Q&A: West Michigan doulas deliver new parenting book

Award-winning Michigan doulas Kristin Revere and Alyssa Veneklase, founders of the West Michigan doula agency Gold Coast Doulas, are delivering their own parenting book titled  "Supported: Your Guide to Birth and Baby" 

Packed with practical advice and evidence-based information, “Supported” is intended to equip both new and seasoned moms with the knowledge and confidence needed to navigate every stage of motherhood.  

"We wrote the book we would have wanted when we were pregnant," says Veneklase, a certified sleep consultant. “It really is an all-encompassing guide that will support moms from pregnancy through the toddler years and beyond.”

“Supported”  springs from their decades of experience during which they served thousands of families through their doula agency and online course “Becoming a Mother." 

“We want this information to be accessible and affordable to all moms,” says Revere, owner of Gold Coast Doulas. "Just as people invest considerable time, consideration, and resources into planning a wedding or building a home, we want to empower moms to best prepare for the life-changing seasons of pregnancy and motherhood. We’re thrilled to continue this mission and to reach even more families with this book."

CourtesyGold Coast Doulas

The Lakeshore connected with Revere and Veneklase for a Q&A about their passion for the doula movement and supporting moms. 

The Lakeshore: Tell us about your journey that involved a career change to becoming a doula. What attracted you to this work? 

Kristin Revere: I worked as a political and nonprofit fundraiser before becoming a doula and childbirth educator. I was passionate about encouraging women to run for office and helping them raise funds. I had kids later in life and realized that there weren’t enough resources in my area. I eventually built the business that I wish existed for my own births after joining a collective, and then went on my own as a solo doula before starting Gold Coast Doulas. My passion has shifted to supporting women during pregnancy and especially after they deliver. We aren’t meant to do this alone. We at Gold Coast Doulas are focused on supporting families no matter how they birth, feed, or parent their children. Our new book, “Supported,” is based on that concept as well.       

TL: The use of doulas is growing. Why do you think more mothers are choosing to work with doulas?

KR:  Doulas are becoming more accessible, with many HSA and FSA accounts covering birth and postpartum doulas and insurance programs like Tricare, Progyny and Carrot Fertility. In addition, families are also registering for services on platforms like Be Her Village. Michigan now offers Medicaid coverage for birth doulas. Families want more support and are seeking out doulas to add to their birth and baby team whether they self-pay or use benefits.       

TL: Tell us about your company, Gold Coast Doulas, and your team of doulas. 

KR: Gold Coast Doulas is the area’s first birth and day and overnight postpartum doula agency. We serve Grand Rapids and the West Michigan Lakeshore. We also offer classes, lactation consultations, and sleep consulting services. We were established in 2015 and currently have 25 subcontracted doulas and educators. We are a proud Certified B Corporation.        

TL: Tell us about your book. What inspired you to write it, and what do you hope people get out of it?

Alyssa Veneklase: We wrote the book we would have wanted when we were pregnant. It really is an all-encompassing guide that will support moms from pregnancy through the toddler years and beyond. "Supported" is the culmination of a decade-long journey, serving thousands of families through both our doula agency and popular online course “Becoming a Mother." From preparing for childbirth to navigating postpartum challenges, sleep training to managing toddler development, "Supported" helps mothers feel informed and prepared every step of the way.

TL: The book came out on Mother’s Day on Amazon.com and at select book retailers. Are you planning any events to promote it? 

AV: We have a book signing in Holland on May 21 from 5-7 p.m. at EcoBuns Baby + Co. The event includes an author chat. People can register to reserve a signed copy. On June 22, I will be at Once Upon A Child in Traverse City for a book signing and sleep Q&A from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Find out more events at www.supportedbook.com. We also have a podcast at www.askthedoulas.com.
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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.