To read more complete accounts from folks who have worked with me as a birth doula, check out my DoulaMatch.net profile.
“We’re writing to enthusiastically recommend Emma O’Brien’s doula and placental encapsulation services. Her contribution to our birth plan and process was particularly invaluable due to the timing of our son’s birth — he was born on 4/20/20, precisely when COVID was predicted to surge in Massachusetts — and Emma helped us navigate a late-to-care transition to a home birth midwife after 36 weeks of prenatal care with the midwives at Mount Auburn. Long story short: Emma is super skilled doula who will help make your pregnancy and birth an empowering experience to remember.
From the moment we started working with Emma, she listened thoughtfully, asked thought provoking questions, and provided helpful ways to approach pregnancy and the birth process. When the pandemic ramped up, Emma’s extensive experience, community connections and all around resourcefulness became even more evident, as she worked to connect us with several midwives who could help us think through a home birth, provided suggestions for fresh local produce delivery and a summer CSA, and steadfastly offered emotional support and guidance. She also took social distancing and COVID safety precautions incredibly seriously, which was particularly reassuring during the early days of the pandemic when not everyone was doing so.
Despite the challenges that came with being pregnant and delivering during a pandemic, I feel lucky to have had an incredible birth experience. I will be forever grateful to Emma for helping me have a birth that was as close to nature as possible. For any parents who may be navigating a particularly complex pregnancy/pandemic landscape at the moment — Emma is exactly the kind of person you want supporting you through this time. Even if there are restrictions on her presence during labor and delivery at a hospital, she can be an incredibly useful and reassuring source of love, hope and guidance during this special time in your life.” -Libby
“Emma has been such an amazing resource to both my myself and my husband during pregnancy, labor and postpartum. Her sage advice and calming presence made a world or difference, and her personal care and attention far exceeded any other medical professional we had worked with. When some unexpected issues came up during labor at MGH, Emma really helped my husband and I stay calm and focused on the end result (our beautiful baby girl!) Small things she provided like essential oils, candles and organic chicken broth (since I couldn’t eat with an epidural) made our hours in the hospital somehow feel a bit more like a relaxing spa. Her responses to all of our questions were prompt and thorough, and all of our meetings in person felt like chatting with a friend (who happened to know anything and everything about pregnancy and childbirth!) When I was having some issues breastfeeding postpartum Emma was the first person I reached out to for advice. As a first time mom I often feel overwhelmed and like I have no idea what I’m doing, but knowing that I can reach out to Emma makes me feel a lot more confident. We can’t recommend her enough!” -Megan
“An amazing help at the time of need, Emma truly empowered my birthing experience! My labor started with baby in posterior position (aka sunny side up) and a lot of back pain, as they told me in the hospital. Within 1/2 hour, Emma helped me through some poses to turn my baby! I ended up not needing any of the dreaded labor augmentations. She helped me through breathing and fully supported all of my decisions (I ended up getting epidural at 7cm). She also was invaluable in taking care of all of my family (mom and husband) emotionally, so that they could also support me, instead of panicking. 🙂 I had a great, amazing time all through the birth of my daughter. She also took care of us before and after birth with house visits, helped me find a great lactation consultant and answered a swarm of of my newbie mom questions. She’s friendly, kind and extremely knowledgeable. It’s really thanks to her that I’m remembering the birth of my daughter as empowering, beautiful experience – looking forward to repeating it and working with Emma again next time! ;)” -Dina
“We cannot recommend Emma more highly! We worked with her for the birth of our second child, which was my first pregnancy, and truly wish that she had been there when my wife gave birth to our first child. Emma is responsible and responsive, highly prepared, extremely knowledgeable about birth, and completely supportive. As others have said, her presence is very calming. Leading up to labor, we stayed in touch with her by email and text, and she helped us think through our options when it appeared possible that I would need to be induced for going past my due date. Ultimately she helped us through a fairly long unmedicated labor, which I’m not sure how we would have navigated without her. Her familiarity with hospital practices helped us avoid unnecessary interventions, and she had a great intuition for the little things that would help keep us comfortable and relaxed throughout labor. It was very reassuring to have someone there who had seen so many different births and could help us keep perspective on our own experience. I felt complete trust in her judgement throughout the whole process. At first we were unsure about using a doula, but after working with Emma I can’t imagine giving birth without her!” -Lizz
“We immediately felt a connection with Emma upon meeting her at the Mama&Me Meet the Doulas night in JP. Her vibe is laid back, friendly, organic and soothing. …During labor, she was a constant source of strength and encouragement, keeping my focus on my own goals and intentions. …She is for sure dedicated and I would easily recommend her to my friends.” -Andrea
“We had a wonderful experience working with Emma. My husband and I cannot recommend her more highly. She was instrumental in providing education and support to us during the birth of our first child. I think that without Emma I would not have had the confidence and comfort level to stay home during early labor as long as we did, which made possible the birth experience that we were hoping for. Emma even brought me a smoothie before we went to the hospital! She truly goes above and beyond for her clients and really cares deeply about their experience. She provided a written narrative of the birth that was very meaningful to us and we can keep to reflect on afterward. If you are on the fence about engaging her services, I would encourage you to do so – you will not regret it and she will support you in having the birth experience that you are envisioning and also be there to provide a knowledgable point of view if things go differently than what you would hope. Thanks to Emma!” -Leah
“I cannot say enough great things about Emma! Emma was recommended to us by our post-partum doula, who we hired again when we found out I was pregnant with our second child. At first I wasn’t sure I wanted a birth doula, my first birth resulted in a c-section because baby was breech. But I am so glad we worked with Emma! Not only did I get the VBAC I so hoped for, but I was able to labor and deliver without an epidural! Something I never thought I could do and I credit much of this to Emma. She is so knowledgable and yet she is also a very calming presence. She was reassuring and gave me the confidence I needed to trust my body and labor without pain medications. She was also an incredible support for my husband and I think he was better able to support me because of Emma’s presence. After my daughter was born, I had difficulty delivering the placenta as it stuck to my c-section scar and required pain medication and interventions to deliver it. Emma was right there to reassure me and keep me from panicking during this unexpected event. Emma pays attention to all the little details. From using a fan to keep me cool, bringing me sips of water and juice, even spoon-feeding me yogurt while I help my baby on my chest right after birth I felt so well cared for with Emma there. She worked seemlessly beside my L&D nurse, husband, and OBs. I am so happy that I was able to have such a positive VBAC birth experience after an unwanted c-section with my first child, and I know it was Emma’s steadfast support that helped me achieve this. If we plan on having future children, I would hire Emma again in a hearbeat as I can’t imagine a birth experience without her!” -Veronica
“Emma is amazing! We got to know her through a series of prenatal visits, and she made us feel incredibly comfortable with the idea of having someone so new to us in the delivery room with us. By the time I went into labor, she felt like a friend, and I was thrilled to have her as a support person. She was with us through a very long and traumatic birth, and she was calm, encouraging and supportive of both of us (my husband and me) throughout the birth. It was so reassuring to have her with us, both because of her delighful personality and presence and because of her wealth of knowledge. When I had an emergency c-section, Emma met me in the recovery room while my husband with with our son to the nursery. I was so, so happy to see her. After our birth, Emma visited regularly to provide postpartum support. She knows exactly what new parents need and she fit herself right into the rhythm of our postpartum life, tossing the laundry in, emptying the dishwasher, and creating delicious and inventive meals for us using whatever happened to be in our refrigerator. She knows all about food intolerances and has made us wonderful gluten-free and paleo meals. We also can’t say enough about how she interacts with our infant son — we’ve felt so comfortable leaving him in her arms while we nap! I wish I had had the opportunity to use her placenta encapsulation services (unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take my placenta due to infection), but as an herbalist, Emma has supported my postpartum recovery with hormone-balancing and milk support teas that are so delicious and nourishing, they’ve become a part of my daily routine. She has reassured two brand new parents that our experiences are normal — this is invaluable! — and she has really helped us to process the challenges of our birth experience and adapt to our new life as parents. We would strongly recommend Emma to anybody looking for a birth or postpartum doula.” -Elizabeth
“Emma was and continues to be an incredible and reliable resource; any recommendation she makes, she backs up with literature and research. …And thanks to her, I made it through a very heavily-medically-monitored non-medicated birth! During labor she was a constant, yet somehow non-invasive calming presence. She made suggestions about how to move, how to cool off, how to warm up, how to massage, and how to leave me alone when I needed it. I would recommend her to absolutely anyone, and know without a doubt that she could make any birth or reproductive experience or choice more informed, more comfortable, and more peaceful. I’m so grateful to have met her!” -Sophie
“My husband and I really enjoyed working with Emma. She was very accomodating with our little one’s early arrival on Christmas Eve and stayed with us through the entire labor. She brought electric candles and essential oils, which were a great help during the tough times. She also wasn’t afraid to jump in for whatever was necessary. In terms of post-partum care, Emma has been a huge help with our new little one and helping me adjust to motherhood. Again, she’s great at taking inititiatve and doing what needs to be done without me telling her. The best part though is that she’s a fantastic cook, which is so necessary when the last thing you want to worry about is what’s for dinner. We love working with her! ” -Caroline
“Emma supported me through my VBAC. Instead of a birth that came naturally as I had expected, I had to be induced for preeclampsia. This involved a 3 day induction that Emma supported my husband I through. I was very committed to having a VBAC but felt a little under pressure from OBs at the hospital to go for another C section (despite no medical necessity). Emma gave me information and the confidence to wait it out and allow the pitocin to do its work over 2 days and then progress into actual labor. I truly believe that without Emma’s support and guidance I wouldn’t have made it there. She was such a great support during the 2 hours of pushing as well and encouraged me through such an intense experience. I am so happy we worked with Emma and wholeheartedly reccommend her.” -Therese
“We’re so happy we chose Emma as our doula. From the first email through the first phone call and then the first meeting, we just felt like she got it-both who we are and what we wanted from a doula. …At the hospital, she helped with pain relief, she helped us make sense of what the doctors and nurses said, she got waters and juices or stayed with my wife while I stepped out to make a phone call or get snacks, and she was just there. All night, and all day, and all into the second night. …Truly, she did all we’d hoped and more, and we can’t imagine making it through having twins without her!” -Diana
“I gave birth at the Cambridge Birth Center with Emma and my partner attending. She was a calm, positive presence and an excellent partner to my partner. Between the two of them I received constant care and attention. It was a natural, no drugs labor and throughout the process I felt loved and supported.” -Chandra
“Nothing but calm, supportive and positive. …Her suggestions on herbal remedies for both health and relaxation helped out tremendously.” -Nataly