The Village People
Leah Lewin – Founder, Educator & Doula
I am the founder of this fabulous village. I have been battling with my stage 4 endometriosis for 18 years. Despite being told I was infertile at 17 and that I would not be able to conceive a child naturally and independently, I am now the proud mother of 4 children (one of which is my stepson). I am also a military wife so have faced many issues along my journey.
My vision for OBS was born from a need that was not being fulfilled by any other available services. When I started to open-up to others, I found I wasn’t alone, and many other mothers were facing similar challenges. I began working to educate myself on resources and skills that could alleviate the difficulties and offer support to others.I have undertaken extensive training to ensure that I have the ability to provide quality, supportive, educational and evidence based OBS sessions and services.
From CBT to sleep, perinatal fitness to breastfeeding, birth doula to advanced nutrition and much more. My aim is to ensure women and birthing people are nurtured, nourished and fully supported as a bare minimum of essential care.
Julie Ann Crowley – Doula and Birth Educator
Hello! I’m Julie Ann and I am one of OBS’s lovely Doulas, ready to pounce on women and birthing people in need of support. My work encompasses anything from being a birth coach who educates you on what your body and mindset can achieve, to being there by your side when you birth your baby. I run the Hypnobirthing sessions at OBS, along with classes on antenatal education and breastfeeding readiness. No matter which service I am providing, you will feel comfortable with me and most of all empowered to take your pregnancy and postpartum period into your own hands.
Outside of OBS, I am a mother of two brilliant children aged 16 months, and 7 years. I am from Ireland and have lived in London, New Zealand, Wales... and Olney. Prior to my calling to birth-work at the arrival of my daughter in 2012, I kept-up a successful yet draining career as an IT systems analyst in central London. Commuting for 3 hours a day was not my bag anymore, and in 2014 I began to study and work as a Student Midwife. Personal reasons led me to take a break for a year towards the end of my second year, but when I returned the love that I had for Midwifery had shifted more to the role of a Doula. Instead of qualifying as a midwife, I invested in my career as a Doula and Hypnobirthing practitioner instead.
When I learnt about Doulas, it was clear to see that THEY were the ones who had the time and the impartiality to provide really outstanding care to women and families. I hope that you will get to experience this – whether with me, or any of my peers.
OBS is the Village that both birth workers and birthing people have been looking for.There is something for all stages of your journey, for all situations. If you are a married, single, gay, straight, transgender, a surrogate, or an adoptive parent/parent-to-be; we will take care of you.
Anna Brake – Fitness and Nutrition Coach
Hey, I'm Anna and my daughter, Lexi, is 9 years old now (time flies doesn't it!). I'm a level 3 qualified PT with additional qualifications specifically in pre- and post-natal exercise, a qualification I achieved while I was pregnant. I love helping people get into exercise whilst building their confidence, plus working with mums and their babies is great fun!
Doing regular exercise really can improve your mental health - it picks you up when you are feeling down, especially when doing it with a group of other mums in the same situation. You can be sure that all my groups are non-judgy - if your baby cries, it's fine, most of the babies in the class will do at some point (plus I'm there to help if I can!) or if you need to take a few breaks (water breaks and even toilet breaks) that's fine too!
Caroline George - Trainee Counsellor
I am a 36 year old fibromyalgia warrior, single mum of 4 living in Market Harborough, and Author of Facebook blog “The Black. The Bruised. The Brightside.” I am currently in the process of gaining my Counselling qualification and provide support and help to those that need it. It’s fair to say I have been through the ringer but believe life is about personal growth and getting to know oneself. I am passionate about my own journey but all about empowering others to do the same, so they can live their fullest life and be as true a version of themselves as possible.
Vikki-Kate Hamill – Photographer
Hi! I’m Vikki-Kate and I’m a Family, Newborn and Birth Photographer. I live in Northamptonshire with my lovely husband, our two fluffy dogs and our gorgeous one year old girl, Luna.
I’ve been a professional photographer for ten years now, devoting a lot of thattime to the wedding industry until I officially retired from photographing weddings at the end of 2019! As much as I loved my time in that world, my passion has always been with documenting families in their every day lives, so I decided to take the leap and dedicate all my time to shooting what I love the most, and I’ve never looked back!
Capturing people in their homes, their favourite places and spaces, it’s unlike anything else. And since becoming a Mother myself, my love of freezing those beautiful, fragile moments in time has only become even greater.
When I first learned about the OBS community I knew right away I wanted to be a part of it, as a new Mum there’s so much to navigate and every day can feel like you’re flailing, the importance of not just support but human connection is greater than ever. To have a team of women around you even to just say; “we see you, what do you need?” I honestly can’t think of a gift greater, so to be able to contribute to that in any way really feels amazing.
When it comes to family and newborn photography it’s often hard to know who to trust. You’re inviting someone around your most treasured people, into your home, into your life! Especially during a birth, having effectively a stranger by your side can be an incredibly vulnerable and daunting prospect, so to be recognised by this wonderful community as someone you can feel settled putting your confidence, investment and most importantly, trust in, is a wonderful honour.
I’m so excited to be a part of this community, not only for the support it provides to me as a first time Mum - but for the opportunity to get alongside more super-human women and document all of our imperfectly perfect, beautiful journeys into Motherhood together.
Carola Kolbeck – Writer & Copywriter
Hello, my name is Carola and I am a writer, copywriter, teacher and occasional translator.As an immigrant in this country and mother of two small children, I know too well what it’s like to feel completely overwhelmed, exhausted and totally alone in those first few months and even years of motherhood.My journey as a Mama would have been a lot more difficult, had it not been for some fantastic ladies (and gentlemen!) who reached out, offered help and support and were incredibly kind when I needed it most.I am passionate about real kindness, integrity, humanity, acceptance and equality in every single way, for everyone.I am a huge believer in togetherness and solidarity and want to help empower those who need it most.Finally, my most favourite thing is the written word, in both my mother language and the love of my life, English, and I strive to capture life and its ups and downs on my blog www.chameleoninhighheels.com.However, I also write for others, when they struggle to find the right words.I look forward to getting to know this fabulous community created by the inspirational Leah and can’t wait to see where it takes us.