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Psalm 139 Guest Post

by Sarah Juliusson on September 20, 2014

logo no backgroundI’m pleased to introduce to you all Christine Santos & the team at Psalm 139 Birth Services in Lakeland, Florida. Originally a solo birth photography practice, Psalm 139 is now a cooperative of 14 women providing photography, doula services, placenta encapsulation, breastfeeding support, and childbirth education. It is always exciting to me to see a group of birth professionals working together in a professional and collaborative manner. One of the best benefits, as described by Christine, is having a circle of trusted birth professionals with whom to process challenging births. Enjoy learning more, and feel free to contact them if you’d like to connect!

I’d love to hear more about your business name – how does it reflect the nature of your practice?

We believe that all mothers and babies are beautifully created and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. We strive to help mothers find the place where they become self-empowered to stand up for what they want in their pregnancies, births, and beyond.

Given the biblical origins of your business name, does this impact the clientele who choose to work with you?

Because we have birth workers with a wide variety of religious and cultural backgrounds, we are able to meet clientele where they are and pair them with birth workers whom they can feel comfortable with. In the past two months, since the launch of the cooperative, we have worked with more clients who aren’t Christians than those who are. I believe our willingness to work with and for any mother of any background enables us to reach more mothers, babies, and families.

Did you start out as a cooperative?  How did this model evolve?

In 2012, I started a photography business, Psalm 139 Studios. I did well, but wanted to expand my areas of service to reach more mothers. In 2013 I took doula, lactation, and placenta training. Around the time I finished my placenta training I realized I needed to have a circle of trusted birth workers to refer clients to if I were already booked.

In 2014 I began talking with another cooperative owner who was in St. Pete in regards to forming a cooperative based in Lakeland. She gave me lots of information. I had some birth workers in mind that I wanted to work with and we got together in April to discuss the formation of the cooperative. Everyone was on the same page and wanted to support each other and the women/families in our community. As we began setting up the new website the ladies involved naturally evolved to have their locations spread out enough to cover Central Florida. We all work well together and the flow of referrals and support seems to happen naturally. This makes for less stress for all birth workers involved.
Psalm 139 Birth Services

How did you choose the women who are involved?  Is there a sense of shared vision or philosophy?

The women involved in the cooperative are ones I have either worked with personally or know personally and felt they had personalities that would help balance out other personalities in the cooperative. We have a good balance between old-school birth workers and more modern, medically prone birth workers. We have those who are extremely passionate about everything they do and those who are more laid back and ride the waves as they come. As any good relationship we have highs, lows, and in-between times. Our strengths balance our weaknesses, and ultimately we are all there for one another.

Our shared goal is to help women have the best pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding journey, and postpartum period SHE desires. It’s not about forcing our goals and our ideals onto her and her family. It’s about empowering her to do the research, to make well-informed decisions, and to support her through that decision making process and beyond. Our tagline really says it all, “Your birth is our passion.”

How are potential clients assigned?  Are there guidelines regarding how each professional represents the group when with an individual client?

When clients come to the website, they have the option of messaging each birth worker directly or sending a general email. If they choose to send a general email, I call them and find out vital information prior to giving them contact information. First, I need to know what type of service they’re looking for. If they’re looking for CBE and they live in Tampa, I only have one member of my cooperative I would refer them to. If they’re in the same area and looking for a doula, I would then find out their due date and where they’re delivering. I would then give her the contact information for the doulas that service that area. Each mother has a right to choose the doula she connects with best. We choose to give her options rather than assigning a doula so she knows she is getting the doula she’ll feel most comfortable with.

We follow the general guidelines of practice and scope for doulas and each of us works with an understanding that we are working as support professionals. There aren’t specific guidelines as to how each birth worker should behave while with clients since each member also owns their own independent business as well.

How do you work together & support one another as professionals?

We act as backups and babysitters for each other when on call. When we have too much on our plates to take a client that has been referred by someone outside the cooperative, we ask inside the cooperative first if anyone is available to help said client. We help answer any questions, provide a place of decompression after difficult births, and act as general support for each other. Birth work is a hard, but very rewarding field to be in. We wouldn’t give it up for the world.

You can learn more about Psalm 139 Birth Services on their website, or connect with them on facebook.

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I’m No Good At… (How to Build Your Business Skills)

by Sarah Juliusson on June 24, 2014

Ever notice yourself saying “I’m not good at… (fill-in-the-blank here, Marketing, Websites, Social Media, Networking Events)? I hear it all the time from birth business coaching clients, and part of my job is to help each of you find the sweet spot where you can thrive in these essential elements of self-employment.

My dear friend Jodi Egerton posted a great piece on Rejecting Rejection this morning. While we get plenty of chances to practice healthy responses to rejection in birth work when clients choose not to hire us, what troubles me far more is the nature of self-rejection in self-employment.

So often I see doulas & other birth pros limiting themselves with beliefs around what they can – and cannot do. I do believe there is absolute wisdom in recognizing your strengths and getting help when you need it, but have also experienced first hand the real gift of encountering aspects of self-employment that I never thought I’d be able to do, and moving beyond that belief by simply taking the first step.

I challenge you to identify one great big “I’m no good at…” belief,
and take one simple step forward.

1. No good at marketing? Whether you’ve been delaying working on new business cards, sending out another email newsletter, or scheduling an introductory workshop, get started! Marketing is one of those skills that really does get easier the more you do it and discover what works. Have a listen to my Holistic Marketing 101 call to get inspired.

2. No good at websites? Start by taking a critical look at your own website from the eyes of a new site visitor. Invite a trusted friend to do the same. Let yourself think through the information they will need to call you to learn more. The first step in learning website design is learning what makes a website effective.

3. No good at networking? Do you love what you do? Good. Now choose one new person in your community that you’d love to connect with. Before you meet, take the time to research their practice and identify 3 things you’d like to have happen from that meeting.

4.  No good at social media?  Take one hour this week to reflect on your presence on facebook, pinterest, twitter or another site.  What would you like to be able to share with clients there? How can you make it meaningful and authentic to your practice? Establish a calendar for yourself outlining the types of posts you’d like to do in one month.

Quite simply, we learn by doing. If you want to get better at something, there are so many amazing resources out there just waiting to help you take the next step. Perhaps my favorite thing about my role as a business & website doula is helping to awaken within each of you a new sense of capacity and potential as a business owner.

Get help when you need it, but also allow for the possibility of hidden talents. Certainly if you had told me 10 years ago I’d be doing business coaching & web design I would have enjoyed a very good laugh…

As Jodi so wisely shares…

I now see that any rejection offers a choice—I can choose to believe the rejection, or I can choose to face the challenge and create who I am. And it turns out, who I am is a loud-singing, poetry-writing, roller-skating, badass book writer.

What about you?

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Why I am Not a Midwife

May 5, 2014

Happy International Day of the Midwife everyone! These 23 years of birth work have been quite a journey, and the incredible work of midwifery is a core part of who I am today. Given how many doulas and childbirth educators I meet who dream of “one day” becoming a midwife, I thought I’d take a […]

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Featured Birth Practice: The Fourth Trimester Lactation Support

March 31, 2014

I’m happy to introduce all of you to Gladis & Emily of The Fourth Trimester, providing home-centered lactation support in Tampa Bay, Florida.  I was drawn to their vision for bringing a new approach to lactation support in their community, and their creativity with partnerships & marketing. You work as a team – I’d love […]

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Pinterest 101 for Birth Professionals, or.. How to Have Fun Marketing your Birth Practice

March 28, 2014

I enjoyed a great call with many of you this morning exploring tips & tricks on building your business presence on Pinterest.  The call recording is being released on Monday – if you haven’t signed up yet, be sure to do so and you will receive a link to the recording via email.  REGISTER HERE. […]

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Love Birth – Love Pinterest

March 24, 2014

Do you love Pinterest?  So do I.  I have gathered on my Pinterest boards a lovely collection of craft projects, recipes to try, gift ideas, homeschooling projects, and inspirations for my one-day, long-awaited, much-dreamed-of kitchen reno.  This is of course, my personal Pinterest page. Thankfully, Pinterest allows you to have both a personal page and […]

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The Long Labor of Birthing your Business

March 18, 2014

Yesterday I shared a website page created by one of my clients with another coaching client.  I thought she might be inspired by her unique approach to speaking to the topic of anxiety in pregnancy.  She was of course, wowed by what she saw, but the real magic happened when I sent her praise back […]

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Birth Work not Facebook: Six Tips to Simplify your Time Online

November 13, 2013

Ah… facebook.   I often hear comments of frustration and overwhelm from coaching clients trying to get a handle on how to use facebook effectively for their birth practice.  While finding creative ways to share and engage on facebook is a priority, learning a few of the tips and tricks to help make it easier […]

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Do you want to see the power of meaningful, supported, safe and healthy birth in a new video?

November 12, 2013

Would you rather see a new film about birth or about cars? What would your birth business do with $7,500 in video services? Based in Southwest Michigan, Birth Kalamazoo offers birth and postpartum doula services, childbirth and breastfeeding classes, birth doula training and in-home lactation consulting.  They are currently in first place among more than […]

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Meaningful Social Media & your Birth Practice

November 12, 2013

Would you like to use social media for your birth practice but don’t want to add to the endless “filler” content we see on facebook? When used wisely, social media can be both an authentic voice for your birth practice, and a powerful tool of engagement. Here are a few tips to help you serve […]

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