Hoosier Doulas are professionally trained, enthusiastic support specialists who help provide a safe, memorable and empowering birth experience
Birth: the beginning of an entirely new chapter of life. What do you think of when you imagine it? We at Hoosier Doula Network believe strongly that birth belongs to the women and families who are experiencing it, and we are committed to providing support and encouragement to parents as they navigate the waters of childbirth and early parenting. Our mission is to uphold and care for our clients through their pregnancy and labor, empower them with knowledge as they build their families, and hopefully have fun along the way.
Doula is a Greek word meaning “woman servant”. A birth doula is a trained professional who provides continuous, non-clinical support for birthing parents throughout labor, delivery, and the early postpartum period. She draws upon her education and experience to provide valuable information as well as physical and emotional support to you as you bring your baby into the world.
About Birth Doulas
Studies have shown that there is a measurable improvement in birth outcomes when utilizing the services of a doula. Some of these improvements include:
- Significant reduction in c-sections
- Fewer vacuum extractions
- Reduction in the use of pain medications
- Shorter labors
- Less fear
- Higher satisfaction with birth outcomes
- More success with breastfeeding
- Higher APGAR scores for babies
- Less postpartum depression
In general doulas make birth better, and we at Hoosier Doula Network have assembled a team of some of the best doulas in Northwest Indiana in order to provide you with the highest standard of care possible to meet the needs of your growing family. Our talented doulas have experience supporting women in a variety of situations including but not limited to: natural unmedicated vaginal delivery, vaginal delivery with epidural anesthesia, vbac, multiples, induction of labor, water birth, advanced maternal age, c-section and more… in the settings of home, hospital, or birth center. Whether you are seeking support for your labor and birth or you are looking for help integrating a newborn into your home, our birth or postpartum doulas are the perfect solution.
Hoosier Doula Network was established because of a clear need in the community for the services we provide, and the abundance of passion that my doulas and I have for the birthing women of Northwest Indiana. My first exposure to doula care came years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. The care I received during that birth was exactly what I needed, and it had such an impact on me that it literally changed the trajectory of my life. I knew after that birth that I wanted to give other women the amazing gift that my doula had given me. It is difficult to express the importance of coming into this business from the perspective of a client first. When structuring the company and determining the framework of our service network, our client’s needs and point of view are always our primary consideration.
For example, we know how important it is to have personalized care. We are committed…as much as we are able…to have each client receive service from her primary doula for her birth. Although in our line of work it is impossible to promise that you will never receive care from a backup doula, we make every effort to see to it that your primary doula handles your birth. However, if it becomes necessary to provide a backup, we go to great lengths to make certain that all doulas in the network are of the highest caliber possible, so that we know you will ALWAYS receive superior care.
In addition, your set fee will guarantee a doula for the entirety of your labor and delivery. Your birth should be a calm and peaceful experience with a doula who will be present when you need her until the arrival of your sweet baby. You can take comfort in knowing that there are no extra costs or hidden fees; we will never charge you by the hour.
The birth of your child is one of the most important experiences of your life. With our combined 32+ years of experience, the doulas of Hoosier Doula Network are excellent at providing the continuous physical, emotional, and informational support that you need in order to have the best birth possible. Make sure that you choose a doula team that understands and respects your emotional and physical comfort during this unforgettable experience. Contact us today for more information.
In the doula spirit,
- Birth Doula
- Post Partum Support
- Childbirth Classes
- Breastfeeding Support
"Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers - strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength."
-Barbara Kate Rothman
We believe a small team can pack a big punch. We're a talented, seasoned, dedicated team focused on delivering a safe, memorable and empowering birth experience for our clients. We're small for a reason and we're proud of it.
Debbie Dashiell- Birth Doula
Ever since conceiving her first child 20 years ago, Debbie has been amazed by the miraculous beauty of pregnancy and childbirth. With a background in psychology and a heart for others, she has a genuine desire to provide meaningful emotional support to her clients. While Debbie never enlisted the support of a doula with any of the births of her 5 children, it’s a decision she deeply regrets. With an incredibly supportive husband, she never really felt the need for a doula. When her last birth became difficult in the final hours of labor, even with an incredibly supportive team of family members, Debbie recognized after the fact that a doula would have made things so much more manageable. It was that experience that really solidified her desire to be a doula, a calling that had been on her heart for many years.
Debbie’s desire to encourage and empower others gives her clients a peaceful reassurance as they embark on the various stages of parenting. Her attention to detail, compassion, and solid communication skills support a strong relationship with her clients. She is a certified birth doula through Birth Arts International, a holistic training organization known for its comprehensive student support practices.
Crafting, writing, photography, enjoying the outdoors, and quality time with her family are some of Debbie’s favorite ways to spend time.
Kirsten Faedtke- BIrth Doula
Kirsten is a mother of three young children. She has given birth in a very medicated setting with an obstetrician, medication-free in a hospital with a nurse-midwife, and at home with a certified professional midwife. She has personal experience with breastfeeding and has breastfed her children for a total of four and a half years. Kirsten attended her DONA birth and postpartum doula and breastfeeding trainings in October 2016 and became a certified birth doula through DONA in September of 2018. She has experience with cesarean birth, clients battling addiction, clients on bed rest, epidurals, high risk clients, home birth, induced and high medical technology labor & birth, medicine free hospital birth, multiples, mothers over 40, plus size mothers, postpartum mood disorders, single parents, survivors of previous life trauma, survivors of sexual abuse, teens, vaginal breech birth, water birth, and women and families of color. Kirsten's passion is to serve and advocate for all women, regardless of birth choices, parenting choices, and lifestyle.
Kirsten believes pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum experiences should be pleasant and empowering. A great start to this journey is what mothers deserve.
Kelleen Merrell- Birth Doula
Kelleen is a certified Birth Doula with Dona International, trained postpartum doula, and placenta encapsulation specialist serving the Northwest Indiana area since 2017. During the pregnancy of her first daughter, she became fascinated by all things pregnancy, birth, and baby related. Once she was able to experience labor and delivery herself, she knew she was meant to help others through this incredible journey. That calling was reinforced during her second delivery, where she felt so comforted by the presence of her doula, that it cemented in the belief that every woman should have access to doula, regardless of their birth choices. Kelleen feels strongly about evidence-based care and informed consent, it is a passion of hers to supply a variety of information to her clients so they can feel informed and empowered with every decision they make during their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum process. Kelleen also holds a unique set of knowledge and experience in early childhood development that she cultivated over the five years that she worked as a teacher in a local public school for 5 years prior to transitioning over to a full time doula. In her free time, Kelleen enjoys reading, Zumba, baking and spending time with her husband and two daughters.
Faith Sikma - Birth Doula
My name is Faith Sikma.
I am the oldest of eight siblings. By the time I was 18 I had been to 15 home births and one hospital birth (the first when I was 6 months old!). I’ve always been interested in the medical field, more specifically the field surrounding birth since it’s always been such a part of my life. After watching my aunt (who was also a doula) attend my mom’s births, I was hooked!
I became a certified Whole Doula in February of 2018 through the Catholic Doula Program. Although my main experience at this present time is with home births, I also attend hospital births and have had experience with first time moms, c-section, breech presentation, over 40, HELLP (syndrome), and water birth.
My mom has been blessed to have had amazing experiences with some wonderful birth workers, and my goal is to be able to pass those blessings on to others.
When at home, I enjoy horse back riding with my siblings, reading, working outdoors, crafts, and dirt biking with my dad.
Amy Bauer - Birth Doula
Amy has been serving as a doula in Northwest Indiana for nearly 25 years, and has five children of her own. She is a DONA certified birth doula, an ICEA certified childbirth educator, and is currently serving as theNorthwest Indiana Chapter Coordinator for Improving Birth, a national not-for-profit organization which advocates for evidence based maternity care and respect for mothers in childbirth. Her most recent project, the Hoosier Doula Network , is the first of its kind in Northwest Indiana and was organized with a view toward providing the very best in doula care and birth related services to the women of the region. Amy believes that birth is a natural event that should be cherished rather than managed and celebrated rather than endured, and is committed to educating and empowering women to embrace and experience birth on their own terms. She relies on a wide variety of techniques to help clients cope with the difficulties and discomforts of pregnancy and birth, and includes among her assets a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, and a sense of humor. Her mission is to support parents as they navigate the waters of childbirth, to empower them with knowledge as they build their families, and hopefully to have fun along the way.
Emily Houghton- Birth and Postpartum Doula
Emily is a wife and mother of two girls who has been serving women in Northwest Indiana since 2015 as a full spectrum Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, Student Midwife, and former Midwife's Assistant. Her journey as a Doula began after the birth of her first child. She felt so empowered, and realized just how vital her own Doula was to her birthing process, that she wanted to support and empower other women, the way she was supported. She received her training through DONA International and has acquired a wide range of experience in the home and hospital setting in regards to: Natural Birth, Medicated Birth, Breech, Multiples, Loss, VBAC, and High Risk Pregnancy. Within the first year she realized her true calling was Midwifery, so Emily began the process of becoming both a Certified Professional Midwife, and a Certified Nurse Midwife, in order to offer future clients a well rounded approach to their birth. Currently, she is halfway through her nursing degree, and will be using the NARM Bridge Program to get her Certified Professional Midwife's Licenses after she completes all her Nursing Studies. Knowledge is power. Emily loves to incorporate as much unbiased education as possible about Holistic and Medical options available to her clients, so they can make informed decisions on what best fits their individual needs, values, and desires for their birth experiences. After the birth of her second daughter, she realized the lack of postpartum support available in the area. Emily offers Practical, Informative, and Emotional Support to individuals in their 4th Trimester Postpartum Periods. Navigating parenthood with a new child can be challenging, so she to offer non-biased assistance in any area a new mother may be facing including but not limited to: house work and meal prep, errands, assisting with the infant or siblings, lactation support, birth trauma processing, family planning information, parenting education, and Perinatal Mood Disorders. 1 in 5 women develop a Perinatal Mood Disorder, so in an effort to help detect, and assist in finding ways to help these women heal, Emily acquired a Certificate in Perinatal Mood Disorders from Postpartum Support International. She also holds a Neonatal Resuscitation Certification, has hands on basic Birth Emergency Skills Knowledge, and is currently training in Bereavement Services. In her free time, Emily enjoys hikes with her Husky, going on adventures with her daughters, attending poetry readings, and baking.
Theresa Armstrong- Birth and Postpartum Doula
Theresa, wife and mother of 2, has been serving as a doula in her home region of Northwest Indiana since 2011. Her desire to start this work came shortly after the birth of her first child, when she realized how a doula’s support could have been a benefit in her time of need. Birthing with a husband deployed made for a unique circumstance, and she continues to draw upon that experience when catering her care to others.
Offering a listening ear, with information and educational material available, she aims to make sure that her families have a full view of the options available to them, so they may make the best decisions for themselves. While she herself favors a more hands-off approach, her support for the choices of her clients shows in the varied outcomes of their births. Theresa believes there is nothing greater than seeing someone empowered and trusting in themselves. By working together, with the entire birth team, she knows great things are possible.
In 2016, she took on the role of Fundraising Coordinator for the Northwest Indiana chapter of the national not-for-profit Improving Birth, with which she has been involved since 2012. It is her passion to promote evidence based maternity care, and respect and dignity in childbirth.
Theresa considers herself a full-spectrum doula, offering birth and postpartum services, as well as what may fall in between. Keeping the in the belief of a doula for every family, her services are available for hire out-of-state, and her care remains inclusive across the broad spectrum of these families. She is currently pursuing designations from Birth Arts International and the Cultured Doula Program.
In her downtime, she enjoys tending her chickens, long range shooting with her husband, and relaxing at the beach. She considers Liz Lemon and Leslie Knope her personal heroines..
Theresa Hayden - Postpartum Doula
Theresa is a DONA trained Postpartum Doula. She has experience working with first time mothers, families with multiple children, several sets of twins and one very special group of triplets. Her experience includes day, evening, and overnight shifts.
After the birth of her son, she quickly learned how special the postpartum period can be while also discovering how important the well-being of new mothers is. Theresa firmly believes that all mothers deserve to feel empowered and confident in their abilities during this vulnerable time. She is passionate about nurturing and supporting families during this transition by offering evidence-based guidance and helping parents build their self-confidences. Her nonjudgmental approach respects the mother’s unique parenting style, and she encourages parents to develop their own philosophies. Theresa ensures families have a low stress, pleasurable fourth trimester by offering emotional support as well as practical support. Practical support includes laundry, dishes, light housekeeping, errands, assistance with older siblings, etc. This type of support allows mothers to relax and focus on their newborns.
In her free time, Theresa enjoys being outdoors, gardening, trying new restaurants, and spending time with her husband, son, and silly French Bulldog, Rosie.