Red Tent Families

“From the moment I met Kim, I was put at ease about the birthing process. Her calm and reassuring demeanor quickly made her a trusted friend we could rely on for answers and advice. As a physician, I was impressed with her grasp of the medical aspects of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. However, my wife and I were even more impressed at Kim’s ability to instruct us on the Bradley method in an easy to understand and practical manner. During labor and delivery, Kim helped my wife labor efficiently while keeping us informed about the different stages. As an added bonus, she took the most amazing pictures of the birth that we will cherish forever! Overall, Kim exceeded our expectations and we would happily recommend her to anyone whether it were the first or fourth birth.”

Phil, Andrea, & Laila

“My experience with Kim was fantastic.  My friend Kelly had recommended her and as soon as we met I knew she had to be my doula.  Kim has the biggest heart ever and her hugs have a way of feeling like home.  She is intuitive, gentle, and a great listener.  We used her as our Bradley method coach in lieu of taking a class elsewhere.  Each session that we had with her in my last trimester left my husband and I feeling more and more comfortable wth the birth process.  She takes the time to really get to know you and your partner and manages to soothe any concerns/fears that you may have.

Kim is also wonderful because she is so easy to get a hold of, either through email/text/phone, she was always available to listen. This was extra valuable when I went into labor, we stayed in pretty regular contact with Kim throughout the day and when my labor became active she would listen to my contractions and guide me through what was happening.  She also kept us at home long enough so that by the time we made it to the hospital I was already 7cm and ready to go.  Kim was a wonderful presence to have during labor, she was attentive but not overbearing and she was there with words of encouragement or just silent support- she knew what to do and when to do it.  i had a great birth experience and I know that Kim had a lot to do with that.  I highly recommend Kim as a doula, she will make you feel like a beautiful fertillity goddess before, during, and after your birth.”  Jess

“Kim was the doula for the August 2015 birth of my daughter.  We interviewed several doulas and as soon as ‎we met Kim I intuitively knew she was the person I wanted to share this journey with. Her energy is warm, positive and loving. And all those good vibes are backed up by knowledge and experience. I also loved that she focused as much on my husband as on me. It truly felt like she regarded the three of us as a team and since I knew that during labor I would be completely in their hands it was important to me that he felt empowered.  Throughout my pregnancy Kim was source of information, encouragement, light, positive vibes and comfort. Kim is steeped in knowledge but was never dictatorial. I always felt comfortable consulting her for advice and ultimately listening to my own body and spirit to decide how to proceed.

With her guidance we were able to labor at home a long time and arrive at the hospital at 9cm ready to go exactly as I wished and never could we have done this on our own or without her mindful attention to all the details. My daughter was delivered within an hour of our arrival!  I truly believe that the bond of trust we developed during our pregnancy and the guidance she gave my husband while I labored helped us realize the birth experience we had hoped for. During delivery I was able to look over to her for strength and breathing support. And right after delivery she was able to help me get breastfeeding going. Anyone can train to do this work but I think Kim is called to it and is doing what she was put on this earth to do – take women by the hand and usher them into motherhood. I can’t recommend her highly enough.” Medina & Kareem

“I conducted a fairly extensive search for the right doula for my second child and knew almost immediately that Kim was the right choice. We had a connection right off the bat and I knew that I would feel comfortable having her present for one of the most important days of our lives! Plus, my 18 month old son took to her right away, and I think kids are great judges of character! Kim visited with us two times prior to my daughter’s arrival and each visit spent a lot of time not only discussing our plans and wishes for labor and delivery, but just generally getting to know my family and getting a sense of who we were. I believe that this went a long way in her being able to guide us through the laboring process. In the weeks leading up to my daughter’s arrival, she was always available to me via text or phone to answer questions or just listen. Plus she provided me with some great literature and resources about childbirth and all things post-partum. When the day arrived, she was such a calming presense for myself and my husband while we labored at home. At the hospital, Kim was instrumental in getting me through a fairly quick but painful labor. She massaged, applied counterpressure, cheered me on and made sure that I stayed hydrated. I had planned to deliver my daughter without an epidural (I had one for my first delivery) and in a few moments of weakness, she was able to help me work through the pain and self-doubt and I was able to achieve the natural childbirth that I wanted. I truly belive that I would have broken down and gotten the epidural without her! I highly recommend Kim to anyone who is looking to make a doula part of their birth team!” Victoria

Kim and I had an instant unexplainable connection.  She is a very calm and knowing Doula who provided a wealth of information, support, and confidence.  Her visits to the home were both fun and informational.  She has a rare ability to read a situation and provide guided support based on your personal situation. In the hospital she was a gem.  She managed the hospital staff and protocall like a true advocate and professional.  I was happy to have her by my side in delivering my baby. Knowledgable, supportive, calm, knowing, and my new bff.” Kelly

“My husband and I enrolled in a Bradley Method birthing course – a pretty extensive labor preparation that consisted of eight weeks worth of classes.  We were encouraged during this process to seek out the services of a doula – something I thought I’d never be open to.  Yet, I found myself curious. After looking up many (and I mean many) New York City-area doulas, I found myself most interested in Kim’s services, despite the fact that she hadn’t gone through labor herself (something that I thought previously would be a requirement for me).  After one meeting, it was clear that her warmth, care, and sincere interest in my burgeoning family were going to be more than enough to convince me…and even my somewhat wary husband. We don’t regret the decision at all.  Labor was painful, as I expect most, if not all are, but I was so comfortable with Kim from the multiple (not just one or two) meet-ups we had beforehand.  She knew our personalities and what we needed to get through it all.  And, after twenty hours of labor and a baby whisked off to the NICU, she was there for me as a concerned new mom. Finally, we have all remained friends months afterwards, and Kim has continued to be a friend, caring for my son as I navigate career decisions vs daycare options as well as an incredible resource for new mom information and even new friendships with other moms.  No matter where I live when we have another child, I will absolutely  find a way to make sure Kim is present during the process again.” Lanie


“Choosing a doula is about more than a consideration of experience, training, and expertise… it’s about bringing someone into your family at the most precious and personal time of your lives. For us, we knew Kim was the perfect fit right away. Not only is she incredibly knowledgeable and deeply passionate about what she does, she has such one of the most truly giving and open hearts we’ve ever encountered. And she brought all of these marvelous traits into our home and delivery room, which resulted in a truly beautiful and sacred birth.” Jen and John

“You are “that” person that we rave about- the fabulous hairdresser, the wonderful massage therapist, or better yet that doula!  I’m going to talk up a storm about and send EVERYONE to you. Because I want everyone know you because what you offer as a birthworker is unique and rare.” Meredith

“When I think of the birth journey my husband and I took with Kim, it reminds me of the poem, “Footprints in the Sand.” During the hardest times in our travels, she carried us. Thank you, dear Kim, for helping us bring the most perfect human being into the world.”

May, Ahmed and Maddie

“We truly consider Kim to be part of our family. We interviewed countless doulas and were so fortunate to find her and that she was available. She is knowledgeable, passionate and genuinely cared about our journey of becoming new parents. We felt a strong connection with her immediately, like we had known her for years. She supported and carried us from beginning to end. Kim was very helpful as extra hands and lots of walking were needed for hours and hours. I had no idea birth was so physical for everyone including Dads!  She answered all my unspoken questions during labor (seriously) as if she was reading my mind (she was apparently) and  kept me focused guiding me to help and support my wife to labor and birth to our beautiful daughter. If and when we decide to have another child we can confidently say we will choose Kim every time hands down! “ A Very Proud Husband and Dad

to doula or not to doula


Posted February 19, 2016 by admin & filed under baby, labor, pregnancy

“When you picture yourself giving birth, who is in the room with you? Other than the doctors and nurses, there will be your partner, probably. Your mom? Maybe. What about someone that, most likely, you only met a few months before, who probably hasn’t even met your family?

Sure, if you don’t know any more details than that, the idea could make you a little uncomfortable. I, for one, wasn’t sure if I needed anyone else in the room looking at my lady garden. But, when that someone is a doula — a trained birth coach — she (or I guess he) can provide much needed support for you and your partner.

While I had heard of doulas before, I wasn’t planning on using one. It seemed way too crunchy for me and I wasn’t sure how much I wanted a virtual stranger to be witness to basically the most intimate moment of my life. But, after reading Expecting Better, I changed my mind. Emily Oster, who wrote the book, has proof of everything she advocates. In the case of doulas, women who retain their services during labor had a very reduced chance of c-section or other birth complications. And that was pretty much enough to seal the deal for me.

Luckily, Beth Israel hosts a Meet the Doulas event every few weeks with Birth Focus. As I mentioned in this earlier post, it was essentially speed dating with doulas. And, since it was free, it allowed me to learn about what hiring a doula entailed and to decide if it was going to be right for me and Mike. At the event, I met with a handful of doulas, but really clicked with Kim. Within a few days, we had locked her in for our due date (ha! due date! I’d call it due month, but even that doesn’t apply. Anyway … ) and she scheduled a time to come to the apartment so she could also meet Mike. Now, some of you may be saying, if I already have my husband/partner, why do I need someone else? Well, you don’t, necessarily, but unless your husband is skilled in coaching you through birth, you’re both probably going to be flying a little blind. And if your husband is the queasy type, what happens if he passes out? Do you know how he’ll react when he sees you in a great deal of pain? Plus, while the doula’s primary focus is going to be YOU and your baby, she’s also there to help make sure that the labor and delivery is a great experience for dad as well.

Before I delivered, we met with Kim about three times and went over everything from our birth plan, to what sorts of exercises I could do to help prepare for labor, to what childbirth class we should take and much, much more. She was available basically 24/7 on the phone and always made sure to check in with me after doctor’s appointments or if she hadn’t heard from me in a few days. Overall, it was just uplifting to have someone else in my corner, cheering for me every step of the way, even when my due date came and went and I was feeling rather cranky.

And then, at the hospital, she stayed with us pretty much the entire time, getting there a few hours after I was induced and not leaving until after Avvie was born. It’s important here to note that doctors and nurses will have shift changes; doulas will not. But more than just being there, she convinced the doctor to let me have some apple juice when I felt like I’d been pushing for three days. She made sure that my lips weren’t chapped. She even brushed my hair so that I didn’t look quite as much of a hot mess when we took our first pictures as a family. She TOOK the first pictures of us as a family. Plus, she was there to support and keep Mike company and could deliver updates to our families in the waiting room.

And, most important, when we got into the active labor part of the whole process, she was there to give words of encouragement, help me keep my stamina up and make sure I didn’t start hyperventilating. Considering I pushed for two and a half hours, this was easier said than done.

Since Avvie’s been born, Kim’s already been by to visit her and continues to text and email lots of helpful links, videos and docs about everything from sleep schedules to breastfeeding. A doula’s job doesn’t end with the birth; and there are  even specific post-partum doulas that not only teach you about your baby, but help you to recover, too.

Having a doula may not be right for everyone, but for me (and for Mike), my labor experience would have been poorer without it. Did you have a doula? I’d love to know your experience!

Tags: birth focus, doula, kim kushner, labor doula

“I was initially nervous in talking to my husband, Nobu. I thought that that my traditional Japanese husband might not understand why I would want a stranger at our daughter’s birth. However, once he met Kim in our home he was able to appreciate her gentle kindness and knowledge of births in a hospital setting. He welcomed her as our doula and quickly came to rely on her as much as I did.

“From 34 weeks onward, Kim enthusiastically shared everything. She even made a point of coming to my weekly OB appointments. Her
confidence in me never waivered; and that strength transferred to me. With her support, I never felt frightened or anxious about my ability to birth my baby.

A unique and unforgettable part of our birth experience is the afternoon that Kim planned for us in Central Park. I was feeling depressed and waiting for any sign that the birth was near. To relieve the tension, Kim suggested we have a “pre-birthday party” for Teruna and maybe she would want to join us! We had a picnic, with Kim bringing animal plates and New York’s absolutely best chocolate chip cookies, along with sushi prepared by my mother and Nobu.

The five of us (counting Teruna who was already a prominent member of the family) spent all day exploring the park and taking photos together. This was actually part of my labor! Whenever I share this special day with others, they say, and I agree, that it’s the best birth story they ever heard.

Kim was especially sensitive to our traditional cultural beliefs. She helped to create a soothing and sacred hospital experience for all of us, respecting and including Japanese birthing customs. The recognition of these values was very much appreciated by all of us, something my mother still comments on in her letters.

Kim has become more than my doula, she is family to us. She gives each new mother and family the same enthusiastic commitment and individualized care she gave us; and we congratulate other families for choosing Kim as their doula.” Yuka and Nobu

“In addition to the necessary informational background … being a successful doula requires important personal characteristics of caring and commitment. Kim demonstrates these in abundance. It is my view that not only will Kim’s birth families benefit from her dedication, she will become a leader in the larger community of doulas and contribute to the growth of the field”. Debra Pascali-Bonaro, LCCE, PDT/BDT(DONA)


“After a more difficult birth than I’d anticipated, it was necessary for me to undergo twice weekly postpartum physical therapy sessions lasting for several months. My daughter needed someone to be with her at home, but didn’t feel I had anyone whom I could trust. Then I remembered Kim from our Bradley class and knew that she was the answer. Kim’s warmth and reassurance gave me the courage to leave the house. With her support, I was able to focus on my recovery. While I was in treatment sessions, she sent text messages and photos to put my mind at ease. I’m sure this had a positive effect on my treatments. My daughter loves her and I highly recommend Kim to everyone.”


“Although we decided to hire a doula very late in my pregnancy. Right away, Kim made us feel more than clients and she quickly became part of our family. Kim was generous with the time she spent with us, making sure she knew what we wanted so she could help us achieve the birth of our wishes. There is no “prescription” with Kim, she tailored her attention and service to exactly what my husband and I needed. We love that Kim is still a part of our family and regularly makes time to spend with our son! We love Kim!”

Rebecca and Greg

“As a physician trained as a heart surgeon, I am accustomed to taking care of people in very tough situations. After the birth of my son I was surprised to discover how unprepared I was as a new mother to take care of him.  I felt connected to Kim immediately and she quickly changed our lives, soothing my anxieties, and bringing calm and reassurance.   She took care of me, made sure I had everything I needed close at hand, and helped me learn how to best take care of my baby. With my medical background, it was most difficult for me to allow myself to rest and be the “patient.”  Kim has a special gift for is nurturing and, coupled with her postpartum knowledge, I cannot recommend her highly enough for her ability to instill confidence and provide the too often overlooked after-care needed by every new mother and child.” Aiden



“It’s really hard to decide on your Doula. Hard enough deciding it’s “OK” to have one. But for me the decision was made after we had our initial meeting and Kim. She was so comfortable to be with and open up to. She asked me about my first birth and what that experience felt like and for the first time I was able to recognize the loneliness that I felt during labor with my first child. I knew then, why I had to have a Doula. Kim said, “You won’t be alone this time,” and I knew that she was going to be the one to be there for me. She didn’t let me down.

My biggest concern this time around was to have a natural birth and in order to do that I needed to be relaxed. Kim had a bag full of aromatherapy and immediately got me hooked up. I had heard about the Bradley Method but knew nothing more and worried I was too far along to do anything about it. Not Kim! She brought me the book, copied pages from other material, and not only encouraged me to read it and follow the steps but helped me to do it when we met. She brought me relaxation CD’s and tea, and gave me company when I needed it so late into my pregnancy and with the added stress of having just recently moved to the city. Kim even gave me my first tour of Central Park! I wouldn’t have had any good baby belly pictures if she hadn’t suggested it. The encouraging emails, and visits and the promise of being there like no one else could was priceless.

When the day of my baby girl’s birth came, Kim was there before I knew it. She was not only company but a help to my husband as he took care of the details of our transition to the hospital. There was a moment, when I realized that I was going to have to go to the hospital and leave my little homey cocoon, that fears from my first birth came back and I just had to cry. Kim was right there, reminding me that it was not going to be the same and that it was going to be OK. Whew! I’m choked up now thinking about it. I had her company in the back seat on the way to the hospital and once we got there I could relax and let her and my husband get all of our crazy tons of bags inside.

My labor was almost painless. Not totally, but close. I had music that Kim had given me in my ears, She was that missing link that the midwife and my husband just couldn’t fill. Her job was to do what I (just me) needed her to do. She took pictures of all three of us throughout the process that my husband nor I would have thought to take, but we are so so glad to have. My husband was my coach, but Kim was my best friend/Mom/girlfriend without all the baggage. She was indispensable to my having a natural birth and I am so glad she was there.” Dagney

“Maybe I should just start out by saying that Kim saved my nerves going into the birth of my second child.  I’ll get that out of the way and just say that I couldn’t have been fully comfortable in the weeks leading up to the delivery without knowing she was on call.  She’s great.  So there.

The thing is, I wasn’t particularly worried about the birth itself.  Our first homebirth was beautiful and I expected the same from the second.  I’m a pretty decent birth partner, I think, and my wife is amazingly powerful.  We had that central act covered.  What I was worried about was the sideshow of strange variables that come along with such an energized occasion as a homebirth.  What if I was at work an hour or more away and things started happening fast?  What if my 3-year-old son had the oh-so-rare crabby moment right in the middle of the birth?  What if somebody forgot to do something?

Kim took all of those concerns, bagged them up, and hauled them to the curb the first time I met her.  She walked in the door and, cross-legged on the floor with my son immediately mesmerized, told me that she would be there for what we needed and that I didn’t have to worry about those things.  So I didn’t.  It was that simple.

Since the point of a homebirth is to keep the calm energy of home throughout the birth, making my son feel comfortable was incredibly important to me.   Kim helped us maintain that aspect of our birth perfectly.  Acting as our son’s birth buddy, Kim spent time with us over the latter half of the pregnancy, just getting to know him and making the relationship comfortable so that he would feel secure with her in the event of a transfer or other birth anomalies.  She also allowed me to focus my attention on my wife without worrying if he was getting left out, nervous, hungry, or anything other than peacefully excited.

Things work unexpectedly though.  My wife’s labor came on at night and was incredibly fast.  My son slept through the entire thing and Kim shifted perfectly into other roles – warming towels, taking pictures, helping to clean up the baby, and generally making sure that we were able to just relax with our beautiful new little girl.

In another time, Kim would have been family coming to help with the delightful bits of child birth.  However, we live in a society that separates family by thousands of miles, so my family felt a little bit like a ship at sea getting ready for the birth.  Kim replaced that feeling for me – the feeling of having to do everything with the feeling of having people there to support us.” Ryan

Kim Kushner

CD(DONA) Birth & Postpartum Doula
CLC Certified Lactation Counselor
Holistic Newborn Care

(m)  646-221-7278
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