Thought we'd get on-trend and do a late-to-the-game blog piece on the mentors behind our amazing Team of Doulas. As Doulas we have a hard time tooting our own horns, so it's been tricky to convince our founding members to do a personal post.
The picture is of our amazing Co-founders Mélissa Cowl and Debra Bowser (back when we could more comfortably snuggle with our work spouses, remember that?) who for almost 20 years have had the vision and wisdom to keep our Team moving forward, always learning, forever connecting, and continually reminding us to be humble and grateful for the work we do. The two of them bring our communities well over 40 years of birth-work wisdom. Their 2-decade, loyal, and fun and quirky friendship sets the foundation of The Doula Group, and years of support for both mentoring and guiding hundreds of Doulas and perinatal families to see their individual strengths and uniqueness.
Mélissa is our mentor, friend, wise council, and Teaching Doula – to be more formal, she’s our Education Director. Her 26-year birth-work journey has carved a passion for teaching families prenatally and Birth Doulas worldwide to make their dreams of birth support into reality. She has blazed so many trails in the birthing world, including advocating for Birthing Units to stay open and reopen. Family and loyalty are callings so deeply engrained that her dedication and fire for her own family spills over like a raging waterfall into her birth work. She believes so strongly in the dyad that is the birthing parent and baby bubble, that she will advocate and protect it in every aspect of her professional career. Those who know Mélissa know she will give you her wisdom, her shirt, her shoes, her time, but not her Poptarts. She sees the human in everyone, the strength and power, and she will hold it for you until you see it in yourself. On a personal note, Mélissa is an avid world traveler and can find the best travel deals, as she can also find the best in anyone. She has been known to collect cats, and maybe even dogs and a few chickens, into her fold and her Doula skills have spilled over to family four legged friends more than once (or thrice).
Debra has been a Doula for nearly two decades but you could also say that she has been a Doula all of her life. Doulas are caring, nurturing and compassionate people who feel called to work with new families. Debra is all of these things and always has been. She is your friend, your sister, and your aunt, and maybe even your nan. She is your best advocate and has the capacity to hold space for you when you need it most. She does this for her clients, her friends, and her family. As a founding member of TDG, she is also the Doula for the Doulas and enthusiastically shares her wisdom, creativity, and ingenuity with her Team – formally, she is our Executive Director. On a personal note, she will take a hard pass on anything Kardassian but will admit guilty pleasures in donuts and ice cream and would leave her partner for any member of the of the Shitts Creek family. (JK, her hubby-dedication game is pretty strong lol.)
The loyal Mélissa/Debra (Mélbra? 😊) Friendship has supported one another through their growing families, births, deaths, life surprises, stresses, celebrations, joys, and all the weirdness and quirks that life brings – all while staying grounded in their open hearts, professionalism, and love of people to allowed them to continue to remain passionate about birth and postpartum work, teaching, caring, supporting, and mentoring the next generation of Birth and Postpartum Doulas.
The Doula Group is in the business of Family – what family looks like is not static; it’s dynamic and beautiful and weird and wonderful – we are here to fully serve and support each one. The longevity of our Co-founders’ friendship, staying power, and wisdom within the birth industry have paved the long path for our Team to continue to provide caring hearts and insight to our communities – helping to create positive birth, family, and individual experiences. And that, our friends, is what life is all about.
In honour of International Friendship Day – we celebrate the friendship and leadership that has helped a vast ripple effect of lifting the hearts of hundreds of families.