A new business in Jacksonville seeks to serve the pregnant, new mom and seasoned mom population through its services.
At ENC Birth Services, every employee is a Marine and a mom, so not only do they understand motherhood, but they also understand the military lifestyle.
The business is a collection of smaller businesses Bella Bellies Boutique, Bosom Buddies Lactation, and ENC pregnancy Birth and Wellness.
“I think it helps us as far as having a military background,” co-owner Jennifer Davidson said. “I definitely feel like my experience helps in the sense of professionalism.” Being deployed, she added, helps them to sympathize with moms who are away from family while pregnant or raising their children. That experience in particular, she said, is good for this area.
The business provides doula services, lactation consultants, an in-store boutique and more. A doula is defined as “a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and information support to the mother before, during and just after birth,” according to DONA International’s website. Davidson, who serves as a doula for the business, said a doula can be the one who litigates all that stress on mom during labor.
“I wanted a place for moms to get every little thing they need,” Davidson said of the services offered. “(This collective) helps give you that education and experience. It’s all about learning.”
The business also offers a labor suite, complete with a bed, private restroom and shower, for parents before transitioning to their birth facility.
Although the maternity boutique isn’t scheduled to officially open until Sept. 17, they plan to sell organic baby clothing, natural wooden toys, mom and child sets, and nursing lingerie.
“That way moms can still feel beautiful during (breastfeeding),” Valerie Bennett, co-owner, said.
In addition to those services, the business owners plan to hold classes in the evenings and weekends, adding that they’re “fitting in the pieces when (they) can find the time.”
While still active duty, Davidson and Bennett said they find it difficult to find time to make things happen.
“But it will be worth it in the end,” Bennett said.
Once the boutique is open and operational, Bennett said she’s most looking forward to “seeing the looks on a mom’s face when she feels beautiful in what she’s wearing.”
For Davidson, serving as a doula is rewarding in itself.
“There’s nothing more gratifying than being invited into a sensitive time, knowing you were able to make it into a positive experience,” she said. “It’s a great feeling giving a mom a beautiful, empowered birth. Every time they think of that birthing day, which is every day for a mom, they’ll (remember) us.”
When the owners came across their current location on New Bridge Street in Jacksonville, they said they fell in love with the aesthetics.
“I wanted women to go to a place they could feel comfortable,” Davidson said. “When we came across it, we snatched it up.”
An added bonus to the location is the proximity to other businesses moms will need, like an organic market, both area hospitals and fetal imaging.
For customer Brittany Fidler, of Hubert, a pregnancy and birth without ENC Birth Services would have been completely different.
“(Davidson) helped me to have the birth we wanted to have,” she said. “We ended up having some complications and she was able to help me and my husband talk to the nurses to try different techniques to try to alleviate some of the problems to give us a chance and the baby a chance to come into the world naturally and for it to be a pleasant experience.”
She laughed, adding that “everybody has the sitcom version of birth in your head where you’re sitting there screaming at your husband, and it’s not that way.”
Davidson, she said, was completely supportive in her main role of supporting her husband who, in turn, supported her.
“We started meeting with her when I was six months pregnant. She was just there for support and just try to keep the environment as calm and serene as it could be,” Fidler added.
ENC Birth Services is located at 624 New Bridge St. Suite No. 100 in Jacksonville. Services are by appointment only. For information and updates, follow their Facebook page at Facebook.com/ENCBirth or visit belliesbirthbabies.com.