Caren Nugent first discovered alternative birth services when her sister was pregnant with her first child. When her sister first shared about her plans to have her baby at a birth center with a midwife, Nugent said she was initially horrified.
“I was so uneducated with out of hospital births,” she said. But after attending prenatal appointments with her sister and meeting the midwives, she realized how misinformed she had been.
“I was at the birth center and watching how the midwives attended to my sister, it was just really incredible and really peaceful,” she said.
Fast forward several years, and Nugent now has eight years under her belt as a doula, offering childbirth boot camps, workshops and classes–both for in-hospital and out of hospital–through Arlington Birth Services. She also offers breastfeeding and postpartum classes so that the moms she works with feel supported throughout their entire journey.
“We are so fortunate to live in the DFW area, because there are so many birthing options here. We have really amazing care providers that are in hospitals. We have really amazing midwives that do birth centers and home births. We have tons of doulas. We have tons of childbirth education options,” she said. “So I feel like Arlington and the DFW area is very very good with providing options. It’s just a matter of letting moms know that they have those options.”
That support for moms is ultimately what the work is about. When Jaunitta Taylor, who operates Epiphany Doula, approached Nugent about collaborating on a postpartum support group, Caren jumped at the chance to get it going.
“Because of COVID, all of the in-person support groups stopped. And so we have three years of moms who struggled with breastfeeding, they struggled with loneliness, postpartum depression, anxiety, all of that. And they didn’t have any outlet, anybody to talk to about it,” she said. “And so we wanted something free. And it was really important to us that it was weekly, because if you have a struggle on a Friday night, and then you look up postpartum groups, and the next one isn’t until four weeks later, you’re either gonna suffer you’re gonna forget, or you’re just gonna be like, whatever I’m, I’m in this on my own.”
Taylor said the group provides support for women looking for connection and confidence to help them navigate these early weeks and months with a newborn or young infant.
“This cross-generational group is beneficial for new moms to see and hear how we all grow and learn as parents and we make it through the hard stages,” she said.
One mom who has benefited from the group, Dancy, said she joined when she realized she needed support from other moms and women.
“I have shared vulnerable moments, asked hard questions, and laughed at the crazy things we’ve done just to get by as parents of littles. I love that our group of women have different perspectives, different stages and ages of kids, and wisdom to share with one another,” she said.
Another mom, Brynna, said she started attending the group because she felt like she was missing that maternal guidance after losing her own mom a year prior.
“I have found my people! I have learned so much from all the fantastic mothers around me. I get support during this new time and relief! I like to bring my son, and even when he is fussy, every woman there will take turns soothing him,” she said. “I have a safe place to express my feelings and take my son!”
The group meets in person on Monday evenings from 6:30 to 8 pm, at City on a Hill located at 1140 Morrison, Fort Worth, TX 76120 and welcomes moms with infants up to 1 year of age.