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 suburbs felt isolated and lacked a sense of community. In the spring of 2019, the licensed clinical social worker wanted to change that, so she opened The Nesting Place, an all-encompassing wellness center located in Ridgewood, New Jersey, for pregnant and postpartum moms and their partners.
Founder and CEO Alison (pictured above at left) 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, which can include tasks such as helping mom get started with bathing or breastfeeding, watching the baby so she can rest, or cooking light meals for her and her family. Many moms seek out The Nesting Place knowing that Alison, a birth doula herself, has a team of birth and postpartum doulas both throughout New Jersey and over the New York border whom she vets personally and matches 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: individual and couples counseling, nutrition counseling, prenatal and postpartum yoga, infant/child CPR, hypnobirthing and childbirth education, prenatal massages, and, finally, classes and support groups for pregnant women and new moms, both of which are currently virtual due to the pandemic. There are also virtual mommy and me classes so that new moms—those same ones who may be feeling isolated and alone, especially during COVID—can establish and maintain relationships with other like-minded women in the area.
It’s also imperative to note that Alison works with any mom, regardless of her location, relationship status, background or financial situation. ”We work hard to serve all moms and don't want to turn anybody away,” says Alison. “I’m a social worker, and 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 The Nesting Place! 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. You can sign up for any of The Nesting Place's free services even if you haven’t worked with The Nesting Place previously.