When Katie DaMota moved here from the Bay Area with her husband and 10-month-old baby, she immediately began looking for the nearest parent resource center. She was surprised to discover there wasn’t one.
A lactation consultant and maternal and child nutrition specialist, DaMota was impressed by the number of highly trained Nevada County practitioners in the fields of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. But something was missing: a physical place where families could come together to access essential resources.
She found a kindred spirit in Laurie Chamberlin, a longtime Nevada County lactation educator, prenatal counselor and doula. With 12 years of experience under her belt, Chamberlin — a mother herself — has worked with hundreds of Nevada County families. As she found herself spending more and more time on the phone with clients and making countless home visits, she too had a vision of a physical space where parents or would-be parents could come for advice from professionals as well as support from each other.
When DaMota and Chamberlin began sharing their vision with area practitioners and community members, it was met with tremendous enthusiasm, said Chamberlain.
“We’re calling it ‘The Nest,’” she said. “It will be a place for moms, babies and families to come together. It will include a group of local health professionals under one roof to provide essential support services from preconception through adolescence. Our primary goal is to foster healthy, happy families.”
So far, committed collaborators include Gayle Peterson, MSSW, LCSW, Ph.D., an expert specializing in prenatal and family development. She is the author of “An Easier Childbirth,” “Birthing Normally” and her latest book, “Making Healthy Families”; Patricia McPhee, RN, MSN, FNP, who has been a nurse for more than 20 years and a nurse practitioner for eight; Jessica Frink of Birth Angels, who specializes in holistic medicine and prenatal massage. She holds a master’s degree in Chinese medicine; Mackenzie Hardwick, a birth doula who is completing her certification and an aspiring nurse midwife; and Kristy Corah, NTP. She has a practice as a certified nutritional therapist practitioner specializing in preconception, pregnancy and postpartum nutrition.
“The sort of services and classes offered are limitless and will continue to evolve, but the essentials include early pregnancy, childbirth and lactation education, breastfeeding support, support groups, acupuncture, yoga, massage, nutritional counseling, parenting classes and coaching,” said Chamberlin. “There is a real emphasis on collaboration, not competition among professionals.”
Currently, DaMota and Chamberlin are in the midst of raising funds to make The Nest a reality. Through a collective “crowd-funding” effort — where a large number of people donate whatever they can — they say they have been overwhelmed by the community’s generosity.
“But we’ve still got a ways to go,” said Chamberlin. “We hope to raise enough in the next two weeks for a security deposit on the space.”
Frink says The Nest is what Nevada County has been waiting for.
“To be under one roof and to learn from each other and grow is powerful,” she said. “The Nest is open to as many midwives, doulas and other practitioners as are interested in participating. We are all here to help and support one another.”
In her book, “Making Healthy Families,” Peterson examines the core components of a healthy family.
“One of the key characteristics is community and being able to grow in the context of other families who are going through similar periods within the life cycle,” she said Monday. “New parents, the toddler years, teenagers, couples groups, family groups — the healing potential goes up exponentially when you have a sense of community. These are things The Nest could provide.”
Once funding is in place, Chamberlin sees The Nest as a place that will change and grow when it comes to meeting the needs of the community.
“I’m so excited — I just know this is going to work,” she said. “It just makes so much sense.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4203.