Rochester entrepreneurs Amanda Steele and Brittany Baker are breaking down barriers and working together to serve families and other “bad ass” women in the community. In 2016, the pair founded MedCity Doulas to offer support to women from pregnancy through postpartum.
These strong women are here to prove that being a doula- a trained professional that offers physical, emotional, and informational support to mothers- is a sustainable career option for themselves and for others seeking to help women with these highly specialized services. The pair specifically works to build “bridges between patients and medical staff for a more positive experience on the patient’s end,” Baker explained.
These entrepreneurs were driven to create MedCity Doulas in response to a general lack of support, especially postpartum, for mothers in the community.
Baker’s personal postpartum experience was extremely positive- she was hired late in her pregnancy by her employers and was encouraged to bring her newborn to work- although she quickly learned this was not the norm. Steele saw many families having negative and traumatizing experiences as new parents. She became passionate about supporting parents during that time frame and molding new parenthood into a positive experience.
While fueled by passion to bring MedCity Doulas to life, these innovators faced significant challenges to get the business running. The first obstacle was basic education about the role of doulas and convincing people it was a professional service that deserved a cash exchange.
“We are women selling traditional women’s work as a professional service. So, wrapping people’s heads around that idea, that we are here to mother mothers and that has a dollar value, has been a hard concept for some people,” Baker explained.
Steele said the pair was not taken seriously when they first started out. Although both women are highly educated- Steele is finishing up her master’s degree and Baker has a degree in design plus management experience- the doula field is not always taken seriously. They faced particular roadblocks when seeking financial assistance for the business.
“We didn’t give up. We went to four different banks before somebody believed in what we were doing,” Steele explained.
With the three-year anniversary of MedCity Doulas fast approaching, these women are looking forward to continued growth of the business in the community to support families.
“It’s exciting that we have a women-owned business in 2019 in Rochester, Minnesota in an industry that is related to healthcare,” Baker said. “We are really lucky to be operating here specifically.”
While MedCity Doulas has certainly blossomed over the past years, these entrepreneurs have also witnessed much change in the female entrepreneurial community in Rochester, especially with increased events and resources for women in business.
“I’m really hopeful for all the things I’ve seen so far in the community and all the things that are being built,” Steele explained. “But it’s also hard because now that we have more things we’re pulled in more directions.”
She said in particular we still need more balance to integrate moms into these events and activities, especially those individuals without childcare options.