Friends set up Lansing doula business for black mothers

LANSING, Michigan – Domonique Brace and Sharde ‘Burton prepare to celebrate the anniversary of their North Star Birthing Services doula business.

The events that convinced Brace that this work was her future began earlier.

“So, I have a 4 year old and she is fine and thriving now, but she was born 5 weeks early because I developed preeclampsia, a condition where your blood pressure rises and cannot be controlled. So I had to have an emergency C-section, ”said Brace.

Brace is still dealing with emotional trauma stemming from her childbirth experience, and she said many black women have stories similar to her.

Brace said that was one of the main reasons she became a doula.

“In the United States, black women are three times more likely to have complications or even die giving birth than their white counterparts,” said Burton.

The two women went through the 45-hour doula certification process during the pandemic. You began the North Star birthing service in October 2020.

“We have supported foster families and hope to support LGBTQ families in the future,” said Brace. “Our business was not just created for women of color, we put that in the foreground and amplify their voices.”

So far, Brace and Burton have helped a total of 6 women. Burton provides resources to women before and during childbirth, and Brace usually intervenes after the baby is born to help with things like kindergarten training and postpartum depression.

“The special thing about a doula is that you can have your OBGYN, nurse, or midwife in and out of the room, but I’m not leaving and I’m there to provide physical and emotional support,” said Burton.

“As a postpartum doula, my role is a little different,” said Brace. “I usually come in 12 weeks after a woman is born and that is usually her home and we usually spend about 20 hours a week or even when they need more and these services cost about $ 20 an hour.”

Sharde Burton and Domonique Brace

Being a doula may be a 24/7 job, but these women say they wouldn’t trade their jobs for anything.

My favorite part is just seeing a healthy and happy mother and child at the end of the labor, ”said Burton.

“I just watch the babies grow and get bigger,” Brace said. “They start at 6 pounds then weigh 11 pounds and the mothers are very happy to have us in their homes and to welcome us into their rooms.”

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