Project HAPPY was founded in 2004 by Ayanna. After receiving her 1st of 5 doula trainings she realized the need for a community based doula program in her community. Ayanna first became a mother herself in 1998 to a beautiful son via a hospital birth without the support and knowledge to make truly informed decisions concerning her care, and a few years later she realized that she had a burning passion to help women have a better experience with their births. She was aware of the lack of knowledge and information in her community and thus decided to help families on the pathway to parenthood.
Project HAPPY is the only African-American owned community based doula organization in the Dallas area that primarily serves adolescent and adult women in under served areas. Project HAPPY was founded on one principle; to serve God by serving mothers, and this is truly a ministry of love.
Doula is a Greek word that means "Womans Servant". This simply means that she is trained and experienced in "Mothering-the-Mother". As a Doula, Ayanna provides non-judgemental, compassionate support to pregnant women (and persons) and assists them by providing educational support, resources, and physical and emotional comfort. She is NOT a medical caregiver nor is she a midwife. While midwives do tend to be very supportive of the laboring woman, her main role at the birth first and foremost is to be the guardian of safety and making sure that mother and baby are healthy and remain healthy throughout pregnancy and birth. The Doula is more like the supportive friend that knows alot about the process and is skilled and professionally trained to help you. Her role is to enhance the experience of birth for both the mother and her partner so that they hopefully can have a good/positive experience.
A vast majority of women (and pregnant persons) are limited in their clinical knowledge and are not aware of all of their options and choices. Ayanna has designed a program that strives to make this information available to all pregnant people who desire the assistance without discrimination. This is not simply a Doula service, but a full service Community Based Doula program. While Ayanna will provide Doula support, that is not program driven, to any pregnant person seeking support, special arrangements will be made for those who qualify.
Ayanna is a "NO LIMITS" doula. That means that she provides a comprehensive package of care starting in pregnancy that continues through to post-partum. She provides support and education during Pregnancy, Birth, Ante and Post-partum. She also teaches Childbirth Education classes, Basics of Baby Wearing classes, Getting Started With Cloth cloth diapering classes and she is a Breastfeeding Educator, and teaches Breastfeeding classes and provides hands on support to breastfeeding mothers (and people). Recently she has added Trauma/Abuse Survivor support, Abortion support, support and assistance for pregnant people of the LGBTQ community and those living with HIV and AIDS. She also specializes in Infant Loss support and assisting grieving families.
Ayanna serves as a Pregnancy Support Specialist (providing assistance during pregnancy), Birth Doula (for labor and delivery; natural, medicated, or cesarean. Hospital, Home, or Birth Center), Ante-Partum Doula (for those on bed rest), PAL (for those experiencing infant loss), Abortion Support (for those who chose this option), Post-Partum Doula (helping new parents transition into parenthood), Abuse and Trauma survivor support (for any person who has been a victim of past trauma or abuse), and she provides Birth Planning sessions. She does not single herself out as one or the other or restrict herself to one style of practice, she is providing a wide range of care for all pregnancy situations. If there is a service or need that Ayanna has not already included or that isn't listed here, please feel free to contact her as certain situations are considered on a case by case basis.
A "Community Based" doula is one who works within the community in which she lives, is familiar with cultural and social differences, and works to empower families, improve birth outcomes, breastfeeding rates, and reduce maternal and infant mortality. Ayanna is actively involved in community outreach activities and is very big on education because " You can not have power without choice, and you can not have choice without information." (M. Fontaine) The individual needs to be addressed within this organization are 1) helping pregnant people to have a positive experience (no matter their individual situation or choices by providing education, emotional, and physical support), 2) Decreasing intervention rates (by helping clients to understand their options and choices so they can truly make informed decisions), 3) Increasing mother-infant bonding (through proper nurturing and the promotion of and assistance with breastfeeding and skin-to-skin), and 4) increasing the rate at which the birthing person provides human milk for their infants.
Ayanna believes that by mothering the mother and nurturing her, she will in turn be able to mother and nurture her own baby.
"Blessed is the doula whose intention is to sacrifice her time to serve the mothers, babies, and families around her". (ICTC)