On a recent Wednesday afternoon, while our kids were in school I had the privilege of chatting across my kitchen table with this dear woman and friend. I’m honored to introduce you to Amy Nevland, Co-Founder of ATX Doulas, Certified Doula and Childbirth Educator with ICEA and the instructor of an awesome childbirth ed class. Amy was a teacher of Literature, Writing and ESL for nearly five years until the birth of her children which you will hear more about below! Amy has an authenticity and warmth about her that makes you feel like you’ve known her for years or that she could possibly be your new best friend.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
AUSTIN, TX, BABY! YEEHAW! I was born at St. David’s, downtown, in 1978. I did mostly grow up in Georgetown, TX, though, and then met my husband at UT in Austin.
Children and Ages?
My Christmas baby… Rosemarie… born 12 years ago at St. David’s Downtown on Christmas Day.
My Valentine’s Baby…Beck…Born accidentally at home 10 years ago…
Haddie…She’s 7. I had her on National Fritter Day.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I won 3 dodgeball tournaments in a row in an Alamo Drafthouse parking lot.
What is your favorite thing about living here?
The people. The people. The people. Oh. And the trees.
What do you love to do with your family around town?
Hiking the many trails, finding hidden swimming holes, and putt-putt golf.
Tell us about your business and how it came to be, what you love about it, what makes it unique, what your goal is, etc…
Ahh. Yes. My origin story. “It was a dark and stormy night…”
Basically, I had dabbled in in-home health care and had taught middle school for years, so I decided to marry those two loves and look into being a doula and childbirth educator once my kiddoes were born. So then I was presented with my first choice…work as a solo doula, or work with a small group of doulas. (This is what makes ATXDouas unique) I chose to begin by working with a small group of doulas in a collective as opposed to working by myself, and I was hooked! This was lovely, as this gave me more freedom to balance being a new mom myself and supporting women becoming moms. It’s really hard as a solo doula to be on-call 24/7 and have a balanced family life. In fact, at lot of birth workers actually burn out after a few years because it is such demanding work. So, for me, working in a collective just made since. I was lucky enough to find some awesome women to partner with and doula with from the beginning of my doula story, and that persists today. ATXDoulas was started by myself and two other good friends that believed in the collective doula model. The benefits of ATXDoulas is two-fold…for the clients and for the doulas….Basically, we are able to provide more accountability, professional growth, and personal support for our doulas, which translates to more rested, more seasoned, and more comprehensive care for our clients. Our collective goal is for every family’s big day to be as special as possible. I mean, how many times in our lives to we get to bring a new life into the world? We at ATXDoulas want your birth to be the best birth it can be, no matter how it needs to unfold. And we recognize that the old adage “healthy mom, healthy baby” is not a comprehensive enough goal for a birth, because we are made up of more than just our skin and bones. And that is why doulas exist. To guard and guide the parts of parents that can’t be measured in centimeters and pain scales.
Are you involved in anything else within the community?
I teach childbirth classes for St. David’s South on Tuesday nights. I absolutely love getting to know the families who take part in that. I also am involved with my church and I love my friends at the Gospel Brunch meet-up at the Thicket Food Truck Park.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Of course, without our clients who graciously let us into their lives during a most intimate moment, then, on top of that, share about us with their friends and on yelp, we would be nothing. Then, on top of that, without the kind support of friends at AABC and Dr. Don McKinley who generously let us use their facilities for free when we were just getting on our feet, our business would have had a harder time even getting off the ground! And finally, without the amazing teaching and mentorship of the late, great doula, doula-trainer, midwife and Tiny Love Doula Certification founder — Jessica Atkins—most of us Austin Doulas wouldn’t be where and who we are today.
Congratulations ATX Doulas on being named Best Birth and Postpartum Doulas in Austin for 2018!