Meet the Team

It takes a village to raise a baby and at Helping Hands Doula we have created that village. Having a baby can feel overwhelming and exciting at the same time. We know that surrounding yourself with knowledgeable, experienced support can help decrease anxiety around this life transition and allow you to enjoy the overall process. Providing this support at all hours of the day and night takes exceptional and dedicated Doulas. At HHD we make sure that you have the rest and support needed to care for your family to the utmost level of care.

At HHD we know that it is important for you to know that you have support in place no matter what is happening in the world. Life is unpredictable and having a baby is the most unpredictable event there is. There are many unknowns and this can add to your stress at this time. It is very important for us to help lower this anxiety so we have set up our model of care as a team approach.


Drew Piper Bragg

Client Resource Coordinator
Drew keeps everyone & everything organized at Helping Hands, and our program wouldn’t run smoothly without her guidance. She keeps our clients informed of upcoming events, necessary resources, and makes connections with any referrals you need during your pregnancy to postnatal care. She also likes to keep things light & fun on our social media by sharing relevant information in an easy digestible way.


After having her first child Drew realized how pregnancy and motherhood has its own community of supportive women and that women really rally together to support those in need. She wanted to be apart of a team that was helping and inspiring others. Drew is glad she found her place within Helping Hands Doula and can help to lend a hand to families and learn from so many exceptional people.


Drew loves spending time with her family. They enjoy going to the cottage, exploring nature, farmers markets, going to festivals/events around their city and finding new cafes!


“Be the Reason Someone smiles”

Birth Team

Kristi Clements

Birth & Postpartum Doula

Kristi knew from when she was a child that she wanted to help people and wasn’t sure at that time how she was going to do that. Kristi found that being a Doula has been an amazing way to support couples as they become parents. She wanted to take the fear out of the experience and help create positive memories.

Kristi’s training has included DONA International, ProDoula, Infant Massage Instruction,  First Aid & CPR, Hypnobirthing, and personality training.

Kristi is a proud mother of 3 children, Mackenzie, Jordan and Nile. She loves to dance and perform on stage. She also enjoys reading, movie-going, cottaging and traveling the world. She loves spending time with family and having big get togethers with as many people as possible.

“Family is not an important thing. It’s the only thing.” – Michael J Fox

Jessica Payne

Birth & Postpartum Doula

From an early age, Jessica was always drawn to others going through transition, and was often the friend that would be sought out to lend a listening ear. She was also mesmerized of the developmental changes in pregnancy and children which led her education into Psychology & the Health Sciences. During her studies she had no idea that the role of a doula existed until her final year in University. Jessica had an epiphany that supporting families during the largest life transition is exactly what she was looking for.

Jessica completed her birth doula training from DONA International, the same year she completed her BHSc. from The University of Western Ontario. Over the last 10 years she has further trained as a Postpartum Doula & Childbirth Educator. With a longing to upgrade her craft, she has taken multiple courses in Infant Feeding, Comfort Measures, Hypnobirthing, First Aid & CPR and communication. Just for fun, she has travelled to Tennessee to mentor under famous midwife & author, Ina May Gaskin.

When she isn’t ‘doula-ing’, Jessica enjoys travelling, camping, swimming, concocting new recipes and spending time with her family, friends, and 2 miniature dachshunds.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple” – Dr. Seuss

Christy Kimont Headshot

Christy Kimont

Birth & Postpartum Doula

Christy first became interested in different child rearing practices while studying anthropology in university, which shaped how she envisioned her future birth & parenting journey. After hiring a doula and having a beautiful hospital birth with her first child, she became aware of how many of her peers had traumatic and/or unexpected experiences in their births. This led to Christy’s thirst for knowledge about the physiology of birth, and with her experience ‘holding space’ during meditation retreats, she embarked on the journey of becoming a doula.

Christy is certified with Childbirth International as a Birth Doula, and with HypnoBirthing as a ChildBirth Instructor. Living abroad for many years, she has continued her education with the Indie Birth Midwifery School, interned at Shiphrah Birth Home in Taytay, Philippines, and recently completed a year-long apprenticeship in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Christy is an enthusiastic traveller; she has lived in four countries and has had the pleasure of visiting 36 countries and territories. She is an amateur musician and played professionally in her youth. Christy loves reading novels, the outdoors, coffee, and food. She took up capoeira during the pandemic and currently am working towards my third belt. Christy has never not had a pet in my home, and currently shares her life with an elderly long-haired dachshund and a wild-eyed tiger trapped in a 4 pound rescue cat’s body. She loves spending time with her husband,  9 year old daughter and 11 year old son.


“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”

Esther Herman

Birth & Postpartum Doula

Esther has always loved supporting family and friends through their births and postpartum even before she became a doula. When she had both her children via C section, Esther realised how important a good support system is for those critical few weeks after birth. She felt that the birthing person after a C section was always feeling more vulnerable and in need for that extra support system. This is another reason why Esther became a doula. She loves helping birth parents to love their birth no matter the outcome without judgement.

She is formally trained as a Birth & Postpartum Doula Canada. Esther is Emergency First Aid and CPR (C) qualified and is currently studying to be a Lamaze childbirth educator.

When she isn’t doulaing or spending time with her two little people, you can find Esther painting, drawing, sewing and doing yoga.

“There is such a special sweetness in being able to participate in creation.” -Anonymous

Laura Dos Santos

Birth & Postpartum Doula

Laura enjoys helping people and has always had a big heart for pregnant women and babies. During her time in University, she decided that she wanted to specialise in non-medical support of that population. Not yet knowing that doula work was a possible profession, she began working with Seniors in the Community Support Services sector where she learned skills to work alongside, support and care for people. This only strengthened her desire to work within the birthing profession. As she continued searching, a friend encouraged her to look into the doula profession. This “ah-ha” moment initiated the next steps of the direction her life needed to go.

She is formally trained as a Birth & Postpartum Doula with DONA International. Laura also has her certifications in Standard First Aid & CPR, Mental Health First Aid, Mental Health Leadership and a background with a Bachelors of Arts in Kinesiology. 

Fun facts about Laura include that she was born in Trinidad & Tobago and is left-handed. When Laura isn’t caring for her clients, she enjoys spending time with friends, family and her church community in any form; walking, eating, chatting, board gaming, baking, and going to events. She loves exploring new places and spaces– especially bakeries and cafes. How can one resist? Laura loves continuing to grow and her newest goal is learning American Sign Language (ASL).

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss

Heidi Matthias

Birth & Postpartum Doula

Heidi’s path to becoming a doula came from her own positive pregnancy and birth experiences. The birth of her three children were very different, but they were all times of joy, empowerment and personal growth. Much of the positivity came from the messages of her mother and sisters that birth is natural, normal and beautiful. As a trained physiotherapist, she also believes completely in a woman’s perfect physiological design for childbirth.

She has a gift for soothing new moms and newborns alike. Her calm, gentle demeanor instills confidence in new parents and helps them ‘tune into’ their inner parenting wisdom. Heidi now enjoys staying current with research and strives to share only the best evidence with her clients. Heidi deeply believes that each family will find their own ‘best way’ to love and nurture their children.

Heidi’s training includes a Health Science BA, Queen’s University, Physiotherapy BSc. PT, McMaster University, Doula certification with DONA International and Childbirth Educator training from Lamaze International. Heidi also has a valid first aid and CPR designation.

Heidi loves to cook, garden, hike and windsurf. She has 2 big dogs and a crazy Bengal cat.

“You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think” Christopher Robin – Winne the Pooh.

Jordan Smith

Birth & Postpartum Doula

Being a Doula has been a calling for Jordan. She’s always had an innate desire to support and uplift women on their journey to motherhood. Jordan has seen firsthand the incredible impact and importance a doula’s work can have on a woman’s birthing and postpartum experience, and knew she needed to be a part of it. Jordan believes in tailoring her support to meet each family’s unique needs and preferences, ensuring they feel heard, respected, and empowered throughout their entire process.

Jordan has completed her training as a Birth & Postpartum Doula with the organisation Wise Woman Way of Birth, as well as DONA International. She additionally has her certification in Standard First Aid & CPR. She aspires to continue her education with Birth Trauma training next on her list, with the end goal being to certify as a lactation consultant all while supporting her clients.

Jordan likes to unwind by reading. She loves being outdoors and staying active. Finding activities that bring her joy as well as nourish both her body and mind are very important to her. Jordan also enjoys hiking, hot yoga & pilates classes and developing her passion for baking. When timing allows, you can find her catching a morning sunrise with her journal and a hot cuppa! She considers herself highly family oriented, and spends much of her time alongside her friends and family, including her twin sister and younger siblings. 

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” -Mother Teresa

Birth Team

Nikole Vali

Birth Doula

Fiona Kelman

Birth Doula

Postpartum Team

Sharon Clements

Postpartum Doula 

Sharon has been part of the doula world for many years but only after her Prodoula training became an active postpartum doula. Realizing that a doula is not a nanny but a loving, caring and compassionate support to all family members. Empowering new parents to adjust to their new role as confident parents is a wonderful privilege for Sharon. Her care comes from the heart and babies and parents feel that. Many of her suggestions have made life easier and more enjoyable for all.

Sharon is formally trained by Prodoula as a Postpartum Doula, Newborn Care Specialist, and Infant Feeding Specialist. She also has completed her training by the Breastfeeding Initiative. Sharon holds a Standard First Aid & CPR certification to round out her trainings.

Sharon loves spending time with her 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoys gardening and relaxing at the cottage.

“Families are like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts” – Les Dawson

Odessa Thornhill

Odessa Thornhill

Postpartum Doula

After birthing her first child, Odessa noticed there was a huge need for women centred care. She began her past as a Doula because she wanted to spend time giving hand on care to mom & her family by supporting them through the many transformation birth will bring. Helping mothers to feel empowered and confident in their body’s ability to carry their babies, birth without fear and trust their inner knowing while navigating the postpartum period is how she gives back to the community she lives in.


Odessa is trained as a Birth & Postpartum Doula with Motherwit in Montreal. She has practised Natural Medicine, licenced in Quebec, and focused on the modalities of nutrition, chinese medicine, acupressure, massage therapy, shiatsu, reflexology and herbology.


Odessa has 4 beautiful children. She loves to dance, and in a previous life professionally danced and sang with Cirque du Soleil. Odessa is passionate about people, and helping them find balance in this growing time of motherhood.


“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” Mother Teresa

Postpartum Doula Amanda Kennedy

Amanda Kennedy

Postpartum Doula

Amanda relocated from New Brunswick to the GTA when she started her family. She didn’t have much community support when she welcomed her first of three daughters, and felt like something was missing from her experience as a new mom. To this day, she vividly remembers wanting help with on-the-job training with her new baby, and especially needing emotional support during that vital time. Being able to provide the support to others that she desired as a new parent, brings Amanda a deep sense of purpose and joy.

With a background in a Bachelors of Education, assisting others through teaching was already a strong skill set. Adding formal Postpartum Doula training with CAPPA Canada was a natural progression to specialize in assisting others with Newborn Care & Postpartum recovery. She also holds a valid Standard First Aid & CPR certification. Amanda thinks of herself as a lifelong learner, and is continuously adding more tools to her tool belt & reading up on advancements in best practices.

Amanda keeps busy with her three “not-so-little” daughters, aged 13, 11 & 9. Plus, a literal menagerie of animals including a puppy, two cats, an albino leopard gecko and a tarantula! In her free time, you can find her going for hikes with her family, enjoying a yoga class, exploring new places, catching up on a favourite Netflix series or watching Hallmark movies. Otherwise Amanda enjoys curling up with a good book and a hot cup of coffee.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain” – Author Unknown

Jessica Johnston

Jessica Johnston

Postpartum Doula

Jessica knows all too well that there are many changes felt in the postpartum stage. Joy can coexist with feelings of overwhelm which can be at times destabilising. Having delivered her daughter via C-section, she experienced some disappointment around her birth journey, coupled with the isolation that sometimes comes with early parenting. Jessica remembers wondering if there could be a better way to enter the postpartum period, and felt a strong call to support others in that stage of life. 

After considering lactation consulting, or nursing in maternal care, she realised her strengths were apparent in serving others in a supportive role. Doula care held all of the key components that she not only wished she could have received, but also the characteristics that continue to be so important to her. Jessica is formally trained with CAPPA Canada as a Postpartum Doula, and certified in Standard First Aid & CPR.

Jessica loves to spend time with her husband cooking delicious meals to enjoy together and taking their daughter on fun outings. She loves a good coffee, especially if its shared while catching up with friends. When not with the people she loves, you can find Jessica in the garden. Fun fact about her, is she accidentally witnessed her first birth when she was 11 years old. You will definitely need to ask her for the details!

“Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says “i’ll try again tomorrow”  Mary Anne Radmache

Mandy Sounder

Mandy Sounder

Postpartum Doula

It was Mandy’s personal experience with how drastically different parenting can be with & without support that led her into doula work. With her first baby she felt completely unprepared, and with each additional baby she felt the shift in her self confidence. This path of learning can really push new parents to their limits and beyond, and Mandy wanted to accompany others on this journey while they find their reigns. So much more than just surviving new parentings, but really enjoying this phase of life.

Mandy’s formally trained with CAPPA Canada as a Postpartum Doula, and is certified with Standard First Aid & CPR. She is fluent in German, and while living in Germany she facilitated new parenting groups & cared for infants in orphanages. Mandy has previous experience in intercultural competencies, as well as mentoring, coaching and theological studies

Mandy loves going on walks with her husband & 4 children. She values time for herself every day to read, and looks for the miracles in life, even when things aren’t going well. She hopes to travel to every continent with her family, and visit close relatives spread across the globe. 

“I’m happy when it rains, because if I’m not happy, it still rains.”  – Karl Valentin

Carla Murphy

Postpartum Doula

A few years out of university Carla went to work in the Public Relations department at Women’s College Hospital. It was there that she began learning about evidence-based care during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. She also received personal experience in the 3 positive births of her sons, and subsequent postpartum care from her midwives & support people. These personal & professional experiences led her deep interest to doula work, and reading as much as she could about supports during this very vulnerable life phase. Carla believes implicitly in the right to informed, supportive, respectful, and empowering care; in a birthing person’s right to make the choices that feel best to them for their pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, and in caring for their little one(s). When her boys were all in school, Carla made the decision to change careers and train as a doula.

She has received formal training from DONA International, CAPPA Canada & Hypnobirthing as a Birth & Postpartum Doula. Carla also has her certification in Standard First Aid & CPR, and has plans in the near future to certify as a Car Seat Technician. Before doula care was on her radar, she received her Masters of Information (library sciences), focusing on health education for her patients and their families.

Carla loves to travel, to read historical fiction, to bake, and crochet. She’s originally from Newfoundland and her accent comes back any time she’s ‘home’ or around other Newfoundlanders. She’s happiest when she’s by the ocean, especially the North Atlantic. Carla has three ‘grown up’ sons who are 25, 22, and 20. 

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” –Forrest Gump

Shondelle Kirton

Postpartum Doula

From a young age Shondelle was always fond of helping out her family and friends when they became new mothers. As she got older, Shondelle became more in tune with her skills supporting others. After supporting a close friend through birth and postpartum, her most vulnerable time, she decided to pursue a career as a Postpartum Doula.

Shondelle has received her formal training from Doula Canada as a Postpartum Doula. She is also certified in Standard First Aid & CPR, and is looking forward to obtaining her Birth Doula Certification next on her list.

Some of Shondelle’s favourite pastimes are volleyball, hairdressing, photography, out of town day trips and spending time with her nephew.

“Never give up, keep trying until you succeed.”

Shelby Bryan

Postpartum Doula

During her first pregnancy, Shelby followed a fairly conventional path to prepare for childbirth & postpartum with the expectations to receive guidance and reassurance from her Health Care Provider. However, at each appointment, she found herself leaving unsatisfied, yearning for more support and answers to her numerous first-time pregnancy inquiries. The postpartum period proved especially challenging for Shelby, and once again, she felt adrift with questions and emotions. Struggling to find the support she needed, she stumbled upon a doula training 6 months into her maternity leave. Though initially misunderstanding the role of a doula, she soon realised that their support went beyond childbirth, addressing the emotional and informational needs of expectant and new parents. Recognizing the gap in the support Shelby had craved, she decided to become a doula herself, eager to offer the kind of guidance and understanding she wished she had received during her own pregnancy and postpartum journey.

Shelby is formally trained as a Postpartum doula with the organisation Birthing Advocacy Doula Trainings (BADT). She also maintains her certification in Standard First Aid & CPR. Shelby is passionate about continuously improving her knowledge base and cultivating emotional support skills through attending workshops and seeking mentorship within her colleagues.

Some fun facts about Shelby include that she is originally from Montreal and she considers herself a novice herbalist. In her spare time you can find her relaxing with a yoga class, baking something delicious and enjoying thrift shopping for that perfect find!

“Don’t sit down and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” – Madam C.J Walker

Gentle Sleep Consultant

Gentle Sleep Consultant

Petra Nobel

Gentle Sleep Consultant

Petra was born and worked in the Netherlands, a country where every new mother has the option of in-home postpartum care as soon as the baby is born. She learned from working with women from different cultures and backgrounds, collecting the best of alternative ideas and effective, time tested practices. With that knowledge, sparked the drive to establish more support within the Canadian system and certified with CAPPA Canada as a Postpartum & Infant Care Doula.

The gift of sleep was one of the key components her clients received. Not only while working with her face-to-face, but even more importantly, sharing sleep strategies to implement for parents on their own. Through further study, she is now a Maternity, Infant and Child Sleep Consultant through the International Maternity and Parenting Institute (IMPI). Her focus is supporting parents to see results with the whole family sleeping with a customized plan suited perfectly for them.

Petra is a mother of two wonderful teenage boys, they keep her on her toes. She loves traveling, especially if she can spend some time on a beach and in the ocean. She REALLY LOVES chocolate without any nuts. Where there is a nut, there could have been more chocolate!

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” – Confucius

First Aid & CPR Instructor

Janessa Crooks Headshot

Janessa Crooks

First Aid & CPR Instructor / Safety Specialist
Janessa has made a career in Health & Safety and Law Enforcement working in the private safety and security field for almost 20 years. Her biggest pleasure in her career has always been to teach and coach others. This passion led to a natural progression into becoming a certified First Aid & CPR instructor in 2015 . Janessa specialises in working with families and expectant parents to train and coach them in life saving skills, how to treat injuries and illnesses in the home, and when and how to seek proper medical attention. Janessa does this in private one on one sessions with families and ensures the families have a good understanding of the materials covered in each session. Janessa appreciates being able to help families act confidently in the occasion that an emergency medical situation may arise.


Janessa enjoys spending time with her family, and has always enjoyed travelling and experiencing different cultures and communities. She also enjoys volunteering and giving back to the community. One of her projects included volunteering overseas in Malawi Africa in 2017 where she taught First Aid & CPR skills to other volunteers. 


“As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands; one to help yourself, and the second to help others.” – Audrey Hepburn

Benefits of a team approach for Birth Support (2 doulas)

  • Building a relationship with both of your Birth Doulas allows you to know that you will have a familiar face at the time of birth
  • No need to worry about a backup doula that you have not met
  • Very quick response time for questions surrounding pregnancy, birth or postpartum concerns via private group text & oncall number
  • Double the amount of experience and knowledge that is passed on to you
  • No need to worry if your Doula is well-rested when arriving at your birth
  • A freshly rested Doula can relieve your first Doula in the event of a long labour

Benefits of a team approach for Postpartum Support (2-3 doulas)

  • Flexibility to book support when needed. No need to pre-schedule your postpartum support weeks in advance.
  • Book your postpartum hours a week at a time to allow for developmental and situational changes to occur
  • Illness and life events with your Doula will not affect your scheduled time for support
  • Learn different techniques to care for baby. Although all our doulas have similar approaches, they also have different tricks to pass on.
  • Larger wealth of knowledge. We are continually learning from each other on the team and passing on the information to you
  • Enthusiasm and energy is lifted working with Doulas who also love supporting new families
  • Increases your support network.

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If you’re an expecting or new parent and want more support for your postpartum experience, click below to request an appointment.

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