Therapist Alison Herman kept hearing the same thing again and again from her young female clients over the course of fifteen years in private practice—that many new and expectant moms in the New Jersey/Rockland County suburbs felt isolated and lacked a sense of community. In the spring of 2019, the licensed clinical social worker/Birth Doula set out to change that. With the help of her dear friend and "right arm" Barbara Hayer she opened The Nesting Place, an all-encompassing wellness center located in Ridgewood, New Jersey, for pregnant and postpartum moms/parents.
Founder and CEO Alison (pictured after a birth) likes to think of The Nesting Place as a “one-stop-shop” for moms and moms-to-be, offering local women of all backgrounds a variety of services to get them through pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.
One major and unique component of The Nesting Place is its network of doulas. The Greek word doula literally means "one who serves,” and in modern times, a birth doula refers to a professional trained to provide emotional and physical support to a woman throughout their pregnancy, birth and the early postpartum period. A postpartum doula, relatedly, is a caretaker who helps the mom after delivery by tending to her needs and helping her as she recovers emotionally and physically. Tasks can include helping mom get started with bathing or breastfeeding, watching the baby so she can rest, or cooking light meals for her and her family. A postpartum doula is also there to educate the new parents so that when her job is done the parents feel more knowledgeable, confident and secure. They feel more able to trust their intuitions and instincts. Many moms seek out The Nesting Place knowing that based on it's stelar reputation, Alison, a birth doula herself, along with Barb who has a background in early childhood education and business, have a team of birth and postpartum doulas throughout New Jersey and over the New York border who they personally vet and match up with each new mom based on personalities and preferences.
Another popular service offered at The Nesting Place is lactation support and consulting. Breastfeeding is a challenge, and often new moms don’t know where to begin with it. The Nesting Place provides moms who want to breastfeed with one-on-one attention from an in-house IBCLC (international board-certified lactation counselor), who helps mom and baby with latching, positioning, pumping, and more.
Other services TNP provides include: complimentary pregnancy and new mom support groups, counseling, infant/child CPR, hypnobirthing, childbirth education/lamaze, perinatal massages,
and other necessities for a new family. Classes and services are held at The Nesting Place in Ridgewood with in home and private options available. The virtual pregnancy and new moms group(s) help pregnant and new moms (like the moms who shared with Alison over the years) feeling isolated and alone. These moms often establish and maintain meaningful friendships with other like-minded women in the area.
It’s also imperative to note that Alison works with any mom, regardless of her relationship status, background or financial situation. ”We work hard to serve all moms and don't want to turn anyone away,” says Alison."If a mom wants a doula to support her before and during her birth, Barb and I do our very best to make it happen." “I’m a social worker, so that is our number one priority.”
If you want to discuss your doula options, take a birthing class, join a support group and/or meet other local moms, reach out to Alison & Barb. Send them a DM (and give them a follow) @thenestingplacenjny on Facebook or Instagram, give them a call at 201.623.3629, or fill out the form on the website. Being a part of the TNP family is like any relationship, the more you put in the more you come away with. Alison suggests to any pregnant mom in the area to come join a complimentary group. To quote a recent mom and group attendee, "I look forward to the pregnancy group every Tuesday, it's probably my favorite hour of the week and it's free."