Did you hear? Third Coast Birth & Family and Chicago Birth & Baby recently joined forces to bring you:

Third Coast Birth & Baby – Logan Square!

We have a new name, a new logo and several new faces, but we still provide you with the same compassionate, community-oriented, professional support that you know and love from Third Coast Birth. PLUS now you have access to an entire menu of additional services!

We are Shawna Mertens, Cait Sobotka, and Margarita Valbuena. We are professional doulas, child development specialists, and mothers who understand first-hand the rollercoaster of emotions, transitions, and self doubt that often encompasses early parenting. We are here for you!

A bit about who we are – from Margarita:

I met Cait in 2012, when our eldest kids were infants, through the Chicago Hip Mama Collective – born from a group of mamas looking for a support network of non-judgemental families with whom we could mother in community. I didn’t have family in the city and I was desperate to connect with adults who might understand what I was experiencing as a new mom – the loneliness, the loss of my previous self occurring simultaneously with the creation of this new identity as a mother. Fortunately, I met some of my closest friends in that group that I now consider family.

I met Shawna in April of 2014 at our birth doula training. I had hired Cait to be my doula for the birth of my second child and the support she provided for my family made such a positive impression on me, I was motivated to expand my professional knowledge into birth work. Having worked as a child development specialist for nearly a decade by this time, I had supported families prenatally and postnatally but never during labor and delivery. Shawna had also switched careers after the birth of her second child to become childbirth educator and doula – which is how we happened to sit next to each other at our toLabor doula training with the late Thérèse Hak-Kuhn. The rest, as they say, is history.

Working as doulas for a collective 13 years, we all noticed that there were gaps in professional, compassionate, unbiased support for new families in Chicago. Birth doulas are able to offer unwavering support for families prenatally and through birth, postpartum & infant care doulas provide in-home respite and practical support, but neither of these services provide that community connection that new families NEED to thrive.

Shawna and I, having both survived varying degrees of postpartum anxiety and depression, understood this need for genuine support systems during this phase of life on both personal and professional levels. In 2015 we decided we would tackle the challenge of creating infrastructure to fill this need on a larger scale than just for our personal gain. Many thought we were in over our heads. We did it anyway – we created the first of it’s kind community model of labor support in Chicago and began building out programming through our brick and mortar space in Logan Square – providing that continuity of care that new families so desperately need.

Meanwhile, Cait was also busy building a thriving business with a robust menu of birth and postpartum support through Chicago Birth & Baby. We often referred clients to one another when we didn’t have availability or specific services for their needs. In January of this year, Cait had another baby, and once again found herself in that intense transition phase. She knew that running her business on her own while being present for her family was going to be a challenge. In the spring, Cait reached out to me to start the conversation that would eventually end up in the three of us excitedly agreeing that merging our small businesses would not only be perfectly complimentary, but also help us reach our goals of providing that continuity of care for our clients that we value so much.

We are thrilled to offer an array of established services and are working diligently on a menu of community programs that are accessible to ALL families! We hope to see you soon!