Mary Jo  Lowery Photo

Mary Jo Lowery

Mary Jo Lowery Yoga Doula

Phone: 804-814-7079

Birth Fee: $900

Birth Doula Experience: 16 years and 300 births attended

Doula Training

Not Specified

Clients per Month: to 3

Attends hospital births? All Hospitals
Attends birth center births? All Birth Centers
Attends home births? Any Home Birth

Other Relevant Certifications

  • CPR Certified - Red Cross
  • Certified Prenatal Yoga Instructor- 14 years

College Education

  • BA/BS

Specialized training or previous experience

  • Cesarean birth
  • Families conceiving with ART and IVF
  • High risk
  • Home Birth
  • LGBTQP Families
  • Over 40
  • Plus size mothers
  • Prematurity
  • Single parents
  • Surrogacy
  • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse
  • Teens
  • Twins
  • VBAC
  • Waterbirth
  • Women and Families of Color

Special Services Offered

  • Acupressure
  • American Red Cross First Aid and CPR
  • Aromatherapy

Service Area Map

Area of practice: Richmond, VA
Travel Range: 30 Miles

Client Testimonials for Mary Jo Lowery

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Joanna Papalios

Mary Jo was the birth doula for our first child. She was an amazing support system for both me and my husband. In the months before my son's birth, she was a wealth of knowledge and directed me towards resources that helped me physically and mentally with my pregnancy - including local pre-natal chiroprators, postpartum support, birth class instructors, and good websites and books to help us prepare. She supported my wishes to pursue as natural a childbirth as possible, but then also supported me when circumstances and my mental state opted to go a different way the day of. She guided me through the birth plan process and also was incredibly helpful to my husband specifically. He commented after the birth that he was so happy that Mary Jo was there and that it made him feel so much better to have her in the room. 

During birth, she coached me through when to go to the hospital and how to embrace early labor at home. At the hospital, it was helpful to have a constant and knowledgeable person in the room guiding us through the experience. I also believe many of the positioning exercises Mary Jo did with me helped shorten my pushing time and helped get our baby in a good position. She stayed with me throughout the entire birth. She gave me confidence and strength during periods of time where I felt incredibly weak. Her emotional support and guidance was invaluable. 

After our baby was born, he had to go back into the hospital a few weeks later because of a fever. He ended up being completely fine, but as you can imagine we were ncredibly anxious and worried. Mary Jo stopped by and visited us in the hospital and her visit will always mean the world to me. She also sent our birth class instructor by and referred me to an exceptional postpartum doula that was able to help us adjust when we got home from the hospital the second time. I would use Mary Jo again in a heartbeat and highly recommend her to any new mother exploring a doula. 

Posted 9/22/2017

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Maria Bolognese

I was initially hesitant to use a doula for the birth of my first child but I am so glad that I did and can't imagine the experience without Mary Jo. I was very anxious about labor and delivery and Mary Jo helped myself and my husband feel prepared, confident and calm the entire time. Her approach to pregnancy and childbirth were so welcoming and she was open to my preferences from the beginning. She offered a wealth of knowledge and advice throughout my pregnancy which made me feel so much more confident going into labor. She was flexible during early labor and was with me the entire time in the hospital, guiding myself and my husband through each step. She was a great sounding board for advice dring some decisions we had to make in the hospital, gave me encouragement thorought the delivery and checked in with us multiple times after birth while we were in the hospital and once we got home. Mary Jo truly made our birth experience a more enjoyable one and  I would highly recommend to anyone. 

 

Posted 5/9/2017

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a Lander

If you need a doula to help you with your birth Mary Jo is the one! She immediatly puts your mind and ease, she is calming, blunt in a good way, supportive and will help your mind and body become prepared for birth in every way. After a difficult first all natural birth I was intimidated by my second birth, she gave me the confidence to deliver my second child all natural as well. It was fast and furious in a good way and I am forever grateful that she was there to help me and my husband welcome our baby boy. She is beyond experienced and I highly recommend her.

Posted 5/8/2017

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Kimberly Lord

Mary Jo's birthing expertise greatly contributed to my labor and delivery.  She is amazing at what she does - Mary Jo was there every step of the way!  She laid the groundwork upfront with education, tools and tips to prepare my husband and me.  Mary Jo had all the right words of encouragement & affirmation and the right solutions when things got really tough.  Mary Jo has great relationships throughout the birthing community - her ideas and approach were respected and accepted by the medical team I had which made for a seamless experience.  My husband and I could be completely focused on labor without having to worry about anything else.  It's truly hard to put to words what an asset Mary Jo was to our the birth of her son.  I would highly recommend her and look forward to having her join us in the future as we grow our family!

Posted 4/3/2017

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Jeff Schurott

I cannot say enough about how great Mary Jo was as our Doula. As a new dad, and first time parent, the labor and birth processes were intimidating, however without Mary Jo, our girls birth story could have looked much different. Mary Jo’s expertise, and amazing work made the day so memorable for my wife and me.

With Mary Jo, we were able to optimize the positions of our girls before delivery, worked comfort techniques for mom, and established a “spa like” atmosphere inside the labor room. Mary Jo combines a personal investment in clients, with best practice strategies that proved both effective and successful. She enhanced my personal experience by acting as a sounding board for advice, an extra set of hands for anything that needed to be done, and a care for my wife and I in a relational way that put our needs and interests first. She took the time to meet with us before delivery to establish a birth plan, and followed up with us a few weeks after the girls were born. It were small investments of her time with us and speak to the great care and dedication Mary Jo puts into the people she works with.

I can say with the highest degree of confidence Mary Jo was a “must have” as a part of our team. She was a wonderful addition to birth of our girls, and we likely won’t have any other delivery without her. 

Posted 1/16/2017

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Kristin Sakakini

Mary Jo is wonderful. She answers any questions you have an. Her calming presence puts your mind at ease, and her knowledge of prenatal yoga puts your body at ease. She helped me put together a calming nighttime routine for when I was having constant contractions in my second trimester. And her walk through of what to expect in a car room was incredibly helpful. 

If you're thinking you dont need a doula through a c section consider this. If something goes wrong and the baby has to be taken away, your spouse will probably go with the baby. You'll be left by yourself as you get sewn up. I was incredibly glad to have MaryJo's support. 

Having a baby is one of the most awesomely hard things I'll ever do. Having incredible help makes it easier and less terrifying. Mary Jo is incredible. 

Posted 1/1/2017

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Mary Anne Graf

As a "recovering" nurse-midwife (no long practicing), I'm biased about the wonderful impact of women supporting women in birth. As a prior vice president of women's services for a hospital system, I knew Mary Jo would be a great choice, not only because of her doula skills but because every mother who ever attended her prenatal yoga sessions raved about them. Still, given all that, I was particularly pleased with how well Mary Jo handled some of the stressful family and friend elements that can't always be controlled during birth; her great calming presence; some terrific labor support tricks I'd never seen before (and I've seen a lot of doula/midwife tricks) and her unobtrusive, focused support of my daughter-in-law. We had a ROA going on (which too often converts to a back pain-accompanied OP position), and Mary Jo not only brought a wealth of experience, but had actually just researched brand new management theories. Mary Jo's vast experience is exceeded only by her commitment to constant learning; particularly combined with her yoga approach, you cannot do better. Terrific experience!!!

Posted 12/15/2016

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Laura Petrosky

Choosing Mary Jo as our doula was the best decision my husband and I could have made for the birth of our first child! Even if you take birthing classes, trust me - you want someone there who keeps you AND your husband calm and knows what she is doing. With the help of Mary Jo, we were able to have an all-natural birth without any drugs. Mary Jo really cares about her moms even after delivery. She showed up with homemade lactation cookies and checked in on us several times after our son was born.  If you are delivering at St. Mary's, Mary Jo knows practically everyone on the maternity ward, which is a huge plus if you need anything. She's practically part of the staff! We hired Mary Jo in our first trimester and she was a tremendous resource throughout our pregnancy. Not only did she provide relaxation techniques that improved my sleep, but she also has a vast list of doctors from chiropractors to acupuncturists who can make your pregnancy much more enjoyable! Being pregnant with your first child brings on a lot of questions and insecurities, and Mary Jo was able to take the guesswork out of everything. To quote my husband: "We'll have Mary Jo by our side at every birth." I can't recommend her enough! If you are thinking about a doula, there isn't anyone more qualified. 

Posted 11/13/2016

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Emily Smith

Mary Jo is absolutely amazing! My wonderful OB referred me to Mary Jo after we discovered my transverse baby had turned breech. I was 35 weeks, very uncomfortable, and Mary Jo offered to come over the next day to help me. She helped me with several positions over the course of three days to help my breech baby turn head down at 35 1/2 weeks! She also served as my advocate in labor; instead of being bedridden hooked up to an iv, Mary Jo had so many tricks up her sleeve! We got moving in the hospital, walking the stairs, using the exercise ball, and using positions to help me dilate on my own. This was my fifth pregnancy, and I had never been able to dilate on my own past 1cm, without pitocin and an epidural. So it was the most amazing experience to be in control of my own labor and experience everything I had missed out on before in my last four births. I wish so very much that I had had Mary Jo help me in my other births. Labor on pitocin with those felt like a runaway train, connetted to monitors and confined to bed. This time around, I had the BEST laboring experience of all. Mary Jo came into my life just 5 weeks before Teddy arrived, and I want her to know him all his life because she helped him and me stay healthy and safe, avoid a c-section, and have the quickest recovery, and I will never be able to thank her enough. 

Posted 11/12/2016

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Jessie Allen

Mary Jo was a gem from start to finish. A first time mom-to-be, I was really anxious about labor and delivery. Thanks to Mary Jo and her wealth of knowledge and hands-on support, my husband and I felt prepared for labor and delivery. Long story short, I was in labor for thirty-nine hours and Mary Jo was a priceless resource during that time. She was nurturing, calm, proactive, and attentive. My husand and I tell everyone we know, Mary Jo was invaluable to our birthing experience. And her support did not end as soon as our son was born. Once we were home from the hospital, she continued to check in with us to see how we were adjusting and even brought me homemade lactation cookies to help with nursing. Mary Jo will always hold a special place in our hearts because of the deep care she showed us as she helped us navigate our birthing journey. I hope to have Mary Jo by our side for the births of any babies we are blessed with in the future. She truly is one-of-a-kind special.

Posted 11/3/2016

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Eva Chandler

With my second child and knowing I wanted to try for a VBAC, I understood the importance of having a doula to support and guide us through labor. My OB/GYN highly recommended Mary Jo, and after meeting with her the first time, I knew I wanted to work with her. 

Mary Jo is incredibly compassionate and supportive. She is wealth of knowledge all throughout your pregnancy (and even postpartum). She made sure I had all the resources to adequately prepare for a VBAC and wonderful recommendations throughout the pregnancy to prepare for labor. She checked in on the phone and kept me calm when I was laboring at home, eased my fears and was incredibly supportive. She made sure we had a room with a tub when we arrived at the hospital and seeing her when we arrived at the hospital was so reassuring.

During active labor at the hospital, she encouraged me to try different positions to ease the pain, guided me through breathing and knew just when the right time was to get in the tub. Mary Jo would help with pressure points when I was having terrible back labor and made sure my husband was very involved in supporting me. mary Jo's presence was so soothing but never intrusive. Even when I wanted to give up (and was crying for a csection), Mary Jo never let me give up and believed in me. She knew how much this birth meant for me and helped me re-focus, shift away from my fears and rest during the most intense part of labor. Her emotional and physical support were incredible and truly feel like without her guidance and support, I wouldn't have had a succesful VBAC. 

I feel incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with Mary Jo and value her friendship so much. I don't have the words to express my gratitude and appreciation for all she did for us and hope we have the opportunity to have Mary Jo walk along side us during our next pregnancy. 

 

Posted 8/22/2016

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Sofia Shea

Mary Jo was such a blessing to me and my family.

My OB/Gyn recommedned Mary Jo and I feel so lucky to have had her by our side during the delivery of my second daughter.  We had a natural/unmedicated birth for our first daughter, but I quickly found out that ever birth experience is very different.  Due to PROM, I was in the hospital and in active labor for quite a while.  Mary Jo was right by my side, coaching, offering support to my husband and I, and ever calming.  I can honestly say that I have never felt so physically and emotionally supported.  

Mary Jo is a complete delight to work with.  If we ever have another child, I hope that Mary Jo would be right by my side.  

Posted 8/16/2016

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Rachael Hagglund

While I was pregnant I knew that we needed a doula and Mary Jo was an obvious choice. She has a caring and compassionate nature that you truly get to know during her prenatal yoga classes, which are also a time for her to offer guidance to prepare for labor. After giving birth with Mary Jo by my side, I believe I could not have done it without her.

My husband and I planned a homebirth and Mary Jo was present from the moment I was in active labor, walking with me through contractions and helping to get my baby in a better position for an easier labor. When things grew more intense, she understood what I needed without me having to ask which allowed my husband to focus on being with me.

When our baby was having some trouble we decided to transfer to the hospital. Having planned a homebirth transferring was probably my greatest fear. It was indescribable, really, but somehow having Mary Jo present helped me know that we were going to be okay. I knew that although we were no longer going to have the birth we wanted for our son, she would help us offer him the most gentle welcome possible. I am eternally grateful for her love and support during the hardest and most rewarding experience of my life. Mary Jo helped me find strength that I did not know I had.

Posted 3/30/2016

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Taylor Will

Great doula. Very helpful throughout the entire process. 10/10 would doula again. 

Posted 3/25/2016

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Jordan Childs

As first time parents, Mary Jo was more than essential during our birth experience; she was the calm, informed center of our universe during labor. From the moment she arrived at the hospital, the entire mood of the room shifted for the positive. Even prior to going into labor, Mary Jo was attentive, informative and extremely supportive. She provided resources, experts, yoga and a number of recommendations to help us prepare for our big day. On the day we went into labor, her arrival at the hospital to meet us was nothing less than the equivalent of a special forces team member who supported and advocated for us until well after our daughter was born. She pushed for attention and requested amenities we would never known were even available. During our 27 hour labor, she never left our side. She never got distracted. She never lost focus. For the rest of our lives we will look at that day as how the three of us brought a person into this world and how honored we are to have shared those moments with her. We cannot recommend or advocate enough for her personalized, compassionate and emotional support. She has become friend and family to us. 

Posted 3/25/2016

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Mattias Hagglund

My wife and I had a long, challenging and ultimately rewarding labor (nearly 40 hrs). Mary Jo was such an amazing support throughout; I don't know how we would have made it without her. Her kindness, thoughtfulness and cool head helped to ensure the patience that we needed. Her physical support with my wife and hop-to-it helpfulness with Nancy; our midwife, allowed me to be where I really needed and wanted to be- holding my wife's hands, or walking with her through contractions, any of the many memories that I now have because at the time I felt so secure in our care.

As the labor progressed we had a number of challenges and big decisions to make, ultimately ending up in a trip to the hospital. Our baby's water broke, and after the challenges of the long labor there was a fair amount of meconium in the fluid. Mary Jo was with us the entire time, always a calm and cool presence who helped us make sure that even though our birth plan had to adapt and change that we were still able to be mindful in steering it the best way we still could. While we did end up needing a c-section, we were still able to get immediate skin-to-skin with our son, also a well-delayed cutting of the cord and placenta and a membrane swabbing from my wife to our son.

The birth of our son was a long, sweet experience that I truly feel brought my wife and I closer together as a couple and as new parents. I can't imagine going through any of that without Mary Jo being there, and will always be eternally grateful for the part she has played in our lives.

Posted 3/19/2016

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Kelley Johnson

I cannot express in words how much I appreciate Mary Jo and her presence at the birth of my daughter. I wanted a natural birth, and knew that I would not be able to do it alone. Mary Jo coached my husband on how to encourage me, and she helped me stay calm and in the moment. 

She was able to help me stay focused on my breathing, and reminded me over and over that I could do this (which was an amazing help during transition). Mary Jo was not invasive in her approach, and her experience shined through. She was accomodating my requests before I could ask them. I was able to relax and have the birth I wanted knowing I had my husband by my side and Mary Jo as our coach.

 

I will absolutely use Mary Jo again for any future births. Thank you thank you thank you!

 

 

Posted 3/15/2016

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Ashley Kelly

Mary Jo is such a blessing! She was a constant source of comfort and support throughout the pregnancy and birth of our first child.

Her prenatal yoga class helped me embrace my pregnancy, connect with my baby, and prepare my body and mind for labor and delivery. As I got to know Mary Jo during this time, I knew she was the perfect fit to help us welcome our baby. She went above and beyond by agreeing to serve as our doula even though she was already committed to several other families close to my due date.

I cannot imagine my labor and delivery without Mary Jo by our side. She guided me and my husband through an intense labor with her knowledge, experience, and encouragement. When our birth plan went awry, she helped us make the best decisions for our family. We are so grateful to her for helping us welcome our sweet, healthy baby boy! I highly recommend Mary Jo’s services, and I will certainly be calling next time :)

 

Posted 1/8/2016

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Lindsey Wise

I cannot say enough about the wonderful guidance and support Mary Jo provided to me and to my husband during my pregnancy and the birth of our first child!  I took prenatal yoga with Mary Jo throughout my pregnancy, which was a great way to prepare my body and mind for childbirth.  Mary Jo's class also teaches various exercises to help aliviate the discomforts that come along with being pregnant.  

Mary Jo served as our birth doula and I cannot imagine having done it without her!  Her calm and caring demeanor and expertise was a great comfort to me and to my husband throughout my difficult labor and delivery.   Although I had a birth plan, my son had an entirely different plan for how to enter this world.  Despite all the chaos around us in the hospital, Mary Jo and Rachel (her backup doula) were a welcome source of constant support throughout the process.  My husband and I were faced with many choices we did not aniticpate during my labor and Mary Jo was always there to offer support and insight every step of the way. I highly recommend her services to anyone - whether its your first time or your fifth!

Mary Jo was also a great resource to me after the birth as I recovered offering postpartem doulas and lactation specialists.  

Posted 12/8/2015

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Ashley Anderson

This was our second time using Mary Jo as our doula. Her experience and help during the birth of our second daughter was just as helpful, if not more helpful then the birth of our first daughter. My goal for this birth like the first was to avoid all interventions and I am positive I would not have been successful without Mary Jo. Her presence was extremely helpful and comforting during a long difficult labor. In addition, Mary Jo is very well respected with a lot of nurses and staff at the hospitals in Richmond. I know that I got really great nurses both times partially because of Mary Jo. Anyone considering a doula should definitely consider Mary Jo!

Posted 11/3/2015

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Julia Boyette Monroe

Since my son's birth, my husband only refers to Mary Jo as "Saint Mary Jo".  She's our hero!  I ended up having a difficult labor, over 25 hours despite being induced, and came very close to having to have a c-section.  Mary Jo was with us before I was even admitted to the floor, and she stayed with us the entire time.  She supported my wishes to get as far along as possible naturally with her calm and reassuring demeanor and did not try to push me to continue naturally when I decided it was finally time for the epidural.  She encouraged my husband to play an active role in comforting and assisting me, and her presence was crucial in keeping him (and in turn, me) from panicking during the most challenging moments.  If Mary Jo hadn't been with us, encouraging me to walk, try yoga positions and spinning babies techniques, I believe I would have ended up having an emergency c-section. Further, she helped us to understand the nurses' and doctors' suggestions and their sometimes coded language so that we could best make decisions.  

A note that will tell you what kind of person and doula Mary Jo is: During the night another one of Mary Jo's doula clients came in to give birth, so she called in her alternate doula, Rachel.  Mary Jo and Rachel took turns going between our delivery rooms (Rachel is wonderful as well).  After my 25 hour labor was over, Mary Jo stayed with her second client.  Then, another doula client came in to have a baby and she stayed with HER after that!  She never showed signs of exhaustion, irritation, or impatience, but continued to exude loving kindness the whole way.  Saint Mary Jo indeed!

Posted 10/5/2015

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Amanda Haywood

My husband and I are both healthcare providers-- so it takes a lot to impress us. We were very impressed with Mary-Jo. The facts are simply that Mary-Jo demonstrates a high level of knowlege and skill as a Doula. She delivers this service with professionalism, kindness and grace. We highly recommend her, and hope to use her for our second child.

Posted 9/29/2015

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kate mcgrail

Mary Jo came highly recommended by the staff at St. Mary's Hospital and she exceeded our expectations!  We hired Mary Jo when I was around 24 weeks pregnant to assist us with an unmedicated birth.  At week 34 I learned that my baby was breach.  Mary Jo connected me with an accupuncurist and chiropractor who specialized in turning breach babies, among other things.  She is in the know when it comes to the Richmond pretnatal scene!  In addition, Mary Jo came over to our house to assist first hand with some techniques for turning the baby.  And due in no small part to Mary Jo's advice and efforts, the baby turned!  Mary Jo was constently accessible and knowledgeable over the course of my pregnancy and she patiently entertained my regular texts and phone calls in the weeks leading up to delivery.  She armed me with the appropriate questions to ask at my weekly doctor appointments so that I understood what was happening with my baby and my body. When I went into labor, Mary Jo helped me center my thoughts and had great ideas about how to minimize pain and assist with the baby's positioning.  She is caring and thoughtful -- she even thought to make me a snack during labor!  I firmly belive that I could not have had a successful unmedicated birth without Mary Jo!  Aside from being a fabulous doula, Mary Jo is a kind, warm, loving person and we forged a very nice friendship.  She is the kind of person that you want to be a part of one of the most meaningful experiences of your life!  We are so lucky to have found her!        

Posted 9/15/2015

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Katie Painter

I took pre-natal yoga with Mary Jo throughout my pregnancy so when it came time to pick a doula there was no question that I wanted to work with her.  It was without a doubt the best decision I could have made.

My labor and delivery was absolutely everything I wanted.  Mary Jo used her experience/tips and tricks to help keep labor progressing quickly and to keep me as comfortable as possible during the process.  Not only was she was a reassuring and familiar presence throughout the day, but she helped show my husband how he could help me and be a part of the process as well.  It became an incredible bonding experience for us and he now tells everyone how important it is to have a doula! 

People have already been talking to us about Baby #2 and while we don't have any actual plans for the yet, we will definitely be reaching out to Mary Jo again when the time comes. 

Posted 7/5/2015

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Jo Cronly

Both my husband and I never thought we were the type to have a doula. When we became pregnant with our first child we had a few friends who had sworn by Mary Jo. After meeting Mary Jo at one of her prenatal yoga classes, I instantly knew she would be a great fit and I also knew that my husband would really like her and feel comfortable with her. We were looking for someone to be our birthing coach because we honestly had no idea what we were doing. I think most couples are like that. It felt great to have Mary Jo on our team and as our advocate, there were so many things we would have never known we could do or options we had without her as our doula. Throughout my pregnancy Mary Jo was there to answer questions I had and prepare us if I were to go into labor. She recommended stretches/exercises to do at home to help our baby get into a better position. She provided questions for me to ask my doctor at check ups so that I could have the best idea of what position our baby was in and how soon she might arrive. She provided lots of recommendations for certain food/drink to strengthen my uterus and promote a healthy labor. Throughout all of this advice Mary Jo was very supportive of whatever birthing plan we wanted to have, and emphasized that no one birth plan was right for everyone.

I ended up having to be induced, and Mary Jo was there from the start. Overall my labor and delivery were a great experience because Mary Jo provided me the tools I needed to handle the contractions through position, massage, breathing, etc. My husband was more involved and comfortable helping me through the guidance of Mary Jo. Even though I did end up having an epidural, I would have never been able to labor as long as I did prior without Mary Jo. Mary Jo genuinely cares about the well being of each of her couples and their birthing experience. I would not hesitate to use her again with our next pregnancy!

 

Posted 7/3/2015

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Drew Smith

Upon meeting Mary Jo, my first question was, "What is your and my responsibility?".  I knew that I wanted to be an active participant in the birth of our daughter.  I was a little concerned that I would be pushed to the side and that she would do all the work.  What I learned in our 39 hours of labor is that Mary Jo is happy to be as involved as you'd like her to be.

I was very hands on, front and center, actually helped deliver our daughter - it was an amazing experience!  Mary Jo was there through it all, as a coach for my wife, a coach for me, an advocate for both of us, and when needed, my stunt double (I felt comfortable running downstairs to grab a meal with Mary Jo taking my place).

Our first daughter had to be delivered early via cesarean and we wanted to try for the VBAC.  The laboring process was something that we had not done before.  We had no idea what to expect, and we wanted someone experienced in our corner.  I wanted a partner to guide us through the stressful times and lack of sleep, keeping us on track, reminding us of calming techniques and different positions.  Mary Jo was exactly that!

Posted 6/3/2015

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Amber Clem

I was skeptical about how helpful and amazing having a doula could be during labor/delivery. I have had several friends that swear by doulas but I wasn't sure that it was really all that. After much research and talking to my doc (who highly encouraged doulas) my husband and I decided to meet with Mary Jo Lowery and Rachael Taylor. After the meeting we decided that we wanted to have a doula present especially since this was my first pregnancy/birth. The meetings, the information, emails, text, and phone calls that were made by both these ladies made me feel very much so taken care of. They were with me in the very early hours of the morning and the very late nights. The phone calls helping me breathe and press on and in the labor/delivery room holding my hand and keeping me focused. .
Mary's calm, positive, strong and warm personality was exactly what my husband and i needed to get us through the strenuous labor/delivery. She kept me focused by keeping me moving and staying positive when I wanted to give up. She also made me feel like a champ for pushing through labor and guided us make wise choices during the labor/delivery process.
I honestly didn't even know how much I would look back on my labor/delivery and feel such gratitude for having a doula with us. If you're on the fence or 100% ready to hire a doula, Mary would be a top-notch choice. Her years of experience and confidence causes such relief for a Momma's heart. She is such a sweet lady and I'm so grateful to not only call her our doula, but a friend!
Thank you Mary!

Posted 6/3/2015

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Ashley Smith

Mary Jo is amazing and helped my husband and I achieve the VBAC we were trying for! I first met Mary Jo when my doctor recommended her prenatal yoga class to ease my back pain (and it worked!!). I took her classes all throughout my pregnancy which really helped me focus and breath when labor started. During her classes, she gave priceless advice on easing the discomforts of pregnancy and allowed for time to talk to other pregnant moms (so you know you’re not alone in this).

Once it was go time, I contacted Mary Jo while I labored at home as long as I could. During that time, she stayed in contact and gave us suggestions to ease my pain and help turn my baby (baby was in posterior position). Without her help, I would’ve ended up at the hospital so much earlier than I did. Once it was time to head to the hospital, she met us there and immediately started using her contacts at the hospital to get us the best nurse on duty that night (a first nurse came in and then was switched out). During my labor, Mary Jo made sure we had that best hospital staff she could find. The best thing about Mary Jo, is that she didn’t take anything away from my husband’s experience at the birth. She guided him to help comfort me and stepped in when he was tired and needed a break. She really made this an experience for me and my husband! When she realized I didn’t like the hospitalist doctor that was set to deliver my baby, she let me know that I could ask for the other doctor if she was available (and she was)! I truly believe if we didn’t switch doctors, the other doctor would not have let me push for 3 hours and my birth would’ve ended in another c-section. Mary Jo helped make the birth of our daughter special and so much easier. I truly don’t know how I would’ve gotten through all 36 hours without her! Mary Jo will have a special place in our lives forever. Thanks Mary Jo

Posted 6/2/2015

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Louise Smith

I can't say enough good things about our birth experience with Mary Jo.  I didn't know a lot about doulas and the support they provide when we hired her based on the recommendation of a friend, but for a first child I figured having someone with experience to guide us through the process would be helpful.  She was accessible throughout my pregnancy (take her yoga class - it is awesome and really prepares you for labor!) and provided great recommendations whenever I had a need (prenatal chiropractor, etc.). I ended up being induced, and she was there every step of the way encouraging me and almost more importantly helping my husband provide the support I needed. The nursing staff at our hospital was great, but having Mary Jo there as our advocate made us more confident in our decisions - she has seen it all!  Whether you are set on a natural birth, planning to have an epidural (I did), or even having a c-section, she will provide excellent support.  I was also very impressed by how highly the nursing staff and my OB regarded her/worked with her - she gets a lot of respect on the Labor and Delivery floor for good reason. I endorse Mary Jo without reservation and am happy to serve as a reference.  We will certainly be using her for any future additions to our family!

Posted 5/26/2015

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Charles Smith

I wasn't exactly sure about the concept of a doula when my wife told me about it. To me it seemed like a frivolous expense that pampered pregnant women hired to get in the way. I felt this way until the day before we had the baby.

My opinion changed entirely the day of my child's birth. I don't know what we would've done without Mary Jo.

Having an advocate for my wife and the baby made the process go smoothly. Mary Jo was there the entire time helping my wife through labor and coaching me on how to be supportive to her needs.

Mary Jo has an excellent rapport with the doctors and nurses at St. Mary's Hospitial and hospital staff Respects her and her work. Which is critical to having a good experience.

I strongly believe in her work.

Posted 5/25/2015

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Kate Aliberti

I could not have gone through my 30 hours of labor without Mary Jo supporting my husband and I. Her calming demeanor and soothing touch helped relax me through the worst of the contractions, and subsequent complications. Mary Jo was patient, kind, and caring, even as we were all running on lack of sleep and fatigue. Her support was essential and invaluable, I feel that her assistance gave me the best birth experience for me. 

Posted 4/22/2015

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YF Shen

I knew I would prefer a low-intervention delivery, however, being new to the country and pregnant for the first time, I didn't know what options I would have. So I chose the hospital that has relatively higher intervention rate. Luckly, I met Mary Jo at the last trimester of my pregnancy, and immediately realized that a doula would be the solution. Through her Yoga class and prarental workshop, I knew she is the kind of doula I would like to work with.

My water broke before we even signed the contract, but Mary still made it there. Not only felt relieved, we also realized how helpful she was, especially giving birth in such a the hospital - quite trational and wasn't very low-intervention friendly. Mary successfully accelerate my labor, helped me to manage the pain, and avoid what I didn't want: Epidural (and even C-section.)

 

Posted 4/10/2015

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Ana Allin Lim

Mary Jo deserves the highest level of recommendation possible!  She played a crucial role in the birth of my son.  She provided excellent literature, meditations, music, prenatal yoga, and books in preparation for the birth.  She was easily accessible by phone, email, and in person for questions.  Mary Jo gave advice during my early labor that saved me from unneccessary medical procedures and allowed me to labor at home for a greater time- which was one of my goals.  She thought of EVERYTHING during the birth- candles around the bathtub, massage, oil, stretches to facilitate pelvic opening, suggestions for my husband on how to provide support, dimming the lights, assistance with my baby's initial breastfeeding latch, extra blankets and towels, verbal encouragement and love... just to name a few!  I can't begin to imagine this experience without Mary Jo, and will recommend her to all my friends and family.  She demonstrated the immense value of having a doula, and I will be calling her for the birth of our second child when the times comes!  THANK YOU MARY JO- YOUR SUPPORT MEANS THE WORLD TO ME!!!!

Posted 3/25/2015

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Lauren Tucker

My husband and I are so thankful that we had Mary Jo to support us throughout the end of my pregnancy and through our son's birth. Mary Jo met with us at our house a few weeks before our son was born. She answered the 100+ questions I had about labor, guided us through making a birth plan, and generally helped me feel at ease about what was to come.

Last Friday my contractions started and Mary Jo kept in touch almost hourly over the next 24+ hours to check in and support me while I was laboring at home. We went to the hospital at 1:45am. Mary Jo met us there. Mary Jo and my husband helped me through a very tough 16+ hours. Mary Jo was non-stop. I'm not even sure she ate or drank anything!!

Without going into all the details, I want to say that Mary Jo made it possible for my husband to be there for me 100% and that's really what I'm the most thankful for. He was there with me at every moment and confident in his ability to support me. It was such an incredible bonding experience for my husband and I.

While my little man's plan to come into this world ended up being different than the plan his dad and I originally wrote, I never once felt any pressure to pursue interventions that I felt uncomfortable with. That is a testament to how amazing it was to have Mary Jo advocating for me behind the scenes. When it became clear that I needed to consider options outside my original natural plan, I wasn't scared or anxious because my husband and I were able to talk through our decision with Mary Jo.

I would highly recommend her to anyone looking for peace of mind going into the birth of their child.

As an aside, I would not have made it through my labor without the prenatal yoga classes I took with Mary Jo. I genuinely believe I would have required additional interventions much earlier on.

THANK YOU MARY JO, you’re now part of our family!

Posted 1/29/2015

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Lauren Hughes

Mary Jo was such a valuable resource for me during my pregnancy and delivery. My first birth experience ended in a c section. I wanted to avoid surgery the second time around. Mary Jo advised me and provided information for me to be successful. She answered all the questions I had and helped me to make the best decisions for me and my baby, and this was all before I had even hired her as my doula. I felt so comfortable with her advice, wealth of experience, and knowledge, I knew I wanted her support during my labor and delivery. Mary Jo met me at the hospital at 12am when I was in labor. She stayed with me until I delivered at 2pm the next day. She helped make me and my husband comfortable both physically and mentally during a long and difficult labor. Her presence never felt over bearing, more like an extra set of hands. The memory that sticks with me the most was during the delivery my son had a shoulder distocia. I had no idea what was going on and then suddenly there were doctors and nurses and people yelling "nicu". It felt like I was drowning or spinning out of control. I opened my eyes (probably at Mary Jo's insistence) and there she was, calm, reassuring, confident, right next to me. She felt like my anchor. She was able to get me focused again and I was able to safely deliver my 11lb 10oz son via VBAC. I know I would not have been successful without her guidance during my pregnancy and delivery.

Posted 1/8/2015

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Josh Rogers

Mary Jo is awesome. From the time of our first meeting, we both felt very comfortable with her and her attitude towards the birthing experience. One of my biggest concerns with using a doula was that I might be left out of the birthing experince. She addressed this immediately and stated that she was there for our support and to help make suggestions to help us achieve our goal.

My wife had a c-section with our first child due to failure to progress and we were really hoping to have a successful VBAC. The morning labor started, we contacted Mary Jo and we were already considering going to the hospital as the contractions had become pretty regular. She immediately offered to come over and sit with us which we gladly accepted. Having Mary Jo at the house was fantastic. She kept us busy, helped Carrie with different positions to try during contractions and generally provided a very calming influence for both of us. Carrie labored at home for 5 hours and around 2:30 we went into the hospital.

After arriving, Mary Jo introduced herself to all the staff and made sure we had everything we needed. She continued to help us through a long labor and various positions to help bring the baby down. Finally after 8 more hours, my wife was able to have a vaginal birth! It was a really wonderful experience, and having an expert in labor facilitated a remarkable birth.

Posted 11/17/2014

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Pheebsters Mom

Why We Needed a Doula
After having a C-section with our 1st baby, my husband and I knew we needed a VBAC with our 2nd baby. Because our 1st baby "failed to progress" and our doctor couldn't explain why, a friend suggested we hire a doula to help us stay calm and get into the best labor positions in case we ran into the same issues with Baby #2.

Finding Mary Jo
We asked on Facebook for referrals and found Mary Jo through a friend who had worked with her. Then, after looking over dozens of profiles, we met with Mary Jo. I knew as soon as we met that she was the doula for us; she had the perfect balance of kindness and business that I wanted from a coach during a time when I would need lots of guidance I could trust. I felt that she also had the sensibility and experience that would make my husband comfortable (he's a doctor and needed to be able to trust the advice and medical insights of our doula).

During Labor
Our 2nd labor was nearly identical to our 1st--except that we were able to stay calm, focused, and in-control.

I texted Mary Jo shortly after 5am to let her know we'd been in labor for a few hours. By 8am, I was ready to go to the hospital. Instead, Mary Jo suggested coming to our house, as she sensed I wasn't ready yet. We labored at home until 2pm! Mary Jo kept me distracted and calm as we worked through various positions--it was a very pleasant and enjoyable day!

Once at the hospital, Mary Jo showed no judgment when I got the epidural. Instead, she worked with my limited mobility (I could move my legs, but had to stay in bed). She kept me moving into different positions to help the baby descend and kept me focused on the VBAC for 9 more hours, even when I started to worry.

After 21 hours, we pulled off the VBAC. My husband and I agree that it wouldn't have been possible without Mary Jo! We'd absolutely recommend her!

Posted 11/5/2014

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Hampton Eubanks

I thank my lucky stars that Mary Jo was my prenatal yoga instructor at Yoga Source. When I first began her class, I was with a community hospital affiliated OB-GYN group.  I had always hoped to deliver my children naturally.  I wanted to feel my baby make his way into the world and wanted to be supported by those who would allow nature to take its course and not rush the process.  When I began to have concerns that my doctor/group may not provide this type of care, I pulled Mary Jo aside after class to ask for her advice.  This turned out to be a watershed moment in my life. I am forever thankful that I did "trust my gut," leaving my OB-GYN for the unparalleled care of the Midwives at VCU Medical Center.  After having made this important decision, I also knew that Mary Jo was THE doula to support me and my husband in the delivery room.  Mary Jo's knowing and calming demeanor was exactly what Ben and I needed during our 10 hours of labor.  Not only was her constant support an incredible comfort to me, but she expertly coached Ben, allowing him contribute to the experience in a meaningful way.  Mary Jo showed Ben where to apply pressure to my lower back, relieving pain.  She demonstrated how to best hold me when I was laboring on my feet.  She helped us both breathe through the contractions, using many of the techniques she teaches in yoga. She calmed Ben's nerves by assuring him that everything I was experiencing was a natural, normal part of the process. I am eternally grateful that Ben and I can look back on the birth of our son as a team effort, with Mary Jo playing the integral roles of tireless cheerleader and coach!  Guy's birth was a positively transformative event in my life. I recommend Mary Jo to any woman who understands that having the right support is critical to achieving a positive labor and childbirth journey. My family is very fortunate to have felt Mary Jo's steadfast support.

Posted 9/16/2014

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Morgan Gammon Witham

Mary Jo was the ultimate calming force during my labor and delivery.  I attended her prenatal yoga classes for 6 months leading up to my delivery so I felt like we have a good relationship established, and I knew I felt very comfortable (and comforted) around her.  Her yoga classes were paramount in my ability to calm my mind and relax my body - and her guidance through my labor and delivery helped me achieve my desire to have a natural birth, and do so in as relaxed a state as possible.

Upon first arriving at the hospital, and after receiving a bag of antibiotics (I tested positive for the Group B strep test), Mary Jo got my husband and me on the move.  I changed into my own gown/robe and we took off to walk around the hospital.  We checked in several times with the nurses/doc, but otherwise stayed on the move.  Lunged up and down some stairs and just kept walking.  Mary Jo was very helpful during contractions - both helping with massage and pressure points, encouraging my breathing habits, reminding me to relax certain parts of my body, and also guiding my husband to help me.  Due to the positioning of baby's head, she and the nurse assisted in some movements to help improve its positioning.  Mary Jo also helped me find new and different positions to help me cope with the contractions.  While I'd read books, taken Mary Jo's birthing class, and otherwise educated myself as much as possible on coping strategies, etc., I think it all went out of my brain during labor/delivery.  I was in such a zone during each of my contractions that I had no room in my brain to think of different positions, better movements, breathing techniques, etc.  We absolutely would not have had the wonderful experience we did, had it not been for Mary Jo's guidance.

Posted 9/12/2014

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Brittany Averette

Mary Jo is incredible! She guided me through pregnancy, sending me helpful articles and giving advice as well as teaching my prenatal yoga class. She was sure to take care of momma and baby, both our body and soul. 

She was my advocate in the hospital, asking for amenities that I would not have known existed. I literally could not have labored without her. When my husband called at 1am, she was there within minutes, and took charge. She got me out of bed, moving around, and helped me carry out the techniques for pain management that we'd practiced (good thing, too, as the Bradley method/relaxation techniques did NOT work for me. I had to get up and MOVE!). She drew a warm bath and created a nice, relaxing ambiance for me with low light and music. I literally fell asleep between contractions! She was my encourager, my motivator when I was at my low points (that is, screaming, "i don't think i can do this!"). I was doubtful of my ability to have a natural, drug-free labor but I DID IT. I largely credit Mary Jo. My labor & delivery is an experience I will remember forever. I think of it often with awe and wonder. 

It's definitely important to find a doula that you mesh with personally. They are going to see you at your most vulnuerable and be with you through the most transformative experience of your life. Yes, they are and should be professional, but I think it's important to have a a personal connection with them as well. 

Posted 8/13/2014

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Paola Parsons

Mary Jo was both my doula and prenatal yoga instructor. She was amazing at both. We opted to not have family in the delivery room with us so it was great to have a familiar, nurturing, loving person present to help my husband and me get through my long labor. She met with us several times prior to delivery. She went over our birth plan, answered all of our questions and made us feel ready. When the day came, she came to our home and labored with me for a few hours. Mary Jo knew exactly how to make me feel more comfortable during my painful contractions using massage, scented oils, and calming words of encouragement. When we arrived at the hospital, she continued to be by my side. I was in labor for another 7 hours at the hospital and Mary Jo literally held my hand the whole time. I couldn't have asked for a more caring, calming soul to be with me and my new baby. Once our baby finally arrived, Mary Jo stayed with us for a few hours until we were all stable and then she went above and beyond by stopping by our house on her way home to deliver our placenta to the women who would later encapsulate it. A week after the birth of our baby, Mary Jo stopped by our home for a casual "debriefing". We relived the whole birth and talked about what we liked and didn't like about our birth story. It was a nice way to round out our doula relationship with Mary Jo. The whole experience felt complete. I would recommend Mary Jo over and over again. 

Posted 8/5/2014

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Ashley Anderson

Mary Jo was my prenatal yoga instructor and my doula. Hiring her was one of the best decisions my husband and I made. I knew I wanted to avoid an epidural and I know now that I never would have made it through 33 hours of labor without medication without her. She provided support for both me and my husband during the birth of our daughter and helped make it a positive experience. I will most definitely hire Mary Jo for the birth of our next child. 

Posted 7/30/2014

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Kim Cressy

I cannot say enough good things about Mary Jo!

I first met her at a pre-natal yoga class which she taught. She is very knowledgeable (great advice to pregnant moms in the class with various aches and issues), professional and friendly. I met with several potential doulas and Mary Jo was hands down my first choice. First because I had an opportunity to meet her several times in class, which made me comfortable around her. Secondly, I like that she is laid back and was open to whatever birth plan I chose (natural vs. epidural). I intended to have a natural childbirth but, due to complications, wound up having an epidural. It was Mary Jo's assurance at a very difficult and painful time that helped me make that decision.

I have found some doulas to be almost artificially upbeat; not Mary Jo. I like how real she is. My husband is also a big fan of Mary Jo. My contractions lasted a very long time and occured in the middle of the night while we were at the hospital. Mary Jo was able to relieve my husband of being constantly "on". And the joy and emotion on her face when my daughter was born - so genuine! We all cried when my daughter was born!

Several weeks after childbirth I ran into additional issues (failure to thrive due to a low milk supply). I had to nurse and pump around the clock and, with a full-time working husband and no family in the area, it was a truly terrible time. I was able to hire Mary Jo for several hours during the two weeks when I most needed help. She was a lifesaver. 

I recommend Mary Jo with great enthusiasm. 

 

Posted 7/29/2014

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