Out of my three births, this was the most joyous and "easiest" and I attribute that to [our doula’s] wonderful help and care.
Birthways was founded in 1997 by Karen Laing, who was previously the director of Illinois’ first fledging doula group, Dana Mothercare (DM). DM was owned and founded by Nancy Newton and Bill Brauer, groundbreaking professionals whose approach integrated mindfulness in home-based care. When DM’s founders moved on to other projects and closed the organization, Karen gathered the doulas and founded a new company. Some of the original DM’s doulas are still a part of Birthways today!
Birthways has helped to shape the field of postpartum care in Chicago and across the nation. Since entering the field, Karen Laing has served as one of the early board members of the National Association of Postpartum Care Services and worked to establish the first national certification standards for the postpartum doula.
While Birthways serves a wide variety of families, one of our areas of speciality has become perinatal and postpartum mood disorders. Karen Laing contributed a chapter to the book Housecalls: Home based Interventions on the impact of doula care on postpartum depression and perinatal mood disorders (PPMDs). She also co-presented to the American Psychological Association on the subject and has presented at the March of Dimes Conference on this groundbreaking model of care.
Birthways remains today one of the most professional and comprehensive doula services in the country and is a model for researchers and others.