Community Advocacy – Better Birth for All
In addition to serving her doula clients, Jessica has a deep commitment to building up her local community. Jessica founded the statewide nonprofit The Birthing Circle and served as its President and Executive Director for four years prior to moving to Annapolis. Now, along with serving her private clients, Jessica is working as a policy analyst and perinatal lobbyist to support better legislation for birth in Maryland. Her new location in Annapolis provides this opportunity to work closely with decision makers and policy writers in the state capitol. Jessica has worked for years to bring birth issues more attention in the public arena, and teaching families how to also improve their own communities locally. This work is more than just a career for Jessica, but is a deep calling to serve and empower families not just during birth, but their entire lives. Jessica brings this passion to each and every one of her doula clients.
Since the very beginning of her time as a birth worker, Jessica has prioritized and centered the needs of families most excluded from the current healthcare system. Jessica is fluent in Spanish, and serves many immigrant families. Jessica prioritizes her work, and advocates for providers and systems and the state to do the same, around the needs and strengths of those on the margins. People of color, the LGBTQ community, folks with differences or disabilities, and folks with low income must be honored and intentionally included/highlighted in our current systems. To this aim, Jessica founded The Birthing Circle’s Doula Project, providing free or sliding scale services to families who most need this support.
Jessica has been trained as a Maryland Community Health Worker, and wrote the state’s first curriculum for CHWs to add on a Perinatal specialty. A CHW is a person who is from a marginalized community, who receives education and training to then work in a professional capacity to improve health through a community continuity of care model to their own community of origin.
Jessica served on the Frederick County Commission for Women, and the Frederick County Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Board throughout 2016-2020. Her constant emphasis was on prioritizing fully equal care for all, and bringing the latest evidence-based care policies to the region. Jessica has helped shape hospital policies, Maryland state legislation, County objectives, and more.
Jessica has also been nominated for multiple awards, including the “Best Person of the Year” by the Frederick News Post, and the “Do-Gooder” of the year for her work with The Birthing Circle and many other causes in Frederick. Jessica has taught and supported many students, interns, birth workers, and other professionals. Her passion is teaching the trauma informed care model, nonviolent communication, advocacy skills, and how the nervous system is impacted through the birthing process.
So what is The Birthing Circle?
The Birthing Circle believes that community is crucial, and makes a huge difference during birth. They are committed to providing support to families through the birth process, and to improving the health and well-being of our community by expanding the local birthing options available.
- The Birthing Circle strives to improve the health and well-being of our local community, one family at a time
- We provide peer-to-peer support in person and online to families through the childbirth process
- We believe that knowledge is a key step in empowering families, and work to hold a space where information can be shared. Our goal is to provide encouragement and support for families making informed choices for their birth and babies
- We work to connect our families with respected community providers, expanding the options that are available to choose from
TBC holds multiple in person group meetings each month, in multiple counties. Check out their website to find more information on these meetings, as well as a list of all upcoming birth & baby classes, and local events.
Families deserve choices in pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. This is only possible if families know what all of their options are. We are passionate about sharing all of the wonderful local resources available, and supporting families in whatever choice they make. Check out our Local Resources tab for more information on your local options.
Find us on Instagram @TheBirthingCircle, on Facebook for Frederick County , Montgomery County or Carroll County. Each County also has it’s own private Facebook group; information is on that county’s FB page.