We had the good fortune of connecting with Maryam Karim and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maryam, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
Most people do not know what a birth and postpartum doula is and that is! That is what most people are unaware of, the fact that there are non-medical professionals that have skills in supporting a pregnant, birthing, and postpartum people. There is evidence based research supporting having a birth doula support you in labor. The studies show that doulas can help lower your chance of cesarean, shorten labor, and taking labor drugs such as an epidural. There’s also some evidence suggesting postpartum doulas may help lower the risk of postpartum depression.
What should our readers know about your business?
As a birth and postpartum doula my offerings are very special and unique to each family I support. However, what my prenatal visits look like are me educating on childbirth, holding emotional space for the birthing person, providing reiki, breath work, yoga & meditation, and much more. Birth support looks like helping the birthing person have a more comfortable, encourage them to trust and move their body, and increase their chances of having a positive experience. Postpartum support looks like providing meals, doing light housework, taking care of the baby so the parent/s can rest, lactation support, closing of the bones ceremony and much more. I am so proud and excited for being committed to this work no matter how tough it gets. To be able to show up for births means missing out on birthdays, outings with friends, and other special & fun times. Birth is so spontaneous there is no way to pencil in a specific date and plan around it. I love this work so much, and I am willing to make the sacrifices. Getting my services out there is also a challenge. It’s such a niche and a lot of people don’t know what it is, so getting people to understand the significance of a doula is a challenge. I haven’t overcome this necessarily; however, I introduce myself to random pregnant people I see, I host a monthly pregnant and postpartum walking group, post on my instagram, ask people to repost, and ask my clients to refer me to their friends and family. I just continue to market myself and let people know who I am and what I do. I learned you just have to get comfortable talking to a lot of people and sharing what you do. People have always responded well and want to learn about what a doula is and how supportive they are. Another challenge is that there are large doula organizations that certify doulas, and because they are so popular, it’s almost like a monopoly where a lot of doula jobs and even hospitals require certification from them. This makes it difficult for doulas who trained at smaller BIPOC organizations to get jobs. I am lucky that most of my clients are birthing at home or at the birth center, where their midwives do not have a bias towards a specific doula training.
I want people to know that birth work is my bread and butter. I have traveled and learned more about cultural traditions surrounding birth and postpartum work in order to give my clients very nourishing & holistic care, rooted in indigenous traditions. I am excited to do this work for as long as I possibly can! I want everyone wanting a physiological birth to have the best chance at it they can.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m currently in Long Beach, and I love going to the beach. I would probably do a lot of water activities with them such as canoeing, jet skiing, and overall just enjoying ourselves on the beach with a picnic. To start the day I would go out to a nice brunch spot in Long Beach, then have our day by and on the water. After that I would go on a dinner to Padres for some carne asada tacos! I might end the night there or maybe ride bird scooters through downtown Long Beach and near the beach.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate this to my midwifery preceptors, Kimberly Durdin & Allegra Hill. Kim trained me in their doula training back in 2019 and really launched my journey into birthwork which is my absolute passion. After being a doula for a few years, I wanted to deepen my knowledge and skills, which is why I am now also in midwifery school. AND! Kim and Allegra are my preceptors, meaning that I am apprenticing under their supervision. This is a beautiful full circle for me. I am so grateful for these two in my life! I’d like to shoutout my parents for their support as well. Lastly, I’d love to shout my clients that I have the honor of supporting.
Credits are not necessary These are images of me with a birthing client and a picture from the walking group.