For The Soul: a 6-part collaboration series between Urbaanite + Nashville Scene to celebrate diverse stories in Nashville and just make you smile.
The word doula comes from the ancient Greek doulē, “a woman who serves,” and that is exactly what Jessica Easter is doing as a doula for expecting moms across Middle Tennessee. An Arkansas native, Easter made the leap with her husband and daughter to become a Nashvillian after an unassuming trip to the city for a wedding. She would also soon make another significant leap, leaving the psychology field and launching her doula business, Abounding Grace Birth Services.
During our recent chat about Easter’s journey, her genuine care and joy for the work were clear. Easter has a true servant’s heart and takes the job of walking alongside women during such a beautiful, life-changing season very seriously and with grace.
What did your journey look like to become a doula?
Ever since childhood, I was drawn to birth. I was always intrigued by the process. I watched all of the shows that came on TV so much that I knew what episodes were airing when. I loved the idea of being present at a birth, but I honestly didn’t know I could make this a career. Once I graduated [from Southern Arkansas University with a psychology degree], I then got married shortly after.
However, I felt stagnant in my psychology work. I knew there was something else for me. In 2017, my husband, daughter and I moved to Middle Tennessee. Around that time, God led us to our pastors at Church on the Rock, and that’s when I found out about what a doula was. I was actually in the process of becoming a nurse, but I felt the spirit of the Lord tugging on me to pursue being a doula. So I did, and I’m so glad because I can truly say this is definitely my calling. It has been a journey of faith and spiritual growth for me, and I’m thankful I’ve been called to do this work.
Wow, what an amazing testimony. Do you feel your work in psychology combined with your faith provides you the perfect blend of tools to assist expecting moms?
Absolutely. I definitely know the Holy Spirit is working through me as I work with my clients and [in my] everyday life. We all need that, you know, the spirit of love and joy, patience, kindness, and goodness. These essentials are needed to be a good doula and just to be a good person who wants to help people.
Can you share what inspired you to create Abounding Grace Birth Services?
I became a doula in 2018, and then everything took off quickly after that. I kid you not, the same day I became a doula, I reached out to share with someone and they were like, “I want you to be my doula!” I was like, “OK, we can make this happen.” It was a blessing and confirmation for me.
I also wanted to ensure mothers never felt neglected the way I did during and after the birth of my daughter. Women, especially women of color, need to know they can have positive birth experiences with the right information and right support.
What can people expect from Abounding Grace?
I walk with moms through their pregnancy, live birth, and postpartum. This is probably one of the most vulnerable times in a woman’s life, and I help provide the support they need. From navigating through conversations they need to have with their providers, assistance with birth options, lactation support, and ensuring their comfort during the birth.
Do you see yourself expanding your doula services to continue helping expectant moms?
Since launching Abounding Grace, I have had a lot of people reach out to me about how they can become a doula. I have been asked before if I would create a doula agency in the future. We just celebrated our third birthday, so I’m super excited and enjoying where I’m at right now. However, I can say that this year I am planning to provide more information through webinars for people interested in becoming a doula.
Has COVID-19 affected your business?
Thankfully, it did not affect my business too much. During the initial onset of COVID, clients were not necessarily worried about the birth but were unsure if their doula would be allowed in the room. At one time, hospitals would only allow one person in the room. I was having to prepare my clients for me physically not being able to be there, but thankfully I have not missed one birth since COVID.
Photography provided by Abounding Grace Birth Services.
To get more guides and stories of the people behind the culture and soul of Nashville, subscribe to our weekly newsletter HERE.