Meet Ashley & Dawn
“The way a person is made to feel during their birthing experience can shape the rest of their lives.
I am so grateful to be a witness to something so healing.” ~Ashley Minihan, Owner
Our Purpose is to provide information, guidance, as well as emotional and physical support during your labor. When you work with our doula team you are getting our combined experience of 40 years and supporting thousands of families! We each bring unique skills, wisdom and experiences to our team. You will get to know both of us and have access to us throughout your pregnancy.
Our Approach as your Connecticut doulas, is to support our clients and their family, through their pregnancy, labor and delivery and postpartum. We feel that it is very important to have a strong connection with clients so that we can meet their needs during labor.
We will speak in- depth about your feelings, your desires and any fears that you may have. We will provide you with information that you need and will learn about you, your partner and your birth preferences.
We will also get to know your partner and come up with a plan to support them during this process as well. We never take the place of a loved one’s support during labor, but can enhance their role. We respect that birth is an intimate experience and know that a partner has a key role in supporting the laboring person. Partners offer a unique sense of support due to love, connection and shared history. Our role is to help them navigate this process and share our wisdom so that they can be more efficient in their role.
“Ashley and Dawn teaming up is like a dream come true, Individually they are each phenomenal doulas and together they’re a powerhouse” ~Arielle, CNM
Owner of Begin With Ashley, EB Doulas & Empowered Beginnings
Meet Ashley Minihan
My name is Ashley Minhan, and I have been working with families for seventeen years. I started working with families when my oldest son was born and I became an active member of La Leche League and then began a support group for young moms. Throughout my career, I have worked with parents and their young children in many different capacities. I have led parent-child playgroups, provided in-home parent support and education, and have taught numerous workshops to parents as well as other professionals.
I am a mom and former foster parent for infants. I hold Certifications as a DONA Doula, Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor, Spinning Babies Parent Educator, Passenger Safety Technician, Parent Educator, Bereavement Doula and Circle of Security Facilitator as well as Parents as Teachers, Touch Points and have earned a Family Development Credential.
My goal is to support prenatal and postnatal families as they try to navigate parenthood. I am passionate about providing parents with options and helping them decide what works best for their family. I can offer personal as well as professional experience to empower parents to make the best decisions. I never tell parents what they should or should not do and never judge. I offer emotional support during the journey of parenthood.
Doula & Owner of Lactation with Dawn Havener
Meet Dawn Havener
My name is Dawn Havener and I have been working with families for over 24 years. I felt my calling to be a doula after attending the birth of a friend, and have now been a part of over 800 births. I believe that birth isn’t about what we think we have to offer, or what is planned for, but tuning into what the laboring person needs as labor unfolds.
I believe in the power of compassionate support as well as being able to meet families where they are. Over the course of my career, I have been a part of births in-home, birth centers and many of the hospitals in Connecticut, as well as having worked across the border in NY and MA.
Along with my support skills, I offer pregnancy & birth photography, breastfeeding support, childbirth classes, breastfeeding & newborn care classes and placenta encapsulation.
I have worked with all different types of families and pride myself on being incredibly intuitive and on my ability to anticipate the birthing person’s needs as well as the needs of their partner.
Comprehensive Doula Package: $2900
Postpartum Visit ♦ Two Prenatal Birth Plan Visits ♦ Unlimited Office Visits ♦ Labor/Birth Support
In-Person Weekly Postpartum Group
Every Monday night we offer an open zoom group for our clients to connect and ask questions.
- Physiology and changes in pregnancy
- Normal progression of labor and birth
- Relaxation and breathing techniques
- Coping methods for labor and birth such as hydrotherapy, music, mental focus, and comforting positions
- Analgesia and anesthesia options such as nitrous oxide and epidurals
- Benefits and risks of medical interventions
- The partner’s role during labor and birth
- Postpartum care
- Newborn care at the hospital
Spinning Birth Class
- Learn about Spinning Babies Techniques
- Belly mapping to tell the position of your baby
- Daily Essential Activities
- The Three Sisters of Balance and how they help birth muscles to relax and add comfort now to ease birth later.
- Birth positions that open the pelvis and let the baby come through more easily
- Bring your birth partner to learn how to help you in pregnancy for comfort in labor and birth
Breast Feeding Basics
- Benefits of breastfeeding
- Getting a good latch
- Positioning techniques
- Establishing and maintaining your milk supply
- Debunking myths and outdated advice
- Pumping tips and tricks
- How partners can help
Birth Partner Coping Strategies
This single session is intended for couples in their third trimester who have completed the 1-day, 2-day, or 4-week childbirth classes. It expands on intervention-free methods of labor management discussed in our prepared childbirth classes. Each couple will receive their own long woven wrap (similar to the Rebozo used by Mexican and Central American Indigenous birth workers) to practice hands-on comfort techniques and coping skills to ease pregnancy discomforts, manage pain during labor, and help bring the baby down into an optimal position for birth. Your partner or support person will learn skills to support you more effectively. This class does not cover general childbirth information. We strongly suggest taking one of our childbirth preparation classes (or one with another educator) prior to this class.
What Happens During Labor?
During labor we are available to you 24/7. One of us will join you whenever you are ready for support and will remain with you until after your birth. We can help with position suggestions for optimal fetal positioning as well as comfort techniques to help ease discomfort. We will help you to achieve the birth that you desire and can offer suggestions and support if something unexpected should occur. Our goal is to support you and your wishes. We do not bring our own agenda to your birth and our only plan is to support you.
Our pledge to you is that your entire experience will be supported because there is so much more to birth than the birthing day. Your feelings about your birth are of utmost importance to us.
We will care for you and your birthing team with regards to your wishes, worries and circumstances as our priority. On the day of your birth, either Ashley or Dawn will join you, assuring that you have the undivided attention you deserve on this important day.
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We are located inside Empowered Beginnings.
3074 Whitney Avenue, 1st Floor, Suite 211
Hamden, CT 06418