We had the good fortune of connecting with Sydney Leach and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sydney, how does your business help the community?
Birth work is one of the most impactful ways to help both the community and the larger world. A friend and I were talking recently about the cycle of empowerment, which struck me as an amazing way of thinking about the effect of our work. The idea is this: empowering a birthing person through their birth leads to a positive experience. They talk to their child about this experience and plant seeds of empowerment in their heads. That child goes through life with that love and joy from their parent’s birth experience, holding it until they choose to give birth. Then those seeds bloom, contributing to an empowering birth that’s passed through the generations. This also contributes to a happier and more present parent, more affirmative feelings aimed at the child, and a generally fulfilling experience.
Life begins at birth. The way that a new life is brought into this world matters. The more gentle, respectful, and accepting we can make that passage, the better people we end up with! Birth workers (birth doulas, postpartum doulas, lactation consultants, etc) help to fill in some of the gaps where the healthcare system falls short; namely, the constant human connection, the physical support, and holding space for emotion that will inevitably come with birthing a child.
Specifically, I work with teen moms and low-income populations. Throughout the course of my work, I’ve noticed that these are the people who aren’t listened to by larger systems, who can’t afford the cost and time commitment of mom support groups, who don’t have easy access to trauma-informed therapists. For these people, doulas are even more important. We sit with them and make sure they’re heard in the doctors office, we support them in their birth choices, and we provide emotional support postpartum. Doulas are an essential part of the cycle of empowerment.
Birth work helps shape the people who shape our communities, who will also shape our world. It takes a step back and brings everything back to the beginning, and honestly, I couldn’t think of a better place to start.
What should our readers know about your business?
I run Soulful Summit Doulas, and I provide doula services to young parents and low income pregnant people.
I get asked what a doula is all the time. Doulas have been around for thousands of years, in the form of females supporting females through birth and pregnancy. Community birth can be incredibly powerful- we aren’t meant to be isolated when brining new life into this world! In a modern context, a doula is similar to a birth coach. They meet with you during pregnancy to prepare you for birth, get to know you, think about birth preferences, and support you through anything you need to process. During birth, doulas show up for you with physical comfort measures, reassuring words, counter-pressure techniques, and advocacy in your birth room. They help bring your partner into the experience, and work to make sure that you feel seen, heard, and listened to throughout your birth,
I’m the youngest doula in Colorado. I’m in high school, which makes me uniquely positioned to help support my teen peers through their birth experiences. Out of many standing in front of you in the birth room, I stand next to you.
I got started with birth work through the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Rose Medical Center. While I loved helping the nurses (and still do), I realized that my passion lay in the birth room. I wanted to help these new parents have an experience that was positive, regardless of whether that ended in a NICU stay. As I made the transition into doula work, I fell more and more in love with the transformative power of birth.
It wasn’t easy starting my doula journey as young as I did. I heard, and continue to hear, a lot of “no”. It was demoralizing in the beginning, because I’m so passionate about this work and this purpose. But as I continued, and continued to grow, I realized that the “no”s were building resiliency in a way that I didn’t realize was impactful until I called on it. I learned that the rejection was leading me to a space of slowness, reflection, and strength that I really value now.
I feel so confident in my ability to serve in this way, regardless of the things that set me apart in the birth community. I’m incredibly grateful for my space in this world, and look forward to continuously understanding more!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Denver is such an amazing place to hang out, and there are so many great spots to go! I would start with breakfast at Devil’s Food, my favorite little restaurant on Gaylord Street. They make the best eggs benedict and their latte art is next level. Later, I would take them downtown to check out Union Station and Coors field, the home of the Rockies. If we were staying downtown, it would be amazing to catch a concert at the Ball Arena (formerly the Pepsi Center). An alternative for music would be the famous Red Rocks Ampitheater, with its incredible natural beauty and fun energy. On a clear night, I might end with a star walk on one of the gorgeous trails and lookouts by Red Rocks!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So many people have seen this dream of mine and helped me make it work. DONA International was the doula training organization that backed me when others wouldn’t. Ann Pollack was my first and most valuable mentor, the doula trainer with DONA who has answered endless questions, offered unconditional encouragement, and believed in me without question. The Denver birth community has also offered me resources, trust, and love when I needed it most. Finally, Soulful Summit Doulas wouldn’t be here without the support of my parents. They recognized my passion and committed to helping me make it work in any way that we could. I’m so grateful to the people who have contributed their knowledge and grit to this journey- it makes all the difference and never fails to inspire me.