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You want birth to feel joyful and sacred.

But for too many parents…it doesn’t.

Why is birth often treated like a medical emergency instead of an everyday event? Why is a parent’s experience of birth so overlooked throughout the process? Why are unnecessary interventions used to “hurry” along a birth rather than trusting that a woman’s body knows what it’s doing?

Birthing people thrive when they are nurtured, listened to, and treated with respect.
And, for the most part, our maternity care system prioritizes none of these things, especially for Black parents and babies. There is a better way. A way to create a positive birth experience. A way to healthy births that champion each parent’s creative power. A way to birth that honors the start of a new human life.


You don’t need to give up the idea of a hospital birth.

You don’t need to give birth in the ocean surrounded by shamans (though that can be fun!)

All you need?

A compassionate guide to hold the space for your vision, connect you with the best resources and options in your community, and empower you with the highest quality information so that you can navigate the maternity healthcare system with more ease and experience the positive transformation that birth offers.


Whether you’re an expectant parent or birth worker, you can experience birth as a sacred, joyous occasion that treats parents and babies with dignity, respect, and love.

Meet your birth ally.

In my 20+ years of work as a doula and consumer advocate for expectant parents and birth workers, I’ve learned not only how to create a beautiful birth experience within our current system, but how to create change, slowly but surely, and build a better system for generations to come.

I came to birth work through feminism when I witnessed first-hand how birth transforms a woman’s power, agency, and creativity in her life. I saw birth’s potential to become a site of profound personal power for women…and I saw the shortcomings of our healthcare system to honor that.

After I became a doula and started working with parents one-on-one, I wanted more. I wanted to build a better system, so I founded Choices in Childbirth, an organization dedicated to educating expectant parents about birth and affecting change on the local, statewide, and federal levels in the U.S.

Along the way, through working with thousands of birth workers, I discovered that no one is better poised for the work of activism and advocacy than birth workers themselves. Now, it’s my mission to activate and educate a squad of birth workers who are empowered with the information they need to navigate our current system and build better birth care in their communities. Collectively, with the help of parents who advocate for better births, we’ll help the larger cultural expectation shift to birth as a sacred occasion that makes parents more powerful, more creative, and more fully expressed as the people they were born to become.


I Educate, Activate, & Inspire

A handful of the organizations I’ve served during my career:

Founder, Board President

Choices in Childbirth

2012 - 2015

A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit New York City-based organization whose mission is to improve maternity care by providing the public, especially childbearing women and their families, with the information necessary to make fully informed decisions relating to how, where, and with whom they will give birth. 

Member, Board of Directors

Maternity Neighborhood

2013 - 2018

Maternity Neighborhood is a mission-driven company with a portfolio of digital tools to support woman-centered, relationship-based maternity care. These tools can be configured in a variety of ways to meet the needs of providers in a range of settings and care models.

Healthy Women, Healthy Futures Program

Originating Member, Advisor

2013 - 2015

A proposal to expand access to doula care for underserved women across the 5 boroughs of New York City.  In 2013, the city and state awarded the program $450,000, initial funding that would lead to a multi year partnership. 

North Central Bronx Coalition

Originating Member, Advisor

2013 - 2014

A coalition of community-based organizations, advocates, parents, policy makers and concerned citizens that successfully petitioned the city to re-open the midwifery lead labor and delivery department at North Central Bronx Hospital.  

New York Coalition for Doula Access (NYCDA)


2011 - 2015

A coalition of doulas, activists, community-based organizers and concerned citizens working together to expand access to doula care among the most at risk and under served communities in New York City & State.

Homebirth Consensus Summit

Delegate representing consumer advocates

2011, 2013, 2014

The Home Birth Summits convened a multidisciplinary group of leaders, representing all stakeholder perspectives, to address their shared responsibility for care of women who plan home births in the United States.

North American Registry of Midwives (NARM)

Public Member of the Board of Directors

2011 to 2015

NARM provides and maintains an evaluative process for multiple routes of midwifery education and training; develops and administers a standardized examination system leading to the credential “Certified Professional Midwife” (CPM); identifies best practices that reflect the excellence and diversity of the independent midwifery community as the basis for setting the standards for the CPM credential.

B.A., Gender and Sexuality Studies

New York University, 2005, Magna Cum Laude

Emergency Medical Technical Certification

New York State Department of Health Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, 2003

Midwifery Assistant Program

The Farm, 2003, 2004

Birth Doula Training

DONA International, 2000


Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery, honored for contribution to the profession of midwifery, 2015 
NYU Midwifery Education Program’s Koko Roy Award, 2013
Coalition for Improving Maternity Services’ award for making Mother-Friendly Care a Reality, 2008
Childbirth Connection’s Carola Warburg Rothschild Award, 2007


Guest of the Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC June 10, 2010 “Midwives in New York City”
Guest of the Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC December 2009 “Birthing Options” 
Grit TV November 26, 2010 “The Other Side of Choices: Giving Birth In America”
Featured speaker in documentary film, The Business of Being Born, released 2008. 

Nothing Short of a Miracle

Working with Elan before, during, and after my son's

birth was nothing short of a miracle for me and my family.

She is a wealth of information and helped me make

informed decisions about how and where I wanted to

give birth as well as what procedures were necessary. 

Elan was an angel by my side and a pillar of strength

during my 36 hour labor. She’s an incredible resource on birth, babies and women. All of this along with her fiery strength and intuitive, kind hearted nature makes her someone you want on your team when you are having a baby!

Jacquelyn Karnes


Let’s reimagine birth together.

Whether you're trying to conceive (or deciding if you'd like to), are currently pregnant, need postpartum support, or are a birth worker looking for continuing education, I'd love to work with you.

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