Today we’d like to introduce you to Chelsea Simpson.
Chelsea, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
So I technically have two businesses (Healthy Latch Lactation Support LLC & Chelsea Simpson Birth Services).
When I had my daughter, it was a very transformative experience. The popular baby books prepared me for my hospital birth, taught me basic things surrounding pregnancy, and a few good tips for life with an infant. What they didn’t prepare me for was literally everything else. My labor was scary and long. My breastfeeding experience was a struggle the entire time. And I was blindsided by these things.
At the time, I worked in speech pathology, but as my journey as a parent continued, I saw a different path that just felt like the right move. I signed up for lactation courses with the eventual goal of becoming an IBCLC. (I’m now a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, which allows me to practice within its scope while I still pursue that next certification.) I began helping lactating parents navigate the ins and outs of breastfeeding because I had seen firsthand how complicated and lonely it can feel. And while helping these parents, I found that I heard way too many negative birth stories. It started to feel like everyone had a “war story” about the birth of their baby. That’s a day you’ll never forget; it’s the day you get to meet your child. You shouldn’t have to cringe when you look back on it. It made me realize things that could’ve gone differently in my own experience.
So, I decided to train as a full spectrum doula to expand my services. This way, I could be there for people before they breastfeed and call me to their home in tears over how difficult things have been. Maybe I could help change some of these war stories. Even if it just meant preparing someone with information during their birth, helping them cope during labor when things change, help them stay comfortable so they weren’t so exhausted when it came time to push. What I didn’t prepare for was the personal journey that I’d have when making this giant shift into lactation and birth work. I experienced two back to back miscarriages, and it affected me greatly. We were also preparing for our move to the St Louis area (we lived out of state at the time) for my husband’s job.
With the grief from the previous losses and the pending move, we decided to wait for the wounds to heal before trying to grow our family again. But as we were processing all of this, I was actively learning about fertility through my birth work training. There’s a small subset of birth work that focuses on preconception. They take specialized training following the broad training to become a doula that gives them tools to support individuals who are trying to conceive, going through the battle of infertility, and possibly also recovering from pregnancy or infant loss. Because of our losses and the pending question of if this may become our reality down the line, I became very interested in helping others in their own realities. For a minute, I thought – wait, you can’t do ALL these things, that’s like three specialties. But the thing is, I care about ALL of them. And each of these specialties are in very intimate settings, whereas a client you’re putting a lot of trust in that person. It’s a huge emotional investment. So what’s so wrong with wanting to be a constant for someone? I thought, this is the best – this is continuity of care. Maybe someone won’t need me from step 1 -step 999, but if they do, I’m there for them and they will know they are working with someone they trust. I found that my interest isn’t “breastfeeding” or “birth” or even “fertility”… my interest is in the well-being of people during their journey to and through parenthood. Because they always say “it takes a village” but so many people don’t have that anymore.
So now, after taking specialized training in fertility as well, I have come to the point in my professional life where I’m settled in. I’m currently seeing clients in all three areas: lactation, birth, and fertility. I’m currently offering in home (if local to STL) and virtual services – and I LOVE my job.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I got pretty wordy in the last question not knowing this one was next, so it’s kind of all there. But briefly, some of the obstacles in my way as I was building my businesses were our cross-country moves and the unfortunate experience of pregnancy losses. I have been thankful to have been welcomed into the birth work community here in STL. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to network with other doulas and lactation professionals and it’s been a nice transition since settling into our new home.
As you know, we’re big fans of Healthy Latch Lactation Support LLC and Chelsea Simpson Birth Services. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Well Healthy Latch Lactation Support LLC was my first business, my baby. While wearing the hat of a lactation professional, I am able to offer lactation services both in person and virtually to those in need. I also offer prenatal breastfeeding education, which is a wonderful way to make sure you get started on the right foot when planning to breastfeed.
With Chelsea Simpson Birth Services, I offer support as a Birth Doula and Fertility Support Specialist. As a birth doula, my services include prenatal appointments where we can discuss your birth goals and I can teach you various comfort techniques to help you in labor. I then attend your birth and provide emotional, informational, and physical support to you, I am also there to help support your partner in labor, as they may need breaks to rest or want to learn various ways to help comfort you themselves. I’m not there to replace them – your partner knows how you feel loved best, which makes us a great team. After baby is born, I assist with latching if you choose to breastfeed or help with the initiation of bottle feeding. I then leave you to bond with your new baby and come to your home within the first two weeks of baby’s life to see how things are going and support you as you heal from birth. As a fertility specialist, most of my support is done virtually at this time. I do have the availability to attend clinical appointments with clients if they decide that’s something they would like, but currently with COVID restrictions, this service is less likely to be used. As your fertility specialist, I meet with you over video conferencing and we set goals to help your body be more prepared for conception. I provide continuous support via texting throughout their time as my client and also provide cycle monitoring education and review. *When* someone becomes pregnant, I also offer virtual support during pregnancy, as it can be a very fragile time for someone who’s battled infertility or previous loss.
I do have a couple of extra offerings that are upcoming, still in the works: I’ll soon be launching my first product – a fertility planner which will be available on my website. I designed this planner to have everything the hyper-organized person needs to keep track of their preconception journey! I’m also in the working stages of creating group support classes for fertility! These classes will be great for those currently going through IUI or IVF, those with previous losses that are waiting for their rainbow baby, and people struggling with secondary infertility.
I love that I’m able to support people in all these different stages of becoming parents. A lot of professionals just specialize in lactation or birth work, but I think by combining them I’m able to provide an extra layer of comfort for my clients. They don’t need to spend hours researching online for someone new because they already have someone they can trust.
Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
Yes! I love following various professionals on social media to keep myself up to date on my line of work. My favorite accounts right now are Aloha Nutrition and The Fertility Nut. Both accounts keep me informed on how nutrition plays a significant role in both lactation and fertility. I love learning from Registered Dieticians; there’s so much to be said about how you fuel your body.
I also love following the teachings from Rebecca Dekker of Evidenced Based Birth. At heart, I am a science nerd, so I love to put on one of her podcasts to learn about things like studies on the use of Erythromycin eye ointment in newborns. She also has a great book that I’d recommend to any pregnant person – “Babies are Not Pizzas: They’re Born not Delivered.”
For professional development, I’ve really enjoyed learning from Annie Frisbie of Paperless Lactation. She’s helped immensely as I’ve built my businesses from the ground up. Being someone who isn’t super tech-savvy, I’ve greatly valued her guidance on how to navigate various charting platforms and keep things HIPAA compliant.
- Birth Consultations are always FREE 🙂
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
- Website: chelseabirthservices.org and healthylatch.org
- Instagram: chelsea_birth and healthy_latch
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chelseabirth and https://www.facebook.com/healthylatch