking, biking, running, dancing and spending time with her sweet fur babes and loving partner.

Kate Thompson

Birth and Family Documentary photographer for A Brighter Birth who believes that life is about relationships.

 

Listening to and getting to know her clients is essential to the creative process, and allows her to make honest photographs that broaden our emotional repertoire, encourage nostalgia, and show the importance of slowing down and being present. She’s inspired by the art that exists in genuine moments of connection between people and feels passionately about empowering families with photography that tells their story.

 

www.bettyclicker.com

Kate Thompson

Birth and Family Documentary photographer for A Brighter Birth who believes that life is about relationships.

 

Listening to and getting to know her clients is essential to the creative process, and allows her to make honest photographs that broaden our emotional repertoire, encourage nostalgia, and show the importance of slowing down and being present. She’s inspired by the art that exists in genuine moments of connection between people and feels passionately about empowering families with photography that tells their story.

www.bettyclicker.com

Humble Haven

Yoga Partner with A Brighter Birth.

 

This beautiful studio, located in the heart of the city, off of the historic Shockoe Slip, offers Prenatal, Restorative, Vinyasa, Hot Power and many more styles of yoga for the pregnant and non pregnant person.

 

Prenatal Class Description: 

 

For the expecting mother and those desiring to be mothers, this practice is a wonderful way to nurture your body – both to prepare to conceive or prepare for labor. These unique classes are specifically sequenced to offer a safe and effective practice designed to both strengthen and relax the body through a combination of breath and body movement and meditation. Within this class, you will find a safe, supportive community for mothers to share in this experience together.

 

Prenatal classes are unheated and 75 minutes. All women at any stage of pregnancy and those looking to conceive are welcome.

 

Instructors have specific prenatal training with an additional 85 hours of prenatal certification.

Kenzie Korman: Vitality Float Spa

Float Spa Partner with A Brighter Birth

 

This wellness oasis, located in the fan, by Byrd park, offers float therapy, reflexology sessions and other services for mothers to be.

 

Float Therapy and Pregnancy

 

Float therapy is a large enclosed bathtub designed to reduce distractions: lights, sounds, gravity, and tactile sensations. The water is heated to skin temperature and is filled with 1000 pounds of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), making it denser than even the Dead Sea. You will find yourself floating effortlessly and losing track of where your body ends and where your body begins.  As you lie in a float tank, about 90% of neuromuscular activity is decreased.  Cortisol levels drop significantly, blood pressure lowers and a deep sense of relaxation starts to take over your body. Whether you are trying to get pregnant, pregnant or recently had your little one delivered, floating will help lower stress by unwinding your mind and body as it goes through this very transformative time. Floating during pregnancy also helps promote excellent sleep patterns, alleviates spine and back pain, reduces swelling & inflammation, helps your baby get into position around the 36th week of pregnancy and gives you the chance to experience a deeper bond and connection with your child.

 

Vitality Float Spa offers 60 and 90-minute float sessions. A pool noodle is offered during the 2nd and 3rd trimester, so you can lie on your stomach or side for comfort while you are floating. The more often you float during pregnancy the more benefits you will notice.

Kenzie Korman: Vitality Float Spa

Float Spa Partner with A Brighter Birth

This wellness oasis, located in the fan, by Byrd park, offers float therapy, reflexology sessions and other services for mothers to be.

 

Float Therapy and Pregnancy

Float therapy is a large enclosed bathtub designed to reduce distractions: lights, sounds, gravity, and tactile sensations. The water is heated to skin temperature and is filled with 1000 pounds of Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), making it denser than even the Dead Sea. You will find yourself floating effortlessly and losing track of where your body ends and where your body begins.  As you lie in a float tank, about 90% of neuromuscular activity is decreased.  Cortisol levels drop significantly, blood pressure lowers and a deep sense of relaxation starts to take over your body. Whether you are trying to get pregnant, pregnant or recently had your little one delivered, floating will help lower stress by unwinding your mind and body as it goes through this very transformative time. Floating during pregnancy also helps promote excellent sleep patterns, alleviates spine and back pain, reduces swelling & inflammation, helps your baby get into position around the 36th week of pregnancy and gives you the chance to experience a deeper bond and connection with your child.

Vitality Float Spa offers 60 and 90-minute float sessions.  A pool noodle is offered during the 2nd and 3rd trimester, so you can lie on your stomach or side for comfort while you are floating. The more often you float during pregnancy the more benefits you will notice.

Luna Aesthetics & Spa

Aesthetics and Spa partner with ABB

 

(A Self-Care DREAM) Owner of Luna Aesthetics and Spa/Master Esthetician and Educator, Chelsea Martin has been an Esthetician since 2008. Over the years she has found that simply having a conversation about the skin and how it works, brings the best results. The skin is our largest organ and connected to every part of our body and she believes it should be treated that way. Chelsea has worked in every realm of skincare, from medical to plant-based and everywhere in between. In 2016, she started teaching Esthetics and started her own independent practice. In 2018, she opened Luna Aesthetics and Spa to create an environment that women could feel taken care of and safe while still providing completely customized and results-driven skincare. Working with women before, during, and after their pregnancies has become her passion. There are so many products out there and its important to know what is truly safe yet still effective to use during this time. Watching the skin change on the surface as the body changes internally is an exciting journey and she is grateful and excited to be a part of it with her clients.

Ashley Strange

The Tribe Co, Task Master

 

I’m Ashley, CEO of The Tribe Co, and my personal mission is to make your life easier.

 

It’s why I founded my company.

 

Most organizations that promise “help” offer solutions that inevitably add MORE to your schedule. Resulting in you toiling from dawn to past-dusk trying to fit it all in. I believe in better processes and services that support everyone. From Type-A professionals and entrepreneurial go-getters to ambitious moms who want to create better lives for their families. I realized that there was a need to stop ‘helping’ and to take action – doing the things that need to get done.

 

Working in the sales industry as a project manager and national account manager, it has always been my passion to establish a relationship with my clients. I thrive in creating a supportive experience rooted in process, service and positivity.

 

Oh, and something else you should know about me.

 

I want to change the narrative around women having it all. We can – but we can’t do it all – it takes an army. Every successful CEO (male or female) is surrounded by people that support them and their business efforts. Why does that have to be different for us as women in our households and personal lives? We are thriving in our jobs, society, etc. but something is still missing… you. Our self-worth needs self-care too.

 

As a society, we spend so much time, effort and money to appear happy and like we have everything under control. But internally we are churning, questioning… are we really happy? Fulfilled? We compare ourselves to others and allow social norms to dictate our lives… pulling us into guilt and shame. I want to help people actually LIVE a life that emulates the life we portray to others – one that is real and authentic to you.

 

Your work and self-worth shouldn’t be measured by your outward appearance. It should be about living the life you crave – and getting the right help – allowing you to achieve what you desire most. More time, more freedom and more control over managing your day to day life. Embracing the women that we truly are will allow life to be easier and more natural.

 

But, this doesn’t come without help and tough decisions. It is ok to obtain help and enjoy it… you shouldn’t feel guilty or think less of yourself for getting it. Help isn’t a luxury – but there is nothing wrong with it feeling like one!

ashley
ashley

Ashley Strange

The Tribe Co, Task Master

I’m Ashley, CEO of The Tribe Co, and my personal mission is to make your life easier.

 

It’s why I founded my company.

 

Most organizations that promise “help” offer solutions that inevitably add MORE to your schedule. Resulting in you toiling from dawn to past-dusk trying to fit it all in. I believe in better processes and services that support everyone. From Type-A professionals and entrepreneurial go-getters to ambitious moms who want to create better lives for their families. I realized that there was a need to stop ‘helping’ and to take action – doing the things that need to get done.

 

Working in the sales industry as a project manager and national account manager, it has always been my passion to establish a relationship with my clients. I thrive in creating a supportive experience rooted in process, service and positivity.

 

Oh, and something else you should know about me.

 

I want to change the narrative around women having it all. We can – but we can’t do it all – it takes an army. Every successful CEO (male or female) is surrounded by people that support them and their business efforts. Why does that have to be different for us as women in our households and personal lives? We are thriving in our jobs, society, etc. but something is still missing… you. Our self-worth needs self-care too.

 

As a society, we spend so much time, effort and money to appear happy and like we have everything under control. But internally we are churning, questioning… are we really happy? Fulfilled? We compare ourselves to others and allow social norms to dictate our lives… pulling us into guilt and shame. I want to help people actually LIVE a life that emulates the life we portray to others – one that is real and authentic to you.

 

Your work and self-worth shouldn’t be measured by your outward appearance. It should be about living the life you crave – and getting the right help – allowing you to achieve what you desire most. More time, more freedom and more control over managing your day to day life. Embracing the women that we truly are will allow life to be easier and more natural.

 

But, this doesn’t come without help and tough decisions. It is ok to obtain help and enjoy it… you shouldn’t feel guilty or think less of yourself for getting it. Help isn’t a luxury – but there is nothing wrong with it feeling like one!

Dr. Kailee Karst

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist for A Brighter Birth.

 

Dr. Kailee Karst is the physical therapist for A Brighter Birth, specializing in whole body care and pelvic health. Kailee found her passion for the field of physical therapy in clinical practice, while working with patients and helping them understand the subtleties of human movement and how to navigate through their pain in order to improve quality of life. Kailee has also been teaching yoga for over eight years now, and enjoys teaching classes and workshops on yoga, mindfulness and meditation. She combines aspects of these Eastern philosophies into her clinical practice and care.

Cara Corbelli: Renew Chiropractic

Originally from Batavia, New York, Dr. Cara knew at a very young age that she was going to become a Chiropractor. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the State University at Fredonia in Fredonia, New York. After the completion of her undergraduate studies, she continued on to fulfill her lifelong dream and graduated Cum Laude from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, which is the founding college of chiropractic, with her Doctorate of Chiropractic Degree.

 

With her passion being for children and prenatal care, she is Webster Technique certified through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. This technique is used to alleviate intrauterine constraint to help with decreasing pelvic discomfort during pregnancy and also allows for a safer and more comfortable labor and delivery. She is also skilled in many other different chiropractic techniques, such as, Toggle-recoil, full spine Gonstead, Diversified, Thompson Drop, Activator, and Sacral-Occipital Technique, allowing her to give the best possible care to each individual patient.

 

As a physician, Dr. Cara strives to help the body to heal itself through giving specific and proper adjustments to the spine, freeing the nervous system of any interference and allowing the body to be in its most optimal state. She is honored to have the ability to share her knowledge and passion on a holistic approach to health and wellness with her patients. Dr. Cara Corbelli looks forward to talking with you about how you and your family can benefit from chiropractic care.

Cara Corbelli: Renew Chiropractic

Originally from Batavia, New York, Dr. Cara knew at a very young age that she was going to become a Chiropractor. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the State University at Fredonia in Fredonia, New York. After the completion of her undergraduate studies, she continued on to fulfill her lifelong dream and graduated Cum Laude from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, which is the founding college of chiropractic, with her Doctorate of Chiropractic Degree.

With her passion being for children and prenatal care, she is Webster Technique certified through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. This technique is used to alleviate intrauterine constraint to help with decreasing pelvic discomfort during pregnancy and also allows for a safer and more comfortable labor and delivery. She is also skilled in many other different chiropractic techniques, such as, Toggle-recoil, full spine Gonstead, Diversified, Thompson Drop, Activator, and Sacral-Occipital Technique, allowing her to give the best possible care to each individual patient.

As a physician, Dr. Cara strives to help the body to heal itself through giving specific and proper adjustments to the spine, freeing the nervous system of any interference and allowing the body to be in its most optimal state. She is honored to have the ability to share her knowledge and passion on a holistic approach to health and wellness with her patients. Dr. Cara Corbelli looks forward to talking with you about how you and your family can benefit from chiropractic care.

Nitika Achalam

Energy Healer + Herbalist

 

Nitika Achalam of True Grit Yoga & Botanica is the resident Energy Healer and Herbalist at A Brighter Birth. Nitika is a Holistic Wellness Educator certified in Herbalism, Usui Reiki, Holy Fire Reiki, Crystal Energy Therapy and Therapeutic Yoga. Nitika studied Anthropology at Virginia Commonwealth University with a focus on how ancient cultures and societies used plant medicine and alternative remedies to prevent and treat disease. Nitika is passionate about applying 2 decades of education and practice to support general physical and energetic wellness for the entire family, from babies to elders. We suggest adding Reiki and Herbal consults to any medical treatment you may be currently undergoing or staying ahead of the curve with preventative care.

Address your wellness with a One on One appointment right away. Session may include but are not limited to:

  • Crystal Reiki Energy Clearing
  • Herbal Consultation for the entire family
  • Protocols to address painful menstruation, fertility concerns, toning the pelvic floor after childbirth including pelvic “Yoni” steams, and other internal and external treatments
  • Custom apothecary products
  •  Yoga Therapy

Ellie Burke, Certified Life Coach, M. Ed., Yoga & Meditation Teacher

I have spent the last 20 years helping people find their way to happier, more meaningful and connected lives.

 

Having been through my fair share of difficult life circumstances, internal turmoil, as well as incredibly rich and beautiful life experiences, I have always sought out answers to the big life questions. Drawn to philosophy, exploring the edges of life, and the wish to understand the nature of suffering, I began a many-year immersion into the inner work of both yoga & meditation. After teaching yoga and meditation for 18+ years, becoming trained and certified as a life coach unfolded as a necessary next step in my mission to help people find themselves, let go of who they think they should be and create, instead, the lives that feel most true to them.

 

My process is a unique blend of coaching tools and strategies developed by Martha Beck, the “original Life Coach,” my own decades-long meditation practice, and my background in education and human development.

 

I refer to myself as a “generalist” because I work with all types of people in, often, many areas of their lives. I meet individuals where they are, identify who or where they wish to be as a result of our work together, and in a never-one-size-fits-all approach, help to facilitate their process of getting there. We work on the inner world just as much as the outer world.

 

My work with clients is centered around helping them to deeply connect with who they are and what they want most in life. The actions and course they take from there always results in helping them achieve what they most want – in career, relationships, lifestyle, and/or family.

Ellie Burke, Certified Life Coach, M. Ed., Yoga & Meditation Teacher

I have spent the last 20 years helping people find their way to happier, more meaningful and connected lives.

 

Having been through my fair share of difficult life circumstances, internal turmoil, as well as incredibly rich and beautiful life experiences, I have always sought out answers to the big life questions. Drawn to philosophy, exploring the edges of life, and the wish to understand the nature of suffering, I began a many-year immersion into the inner work of both yoga & meditation. After teaching yoga and meditation for 18+ years, becoming trained and certified as a life coach unfolded as a necessary next step in my mission to help people find themselves, let go of who they think they should be and create, instead, the lives that feel most true to them.

 

My process is a unique blend of coaching tools and strategies developed by Martha Beck, the “original Life Coach,” my own decades-long meditation practice, and my background in education and human development.

 

I refer to myself as a “generalist” because I work with all types of people in, often, many areas of their lives. I meet individuals where they are, identify who or where they wish to be as a result of our work together, and in a never-one-size-fits-all approach, help to facilitate their process of getting there. We work on the inner world just as much as the outer world.

 

My work with clients is centered around helping them to deeply connect with who they are and what they want most in life. The actions and course they take from there always results in helping them achieve what they most want – in career, relationships, lifestyle, and/or family.

Jelena Nikolajevic of Boketto Wellness

Acupuncturist

 

A Brighter Birth is thrilled to have Jelena as the acupuncture resource for the Collective. Jelena studied acupuncture and herb theory at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in NYC. While in school, she had extensive training in both eastern and western medicine that covered subjects like pediatrics, orthopedics, dermatology, oncology, geriatrics, urology and gynecology. She studied under some of the best practitioners in and out of school where knowledge in Japanese acupuncture, shiatsu, tui na, and sports medicine was enhanced.

 

Areas of specialty include orthopedics, anxiety, stress, digestive disorders, insomnia, migraine headaches, menstrual disorders, low immune system, genitourinary disorders, asthma and night sweating. In her practice she incorporates trigger point release therapy, tui na, applied kinesiology and muscle testing, nutritional and lifestyle counseling and Traditional Chinese herbal medicine.

Elise Benoit

Elise Benoit is a ToLABOR trained Birth Doula and Cappa trained Postpartum Doula. After the birth of her son 4 years ago, she experienced severe postpartum depression even after an empowering birth. Through her work as a birth doula, she continued to see her clients have beautiful births, but still struggle with energy and emotions during postpartum. She offers placenta encapsulation as a holistic option to balance hormones, replenish iron, increase prolactin for milk production, and boost energy levels during the fourth trimester. Elise originally trained through IPPA, but is currently in the certification process with APPA, a more rigorous training. Elise holds certification in Bloodborne Pathogens and Infection Control for Placenta Encapsulators which meets OSHA’s standards. Elise also offers tinctures and watercolor placenta prints.

Elise Benoit

Elise Benoit is a ToLABOR trained Birth Doula and Cappa trained Postpartum Doula. After the birth of her son 4 years ago, she experienced severe postpartum depression even after an empowering birth. Through her work as a birth doula, she continued to see her clients have beautiful births, but still struggle with energy and emotions during postpartum. She offers placenta encapsulation as a holistic option to balance hormones, replenish iron, increase prolactin for milk production, and boost energy levels during the fourth trimester. Elise originally trained through IPPA, but is currently in the certification process with APPA, a more rigorous training. Elise holds certification in Bloodborne Pathogens and Infection Control for Placenta Encapsulators which meets OSHA’s standards. Elise also offers tinctures and watercolor placenta prints.

In acknowledgment of the profound disparity among reproductive healthcare for BIPOC and in an effort to prioritize racial equity in birth, A Brighter Birth Birth Doulas will be donating a portion of each of their birth client fees to RVA local Black birth organizations such as: The Doula Project, Birth In Color, Urban Baby Beginnings and Everyday Birth. We will also add to this list as more resources become available.

Classes | Events

Jan. / Feb. 2021

1 Day Workshop: $150/couple
1/16 1-5pm

2/13 1-5pm

4 week series: $265/couple
Thursday 4 week series
begins 1/7 – 1/28 6-9pm

 

Sunday 4 week series
begins 1/10 – 1/31 2-5pm

 

Breastfeeding Course:

$125/couple

Wednesday 1/ 20 6-9pm

Feb. / Mar. 2021 

1 Day Workshop: $150/couple
2/13 1-5pm

3/13 1-5pm

4 week series: $265/couple
Thursday 4 week series
begins 2/4 – 2/25 6-9pm

begins 3/4 – 3/25 6-9pm

 

Sunday 4 week series

begins 3/7 – 3/28 2-5pm

 

Breastfeeding Course:

$125/couple

Wednesday 3/17 6-9pm

Apr. / May 2021

1 Day Workshop: $150/couple

4/10 1-5pm

5/8 1-5pm

4 week series: $265/couple
Thursday 4 week series
begins 4/8 – 4/22 6-9pm

begins 5/6 – 5/27 6-9pm

 

Sunday 4 week series
begins 4/4 – 4/18 2-5pm

begins 5/9 – 5/30 2-5om

 

Breastfeeding Course:

$125/couple

Wednesday 5/19 6-9pm

Jun. / Jul. 2021

1 Day Workshop: $150/couple

6/12 1-5pm

7/10 1-5pm

 

4 week series:$265/couple

Thursday 4 week series
begins 6/3 – 6/24 6-9pm

Thursday 3 week series

begins 7/15 – 7/29 6-9pm

 

Sunday 4 week series
begins 6/6 – 6/27 2-5pm

 

Breastfeeding Course:

$125/couple

Wednesday 7/21 6-9pm

Aug. / Sep. 2021

1 Day Workshop:$150/couple

8/14 1-5pm

9/11 1-5pm

 

4 week series:$265/couple

Thursday 4 week series
begins 8/5 – 8/26 6-9pm

begins 9/9 – 9/30 6-9pm

 

Sunday 4 week series
begins 8/8 – 8/29 2-5pm

3 week series:

begins 9/12 – 9/26 2-5pm

 

Breastfeeding Course:

$125/couple

9/15 6-9pm

Sep. / Oct. 2021

1 Day Workshop:$150/couple

9/11 1-5pm

10/9 1-5pm

 

4 week series:$265/couple

Thursday 4 week series
begins 9/9 – 9/30 6-9pm

begins 10/7 – 10/28 6-9pm

 

Sunday 3 week series
begins 9/12 – 9/26 2-5pm

begins 10/10 – 10/24 2-5pm

 

Breastfeeding Course:

$125/couple

9/15 6-9pm

Nov. / Dec. 2020 

1 Day Workshop:$150/couple

11/14 1-5pm

12/12 1-5pm

 

3/4 week series:$265/couple

Thursday 3 week series
begins 12/3 – 12/17 6-9pm

 

Sunday 4 week series
begins 11/1 – 11/22 2-5pm

 

Breastfeeding Course:

$125/couple

11/18 6-9pm

12/16 6-9pm

Melanie was meant to do exactly what she is doing – mentoring and educating people on the full birthing experience. And she does so with the warmest heart and unparalleled grace.” Doula client

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If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please reach out. We’d love to speak with you.

Prepared. Empowered. Supported.

Copyright 2020. A Brighter Birth.