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 five 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. 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.
Birthing From Within is a movement, a community, a family. We would love for you to join us…
Meet the Directors of Birthing from Within
In 2017, Nikki, Erika, and Carrie joined in the management of Birthing From Within. Together, they brainstorm and dream, challenge each other to look deeper, aim to cross the t's and dot the i's, and make Birthing From Within better every day.
Pam England, visionary, artist, and birth professional, created a profound movement in Birthing From Within. What began as a conversation-changing book has turned into a robust organization that provides workshops, classes, personalized sessions, and doula services worldwide.
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
Nikki Shaheed 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 helped it foster a mindful approach to helping parents process difficult birth experiences.
In 2016, Nikki became a trainer through Birthing Story Medicine and began working alongside Pam England, teaching students worldwide skills for supporting parents and birth workers as they integrate their birth experiences. She loves watching her students develop self-awareness and bring the gifts of their personal growth work to other parents in their communities.
In 2018, Nikki became one of the co-owners of Birthing From Within, alongside her dear friends Erika Primozich and Carrie Kenner. She is in charge of the Heart of Mentoring program, where new Birthing From Within Mentors and Doulas learn the philosophical foundation of Birthing From Within. She also directs the Birth Story Listening program with Pam England.
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 gardening with her family.
Erika Primozich is honored to be one of Birthing From Within’s co-owners, alongside Carrie Kenner and Nikki Shaheed. She 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 over a decade.
Erika read Pam England's pivotal book, Birthing From Within, while pregnant with her first son, Sam, 20 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 Lewis Mehl-Madrona, author of Narrative Medicine, Brene Brown, and Pema Chodron. She has received additional education in Transformational Speaking; Racial Justice, and Immigrant Allyship and Advocacy. She is also a dedicated practitioner of Kundalini yoga, which brings her much needed peace and sanity in a mixed up crazy world.
Erika brings to the Birthing From Within community her commitment, determination, and willingness to collaborate. 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. With her deep dedication to the business, people, and mission of Birthing From Within, she is thrilled to be collaborating to bring the Birthing From Within dream to fruition.
Read more about Erika in our Meet the Mentor post >
Carrie Kenner is one of the new co-owners of Birthing From Within, the new Director of Birthing From Within’s Doula From Within program, and a Birthing From Within Facilitator. Carrie 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 Advisor in 2012. She has also been a DONA-certified birth doula since 2002, working full time as a doula from 2001-2014, when she retired from being on-call. She is also a DONA-approved birth doula trainer, and has trained over 2,000 birth doulas since 2004. 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.
Carrie lives in Seattle, Washington, and is the owner/manager of Big Belly Services, a very successful birth doula training, continuing education, and business coaching company. Her biggest nemesis used to be Marketing, but she has since put on her warrior armor and leaned in to what a magical dance it can be. She now coaches birth professionals in how to put themselves out in the world with confidence and passion, and it brings her great joy to see their businesses blooming. She also LOVES collaborating with her fabulous Birthing From Within co-owners, Erika Primozich and Nikki Shaheed, and wonders why she ever did business solo! Carrie has three sons, eight grandchildren, seven chickens, sixteen stacks of unread books, and an urban farm at her home in Seattle. She likes to grow and create things, dance, sew, cook, read, and be around trees.
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, work one-on-one as mentors to people in Birthing From Within trainings, and support the manifestation of Birthing From Within workshops and programs around the world.
Christine is a certified birth and postpartum doula and Birthing From Within childbirth mentor and facilitator. She has witnessed the many ways in which the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey holds the capacity to be a transformative experience for everyone involved. Her hope as a doula and childbirth mentor is to validate and celebrate each parent’s experience as she helps facilitate their own self-discovery. Christine has had the opportunity to serve hundreds of families in the Portland, Oregon area since 2003. She believes in people's natural ability to cope and move through hard things and enjoys helping people through the unknown.
Danit Tsur Almog
Danit is a certified Birthing From Within doula, childbirth mentor, Birth Story Listener, and facilitator from Jerusalem, Israel.
Her journey in the birth world began in 2002, with the beautiful home birth of her daughter, followed by long difficult months of inner chaos and soul searching. While finding her way up from the Underworld, she discovered Birthing From Within, and Pam's words struck a deep chord within her. In 2004, Danit opened her own business, where she's been mentoring parents and professionals ever since. In 2018, she happily stepped into the facilitator role.
The Non-Dual teachings of Adyashanti are a big inspiration in her life and work, and compliment her BFW training.
Koyuki is a childbirth educator, birth doula, babywearing educator, and Birthing From Within facilitator in New York City. She has a BA from Columbia University and an MA from Columbia Teachers College. Before entering the childbirth field, she spent eight years teaching in public secondary schools; she made the transition to perinatal work in 2008. She loves how being a Birthing From Within practitioner allows her to guide parents to find their own unique paths through the challenges presented by the childbearing years, and she's thrilled that the facilitator role will allow her to bring the same practice to professionals as well. In addition to working with birthing people and birth professionals, she enjoys ice skating, kung fu, and early British novels. She lives in Harlem with her husband and two homeschooled sons and a lot of books and records.
Nicole has always been fascinated by birth and how different people navigate this time. Early in her career as a childbirth educator, she was looking for a more holistic approach and fell in love with Birthing From Within. This began a keen interest in the birth story gates and Birth Story Listening. Nicole was the first certified Birthing From Within mentor in Australia, and is excited about her role as a facilitator for Birthing From Within and Birth Story Listening. She is also an experienced Naturopath and Trainer for A Celebration Day for Girls and is married with three amazing kids.
Deidre discovered a gaping hole about four years into her doula practice. After attending her first Birthing From Within training in 2009, it became apparent that she personally needed a perspective shift. Birthing From Within validated the deep knowing that regardless of any outer trappings, each of us hold deep value, just as we are, and the Birthing From Within philosophy offered solutions to connect with this power even when things don't go as planned. This is such a rich gift to her doula work, childbirth preparation classes, and personal life. She is humbled by the opportunity to welcome and facilitate new mentors on this journey.
Lisa has been a registered nurse for 26 years and has had a long career working in women’s health. For the last 22 years she has worked in a busy labor and delivery unit that has 550 + deliveries per month. Lisa has studied with Birthing From Within since 2005, most recently taking the facilitator training in February 2018. Lisa has a passion for lifelong learning and has also trained for three years as an energy healer.
In her off time she is a mother to her daughter Maggie and enjoys ballroom dancing, yoga, cooking, entertaining, music and all things Jungian. She believes strongly in
showing up emotionally for all of the women and families in her care. Presently, Lisa is studying to be a birth story listener as well as to be an Integrated Spinning Babies Practitioner.
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.
Pam is proud to be a certified Birthing From Within mentor, facilitator, and doula. Her work began with her own family. She and her best friend of more than 40 years share a family of children and grandchildren that own their hearts. She began working with other families as a La Leche League leader in 1990, sharing about breastfeeding at births, through classes, and in one-on-one counseling. Discovering Birthing From Within and the generous wisdom of Pam England clarified her calling. She’s been a certified doula since 2006 and a Birthing From Within mentor since 2008. It brings Pam great joy to come alongside families during these transformative events in their lives.
Jessica is a childbirth educator, birth doula, midwife assistant, and BFW facilitator in the greater Los Angeles area. Prior to birth work, she received her BS in Medical Microbiology from the University of California, Davis, worked in the wine industry as a microbiologist, and then in the pharmaceutical industry as a neuroscience consultant.
Jessica began training in birth work with Elizabeth Davis at a Midwifery Intensive course in the San Francisco Bay Area, and then found Birthing From Within after the birth of her second child while seeking help moving through her own difficult birth experience. She became passionate about bringing honest birth preparation to her own community and clients, and after nearly two decades of attending births and educating new parents, she is excited to be training the next generation of birth workers with the unique philosophy Birthing From Within provides. Jessica resides with her husband and three children in Thousand Oaks, California.
Julia Steils Pacacioglu is owner and founder of Icsel Dogum (“each-SELL dome”). She is originally from California and has been living and working in Turkey since 2004, serving both expats from around the world as well as Turkish families.
After seven years of working as the only doula in city of 17 million Julia opened Turkey’s first doula training in the fall of 2011. It is still a small, grassroots group, but she sees it blossoming along with the women she serves.
For Julia, being a part of Birthing From Within has been an invaluable source of guidance, inspiration, strength and joy. She hopes that she is able to bring even a bit of this to the doulas and families she works with in Turkey.
Kaitlin Coghill is a childbirth educator/mentor and a birth/postpartum doula with a background in writing, editing, and publishing. The Call to birth work was loud and persistent when Kaitlin's first daughter was born in 2012, and so she began serving her community as a doula and educator after first attending multiple trainings and receiving certifications through CAPPA. She has recently found herself working toward additional certification as a Birthing From Within mentor, doula and facilitator, while also serving on BFW's Board of Dreamers.
When not mentoring new families throughout their childbearing years, Kaitlin enjoys reading, writing, photography, and admiring Mother Earth through the lens of Southern California, where she works and lives with her husband and two daughters.
Along with expressing her passion for birth as a Birthing From Within mentor and doula, Michelle is a New York State licensed massage therapist specializing in integrative prenatal bodywork. She is a certified educator of infant massage and certified lactation counselor who loves awakening parents to the importance of connecting and bonding with their babies through mindful touch and communication.
Michelle also works with women as a certified holistic health coach, incorporating lifestyle and nutritional modifications for a more abundant and peaceful life. She is the mother of three children and can most likely be found coaching on a soccer field, exploring the summit of an Adirondack high peak, or sitting in the hot tub at the end of a long day.