The Birthing Circle has been working hard to expand and build opportunities to better serve our local birthing community, and we are so excited about the potential! One of the first providers to reach out to us and offer their support was Family Ways. This week I was able to talk with their Founder and Director, Rachel Frier Carbonneau, who shared her own story with me, as well as information on the impressive team she has built.
Rachel has been a doula herself for five years, and when I spoke with her she was actually on her way to go help a family bring their little one into the world. During our conversation, Rachel shared a bit of her own birth history with me, and how she became passionate about supporting women through the process. Rachel had her first child when she was 20 years old. She said that she never had any real doubts that her body was capable of birth, “because at 20 years old, we can do anything, right?” She arrived at the hospital for her birth, but it appeared the medical team there did not share her faith in her body’s abilities, and she was told frequently that she couldn’t do it. Rachel didn’t feel that she had her own agency during her birth, and afterwards decided that “there has to be a better way to birth.”
Rachel’s next birth was at a birthing center — an amazing experience where she felt respected and supported. The disparity of these experiences taught her a lot about the value of support before, during, and after birth, and informs the services she provides to the families she is honored to serve. Rachel has four children now, ranging in age from teenagers to toddlers, and feels that mothering has also given her great perspective with how she supports families through many different stages of parenthood.
Rachel founded Family Ways two and a half years ago, with a vision of building a team of professionals to provide comprehensive pregnancy, birth, and postpartum services to families throughout the entire childbearing year. Their team includes birth and postpartum doulas, Reiki energy healers, placenta encapsulators, childbirth & breastfeeding educators, photographers, and mother blessing guides. They offer group classes in their home location in Rockville, or will bring an in-home class to you if you live here in Frederick. Offering so many services under one company simplifies this transitional period and creates seamless care.
During our discussion, one of the things that stood out was Rachel’s passion for supporting many different types of birth, and her respect for families’ choices. The Family Ways team offers in-home childbirth classes, and will tailor them to the family’s specific needs, including planning for a medicated or Cesarean birth. They work with families who want completely natural childbirth options, and they also work with families who find themselves somewhere in the middle and may want one natural service but not another. Her team also works with Spanish-speaking and Deaf families, LGBTQ families, single parents, and teens. They work with all risk categories, including families conceiving with ART and IVF, mothers over 40, VBACs, prematurity, and multiples. They assist birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home, on dry land or a water birth. Their website truly sums it up: “We support every family, every time, in every circumstance.”
It was so refreshing to meet and work with such a wonderful provider whose passion and kindness extend to so many different people, and whose company provides such thorough care. All of their services are available to our Frederick families, and I encourage you to check out their website at www.family-ways.com for more information .