Meet today's Birthing From Within 

What started as a tiny acorn, when Pam England wrote Birthing From Within and dreamed of changing the conversation around birth in our culture, continues to  grow into a beautiful oak tree with deep roots and ever-expanding branches. Her original vision has touched thousands of birth professionals and reaches six continents.

Birthing From Within's programs and workshops are created through a collaborative effort that is based on the deep connection we have with each other, a dedication to the Birthing From Within philosophy, and a commitment to transformation and growth.

Birthing From Within is a movement, a community, a family. Join us!

Meet Our Core Team

Meet Christine

Christine D'Esposito (she/her) is a skilled Mentor, Doula and Facilitator with over fifteen years of experience in the field of birth work. She lives in Portland, Oregon and discovered Birthing From Within in 2003 at her first doula training.  It was the concept of honoring birth as a rite of passage and a transformational experience for everyone involved that spoke to her most.  Christine currently works as a Doula consultant, helping to establish equitable community doula programs to serve Medicaid patients in Oregon hospital systems.  She is a natural leader and innovator with a strength for navigating the unknown.  Christine has a passion for the intersection of birth and social justice work and aspires to be an agent of change in the world.   In addition to her many years of experience and the technical expertise that comes with it, Christine brings to her work a sense of playfulness paired with deep life wisdom. This unique combination of traits makes her a truly effective mentor who invites all of us to keep diving into the ongoing work and play of life’s journey.

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Meet Lauren

Lauren Vallone (she/they) is a mentor and doula who has worked in the birth world for seven years. They attended the first new Crossing the Threshold retreat in Atlanta in 2018 and were transformed by the rituals, nuanced discussions, and nourishing processes. Lauren lives in Chicago with her partner, Robin Berryman, who is our new office manager, and their new baby. She also does work in other fields- all which have a common thread of facilitating access and holding space for others. Lauren has spent the past decade as a community interpreter, interpreting for many local social justice movements, and several growing seasons empowering young people around food access and land sovereignty. They bring all of the wisdom of these many paths with them to their new role at Birthing From Within. Lauren is excited to continue and expand the equity goals of this organization, and to situate Birthing from Within in ongoing conversations around birth and reproductive justice. 

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Meet Robin
Robin Berryman (she/her) joined the Birthing From Within team April of 2021. In previous years, Robin has worked with various small businesses streamlining and systematizing administrative and operational tasks. She studied African American Studies at Northwestern University and has also spent time as a flight attendant, gardener, and dancer. She loves bringing tools and perspectives from seemingly disparate areas together. 
 
At Birthing From Within Robin operates as Office Manager responding to inquiries, enrollments, course prep, and other administrative tasks. Most importantly she works to make sure that the community's needs are met.
 
Robin lives in Chicago with her partner and their child. She admires Birthing From Within's vision and mission and is honored to support the organization's administrative needs. Her inbox is always open!
 
When not working, you can find Robin reading, stomping around the city on the hunt for a snack, or watching garbage reality tv. 
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Meet Koyuki

Koyuki Smith (she/her) entered the birth world in 2008, after eight years as a public secondary school teacher. Since then, she has worked as a birth doula, babywearing educator, lactation counselor, childbirth educator, and BFW facilitator. She has been with BFW since 2014 and holds deep love and respect for the compassion and wisdom that BFW brings to birthing families and birth workers alike. As Editor-in-Chief at BFW, her goal is to communicate the intellectual, spiritual, and embodied richness of the BFW approach, as well as its solidarity with the struggle for universal human liberation. Koyuki is currently engaged in graduate studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center, where she is pondering the 19th century novel and the traumas of modernity. She lives in Harlem, NYC with her husband, two sons, and weird dog.

Meet our Facilitators

Birthing From Within is blessed to have this group of highly trained mentors and facilitators. The facilitators lead workshops for birth professionals in their own communities, provide one-on-one mentorship to those in Birthing From Within trainings, and support the manifestation of Birthing From Within workshops and programs around the world.

Kathie Neff ★

Meet Kathie
In 2009, Kathie found Birthing From Within in Boulder, Colorado, which gave her the birthday gift of a gentle snowfall on the last day. Its philosophies and processes felt like "going home" for the first time in birth work and in Life. On the Advanced path, the gifts of archetype work, solution-focused learning, and adult learning models were just a few gifts along the path through which she earned the title Certified Birthing From Within Mentor in 2012.

With a strong belief that the processes of Birthing From Within begin first within ourselves, the journey of growth continues as Kathie begins her first steps on the path toward certification as a Birthing From Within Facilitator. In her down time, you will find Kathie spying new birds at the bird feeder, writing for the pure joy of it, and basking in the love of her giant family. 

Christy Cozby ★

Meet Christy

For Christy, Birthing From Within is about remembering that becoming a parent is an ancient rite of passage and honoring new parents with guidance, support, and celebration. She was drawn to birthwork out of a desire to help parents learn about themselves as they move through this experience. In addition to mentoring Birthing From Within classes, she is a birth doula, artist, social worker, and former Spanish professor. She recently moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and two children.

Amity Kramer

Meet Amity
Amity Kramer has been helping families cultivate unconditional love since 2008. She has been leading Birthing From Within workshops since 2010 and has gained wonderful skills from Birthing From Within that have supported her both professionally and personally. 
 
In addition to childbirth preparation, Amity is also a Certified Gottman Educator and a practicing doula, which gives her a unique window into the joys and struggles of family life.
 
She lives in Seattle, WA with her family. 
Erika Primozich, Co-Owner Birthing from Within

Erika Primozich ★

Meet Erika

Erika Primozich (she/her), has been mentoring expectant parents in Birthing From Within classes in Boulder, Colorado, since 2002. An active member of the community, she has also been serving as an Advisor to new Mentors for almost two decades. 

Erika read Pam England's pivotal book, Birthing From Within, while pregnant with her first son, Sam, 22 years ago. It offered her profound insights in seeing pregnancy and birth as rites of passage rather than merely medical events. It freed her from the expectations of needing to have a specific birth outcome and instead allowed her to follow her intuition and inner wisdom. This mindful approach was life-changing and directed Erika's path to bring Birthing From Within's philosophy to others.

While raising her three children, Erika has attended many childbirth educator trainings and workshops led by Pam England.  These trainings, as well as the hundreds of families she has worked with over the years, provided Erika with the framework, inspiration, and dedication to continue growing her role as a leader within the organization. In addition to Birthing From Within, Erika has also completed trainings with and been inspired by Resmaa Menakem, author of My Grandmother's Hands, Valerie Kaur, Brene Brown, and Pema Chodron. She has received additional education in Transformational Speaking; Racial Justice and Anti-racism, and Immigrant Allyship and Advocacy.  She is also a dedicated practitioner of yoga and meditation, which brings her much needed peace in a mixed up  world.

Erika brings to the Birthing From Within community a solution-focused mindset, an open heart, and a belief in life as an opportunity for continued growth and expansion. She has an innate appreciation for ritual, ceremony, storytelling, personal inquiry, and growth. Erika has a wholehearted vision for Birthing From Within to be an inclusive community that is actively working to bring its magic and gifts to ALL birthing people. As a facilitator and mentor, Erika brings decades of experience with Birthing From Within's philosophy and practices to meet folks where they are with the goal of acting as a witness and guide to their personal growth and discovery.

Read more about Erika in our Meet the Mentor post >

Jamie Mossay ★

Meet Jamie

Jamie is a certified Birthing From Within childbirth educator, a birth doula, perinatal bodyworker, Birth Story Listener, and facilitator.  She lives and works in the San Diego area. Having experienced and witnessed the power of the Birthing From Within philosophy and processes to transform one’s experience of birth, she’s thrilled and honored to serve mentors as they work with parents, and to guide their own inner journeys.  She’s most inspired by how Birthing From Within embraces paradox, grey areas, and the unknown….how birth and life can demand fierce determination and deep surrender at the same time.

Charlene Hamilton ★

Meet Charlene

Charlene Hamilton been with Birthing From Within since 2002, after spending several years as a DONA-trained doula. Over twenty years ago, she came to birth work through the encouragement of a nurse at a friend’s birth. When she found Birthing From Within, it was like the universe tapped her on the shoulder and said “Here, this.” She was struck by the belief that preparing heart and mind is vital to childbirth preparation, that pain isn’t the enemy in birth, and that focusing on a specific outcome inhibits birthing in awareness.

Living in the northern Seattle area, Charlene is active in the arena of birth education. She has been an event organizer and board member-at-large for the Pacific Association of Labor Support (PALS), as well an advocate of social justice causes like universal basic income. A mother of a special needs child on the autism spectrum, she has developed a wide base of support skills based on compassion, patience, and holistic support. As an inclusive birth professional, Charlene has provided support for parents in the LGBTQA+ community as well as those with unique and non-traditional families.

It’s these principles and experiences that she has built her practice on, and brings to every single class she teaches, big or small.

Maeve Sundstrom ★

Meet Maeve

Maeve is a licensed midwife, certified Birthing From Within mentor, and facilitator with an active home birth practice in the SF Bay Area, and a passion for mentoring parents and professionals. She first connected with Birthing From Within in 2007 as she prepared to give birth herself. Since then she has found a home within the Birthing From Within community, philosophy and practice. Maeve loves being part of The Call embodied by Birthing From Within, inviting birthing families and birth professionals to listen deeply and harness their courage, their wisdom, their resourceful nature, as they walk in the footsteps of beloved ancestors and forge the new paths of modern birth. Serving as a guide and ally in this process is profound, and continually takes her to places of questioning, learning, and discovery.

Prior to birth work, Maeve practiced as a massage therapist and Visionary CranioSacral Therapist (Milne School), eventually specializing in prenatal/postpartum bodywork, infant massage and couples massage. She was an instructor of massage therapy for professionals at the McKinnon Institute of Massage for seven years. En route to midwifery, Maeve began attending births as a doula in 2009. She attended her first Birthing From Within professional workshop in 2010, and completed certification in 2018.

Carrie Kenner Director Birthing from Within

Carrie Kenner ★

Meet Carrie

Carrie Kenner (she/her), became interested in birth justice in high school after reading the feminist poetry of Adrienne Rich. Thus began her journey into pregnancy, motherhood, midwifery, childbirth education, and doula work. She had two children in the early 1980s, became a childbirth educator in 1982, and then studied pre-med with the intention of becoming a homebirth physician.

As with many things in life, things didn’t go as planned, and Carrie found herself in corporate America for the next 20 years. Her love for pregnancy and birth never waned, and, in 2000, while pregnant with her third child, she read Birthing From Within. It rocked her world! She took classes based on the book, and then soon after her baby was born, took her first introductory Birthing From Within workshop. In 2001, Carrie opened Big Belly Services and began offering Birthing From Within classes for parents.  

Carrie became a certified Birthing From Within Mentor in 2006, and an BFW Advisor in 2012. She worked full time as a doula from 2001-2014, when she retired from being on-call. She was a DONA-approved birth doula trainer from 2004-2019, and has trained over 2,000 birth doulas. Her biggest nemesis used to be marketing her birth business, but she has since put on her warrior armor and leaned into what a magical dance it can be. In 2016, she began coaching birth professionals in how to put themselves out in the world with confidence and passion, and opened Storyline Marketing as a Marketing Consultant in 2020 to combine her passions of storytelling and helping small businesses thrive. 

Carrie was born with a passion for racial and social justice, which she brings to her work and all aspects of her life. She also creates ritual and ceremony, and leads retreats that helps folks explore their connection to the sacred Feminine and the natural world. She lives on Whidbey Island in Washington state, in a van in the woods. Carrie has three sons, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. She likes to grow and create things, dance, sew, cook, read, and be around trees.

Nikki Shaheed, Co-Owner Birthing from Within

Nikki Shaheed ★

Meet Nikki

Nikki Shaheed (she/her), attended her first Birthing From Within workshop in Vancouver, BC, in 2012 after taking a Birthing From Within class during her second pregnancy. Little did she know that she was about to have her mind blown and her heart opened. Birthing From Within awakened something in Nikki that she never knew was there… a hunger, a passion, a yearning for a deeper, more meaningful relationship with herself, her loved ones, and the world.

The more Nikki learned about mindfulness, the solution-focused mindset, storytelling, ritual and ceremony, and the importance of balancing intellectual knowing with self-awareness, the hungrier she became. She devoured every course Birthing From Within offered, and she became a certified Birthing From Within Mentor in 2016.

Nikki also became a DONA-certified Birth Doula during her Birthing From Within studies, and has supported many families as they worked through the challenges and triumphs of birthing in hospitals, birth centers, and homes. She became a leader of the San Antonio Cesarean Support Group, and has helped the organization cultivate a mindful approach to helping parents process difficult birth experiences.

From 2016-2020 Nikki was a trainer through Birthing Story Medicine and worked alongside Pam England, teaching students worldwide skills for supporting parents and birth workers as they integrate their birth experiences.

Since 2018 Nikki has facilitated Birthing From Within trainings all over the US, and trained students from around the world remotely. She loves watching her students develop self-awareness and bring the gifts of their personal growth work to the parents in their communities.

In 2020, Nikki released her first book, Heart Centered Pregnancy Journal. This book is an interactive guide to help expecting parents foster resilience, connection, and self-compassion as they prepare for birth as a heroic journey.

Nikki lives in San Antonio, Texas, with her husband and three young children. There she leads many community events for birth workers and parents alike. She also enjoys hand-drumming and snowboarding.

★ Nikki is a Certified Facilitator who is available for one-on-one mentoring. You can reach out to her at hello@nikkishaheed.com for more information. 

Our Founder, Pam England

Pam England, Co-Owner Birthing from Within

 

Pam lives, writes, and paints in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is the author of Birthing From Within, The Labyrinth of Birth, and Ancient Map for Modern Birth. She is currently working on her next book, Birth Story Medicine. She also hosts workshops and speaks at conferences on topics such as preventing and healing birth trauma, cesarean birth, storytelling, visualizations, hypnosis and other aspects of mentoring parents during the many life transitions they experience in the childbearing year.  >> read more of Pam's story

It is with gratitude and appreciation for those who have laid the foundation for what Birthing From Within is today, especially Pam England, Virginia Bobro, and Britta Bushnell, that we enthusiastically forge ahead.

Our Founder, Pam England

Pam England, Co-Owner Birthing from Within

Pam lives, writes, and paints in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is the author of Birthing From Within, The Labyrinth of Birth, and Ancient Map for Modern Birth. She is currently working on her next book, Birth Story Medicine. She also hosts workshops and speaks at conferences on topics such as preventing and healing birth trauma, cesarean birth, storytelling, visualizations, hypnosis and other aspects of mentoring parents during the many life transitions they experience in the childbearing year.  >> read more of Pam's story

It is with gratitude and appreciation for those who have laid the foundation for what Birthing From Within is today, especially Pam England, Virginia Bobro, and Britta Bushnell, that we enthusiastically forge ahead.