Margaret Flietstra is the owner of Nurtured Birth, and provides doula care to expecting families in Sudbury. Pregnancy, birth and early parenting can be unpredictable. As a Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula, she provides the continuous emotional, educational and physical support that helps expecting families feel as prepared, calm, and joyful as possible.
Tell us a bit about what you do!
I support families through their pregnancies, childbirth and the early days and weeks postpartum. This support is tailored to each family that I work with but always includes education around the many choices expecting families face, emotional support through a time with many ups and downs, physical support and assistance through labour and delivery, and postpartum care in the family’s home. As a doula I become a resource, confidant, and helping hand as families navigate their pregnancies and births. The research around doula support has shown that there are many positive impacts, and no negative results, from this type of continuous care.
Was this the career you always envisioned for yourself? What inspired you to pursue this career?
Not really— I actually have an honours degree in English and Anthropology from Laurentian, and I was dabbling in exploring the academic world. After graduating from Laurentian, I completed an adventure leadership program which led into a full-time administrative job. During this time I had my first baby, and the negative aspects of my birth experience set me on a quest to learn more and change my outcomes for my second birth. After my second baby was born I knew that I had to share all that I had learned with other expecting families, and with a passion for birth support I started Nurtured Birth in 2016.
Has starting a business worked out the way you expected it to?
To be honest, starting a business is something I never imagined I would do— that thought has always been more intimidating than anything else. I never saw myself as an entrepreneur, but my drive to build my business comes from my passion for the work that I do. And, I’m happy to share, that by breaking the work down into smaller steps and focusing on doing a few things every day (as I balance life with three kids under 5 at home), I have been able to start and build Nurtured Birth and actually had a lot of fun along the way. At this point in my journey, I can’t imagine working for anyone else, and I love the creativity and flexibility that comes with being an entrepreneur.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals looking to take the entrepreneurial leap?
Build giving back into your business model. From the very beginning I knew that I wanted to support families who would not be able to afford the services, but that I couldn’t work for free, either. I wanted to give back, but it had to be sustainable. So, I established a sponsorship program that enables me to provide support for families in need, that is funded by the families who are able to afford what can sometimes be considered a luxury service. My clients love the feeling of knowing they are helping to provide doula support to other families— and I love the feeling of knowing I can do so without risking burnout.
What is your favourite local spot in Sudbury?
Lately I’m loving Twiggs— the Oregon Chai is amazing! It’s a great spot to get work done which can be hard to do at home with many distractions, and to have client and team meetings.