Executive Director/Owner – Elizabeth Mangum-Sarach
Elizabeth is the Executive Director/Owner of BirthFocus, LLC. She holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of Michigan (her home state) and has been certified via Lamaze as a Childbirth Educator. She is a Birth Doula Trainer through Dona International, a Labor Support Doula, and is trained in Hypnobirthing and Karen Brody’s Rock Your Birth childbirth education model. She is the former Director of Maternal Health and Parenting Services at Inwood House, a non-profit that offers services to pregnant and parenting teens, and is responsible for developing their doula and childbirth education programs.
In 2004 she trained with Ilana Stein, BirthFocus founder and DONA International Birth Doula Trainer, to become a labor support doula. In 2007 Ilana took Elizabeth under her wing and taught her about running the practice and mentoring doulas. In 2008, when Ilana passed away, she became the full-time Director of BirthFocus and the Executive Director/Owner in 2011.
In April 2011 Elizabeth returned from a year-long sabbatical during which she and her husband rode their BMW R80GS motorcycle from London, England to Capetown, South Africa. She spearheaded a project studying childbirth practices – via interviews with midwives, doulas, doctors, and pregnant women in over 15 countries – and is in the process of writing “Nomadic Birth”. Through a collaborative effort with Village Birth International she led a training for 12 midwives in Gulu, Uganda and attended to laboring women in Uganda and South Africa.
In August 2012, Elizabeth relocated to Austin, Texas where she continues to provide labor support doula services and childbirth education courses to women and their families. And, in May 2013, she gave birth to her daughter, Cora Claire-Elizabeth at home and is thrilled to continue to offer support to women and their partners in this adventure called birth!
To learn more about Elizabeth’s approach as a labor support doula please read about her on our Austin Doulas page.
Open House Facilitators – NYC
Sara Dick – expert level doula
Sara has had a passion for birth and babies for as long as she can remember. She always knew her calling was to “birth” babies, her own and others. She attended her first birth in 1993 and it confirmed to her, this is what she was made to do. After personally dealing with infertility and an incompetent cervix, which required extensive hospital stays and interventions, she was blessed to have three successful pregnancies, including a set of twins, totaling four preemie yet quite healthy biological children. After the months she spent in the hospital during her pregnancies, Sara acquired a unique ability to be an advocate and to speak “hospitalese”. In her 20 years of practice she has attended nearly every type of birth imaginable from home birth, to hospital induction with preemptive epidural, to emergency c-section and vbac. Her mantra is “this is YOUR birth, not the doula’s, not the nurse’s, not the doctor’s”. She takes her time getting to know you, your hopes and dreams about this baby and this birth, and works with you to make sure that, if at all possible, your birth goes the way you hope it will. If it doesn’t she has been along side you helping you to understand and make informed decisions. She has welcomed 100+ new souls on their birth day and spent countless hours with the newly formed families helping with everything from Mom’s recovery and breastfeeding to sleep issues into the first years. She has a gentle, calm, and laid back demeanor that brings peace into the room. She and her family moved to Brooklyn from Minneapolis in mid-2010 and she is excited to be part of BirthFocus and to serve families in the NYC community.
Kate Leddington – seasoned level 3
Katharine has been working as a Doula in New York City and Brooklyn since 2008. A certified Kripalu Yoga, The Khalsa Way Pregnancy, and Baby & Me Yoga (Post-Partum) instructor, Katharine most recently taught classes at Realbirth, where she also coordinated Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding, and Newborn Care classes for clients. In addition, Katharine completed the midwifery assistant workshop at the The Farm with Pamela Hunt and Ina May Gaskin. Katharine has attended births with women of all ages, in various hospitals and homes in Manhattan and Brooklyn. She has supported clients through a range of birthing methods, including hypnobirthing, water births, homebirths, VBAC’s, medicated births, and scheduled caesareans. Katharine believes that women become empowered when they feel safe and secure in their bodies, finding their voice for expression in all facets of life. As a Doula Katharine strives to support the laboring mother so that she may have the birth that she most desires. Currently, Katharine is a full time Mom, raising her son Julian and working toward becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She speaks Spanish and Portuguese.