“Thank you so much for encouraging me to take your Birthing From Within class. I can’t tell you how much I learned. As well, the class was thoroughly enjoyable. I was amazed at how much Dave loved the class too. You are truly an amazing and dedicated educator. Your passion and expertise about birthing really shines through. I particularly liked your emphasis on evidence based medicine, which is an angle that not all educators teach from but is imperative from both a traditional medicine and a midwifery care model.
Thanks again for sharing your wealth of knowledge with Dave and I. We feel much more prepared and confident as to what to expect at our birth. We also feel more prepared to welcome the unexpected and deal with any deviations from our birth plan with greater ease and less heartache.
It was a pleasure to partake in your class.”
-Aimée, First Time Mother and Midwifery Student
“My partner and I took private prenatal classes with Amanda before the birth of our first child. I could not have been happier with the results. My anxieties and fears surrounding both labour and post natal care became excitement and anticipation for a wonderful new challenge and opportunity for personal growth.
Amanda was an excellent teacher and intuitively understood our personalities and learning styles. Our lessons were always very well planned organized, with a great balance of conversation, explanation and hands on techniques. Amanda did an exceptional job of keeping on track with time while managing to keep them very conversational and casual, not an easy feat!
I would enthusiastically recommend Amanda to friends and family. We were very happy to have the intimacy of private lessons, it was such a great advantage for us and definitely one of the best decisions I made during my pregnancy. ”
-W and M, First Time Parents
My baby boy is 4 months old now and I still think about his birth every day. Birthing was for me the most intense, enriching, and liberating experience. Amanda’s amazing and knowledgeable company along the way made it possible for me and my husband to experience birth as such a positive life changing event, especially when the birth scenario changed from what we had pictured. At the first signs that our baby’s birth would not go as planned, I realized we had been prepared to face the unexpected. We ended up having exactly the powerful birth we wanted, even though the scenario and the day following it were nothing like what we had imagined.
From Amanda’s visits and classes, we became confident in our roles in birth and parenthood. Her sensitivity was touching: she was able to promptly guide us, even with our family different cultural background and the fact that my husband just knew a little bit of English. Amanda not only prepared us well, she also stood by us through tough and decisive moments. It was like having a lifelong friend with us. It was a privilege
-Marcela, First Time Mom
Feb 26 2013
*Four years ago, I was in a bike accident witnessed by one of these moms and her sister. She gave me her scarf to help with my state of shock, picked up my partner and drove me to the hospital. I gave her my card so that I could arrange to give her back her scarf and thank her. Four years later, I discovered that she had kept my card and had preemptively decided that I would be her doula. It was a doula-match at first sight! *
Thank you so much for being our dedicated, compassionate, supportive, knowledgeable and caring doula. It sounds funny to say that I knew from when we met you after your bike accident that you would be an excellent birth coach (yay you for having the presence of mind to give me your card while in excruciating pain!) and that I had to use you one day. And so you got to support me (my partner and my baby) in our hour of need (and pain!) and what wonderful, calm and directive coaching you gave us. We really, really wouldn’t have done it without you!
Thank you also for the little thoughtful extras, like allowing us to crash the birth classes and taking great photos as [our baby] was born.
-Jenny, Lisa and little Rafael
“There aren’t enough thank you’s in the world to express the gratitude I feel for you. Labour can be lonely but you and [my husband] never let me feel alone. You never let me despair. And even after all those hours, you never left me. I remember waking to find my hand in yours and feeling like whatever came next, I was cared for and I was safe. That you could be so present allowed me to turn inward and, ultimately, find my way to becoming a mother. I can’t imagine a greater gift for one woman to give another. I hope you know and feel what a gift you are to the world.”
-C, First Time Mom
“Quite simply, I don’t know what we would have done without Amanda to guide us through our birth experience. At the end of a very uneventful pregnancy, all of a sudden it seemed that I faced a complication with every turn. Prior to the delivery Amanda gave us tools that we could use to deal with both our physical and emotional discomfort. In addition to those tools, Amanda’s calm energy was infectious, it helped us relax and gave us the confidence we needed to face the challenges ahead. During our marathon delivery Amanda seemed to know what I needed before I did. Not only did she provide a reassuring voice to me but also to my husband and to the nervous Grandmothers-to-be in the waiting room! I can’t thank or praise her enough. With or without her presence I would still have my beautiful boy but the true gift she gave us was the emotional health to start our journey as parents.”
-Sue, First Time Mom
“Amanda was a rock when our world was being totally shaken; our experience when we had none. She brought our team together, when otherwise we would have flailed. She read what we needed even before we knew how to express it. She brought peace and stillness when we felt panic. Amanda is a magical person who knew to help us just exactly when we needed it, and seemingly disappeared when we were doing well on our own. She is supportive, intuitive, and compassionate. We will hire her for every future birth we are fortunate enough to have.”
- Wendy First Time Mom (Chris’ Wife)
“When my wife said she wanted to hire Amanda, I was skeptical. I believed that we could do this together (just the two of us) and didn’t need to pay
someone to help us through such a personal and private event. With a wealth of experience and support, Amanda quickly became an integral part of
the team. She assured me that everything was fine when I saw my wife in tremendous pain, and helped me to communicate more effectively in the
moment. She also gave us the support we needed to make game time decisions so we didn’t feel pressured into anything we didn’t want to do. I now
consider Amanda a part of our family.”
- Chris First Time Father (Wendy’s Husband)
“Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for having had you as our doula. Thank you so much for being there for me during this extraordinary time. You exceeded any expectation I had of what a doula was. Your patience, calmness, knowledge and reassurance was exactly what I needed. To have someone like you there during the most vulnerable time of my life was a blessing and I am truly thankful. Than you for the moments when your strength and reassurance kept me going.”
-First Time Mom
When I became pregnant with our second child, I was concerned because of my age (I would be 41 when I delivered) and because our first baby was born 6 weeks prematurely and needed to remain in the neo-natal intensive care for 3 weeks. It was important to my husband and I to make this second pregnancy as low risk as possible by reducing our stress levels and getting ourselves pre-natal, labour, and post natal support. Amanda offered us all of that.
My second labour was a rapid one leaving no time for an epidural but Amanda coached me through the contractions and the delivery making it more bearable than I thought it could be! Most importantly, when the doctors and nurses left the delivery room to move on to the next delivery, Amanda remained with us. We are so grateful she did because it was Amanda, not the medical staff, who noticed that our baby’s breathing was distressed. She called the pediatrician back in to check his vital signs. He was then rushed to the ICU where he spent four days receiving respiratory assistance and monitoring. We’re not sure when this problem would have been discovered and what the delayed response time might have meant for our baby’s health had Amanda not been with us.
Even though I was already the mother of one, I found that I learned a great deal from Amanda. She is knowledgeable, warm, resourceful, and professional. My wish for every expecting mom and dad is access to such good doula care.
“Dina’s baby massage course gave me and my partner the most precious of all gifts–peaceful time set aside to just relax and enjoy our baby. Dina also gave us great advice on ways to gently and naturally relieve babies’ intestinal and other pain. Not only did the course exceed my and my partner’s expectations, but, most importantly, our baby loved every second of the in-class massage! And he still relishes the massages I’m able to give him at home thanks to what I learned from Dina. Needless to say, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Dina and her baby massage course!”
“Our little one was having so many gas issues, and I tried everything to help her through this, including cutting pretty much every food I love out of my diet… nothing seemed to work. After a couple of days of the colic/gas massage that Dina taught us, our baby was so much more comfortable, sleeping through the night, and all around a different baby. Instant relief!”
-Wendy & Chris
Todd and I wanted to thank you for the incredibly valuable information you gave us in your prenatal class. The pain coping techniques were put to good use during 20 hours of labour (without pain medication) and then after pushing for a while it was discovered the baby was a surprise breech! So in the end we had a C-section delivery.
The role-playing of C-section birth that we did in class was so useful. I was not freaked out at all because I knew what to expect. Todd was able to firmly and politely stick up for what we wanted, using some of the wording you had taught us: “where can I stand?” “we are going to do skin-to-skin before you take the baby to the nursery” and letting the surgical team know that it was not only our daughter’s birthday that day but mine too — immediately changing the atmosphere in the room from routine to human.
Sally and Todd – First Time Parents”
Even though I am working as a physician, we as a couple wanted more confidence when it comes to giving birth.
We contacted Amanda Spakowski at The Nesting Place and explained to her what we felt we wanted to focus on. We agreed a couple of home sessions would suit us the best.
In advance we were given the opportunity to write down what exactly we expected from these sessions. Pain coping being the primary focus. Amanda planned a custom made prenatal class for us which we found very helpful.
The part we felt was most useful was definitely talking as a couple of how we both had different ways of coping with pain based on our different personalities. I as the supporting role found out how to be most supporting to my wife, in a way that suited her personality instead of assuming she wanted to be supported in a way that might have suited myself better. This was something that we would not have thought of discussing on our own.
We also found it very useful to speak to someone who had a objective way of looking at the time spent on the hospital before, during and after childbirth. Most of our friends with children would gladly inform us of their experiences giving birth, but we found it hard to convert these stories to useful information for us.
We would definitely recommend expecting couples to contact The Nesting Place for support in the art of giving birth.”
Sincerely Andreas Westerlind
M.D Cardiovascular Surgery
We have been discussing our decision to involve you in the birth of our daughter and both agree that it was a very good decision. We appreciate your non-judgmental support, your knowledge and ability to ask questions of the hospital staff even when they didn’t always want to be questioned. [My husband] particularly appreciates the support you provided in coping with pain that was able to alleviate his fears and worries. We wouldn’t have done this any other way. Thank you for being a part of the most important day of our lives and supporting and guiding us through its many challenges. We will never forget the role you playing in bringing our baby girl into the world.
-First time parents
Well, we never thought that we would have required your services for a full 12 hours for number 2! Thanks for being such an invaluable support – so calm, patient & insightful…but most of all, such a great teacher! I realized during this labour that our own calm and relaxed manner had a lot to do with your modelled approach during our first birth. So thanks for everything you’ve done for us!
-Second time parents (and second time clients!)
We both want to sincerely thank you for your support during our son’s birth. You played such an important role and both of us feel that we couldn’t have done it without you. Your calm and reassuring words were a very important touchstone for me during my 50+ hour labour. I also wanted to thank you for the photos you took at the birth. It means so much to have those first images and if you hadn’t taken those pictures I don’t think we would have had any! Is it too early to book you for our next baby!? Seriously, we will be in touch when the next one comes…
-First time parents
Thank you so much for the prenatal classes. I can’t express how pleased I am that we ended up with you at The Nesting Place. Above and beyond the information and techniques, the overall approach to birthing emphasized in the course influenced our decision to plan for a home birth because we felt more confident about our abilities and what to expect and basically how and why being at home would be so beneficial, if we were lucky enough to have a complication-free birth, which we were! It was very much the right choice for us. What a beautiful experience! So thank you again!
-Bonnie & Miguel, First Time Parents
“Thank you so much for an amazing prenatal class. Your warmth, enthusiasm, knowledge and kindness made us so excited to come every week. We learned so much and have even grown closer as a couple.”
-J and M, First Time Parents
“Thank you for a very informative and thought provoking class. We definitely feel more prepared for what’s to come, but also feel closer to each other and to this experience as a whole. We will always be able to look back and know that at least we made an excellent choice with The Nesting Place!”
-L and J, First Time Parents
“We wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed the course- it felt really good to simply sit in that room for two days and focus on what lies ahead. Life has been busy for both of us lately and it has been difficult to really connect and focus on our home birth plan but your course really provided the right environment to do this. Thank you, I think we both feel more reassured of the choice we made after the weekend and have more
confidence in one another that we can do it.
Thanks again for sharing all your knowledge with us in such a calm and reassuring way. You are very good at your job and we are so glad that we chose The Nesting Place to take our pre-natal class.”
-Naomi First Time Mom
“We can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for us. The birthing process is such an important moment in one’s life, and we feel so fortunate to have had you by our sides. Your strength, knowledge and spirit were so comforting to both of us as we navigated our fears. Thank you being such a special part of our lives. you will always be a part of this wonderful memory.”
-J and O, First Time Parents
“We cannot say enough about your classes – I think we drove people crazy over our March Break talking about our Birthing From Within Classes! Leigh Ann has so many ideas now and I feel so much better about how to support her in labour. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful insights and thoughtful, individual teaching. You are obviously very gifted at what you do and anyone who gets to have you as an instructor or support person is also VERY lucky!”
-Angela, Second Time Mom
“Amanda is extremely knowledgeable in her field and is fully invested in the care that she provides to her clients. She’s a genuine and passionate person and gives 100% to her clients. She is a pleasure to work with and when I refer patients to her, I know that they are in caring and capable hands.”
-Dr. Jennifer Wise Chiropractor
“Amanda is professional, caring and passionate about her field and it shows. A client-focussed and compassionate doula offering great services. Doula speed dating is a genious concept and adored by parents!”
-Dr. Kristin Heins N.D.
“Having known Amanda since 2007, we have had the opportunity to learn more of her company (The Nesting Place) and as a client. Amanda is passionate of her work as a doula and has continued to expand her company into “Doula Speed Dating(TM)”.
I would fully recommend all pregnant mother’s to Amanda who is very knowledgeable and highly experienced in her profession. I believe every expectant mother would find it highly beneficial to hire a doula like Amanda.”
-Charisse Lucena Orioghwo
“Amanda is very passionate and dedicated doula. She provides lots of support to her clients and I am very honoured to work with her. I would strongly recommend Amanda as your birth assistant.
-Guiomar Campbell- C. S. T., RN Shiatsu Therapist and Acupuncturist
“Amanda brings creative depth and adaptability to her Birthing from Within workshops that holds the space for deep work in participants preparing for the birth of their baby.
A prenatal class for birthing in awareness.”
-Dr. Tanya Smith TCM
“I had the pleasure of attending one of Amanda’s Speed Dating Nights. I found it to be well organized; the atmosphere was warm, friendly and highly professional. Amanda went out of her way to make sure everyone was comfortable and prepared everyone for a successful night. I would highly recommend Doula Speed Dating.”
-Joan Newington C.D. CAPPA
“You only get once chance at being First Time Parents. My wife and I made the big decision to hire Amanda as an expert in Doula care to help us navigate the emotional, physical and mental rollercoaster of highs and lows that comes with being first time parents. We didn’t want to take any undue chances. We experienced Amanda’s expertise first hand pre, during and post labour – as a first time father I was chilled out and confident that all was good because Amanda was there to co-pilot everything with me.
We both applied accupressure to relieve pain.. it was a great team effort and many triumphs she made happen. I recommend EVERY first time parent who can to hire Amanda as their Doula and at the least to take part in a HANDS ON, EXPERIENTIAL prenatal class – if you want to feel what it will be like BEFORE birth happens – her classes are a must!
Enjoy the miracle of giving life. Amanda helped make the miracle more miraculous.”
“I wanted to write you a short letter to say thank you, thank you. THANK YOU! I am so grateful that we found you. Having our first child was the most challenging and important life experience that I’ll ever have, and your presence throughout the pregnancy, labour and postpartum has made all the different in my attitude, self-knowledge courage and confidence. Because of you I was able to start off this new life experience with a sense of peacefulness that I never thought I would find. We couldn’t have asked for a more qualified and genuinely caring person that you to guide us through this experience.”
-First Time Mom
“We’d like to thank you for the tremendous support you provided to us during the birth. I honestly couldn’t have made it without you! Thanks for putting up with my ‘face cloth’ demands and guiding us through 70 hours of labour.”
First Time Mom
“Amanda was a tremendous support throughout the [birth] journey. That’s an understatement. Without her persistence, her sleepless calm and her experience Delilah’s arrival into this world would have been a much different experience. Andy and I are so thrilled to have hired her, and yet ‘hired’ seems like such a detached and distanced way to describe our relationship. She was me in some of the most vulnerable and intimate experiences of my life, stripped of modesty, politeness or candour.
At some point in Deiliah’s delivery, Andy whispered to me: “Amanda has truly found her calling in life.” I couldn’t agree more. She is good was what she does.
Thanks for giving me the confidence to fulfill my goal. Thanks for witnessing the birth of our beautiful daughter. Thanks for giving my husband reassuring smiles when I was freaking out. Thanks for telling me it was ok to moan, to shake, to vomit, to question. There are a million others ‘thanks for…’ but this is just a start.”
-Shanna and Andy First Time Parents
“I was glad that I learned to ‘find my voice’ in class. Having Amanda vocalize along with me was extremely helpful in overcoming my anxiety/insecurity in this regard.”
-First Time Mother
“My wife and I are deeply relieved and confident about working with Amanda even BEFORE we have given birth. Here’s why: Any first time event is going to be filled with excitement, anxiety and fear of the unknown. Knowing we have Amanda as our Doula, who has successfully assisted over 25 wonderful births is already making us feel calm and reassured that our first birth will be well assisted with her expertise right on site in real time. Every birth is unique and we know we have all the help we need with Amanda by our side to do what it takes in the moment.
We have taken our first 2 prenatal classes already using the birthing from within and are already thankful for deciding to work with Amanda and The Nesting Place. Thank you for making our birthing experience that much better already!! I can’t say enough about how amazing it feels knowing you have an expert like Amanda, as early as possible in your birthing process.”
-Harish Chauhan, First time father
CEO and Author
“I found the Birthing From Within techniques to be so incredibly helpful throughout the entire delivery and birth. Everything we discussed and explored in the classes really helped me to go deep into myself and find my own strength and power. I don’t think I would have been so calm and relaxed without the classes… thank you SO much!”
-Jessie C. First Time Mom
“Just emerging from the centre of the labyrinth slowly and want to take this opportunity to send a quick message to you all to let you know how great our experience was with the Birthing from Within prenatal classes! I used numerous techniques taught and practiced in the classes throughout the pregnancy and particularly during birth to help me remain aware and active throughout the whole process. Thank you Amanda and can’t wait to share my birthing story with you…”
-S.T. First Time Mom
“Amanda’s help with contractions and her calming techniques were invaluable to us. I could not imagine how difficult it would have been without her.”
-First Time Father
“Birthing From Within prenatal classes ask you to go beyond the surface, beyond the information and to tap into your personal internal resources to cope with the birthing experience. It is deep and rich work and Amanda is a skilled and sensitive facilitator. The classes helped me both as a birth support person and also in my everyday life.”
-First Time Mother
“Amanda created a warm, sacred space in our hospital room to make it more comfortable. She brought essential oils, nutritious snacks and really helped dilation with acupressure. I had a complicated and long labour and Amanda was by my side the whole time, massaging encouraging and supporting me in everyway I needed. Another thing both my husband and I appreciated was that Amanda had gone over what to expect in the event of a Cesarean Section (I was really fearful) and in the end I had a C-section and remembr what she had said and found it to be very helpful.”
-First Time Mom
“The questions and conversation in class helped us think through what life would be like after the baby and helped us come together as a unit to work together more closely.”
-First Time Mom
“Amanda has been an incredible addition to the Toronto Birth Community. It is because of Amanda’s great ideas and community spirit that we are continually building a stronger network. Amanda has contributed time and effort and creativity above the call of duty. She has supported me when I needed it and I have nothing but warm praise for her dedication.”
-Jessica Cherniak C.D. DONA 4th Trimester
“Thinking back now that I’ve been through labour, what I valued most about our classes was being encouraged to talk about fears, concerns and anxieties in preparation for birth. Something I learned in class that I didn’t understand but that I was surprised to find helpful during birth was how much I would end up using co-moaning and “go-low” as support. Amanda was wonderfully supportive and sincere.”
-John First Time Father
“With every class I learned something new about myself and that I have it within myself to cope successfully”
- First Time Mom
“Amanda is a skilled, thoughtful and patient facilitator. Her language is also blessedly inclusive”
- Birth Partner
“Amanda is an awesome, dynamic, energetic facilitator and is very knowledgeable.”
- R. B.
“Classes brought me and my partner closer together and reduced our fears.”
-First time Father
“Amanda’s classes made me feel much more centred about my upcoming birth.”
-First time Mom
“Amanda was the doula for the home birth of our daughter, Ava. The birth experience was surreal and so much of it seems a vague memory. But one of the aspects of the night that really stands out is the seamless support that Amanda and my husband provided during labour. I don’t know what was going on behind the scenes but they certainly had things well coordinated! Amanda was calming, has amazingly skilled hands for massage, and can cook up a storm with just the right tastes for a labouring mom. She was gently directive with our midwife which was infinitely helpful during a time when we wanted to only focus on ourselves and the soon-to-be addition to our family.
One of the aspects of having a home birth that we did not anticipate was the mess post delivery. Amanda managed this, including helping to drain the pool from the water birth. She stayed well past the time when the midwives had left to ensure that we were all settled in and visited after to give a much needed ‘mommy break’ so that I could take some time to myself. When I think of our birth experience, Amanda’s presence is at the forefront and don’t believe that we would have had such a successful/beautiful home birth without her loving presence. ”
-Elizabeth First Time Mother
“Amanda made the first couple of months after our son was born a lot easier for me to adjust to. I don’t know what I would have done without her.”
-First time Mom
“Amanda made the whole (birth) experience a lot more relaxed”
-First time Auntie
“Amanda was wonderful! She spent a lot of time with me in the hospital. I found it helpful to have a professional third party present during this time as it took much of the pressure off of me and my family.
Overall she made it much easier to cope, and definately made me feel relaxed and re-assured by keeping me informed and talking with me through what was going on. She also advocated for me to the medical staff and my family about how I felt and what I wanted.
I am very happy to have had Amanda’s support during this time!”
-First time Mom
“Amanda is an amazing doula and a wonderful person!”
-Second time mom