If you aren’t familiar with doulas or the letters after Bryna’s name, she says “I'm an IBCLC- which is a lot of letters that stand for Boob Lady! Just kidding. It means I'm an Internationally Board-Certified Lactation Consultant. Which means I'm qualified to help with a variety of situations, from basic to complex, that relate to breastfeeding, helping babies with special needs feeding at breast, breast milk feeding, bottle feeding, or weaning.”
Bryna works with clients in their home or online, whichever fits their needs best. She also teaches classes through Doula My Soul and at OHSU Center for Women’s Health. While Doula My Soul’s physical location is in Vancouver, but she serves clients from Lacey, Washington to Salem, Oregon and even the coast!
She started her business after finishing her IBCLC training, which includes 4,500+ hours of training and a very large test, and moved from Monterey, California to the Pacific Northwest for her husband's job.
She says, “I love being in business for myself primarily because I get to determine the choices our company makes, where the money we spend goes, and the consciousness with which we approach families. We have a very strong commitment to honesty and transparency in our process, and an equally strong commitment to treating every client with the kindness and respect they deserve, no matter their circumstances.”
The mentor Bryna most looks up to is Sonja Massey, BSN, RN, PHN, IBCLC. “She is an angel of love and kindness to all who know her. She uses her knowledge combined with such gentleness that families are put at ease instantly- and her care is unmatched. I love continuing her work of helping families and training new lactation consultants,” Bryna says.
Since she provides individualized care for each baby and family, Bryna’s biggest challenge is scheduling and timing. She never knows when an appointment may take longer than expected or what kind of traffic she’ll encounter between appointments.
She explains, “We never know when an appointment will need to run long because of a baby's complex needs- so that creates difficulty in building our schedule. We are often running behind in our day- which feels bad because always being ‘on time’ and offering specialized care, not to mention traffic getting across town, sometimes, are often at cross-purposes. Let's just say I TOTALLY understand why the cable company gives you a big arrival window on their appointment days!”
Although starting your own business from scratch sounds exciting, Bryna suggests potential business owners investigate whether or not someone else is already offering what you are, or if they have something that would dovetail nicely with what you do, and get them to hire you. Or partner with them. “Don't start out with your own business straight out the gate! “
Bryna also urges new business owners to educate themselves in areas they aren’t familiar with. “If you must, take classes. You need them. Yes, I know you're savvy and smart and everything- you need those classes. Hire a tax person. Hire an accountant,” she says.
As Doula My Soul grows, Bryna strives to build community with ongoing events and gatherings to support local charities and initiatives. Last year, Bryna and Doula My Soul hosted an educational conference to bring more awareness about Tongue-Tie & its challenges to local providers and parents. Including parents was an unusual choice for an educational conference and speaks to Bryna’s dedication to educating and assisting families.
Doula My Soul also hosts the WellMama event every year. Bryna hopes the funds raised at WellMama will support Doula My Soul’s newest initiative: a grant-funded research program that will hopefully demonstrate the positive outcomes of skilled postpartum doula care in high-risk families.
When asked why she loves being a part of The MOB NW, she responds “CONNECTION! I love the connection and networking the MOB community provides. If I ever have a need, the MOB is there for us, in business, and for me personally! Aria has built an incredible network of resources for our area & beyond. It's a beautiful thing.”
Ideal referrals for Doula My Soul include anyone who would like support, education, and resources for breastfeeding, birth, or the postpartum period.
Bryna and her team specialize in complex issues such as high-risk, surgical, and medically compromised births, feeding and swallowing difficulties related to tongue and lip tie, and postpartum care with medically fragile infants, or parents with disabilities. “We can handle the tough stuff,” says Bryna.
When Bryna isn’t helping babies, helping mamas, training new lactation consultants, or teaching classes she enjoys knitting, hiking, camping, escaping to Big Sur, and surfing. She also loves cooking and making stuff.
You can find Doula My Soul online at:
Twitter - www.twitter.com/doulamysoul
Facebook – www.facebook.com/DoulaMySoul
Instagram - www.instagram.com/doulamysoul