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Rave Reviews of Doula & Midwifery Care

Michelle, my friend and colleague, has always delighted me with her sweetness and her smarts. I often turn to her for advice and inspiration. If I could turn back the clock and have another baby, I‘d be calling her first thing!
-Vicki Elson, MA, CCE, Certified Doula, creator of Laboring Under An Illusion

❊ Midwifery Testimonials

“We thought we would be meeting with many doulas before hiring. This was not necessary. We knew right away when we met Michelle. She was the “missing link” that would bring a sense of calmness and wisdom from experience that empowered us to usher our child into the world in the way that we wanted.”
– ­first time parents
“I am delighted thinking of her bringing other babies into this world because, working with her, pregnancy and birth felt sacred.”
– Jenny D., Montague
Untitled design (23)“We were not obvious home birth people, in part because we had a wonderful first birth in the hospital. I am very confident that the ease and speed of my labor came the comfort of working with midwives whom I trusted so deeply. Throughout the whole pregnancy, labor, and postpartum, their care was phenomenal.”– Cecilia, Susannah’s Mom, Homebirth, July 2012
“You have such a gentle and generous spirit, combined with clear expertise and vast knowledge – the perfect combination in someone who is helping people prepare to welcome life into this world.”
– xo, Aine & Zadie
“It has never been a question with us if we would hire Michelle. She has been essential.”
– ­Missy Bahret and Phillip Sherwood­-Berndt
Northampton MA family“Your presence is so precisely what I needed, and your passion for not only birth but the women whom you are helping is extraordinary. Thank you…for being so wonderful to so many people. You are invaluable! If we decide to have any more kids you can bet you’ll be hearing from us!”
– So much love, A.
“It means so much to me for you to have brought him into the world with such ease and care, to have supported me (who longed for a home birth but feared I was too old and too anxious to have one) with such confidence (which was contagious), and to have borne witness to the most powerful song I have ever sung.”
– Rebecca
“I always felt safe and taken care of and I knew (when I made the decision in the shower) you were the person I wanted to catch Isaac more than anyone else. We appreciate all the extra care you gave us (and Mira gave us, too) in ways that I can’t even express. You will always be a special person to us.”
– Love, Amy
northampton holyoke ma“Michelle’s breadth of knowledge, experience, skills and communication continuously reveal itself­ Her help through our first pregnancy which miscarried, our daughter’s prenatal care, birth and postpartum care, and our current pregnancy has been invaluable.”
– ­Missy Bahret and Phillip Sherwood­-Berndt
“Michelle has such a calming presence that is a blend of her knowledge of pregnancy and birth, her own inherent wisdom and her true belief in a woman’s ability to know her own body and baby. The birth of our 2nd child in our home was a gift to us and Michelle’s presence helped us tremendously in making that a reality.”
– Jen M­B, Shutesbury
“As I entered the 3rd trimester with my second child, I realized a hospital birth wouldn’t give me the independence & freedom to give birth the way I wanted to. Michelle and her team provided exactly that. Prenatal visits felt thorough, comprehensive, personal & never rushed.”
– Johanna & Nick
“I always felt safe and taken care of…”
-Cecilia, Susannah’s Mom, Homebirth, July 2012

❊ Birth Doula Testimonials

“We couldn’t tell our birth stories without you as an instrumental player. Thank you for making the space to allow us to be ourselves, to laugh and tell stories while in labor, and to empower each other in turn. You have an amazing gift of understanding, compassion, patience, and strong assertiveness at just the time it is needed. we can’t thank you enough.”
– Dani & Denise
“When the time came to give it my all, I felt almost defeated. It was then that I looked into Michelle’s eyes looking for consolation. I will never forget the strength Michelle gave me with just a glance. Whenever I see a pregnant woman, I secretly wish magic to her, the same magic that we experienced that night in January within our own circle of community and friends.”
– Barbie G
VBAC Cooley Dickinson“To this day we always mention that we had a doula, and that we highly recommend one. It was the single most important thing that made our birth experiences both amazing. We felt calm, in control, and without fear, despite all of the changes and challenges that we faced.”
– ­Darleen & Dan
“Three of my sisters ended their long labors in c-sections and I thought I was doomed to do the same until I met Michelle. I knew right away that her calm, in control manner would quiet all my fears during labor. I was right.”
– Lorraine, Michael and baby Michaela
“Michelle, your presence during my laboring with my sweet Dane changed my experience immensely and filled my greeting for him with more
love and less fear. I thank you and will always be grateful for what you gave my family.”
– ­ Megan B.
new baby Cooley Dickinson Hospital“When I think about how wonderful you were to us, I want everyone to experience that!”
-Karlie, Mike and baby Evelyn
“Michelle stayed with me the whole time. She helped me stay focused and centered through a long and sometimes difficult labor, and she helped M. support me. And in the end, when all the hospital staff were finished, and I was exhausted, she talked me through my first nursing of my son.”
– ~M.M., Easthampton
“I chose Michelle because of her abundant subject knowledge, gentle demeanor, emotional intelligence, and her clear and total commitment to my child and me throughout the process.”
– Elaine
“This faith in Michelle that I have witnessed in myself, my partner, the hospital staff and the community comes from not only a sense of her competence­­ which is broad and intensive­­ but also because she has a deep respect for the mystery of birth and supports birthing mothers in opening to that mystery rather than trying to control it.”
“I want other women to know that Michelle is a a great resource for survivor mamas.”
– ­S.P.

❊ Postpartum Doula Testimonials

“Michelle was the perfect person to gently guide us through our first few weeks after our birth. She supported the physical healing needed after a C­section as well as truly guided me as a first­-time mom in all parts of our new parenthood journey.”

❊ More Midwife Testimonials!

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Dear Michelle, I wanted to formally thank you for all the wonderful advice and hands-­on help you gave us. The rebozo has proved incredibly helpful in dealing with the back pain I was experiencing, and Zadie has also done the jiggling thing with the wrap and it felt great. We still are talking about how we got to hear the heartbeat and how you identified where the baby’s arms, legs and head were ­­ that was so cool! You have such a gentle and generous spirit, combined with clear expertise and vast knowledge ­­ the perfect combination in someone who is helping people prepare for welcoming life into this world.
-xo, Aine

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“Our families were skeptical, and it seemed like a toss-up—we could have the birth in the hospital, or we could have the birth at home. But when we met Jessie and Michelle, it became clear that we wanted to have the birth with them, wherever that was. When I was laboring and uncertain of what I was feeling, they had such confidence in me (and I in them) that it gave me faith to follow what my body was feeling.”
-Cecilia, Susannah’s Mom, Homebirth, July 2012

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“I originally hired Michelle because I was looking for someone who would be especially attentive to my emotional well­-being, not just physical well­-being, during the birth. In this respect alone, I couldn’t be more pleased with having chosen Michelle. I felt immediately at ease with her and each visit left me feeling more grounded in my pregnancy. Her emotional support was constant and unbounded, beginning in the first prenatal visits, through the birth, and stretching into the months after. She shared tea and massages during visits and offered the exact reassurance and guidance during labor that I needed.

I found myself also impressed by the care that Michelle provided because I had never before felt so respected as a patient. With each situation that arose, Michelle helped me to understand it, and then helped me to navigate a treatment. She took into account what she understood of me and suggested what she thought would be the best fit for me personally. Her knowledge of the area’s resources and practitioners was especially valuable and helped provide more options for the type of care I wanted.

It is clear that Michelle has extensive experience, yet she never acted like what we
were doing was routine. I would certainly want Michelle there if I have another baby, and am delighted thinking of her bringing other babies into this world because, working with her, pregnancy and birth felt sacred.
-Jenny D., Montague MA

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I worked with Michelle for both of my pregnancies and births. Each pregnancy and birth was different and I was able to have positive, powerful, low­-intervention and drug-­free births both times. Michelle is incredibly skilled and listens deeply to her clients. She brings with her many tools ­­ from energy work, to body work, to movement, to homeopathics, to a deep and vast knowledge of midwifery ­­ but her beginning is a place of listening to her clients and helping them create and manifest the birth they want.
– Johanna

❊ More Doula Testimonials!

“Choosing Michelle was the best decision my husband and I made. Three of my sisters ended their long labors in emergency c­sections and I thought I was doomed to do the same until I met Michelle. I knew right away that her calm, in control manner would quiet all my fears during labor. I was right. Michelle anticipated my every need and kept me mentally focused during my whole labor. After only 12 hours of labor and a half hour of pushing without any medications, we welcomed our little girl to the world. Michelle worked wonderfully with the hospital staff and she will be a requirement at our next birth. Thanks, Michelle for making labor day such a great memory.”
– Lorraine & Michael, baby Michaela

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Cooley midwives Northampton“For the birth of our son, my partner Jen and I were extremely fortunate to have Michelle present as our doula. As a first-­time dad­-to­-be, I was more than a little worried about the whole birthing process. What was labor going to be like? What should I focus on? Was I going to be able to help Jen? All these questions were going through my mind.

Once labor started, I was SO GLAD to have Michelle there. When she arrived at our home, Michelle checked in with both of us and then turned her attention toward helping Jen through her labor. Michelle was so caring, calm, and attentive to Jen’s needs, it afforded me the opportunity to really connect with Jen and the birth experience. In other words, with Michelle there, I knew Jen was going to be okay, so I could worry less abou the process of labor and focus more on her. Throughout the labor process, Michelle made sure I was doing okay, too. She was able (somehow) to reach through my overwhelmed state of mind to help me feel fully included.

For the birth of our second child, a daughter, we were lucky enough to have Michelle back with us, along with one of her doulas-­in­-training, Marcy. The second time around, the birthing experience was even better. As a Dad, I am so grateful for their loving presence and attention.”
– Brad & Jen, births 2007 & 2010

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Without Michelle’s invaluable prenatal guidance and calming, gently authoritative presence at the birth, I’m sure we would have ended up with what I’d had the first time and most certainly did not want the second time around: an over-medicated labor ending in a c­-section. Michelle is patient, endlessly informative, creative, empowering, and unbelievably caring towards her mothers-­to-­be. I never hesitate to highly recommend Michelle to any expectant mother.

One of the things that I think is so unique about Michelle is that she works with you, no matter who you are in relation to who she is. I admit that I was worried going into the whole “doula thing,” because I thought doulas were barky­-crunchy hippie ladies who would insist on no pain relieving drugs ever and instead want to sing goofy songs while I writhed in agony. But I also kept hearing/reading that doulas can make all the difference when it comes to a successful VBAC and so I decided to call a few despite my misgivings. I am so glad I did. Right away I could sense something reassuring in a bone-­deep way about Michelle. She was so open­-minded and accepting that she helped me be more that way, too, when it came to aspects of pregnancy and birth that I hadn’t fully considered. And yet she never once insisted that I do things her way.

My husband will also tell you that having Michelle present at our daughter’s birth was some of the best money we ever spent. Birth can be stressful and frightening for the mama’s partner—he/she wants to help but it’s hard to know what to do when you aren’t an experienced old hand in these matters. Michelle was able to calmly and knowledgeably let my husband know what he needed to/could do and when. She somehow managed to take care of all three of us in such a wonderfully reassuring way!”
– – Jennifer Marshall

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“Not only does Michelle have many years of experience, it is clear from watching her work that she has deeply integrated her past experiences into her practice.She had an uncanny ability to know when to intervene with support and suggestions and when to give my wife space. She has enough experience and wisdom to confidently interact with the nurses, midwives, and other medical professionals involved in our hospital birth. Michelle watched out for our emerging family as whole by guiding me as a birth partner, by serving as a guardian of our birth environment, and by encouraging family contact immediately after the birth (among other things). I am very grateful we found her. The birth of my son would not have been the same without her. ­
– -first time parent, 2011

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“We hired Michelle because, as new mom in my 40’s, we felt strongly that we have an experienced doula at our side so that we could labor at home for as long as possible, knowing that with her knowledge, Michelle could help us decide when it was time to go to the hospital. The fact that Michelle is also a midwife made me feel incredibly safe.Michelle’s presence gave me the peace of mind and one­on­one care that I needed in order to fully participate in the birth of my daughter. What could have been a negative, disempowering birth experience turned out to be full of strength, positivity and empowerment.”
– Sarah & Don Persons

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“She also guided and encouraged us to ask important questions at the hospital that ultimately made our experience a more positive one. Our pregnancy and birth story would not have been whole and complete without Michelle ­ we are beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her during this very significant and special time in our lives. Michelle really is the BEST!!!”
– Maddy & Dave

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“Michelle helped me have a beautiful, spiritual, non­invasive birth experience… I trusted her completely. Michelle got me and got what I wanted and therefore was instrumental in creating and supporting an environment and process that met me and what I needed. This faith in Michelle that I have witnessed in myself, my partner, the hospital staff and the community comes from not only a sense of her competence­­ which is broad and intensive­­ but also because she has a deep respect for the mystery of birth and supports birthing mothers in opening to that mystery rather than trying to control it.”
– first time mother, 2011

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“Every family deserves a Warm Welcome! ~ Todas las familias merecen una cálida bienvenida!”

Michelle L’Esperance, Certified Professional Midwife, Doula & Doula Trainer. (413) 858-5048. Supporting families in Western Massachusetts.

Serving Northampton, Amherst, Easthampton, Southhampton, Westhampton, Williamsburg, Hadley, Holyoke, Deerfield, South Deerfield, Greenfield, Conway, Turner’s Falls, Palmer, Leverett, Sunderland, Belchertown, South Hadley, Ashfield, Worthington, Chesterfield, Ware and the surrounding region.

Copyright 2016 Michelle L’Esperance, CPM. Design by The Website Doula. All Rights Reserved.