Davinah Simmons
Davinah Simmons

Davinah Simmons

What Services / Products Does Your Business Provide?

I provide emotional, physical, and informational support for individuals during the birth and postpartum period.

As a labor doula, I support families beforehand with all of the information they may need as they prepare for the birthing time. I am present for births that happen at home, in the hospital, in a birth center, and in operating rooms if a C-births (cesareans) is necessary. Before we get to the big day, I spend time with the birthing person and their birth support person (partner, spouse, friend, etc) and we discuss childbirth education, birth preferences, and I also ask lots of questions to understand what kind of support they will inevitably need as they navigate bringing the little one(s) earthside. Simply put, I provide a presence and hold a space that feels safe, positive, and grounding.

Giving birth and coming home with a new role as a parent (on top of healing from having the damn baby) is one of the most profound moments of a birthing person's (and their partner's) life. It tests emotional and physical spaces within themselves, can cause stress on the relationship with their partner, and pushes them face to face with their limits. Everything that is learned in childbirth education/parenting classes (if they took them) goes straight out of the window. Sometimes family and friends are there to help, but that often isn't enough. My job is to make this process somewhat manageable and help navigate the bumpy roads that will inevitably present themselves. As a postpartum doula I provide non-judgmental support, help process any negative experiences that may have happened during the birth (not processing these can impact how they bond with baby and inevitably how they parent their children), provide postpartum services (light housework, emotional support, lactation support, and referrals for community providers), and bring energy, affirmation, and encouragement so that my clients can feel confident and supported during this sacred time.

What Values Define Your Business?

The values that define my business are advocacy, accessibility, healing, social justice, and empowerment. 

Every person deserves to have a birth story that they share as a happy, wildly amazing memorynot a horror story. Doula's stand in this space. Our job is to make sure that our clients feel like a bad-ass gladiator (no matter what kind of birth they have) who was in tune with their body and made decisions in confidence and not in fear. 

Birth work is also ground zero for activism: I diligently commit to make sure that my services are accessible across all identities and socio-economic backgrounds. Having a doula is NOT a luxury.  Having a doula is a right for anyone who is bringing life into the world.

How Long Have You Been In Business?

I have been practicing birth-work since November 2016 and stepped into it as a full-time profession in April 2018.

What Has Been The Toughest Part About Being In Business For Yourself?

I have two answers for this question. One of the toughest parts of being in business for myself at the moment is finding a rhythm with my personal life. As much as this work is scheduled out in advance, it is often insanely spontaneous. I often juggle cancelling commitments to attend a birth, maintaining adequate self-care, and making time for my partner and friends. 

The second answer is being in a field that is heavily populated and influenced by white cis-women. While things are slowly shifting, this work can sometimes feel very lonely when I don't see people who look like me in the field. However, it gives me even more fuel to bring folks to this work who look like the clients that need us. With the black maternal health crisis receiving more and more publicity, my hope is that more folks of color will respond to the voice deep in the pit of their beings that ask them to step into this space. If you're reading this and that is you, we need you. Get ready.

What Was Your Dream Job As A Kid And Why?

I wanted to do SO many things (I'm Jamaican... go figure). I aspired to be a teacher, a chef, a hairstylist, and a gardener. These were places I spent most of my time as a child and all of them require me to use my hands in some way, shape, or form. I'm a kinesthetic learner (I learn by using my hands), so I'm sure that had something to do with it.

What’s Your Greatest Professional Achievement? 

Choosing to devote my life to making an impact rather than a ton of money. I've been on both sides of this coin (no pun intended). I worked in Higher Education for 8 years doing incredible work supporting college students in their development. The money was terrible, but the fulfillment was like a drug. I switched careers and moved into Real Estate Development, where I was making great money--  but the stress was pointless and I hated that I was contributing to a systemic problem. It chipped away at me daily. Needless to say, I lasted for less than a year in that. 

Shortly after I moved into Real Estate Development, my mother, who was my best friend, transitioned. In my grief and in my own self-reflection I asked myself some big questions about how I was living my life and decided that it was time for me to go back to working towards making a difference, not a dollar. I recognize that not everyone has the ability to make these shifts because of financial circumstances, family, etc-- but the planets aligned for me (I can't help but see this as my mother's doing) and I was able to make the jump. Ultimately, choosing myself and my heart over what society says I should be doing is my greatest professional achievement.

What Woman Inspires You And Why?

1. Single mothers who choose their children everyday. I was raised by a single mom who made magic out of my childhood with everything she could. To all of the single mamas out there: you are incredible. 

2. Black nerds. YAY.

3. Also, kinky haired people who style their hair every single day, because that shit is work. Hell yes, head wraps.

4. My mother. I miss her everyday and am honored that the universe chose her to love, guide, and develop me. Everything I do in birth-work is in her honor.

What Will Be The Biggest Challenge For The Generation Of Black Women Behind You?

Choosing radical self-care before anyone or anything.

Where Can We Find You And Your Business?