The Birth Stories is a community based in Venice, California, initiated by three doulas: Paula Mallis, Vanessa Halby and Kate Danson. It offers monthly meetings for birth story circles, as well as workshops and retreats. Their mission is “to create a sacred space and community for women to come and share their experience as it relates to pregnancy, birth and motherhood.” Read on for details on how to participate, or perhaps get some inspiration for finding or forming a similar group near you.


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We’ve covered the whys and how to of having the support of a doula during labor and delivery, so I won’t go into further detail about that particular aspect of The Birth Stories’ founders’ roles. But in the course of their respective practices, Mallis, Halby and Danson realized they “wanted to create a community that honored the tradition of storytelling, educating, and the power in sharing.”

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The Birth Stories monthly gatherings are designed as a supportive environment for women to connect and share their experiences pre- and postpartum, with particular emphasis placed on creating a non-judgmental space, where all birthing decisions are heard, accepted and supported. Each monthly meeting focuses on a few specific topics, often with an invited speaker, and three women are invited to share their own birth stories, with input relating to the specific topics welcome from other participants.

The Birth Stories website features inspiring stories shared by group participants, all accompanied by beautiful photography courtesy of Danson. The Birth Stories also recently hosted its first weekend retreat, Nurturing the Mother Within, held in Ojai, California. For details on how to join the monthly circles, contact The Birth Stories directly. To receive updates on workshops and retreats, subscribe to their mailing list or email: [email protected]

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+ The Birth Stories

Photos by James Branaman and Kate Danson for The Birth Stories