We had the good fortune of connecting with EASE Doula Collaborative Leatrice Priest, Shayla Rhem, Iris Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Leatrice and Shayla, Iris, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
It is important to our brand that we create healthy boundaries that prevent us from becoming “yes women.” Particularly to things and/or people who are not an added benefit to what we want to accomplish in supporting families. It also pertains to not saying yes for the sake of building our business. Trust is the single most present characteristic that people are seeking in choosing us. Due to establishing a very intimate and confidential connection with individuals from many backgrounds, its vital that we create space that allows us to say “no” when something doesn’t feel right or doesn’t represent all three of us. With three different personalities, we have established a healthy balance of consideration when making decisions and that comes with being able to discern when to say “yes” or “no.”

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are most proud and excited at the variety of services that we can offer to our community! As Doulas, we are a part of your birth team. We provide non-medical support and guidance as it relates to your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods. We are all Certified as Birth & Postpartum Doulas, Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, as well as Childbirth Educators. In addtion, we look to set ourselves apart by also offering Shayla’s expertise as a Full Spectrum Doula. A Full Spectrum Doula is a non-medically trained community care worker who offers support to people during the full spectrum of pregnancy – from preconception, to birth, to abortion, to miscarriage, to adoption, to postpartum. Iris is an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and one of the first graduates of the Human Lactation Pathway 2 program at North Carolina A&T State University. This provides a clinical background to breastfeeding and expands the support that we are able to provide our families. Leatrice is a certified Life Coach and supports families to establish and accomplish goals on their parenting journey. In her role as a Mother, she has also learned the importance of advocacy as she navigates parenting a child with a different ability. Each of these components provides a structure for us to meet more people where they are in their experience as parents and to provide more specific knowledge to our community.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oooh fun!! This area definitely provides an opportunity to dabble in the arts and food. When we are able, we look to support minority and women owned establishments! Its almost impossible to share an inclusive list, but here would be some highlights that we’d share!

Over the course of a week, we’d be for sure to visit Dame’s Chicken & Waffles, BensBoyz for soul food, and LUXE for a fun night out with good food. A sweet tooth is always sure to present itself and Savor the Moment Bakery or Archdale Bakery would provide treats and great coffee drinks while we walked through Center City Park. We could spend a bit of time viewing some work by art creatives at the African American Atelier as well. In an effort to bring some spontaneity to a day, we would visit The Greensboro Day Spa and have treats brought over by The Love Box & Co. If we needed a quick moment to wrap up some emails or take a business call, we could pop into Fiber Space and use their co-working space! The trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting The Magnolia Manor for both historical perspective of the southern black travel experience and a delicious bite to eat from their Shoebox Lunches. An evening might consist of a viewing at the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts and live music and dancing at Boston’s. To commemorate the trip and create lasting memories, we could have a photography session with some local photographers; Stillshots Photography, Tory Bass, Luguzy Atkins, Phocused by Darryl, or Kiara the Innovator to name a few! There is so much to see, eat, and do here in the Triad, NC area.

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?
We must first thank our spouses (Donnie, Ra’Shawd, & Wally) and our children (Uriah, Trajan, Kaius, Journee, Joey, Gabriel, Hannah, & Baby Jones) for providing us with the support and encouragement that it requires to do this work! They sacrifice time and unknown arrivals (babies don’t tend to consider your plans when they make their grand entry). We are grateful for the vital role they play in helping us get other families started along their parenting journey.

Thank you to our parents, in-laws, and siblings for pitching in when we needed childcare to rush off into the birth world of unknown times and lengths. It is a great sacrifice that we do not take for granted.

Lori & Hezekiah Poag for their professionalism in helping us to put a face to our brand. Lori has been especially insightful in simply sharing her wealth of knowledge and being a cheerleader for the work that we so passionately pursue.

Jamilla Walker, JAM the Midwife, for being a Mentor and the person that brought the three of us together! She has consistently urged us to “do the work” and to keep seeking ways in which we can bring greater access and visibility to our communities as it relates to maternal health.

Our Doula Families who have entrusted one of the most vulnerable life experiences to our care. Our business thrives on the relationships that we have built with each of you and your trust to pass us along to your treasured friends and family. We couldn’t do the work that we love without each of you and the referrals that you continuously make.

Website: www.easedoulas.com

Instagram: @easedoulacollab

Facebook: facebook.com/easedoulacollab

Email: easedoulas@gmail.com

Image Credits
Ashleigh Crawley – StillShots Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.