How We Came To Be
Our journey began a few years back when our Founder, Erica Dickson, was working for the local public school system. She was astonished after watching a news clip about the maternal mortality rates amongst black women during one of her monthly meetings with the Chief Equity Officer, Carla London. She wondered why this was not being talked about, or dealt with, enough to stop it.
She immediately began to brainstorm ways that she could help. During her research, she discovered birth workers and how impactful their work is. She was a single mother of two at the time, and wanted to pursue training but it wasn’t something that I could fit into her budget. She didn’t let that stop her. After further research, she saw that there were scholarships available to train women as doulas, with many organizations across the country agreeing to train women of color, for free, in an effort to lower the maternal mortality rates amongst black women.
She reached out to Erica Kroll, of Nona Birth Education & Counseling, after seeing that she was a trainer of doulas and asked if she had heard of these efforts. Erica Kroll had not but was eager to offer of herself. Erica Dickson began her postpartum doula training shortly after finding out that she was pregnant with her third child. This training offered a wealth of information where she was able to unlearn a lot of the things that she had been taught, and socialized to believe, about childbirth. She was eager to return for the labor portion of the doula training, but being a new mother again (with an 11-year gap between her last two children), along with all of life’s other responsibilities got the best of her… And, then COVID hit!!! She convinced herself that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.
Well, if you are reading this, I am here to tell you that if it is meant, it is ALWAYS going to come back around!!! And, when you are talking about the survival of women, birth experiences that are not full of trauma, and the necessary effort to make that happen… here it came!!! And, this time it came in the form of another great woman, Hakima Payne of Uzazi Village. On November 28, 2020, our Founder received a message that would ultimately lead us here. It read, “Hi Erica. I would like to speak with you about bringing a doula training to Columbia MO. Are you available to talk next week?” Needless to say, She said “Yes!”, and as they say “The rest is history!” Mama Hakima, as so many call her, agreed to come and train a group of women that Erica selected. Another phenomenal woman, and local OB/GYN, Courtney Barnes, offered to lead fundraising efforts so that the selected women could go through training at no expense to them.
The ladies completed training in July of 2021, and immediately began working on forming a collective to serve their community, with an emphasis on those that are impacted the most. Erica, along with the other doulas, look forward to working, educating and supporting our community, birthing mothers, and their support systems for many years to come!!!