Meet Our Team
Helen Herzig, CD (Labor doula, placenta encapsulator, postpartum doula)
Helen is the original “Aussie Doula” and mum to over 250 birthing families. She is mum to 5 children from elementary school through college. Her accidental path to becoming a doula presented itself when a close friend asked her to come to her birth. The spark that birth inspired became the beginnings of Aussie Doula as we know it today.
Her reputation spread quickly and now she has an incredible hand picked team of doulas helping her inspire families to have supported and positive births in our local Charlotte community. Helen has a passion to mother the mothers and encourage a sense of community and connection in a ever changing community full of natives and transplants alike. Her monthly meetups are filled with friendship, connection and education.
Karen Gartner RN, BSN, CD (Labor Doula, Childbirth Educator)
Karen Gartner has lived with her husband and 4 children outside of Charlotte since 2005. She has a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Nursing and is also a Certified Doula. Her previous experience as a NICU nurse has definitely helped her in her doula work. Her clients appreciate her medical knowledge as well as her passion for educating clients about their options throughout pregnancy and birth. Karen has attended many workshops over the years to help enhance her doula skills and give her many tools to help when unexpected situations arise. She spends many hours researching and gaining knowledge concerning birth-related topics and wants to share her knowledge with you. When you work with Karen, expect to find a life-long friend. In her "free" time, Karen enjoys homeschooling her children and spending time with her family. Karen loves being a part of the amazing Aussie Doula Team!
CARLEY SOMA, CD (Labor DOULA)
I am delighted to call Charlotte my home of 2 years after relocating from England with my husband and two boys. I am also blessed to be a foster mom. I attended my first birth in 2003 and took a training in the U.K. I took further training through DONA here in the U.S.
My belief is that if a woman feels she has choices and is in control of her body, that she is more likely to feel relaxed and progress through labor, leading to a more positive and empowering birth experience. Birth does not always go as planned but having someone who fully supports your choices and holds no judgement is a powerful tool. I have worked with moms with high risk pregnancies after my own daughter was born sleeping. When I’m not attending births I can be found enjoying nature with my family.
Paige Brayton, bSN (labor doula)
Hi friends, I’m Paige. I am a wife, mom to two, health enthusiast and have a registered nurse background. I previously worked in the mother/ baby unit at one of Charlottes biggest hospitals taking care of moms and their newborns postpartum. Helen was my doula with my youngest. I can’t explain the abundance of peace she brought to our birth story. Through my own experience with Helen - I realized my own passion and love for empowering others to find their dream births. To be a part of her team is truly a honor!
Keslie carrigan, BS (PostpartUm DOula, New parent educator)
A North Carolina transplant when she was 5, Keslie considers herself a Charlotte native after calling the area home for 22 years. Growing up, Keslie was known to always have a purse on her shoulder, her baby doll in a stroller, and forcing all of her friends and their younger siblings to be her “students.” Keslie lives in Huntersville, NC with her boyfriend and their two cats, Eloise and Peter. She loves reading, crafting, cooking, yoga, and has serious wanderlust. After earning her Bachelor’s degree in special education with a minor in psychology and teaching in the classroom, in 2015 she decided to take a leap of faith - leaving her job to become a professional nanny. During this time she has had the pleasure of working with many amazing families with newborns. Every one of them different, but all of them needing one thing: nurturing. Nurturing means different things to different people and that’s where she comes in. It is on her heart to ensure all birthing people and their partners feel nurtured and supported after the birth of their precious baby (or babies). This is where she discovered her passion for the postpartum period and became a Postpartum Doula and New Parent Educator trained with CAPPA.
Galia Lapidot-Boaz (Postpartum Doula)
My name is Galia, a wife and mother of three. After many years in the early education field, I decided to to make a career change and become a postpartum doula (CAPPA trained), to provide the opportunity for new mothers to have an empathetic, non-judgmental, supportive individual present during the first crucial period after birth. I strive to create a space for the mother and new family, to feel supported, empowered and nurtured by guiding you to follow your natural maternal instincts.
Lesley Poplin L.Ac., MSTOM (licensed acupuncturist and herbalist)
Lesley obtained her Masters Degree in Science of Traditional Oriental Medicine from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego, California. Throughout her life she has always been interested in health, natural remedies and wellness. She always wanted a career in helping others and felt lead to pursue this calling. After grad school she was excited to move back to North Carolina and help those in her hometown and community.
In addition to her studies and internships in the US, she was blessed to continue her studies abroad at the International Acupuncture Training Center, and Hospital of Acupuncture and Moxibustion in Beijing, China. There she studiedand worked along side of top Chinese doctors having clinical rounds in different departments such as: OBGYN, Pediatrics, Pain Management, and Neurology. She found her passion while working in the OBGYN department, and chose to focus her practice on Women’s health, infertility, pregnancy, and postpartum care.
Outside of work and studies motherhood is the highlight of her life, she has two children Luca and Sage. She loves spending time with family and friends, worshiping God, being in nature, yoga, traveling and enjoying every minute of this precious life!
Lesley was so blessed to have Helen and Paige as her Doula for both births. She said their gentle spirits and calmness radiated the room making her feel calm, relaxed and encouraged. She said their guidance and support was everything in those intense moment and made her feel secure having them by her side.
Melissa Thomas Birth/Postpartum Doula
My family and I recently relocated to Charlotte and we are loving it here. We are excited to grow our roots here in Charlotte. I am a wife and mother of two children, Andre (7yo) and Margaux (2). My children are my world.
Working with children is my passion. I have spent my entire life working with children from being a mentor for several nonprofit organizations, a nanny, a preschool teacher and stay at home mom.
My goal as a doula is to help parents navigate this transitional time while feeling respected, informed, confident and happy. I strive to build confidence in parents by providing them with support, practical tips, tools and community resources. Whether it’s helping them smoothly transition into parenting, going back to work or managing multiple children, I will provide nonjudgemental and nurturing support based on the families individual needs. I am invested in providing family centered support to make sure everyone in the family is thriving.
Brooke Atkinson (Birth Doula /CBE)
Born and raised in the Charlotte area, I five naturally born children (four of whom were born at home). Like Helen, my husband is from Australia.I have been working as a labor doula and childbirth educator since 2006. I have attended over 250 families as a labor doula and over 500 as a childbirth educator. Starting as a Certified Bradley Instructor, I now teach a natural childbirth class that is heavily influenced by The Bradley Method, Dr. Sarah Buckley and her book “Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering”, and my years as a mother and birth worker. To further provide for my clients I obtained my Lactation Educators certification. For over a decade I have been a community herbalist. I love to educate people and help them heal and support themselves using safe and natural methods.
My belief is that every family has the right to make the decisions they feel are best and safest for them. I also believe they have the right to true informed consent with the pros and cons for any and all test, procedures, and treatments. I recognize that every family will make a choice that is unquiet to them and I will endeavor to support them in achieving those desires.