Meet a Doula: Charline Ogbeni

Charline Ogbeni, Owner of Supporting Our Mothers Initiative, LLC
Charline Ogbeni is a School Counselor, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, and Full Spectrum Doula. She is the owner of Supporting Our Mothers Initiative, LLC based in Queens, NY. Supporting Our Mothers Initiative, LLC addresses the needs of birthing and breastfeeding individuals in Queens. Her future goals include starting a nonprofit benefiting breastfeeding individuals and establishing a Birth Center in Queens, NY. Charline Ogbeni is proud to be a mother of an exclusively breastfed baby born during a world pandemic.

How did you decide to become a doula?

I became a doula through my own experiences giving birth right before the start of what we know as the world pandemic. My doula prepared me for everything except being denied without reason at the hospital when I needed her most.

What was the biggest challenge you faced with becoming a doula or in your current practice as a doula?

The biggest challenge is the hospital adhering to their own policies and the executive order. Despite the executive order being in place there seems to be a lot left up to interpretation which leads to chaos in stress at families most precious and vulnerable moments.

What is the most rewarding part of being a doula?

The first touch. When families are able to see what they have been working on developing over the course of several weeks it is a magical moment. I am equally joyed when they start hitting milestones down the road.

What’s a common misconception about doulas that you would like to clear up?

Doulas do make decisions. We advocate for you and elevate clients voice and concerns. Doulas are also within your reach. I personally offer sliding scale and there are several community based organizations and hospital pilot programs that will allow you access to a free doula.

How do doulas impact the health outcomes of Black moms and infants?

Doulas ensure that clients are able to way the pros and cons of different situations. Doulas help families feel empowered during the birth process when it can feel like you are often being told what to do. Simply put, families feel heard when they work with doulas.

How do you know you’re a good match with a mom to be? 

In my opinion there is no perfect match, but the baby and the family. I try my best to meet families where they are and they appreciate me for that. It is important for families to make sure they are really being listened to in the matching process. If something feels off it most likely is. Our heart never really steers us wrong.

To learn more about her services or local happenings visit her website at www.somiclients.com .

Instagram: @somiclients

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