Today we’d like to introduce you to Birdie Johnson.
Hi Birdie, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
The journey of Mama Bird began in 2010 when I began my Massage Therapy journey. In exploring different modalities, I fell in love with prenatal massage. This led me to learn everything prenatal and postnatal, introducing me to doula massage, therefore leading me to the discovery of doulas. What’s a doula? A doula is a person who supports in a non-medical way by providing education, and physical, mental, and emotional support to birthing families.
I then decided to pursue my doula certification in 2015. Working in fancy spas and Doula agencies at the beginning of my career led to me supporting and caring for white families a majority of the time. In this world, I discovered all the things I had no idea even existed in the maternal space such as child Birth education, or lactation specialists. How could my own experiences be so different from the families I was caring for? It was when I began to take my own private clients, who were majority families of color, that I began to discover the true disparity.
The disparity of access to resources, and education in this space. Then we became isolated in 2020 and I began to really search for people of color working in the maternal space to help bridge this gap. From there, Mama Bird became a resource center, a self-care center, and a community center.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Absolutely not. This business has been a roller coaster of not only finances but more emotions. When doing heart work, we tend to burn out because our hearts can sometimes overtake the logical business side. Being very determined in the vision and holding tight to it has not been easy. When wanting to provide a safe space, resources, and providers for birthing families of color, you hit major obstacles.
The first is trying to connect these providers and resources. We are all so spread out doing the same work so the first part is finding one another. Secondly, the numbers are smaller. For example, in the United States, there is only 2% of IBCLCs are black. The access to providers of color in this field is smaller. The bigger obstacle recently has been inflation. People are literally having to pick to receive self-care services or food. It’s becoming a big problem
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Mama Bird Maternity Wellness Spa?
Mama Bird is an experience we are proud of. It takes all the elements of being a woman of color and embodies them. It is Strong yet delicate, beautiful, warm, sacred, and nurturing. We want the space to feel like a warm hug. On top of having a beautiful space, we are self-care focused.
There is no other place that focuses on being a mama of color from so many angles. Our mission is for everyone that comes through our doors to leave something they no longer need to carry and to walk away with something that betters their lives, even if in the smallest ways. Our entire retail line is local women of color, from body care to journals, spiritual tools, and teas.
Our goal is to support women in all avenues. We offer services and spaces where they can be seen, heard, and appreciated. We offer massage therapy, an assortment of yoga, Lactation support, Doulas, empowerment groups, and most of all community.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
Running a business is not easy. There are days that I legit want to quit, I don’t though. Some days are full of tears and frustration but my support system holds me down. My support system is absolutely huge. My 3 kids are the best for sharing their mama with this role. To them, this sometimes means late nights at the office with me, a lot of late nights.
My SuperHero is my biggest supporter and cheerleader who challenges, praises, and loves me on a daily and pushes me forward. Sheila and Jahala have been amazing in the cultivation of the culture of the Mama Bird Space. Every Doula that has come through Mama Bird has reminded us of why we do what we do wholeheartedly. I have been blessed to have amazing girlfriends who have consistently held space, walked me off the ledge, and volunteered to help and spread the word.
My SistahBiz coach Makisha Boothe has been a driving force in this business, her support, coaching, and genuine desire to see Mama Bird succeed have been monumental. My life coach Maggie has helped me navigate in the processing of my emotions, obstacles, and life and transitioning to this business.
My Spa mentor Sharon has been a guiding force in decisions in the spa life, teaching me the lessons up front she learned the hard way. The clients we have, have been essential in spreading the word of Mama Bird. We appreciate and love you greatly. Soul 2 Soul Sisters have also been an amazing support system in not only supporting Mama Bird but inspiring me to continue to do this work with the community I love.
- Website: https://mamabirdinc.com/
- Instagram: https://instagram.com/mama_bird_maternity?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
- Facebook: @MamaBirdCollaborative
Rae Ellen Bichell