“Melissa Harley was our doula for the birth of both of our children. The second was for the recent homebirth of our son. She was invaluable in both experiences but for different reasons. The first time was an induced birth in the hospital and she assisted us by assisting us in advocating for ourselves and asking the right questions of doctors and staff. She also continuously suggested laboring positions that helped me cope with contractions. For our homebirth, we were not sure if we would need a doula since we were working with midwives and those same interventions we had at the hospital would not be applicable at home. However, we elected to use a doula to provide pain management and emotional support. Furthermore, we felt like we knew Melissa (and that she knew us and our preferences and personalities) and felt comforted by her presence. It was absolutely the right decision – Melissa was there as soon as we needed her to be and gave me the confidence I needed at the right times during labor. When I was questioning myself or tensing up from contractions, she knew exactly what to say to help. She was also there during the contractions that my husband was pulled away for a couple of minutes. She helped both of us stay calm and focused on the birth experience. We are so appreciative of her services and recommend her very highly as a doula.”- Lisa Belcher- Tallahassee, FL
“Our first son was born on 13-Feb-2010 at 1am. This was an exciting, but also an anxiety filled time for my husband and me. I guess it was the fear of the unknown….how I would handle labor…what it would be like to be a first time parent. A rush of feelings swirled around in our heads. I heard through a co-worker about having a Doula and at the time I did not know what a Doula was. She explained about how they are a helper and an advocate during your pregnancy, labor and parenting experience. My husband and I prayed about the possibility of hiring a Doula. I started to make some phone calls and this led me to Melissa. She was amazing. She walked us through the process of labor and delivery while discussing options that we did not know was available. She gave my husband and me confidence that we could do this and she was with us through the whole process. It was so comforting to know that she was there as a support to answer questions and give us a heads up on what would most likely happen next in the hospital. She was knowledgeable, flexible and a wonderful support. I would highly recommend Melissa to be your Doula for your birthing experience. Thanks Melissa.” Debbie Fotsch- Tallahassee, FL
“I highly recommend Melissa as both a doula and a birth class instructor. During our class with Melissa she did a fantastic job of discussing potentially uncomfortable issues with a focus on evidence based care. While she makes it clear that evidence supports certain decisions regarding childbirth, she works to also create an accepting atmosphere that recognizes the very personal nature of these decisions. As a doula Melissa helped us think about and establish a birth plan and then make it happen. During the labor she was very supportive but had a great sense of when to back away and let it be an experience between my wife and me. My wife spent over twenty hours of her labor in our home thanks, in part, to the confidence and positioning advice that Melissa provided. My wife had a great drug free labor that we will always remember.” Brian Morse- Tallahassee, FL
“I have known Melissa for 10 years. She has been a doula for over 20 births that I have attended. Melissa is caring, attentive and respectful to the process and to the birthing mom and family. Her experience and professionalism have made the difference between my client’s ability to have the birth they dreamed of. Melissa is committed to the birth process and the amazing transformation from a man and a woman to a mother and a father. I highly recommend her!” Rachel Depart, CNM
“I found that having a doula, specifically Melissa Harley, to be a great help in giving birth to my third daughter. Having already had both a caesarean and a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean), I initially felt a doula wasn’t necessary in my case. However, I found the contrary to be true! Just the relief that my husband and I found in knowing that Melissa was supporting our pregnancy and would be at the birth was wonderful. Melissa was both so personable and professional before, during, and after Lauren’s birth. She was ALWAYS available and ready to listen or jump into action. I never hesitated to call because I knew she would want me to. Desiring to have another VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) and meeting with some hurdles, Melissa both listened to my concerns and gave useful insights. I especially appreciated her patience with my concerns. She never made me feel like I was over analyzing things, but always made me feel like my concerns were warranted. During the birth, I found her pain management techniques to be so helpful that I gave birth to my daughter without any other form of pain relief. I can honestly say that the labor part of my delivery was less painful than with my second child with whom I had an epidural. Melissa actually made “parts” of the delivery fun. I would without hesitation hire Melissa again! ” D.K.
“My husband and I decided to use a doula for the birth of our first child. Being a little nervous about the delivery of our son, we really wanted to have someone there with us through the entire experience that we could count on for support and reassurance. Melissa was great! She came to the house and met with us prior to the delivery to get to know us, and address any concerns that we had. The day that I was induced, she stayed by my side as a source of encouragement and information. She talked us through many important decisions, helping us to weigh our options, and make informed choices. She in no way took my husband’s place, as the coach, but instead provided my husband with support, so that he could better meet my needs during labor. She provided me with physical comfort and emotional strength during labor, as well as helping me to meet my goals set forth in our birth plan. We are very grateful to Melissa for all of her help during my labor and delivery. We wouldn’t think of having another child without her help in the future!” M.R.-Tallahassee, FL
Doula Training Workshops:
“I wanted to write you now while I was thinking of you and before I forgot! This was an amazing weekend and you are an amazing woman, teacher, doula and friend. Thank you for opening your home and having me in the workshop. I really learned a lot and brushed up on my labor support. I am grateful you encouraged me to come because I do have a passion and a gift for helping women and hope that God provides opportunities to use it. I realize what my priorities are, but never know what God has for me. I value your wisdom and hope to stay in touch regularly!!” B.V.- Tallahassee, Fl
” I attended the Intro to Childbirth workshop on October 7 and the Doula Training workshop on October 8-9. Melissa hosted the training out of her home. It was an intimate setting for an intimate educational experience. Melissa was personable, friendly, and welcoming. I enjoyed her company, and she was articulate and intelligent. Overall, Melissa is an excellent trainer, and she incorporated several different teaching methods over the course of three days in order to keep us intrigued and attentive. She had many personal anecdotes to share, and she was able to back up her knowledge with current research and best practices. I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in becoming a doula to train with Melissa. She makes herself available before, during, and after training in order to pass along valuable knowledge and allow new doulas networking opportunities via Facebook.” Margaret Wilson
“There are so many wonderful things I could say about our workshop! It transformed the way I viewed myself as a birth worker, gave me a renewed confidence, and placed me in a safe circle of peers to support me. I did not know how much I needed that intensive time, not just for the information I would learn, but for the relationships that would form. There was as much heart work as there was head work that happened that weekend.” C.D.
“The Birth Doula workshop taught by Melissa Harley that I attended in Huntsville Alabama was wonderful. I am a recertifying Doula, meaning I have gone through the training previously in Seattle with Penny Simkin but it has been many years and I needed to attend a new training in order to recertify. My first training was very informative but also very large not leaving much room for individual attention. My training with Melissa was just the right number of people, affording time to make connections, forge friendships and delve deeper in to the emotional side of being a Doula. Melissa offers great insight and knowledge while at the same time leading the trainees to find their own answers and reach the conclusions by their own methods. I would recommend Melissa to anyone thinking about becoming a Doula or wanting to recertify. My only wish is that we lived closer so she could be my Doula :)” Amy YILDIZLI, Istanbul Turkey
“I took the DONA birth doula workshop in June 2010 in Huntsville, AL with Melissa Harley. She is a wonderful doula trainer. She has a wealth of information and experience to share and does so in a fun, relaxed manner. During the workshop we watched videos, role played various scenarios, talked & shared, went over handouts, played a game or two and laughed & cried. We learned what it means to be a birth doula, how to become certified, and how to do the business end of things. So much information is given but you don’t feel overwhelmed. Melissa is knowledgable, experienced, encouraging, positive, and supportive. If you get to take a workshop with her, consider yourself lucky and off to a good start on your journey to becoming a doula.” Kelly Larabie, CD(DONA), Columbia, TN
“We just want to thank you again for giving us the chance to participate in one of your private child birth classes. We were able to use a ton of the information and tips throughout the whole labor and delivery process, and would have been lost without your class!” J.S- Tallahassee, FL