Ife Adebowale: A Model for Female Doula & Midwife Industry Professionals and Entrepreneurs

Despite facing unique challenges, many women have made a name for themselves as career role models because of their innovative initiatives and motivating career paths. Ife Adebowale, aka Mama or Doula Ife, is one of these extraordinary women.

My name is Ife Adebowale. I am a Divine Essence conjured into this realm of life to provide guidance as a gatekeeper to our unborn Starseeds. As an Integrative Maternal Health Consultant, Founder, Director of Operations, Student Midwife, Certified Holistic Doula, and Spiritual Guide, I am honored to empower all Mother Earths I come across. I hold a B.A. in Communication from Columbus State University, an M.B.A. in Business Administration with a concentration in HRM from Strayer University, and a PhD-ABD from the University of Phoenix in Organizational Leadership. I am the founder of Cherishing Life Beginnings Doula and Birth Educational Services, LLC and Cherishing Life Doula Academy, a 501(3)c dedicated to providing free events for the birth community, free childbirth classes, pro-bono services for poverty stricken families, free teen pregnancy guidance, and scholarships for inspiring birth professionals.

Ife shared in her introduction, the needs that led to the establishment of Cherishing Life Beginnings in 2015 included the need for Holistic BIPOC doulas who were culturally aware and accessible in Columbus, Georgia, and the surrounding regions; the necessity of support for home births; promoting care and helping alleviate the infant maternal and mortality rate for women who are BIPOC; educating and empowering BIPOC women about breastfeeding and teaching them their innate birth rights and ability to give birth without medical intervention; and providing employment opportunities and entrepreneurial mentoring for holistic birth-workers and those who want to assist or be a part of rebuilding the community.

Ife’s outstanding initiatives, such as the establishment of Cherishing Life Beginnings Doula and Birth Educational Services, LLC, have undoubtedly revolutionized the Doula & Midwife Industry. “Cherishing Life Beginnings Doula and Birth Educational Services, LLC, provides Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula Services, Birth and Postpartum Doula Training, Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding Education and Consultation, Yoni Steaming, Belly-Binding Wrapping, Placenta Encapsulation, Womb Wellness Products, Prenatal Yoga, Traditional Student Midwifery Services, and Birth Business Guidance and Coaching,” explained Ife. Ife doesn’t do this work alone, she has partnered with other BIPOC doulas and birth professionals in the community as well as subcontract work out to bring a “one stop shop service” to the birth community of Columbus, GA and surrounding areas. It takes a village, therefore, it’s vital to me that I stay abreast of the needs of my birth community and if I am not qualified to provide the service, I ensure I can find a birth professional who can!

Having challenges is certain. The obstacles we face provide wonderful opportunities for personal and professional development. That’s why successful people such as Ife see every obstacle as a chance to learn and grow. One of the key benefits of taking on new challenges is that you get to experience something that takes you to different horizons. Experiencing new difficulties helps us build more resilience, which is the key to success in today’s increasingly competitive environment.

“Some people see hurdles as unfavorable or too difficult, but I view every challenge as an opportunity to achieve new levels of success. I started my business with $0 and a dream and we have built a business with $0 and today, it is now a 5-figure business. There was no flourishing market here in Columbus, GA, for BIPOC birth coaches. I was not only a pioneer BIPOC Doula but I set the path for other inspiring BIPOC Doulas in the city. Attempting to find capital to cater to low-income women has been an ongoing challenge. One of which is that many sacrifices have been made to service the women within my birth community, such as providing pro-bono services or discounted rates to ensure Mother Earth receives the care she needs. Fortunately, I’ve done my homework and I am excited to announce that I am now a Medicaid provider through The Doula Network. What does this mean? I will be able to provide doula services and educate Mother Earths FREE of charge and their insurance will cover the cost.

Consistency is also a challenge, as the economy isn’t the greatest, so finding a clientele that not only understands the importance of the work that we provide but also knows and is willing to pay for the worth can be challenging. Catering to a community in which a lot of the black and brown Mother Earths are in some form of poverty creates inconsistency as one can not afford the services they so desperately need. As a revolutionary doula, we are finding ways to change this narrative. Also, when it comes to consistency, one thing that I have learned as an entrepreneur and business owner, you must remain accountable and responsible for what takes place. If you find there is a lot of inconsistency in your business, find the root and pluck it. What are you doing or not doing that can change the results?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced in the birth industry is creating a market for people of minority descent. When I got into this work, it appeared to be for wealthy Caucasian women, so as an entrepreneur, I had to create something to open up the birth coaching industry for minority women. Now that the government sees the importance of the work we do, it’s becoming a bit easier, but now the challenge becomes receiving payments promptly and the government regulating or “putting a price” on our worth which is valuable and almost priceless when you truly “mother the mother.”

Despite these challenges, Cherishing Life Beginnings is proud to say that we have serviced over 100+ families, caught 26 babies as a student midwife, and continue to expand in numbers with steady growth. I can say that my resilience in the face of challenges propelled me to become the lady I am today. It has been these challenges that pushed me beyond even my own expectations. Challenges can place you into uncomfortable situations but it’s important to understand that the challenges you face, whether lessons or failure, are both part of your growth and development. Through challenges, you face your lower self in order to ascend to your higher self, your GREATness,” stated lfe.

Entrepreneurship is the key for women to get employment and financial and economic independence. Female entrepreneurs are more inclined to invest back in their families and communities, especially in their children’s health. lfe’s business success tips may help the next generation of female entrepreneurs achieve entrepreneurial success.

“Dream BIG and start small. Visualize. Action. Consistency. Dedication

Research, know, and understand the industry you will work in for a better statistical outcome of success.

Build relationships: Network and connect, email them, and partner with individuals or companies that can elevate your business. Don’t just ask for a handout. Reciprocity. Also, create a circle of like-minded business women and men that inspire you and vice versa. You are the company you keep.

Build your BRAND not your name, unless your name is your brand. I started as a sole proprietor and my work was marketing via “word of mouth” until we began to utilize our knowledge around marketing. The community knew Ife, not necessarily Cherishing Life Beginnings. Now that we are both an LLC and 501(c)3, shifting is a little difficult but we are transitioning well.

Find the money, don’t beg. I’ve learned that family and friends will not be your biggest supporters—well, maybe only in my case. There are grants, scholarships, etc. available to you. Stop begging people to help and follow the paper trail.

Dear young ladies, Keep your eyes on the prize. It doesn’t matter what your friends are doing, how successful they are at what they do, or how much money they have. Your worth is not a dollar indicator. Your worth extends beyond what you have in your bank account. What truly matters is what you have created, how many lives you have changed, how have you added to the greater good of life, how was your energy on this journey, and if you are doing the will of the Most High, is he pleased. You define and are the creator and planner, pick up your pen and MANIFEST! Stay the course and the path, everyone around you is watching, give them a show with your name in lights,” advises lfe.

Being a Doula is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding careers. Due to her trailblazing initiatives, lfe has established herself as a role model for the next generation of female Doula & Midwife Industry professionals and entrepreneurs.

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