The Gathering Place is staffed by a diverse group of experienced professionals who share a passion for the field of childbirth and all that it encompasses. All of our staff members are licensed/certified in their individual fields as well as cross-trained in other specialties. Our staff routinely attends continuing education workshops and seminars in order to remain current on new trends, procedures and modalities. The Gathering Place offers a variety of talent and personalities to insure that moms can select a qualified individual that will meet her needs. Provided below is a complete list of our professionals categorized by specialty.
Owner of Motherpath Doula Services, Michelle is a birth & postpartum doula, childbirth educator and yoga instructor, and a passionate breastfeeding and natural birth advocate. Michelle is the mother of six children and has given birth in a variety of settings: hospital, birth center and at home. Her background is in women's studies, community building and organizing, and birth options advocacy. Michelle has been attending births and supporting women through the childbearing year for over 17 years and is the co-founder Project Motherpath (formerly Birthgirlz), a non-profit organization working to normalize and revalue all aspects of motherhood in our communities through education, outreach and activism.
Tamara Taitt, MS
Trained as a midwife and licensed as a marriage and family therapist Tamara has a varied background in women’s reproductive health activism and has been working in maternal, infant and child health for the last seven years. Tamara has a deep interest in the sustainability of the midwifery profession and politics as it relates to birth. Currently pursuing a Phd in Family Therapy, her clinical and research interests focus on exploring mental health issues that are pervasive during the childbearing year particularly the experience of postpartum depression, post traumatic stress related to birth and perinatal bereavement. Tamara currently serves on the board of the Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery and was the Southeast representative on the board of the Midwives Alliance of North America for seven years. She is the owner of a consulting company Mind, Body & Baby, LLC .
Lina Sandaal, MA
Lina Acosta Sandaal, program director of The Nest, has a Masters of Clinical Psychology. She began her practice at the prestigious Vista del Mar agency in Los Angeles, CA. Through her work with the agency's Home Safe division, she developed expertise in early child development and infant mental health, while strengthening her resolve to support families in crisis. Lina broadened her scope through her work with Family Service of Santa Monica, where she was trained in and applied, cognitive-based models. Those models included Trauma Focus-CBT, to assist and treat those who suffer from PTSD and physical/sexual abuse, as well as Child Parent Psychotherapy, a parent/child intervention for children 0 to 5 and their caregivers. She has trained and participated in research studies with Yale University’s Minding the Baby, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and Child Trauma Research Program at UC San Francisco. Lina has been tapped to foster a new era of attention to infant mental health and brings this expertise to her work at The Nest.
Marina Langesfeld, IBCLC
Marina Langesfeld is currently the bilingual International Board Certified Lactation Consultant on staff at Hialeah Hospital, where she also teaches Childbirth and Breastfeeding classes for couples both in english and spanish.
A tireless advocate for all causes mom/baby, she has worked for the last 10 years in very diverse environments both in public health and private practice.
Her background includes working as a WIC Miami Dade peer counselor, and helping moms as a licensed prenatal massage therapist, and a birth and postpartum Doula.
Most importantly, her own life experiences as the proud mother of 2 now young adults born at home with midwifes, were her inspiration and enlightening source to guide her in a path of self education and eventually academic formation as an IBCLC.
It is Marinas goal to contribute to a better world by reaching out to as many mothers and newborns in her desire to share her own discoveries and triumphs, and empower them in their paths to become mothers.
Sarah Munoz, BA, IBCLC
Sarah brings over ten years breastfeeding experience including working with culturally diverse populations, teaching breastfeeding classes to groups and individuals, running a pump loan program and the setting-up and planning of media events. She has worked in hospitals, clinics and does home visits. Sarah was a founding member of ProMOM, a breastfeeding advocacy internet site for women. She is also a founding member and Board member of the Foundation for a Breastfeeding Culture, a non-profit that works with hospitals to move them toward Baby Friendly Certification among other projects.
Sandra Lobaina CBE, IBCLC
Sandra Lobaina is a Midwifery assistant/Labor Coach, Child Birth Educator and an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She attended midwifery school at The International School of Midwifery which she completed in January 2010. Sandra has been teaching childbirth classes for over three years and has attended over 200 births in which she has either observed, coached, assisted or managed the deliveries. Her passion for birth has empowered her to push through any obstacle in order to achieve her dream of becoming a midwife. Sandra has taught breastfeeding classes for the Miami Dade County WIC & Nutrition program, where she also gave one on one support to mommies and their new babies. She teaches childbirth education for Hialeah Hospital and works when needed as the back up Lactation Consultant for the mother baby unit of the hospital. She is passionate in the education for mothers and in the well supporting families.
Owner of Motherpath Doula Services, Michelle is a birth & postpartum doula, childbirth educator and yoga instructor, and a passionate breastfeeding and natural birth advocate. Michelle is the mother of six children and has given birth in a hospital and at home. Her background is in women's studies, community building and organizing, and birth options advocacy. Michelle has been attending births and supporting women through the childbearing year for over 23 years and is the founder Project Motherpath (formerly Birthgirlz), a non-profit organization working to normalize and revalue all aspects of motherhood in our communities through education, outreach and activism. Michelle takes a limited number of clients each month and specializes in workings with clients with a history of trauma, who are planning a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesearean) and expecting multiples.
Natasha Gottlieb, BS
Natasha is a DONA trained Doula and is also in the process of completing her requirements to become a childbirth educator in The Bradley Method. She attributes her interest and love for childbirth to her grandmother who was a midwife for over 30 years in The Bahamas and taught her to view pregnancy and labor as natural processes. Natasha believes that the support and love a doula can give a mother greatly increases the chance of her having a natural birth and exclusively supports families planning home and birth center births.
She was also very inspired by the book Spiritual Midwifery and wants to complete a midwife assistant program at The Farm. Natasha has a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from the University of Miami and worked for several years conducting research in animal behavior and ecology and co-authored several research papers. Before the birth of her first son she stopped working and embarked on a journey that included natural childbirth, extended breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and home schooling. Natasha is also a hula dancer and performs and teaches Hawaiian culture and dance throughout South Florida with the group Ohana Arts. She is on the board of the Florida Ukulele Network.
Star Keisha Riles
Star, a mother of four royal children, is a passionate birth doula & breastfeeding counselor. She has served families in South Florida before,during, and after the labor & delivery period since February 2013. She is D.O.N.A trained and has attended worshops such as: When Survivors Give Birth and Master Class in Labor Support, both taught by Penny Simkin. With her background in massage therapy, nutrition, and natural skin care combined with spiritual awareness, clients needs are approached in a wholistic manner. Her goal as a doula is to improve birth by empowering pregnant women to trust in the wisdom of their body and to have the courage to self advocate.
Carolina is a massage therapist, a birth and postpartum Doula, reflexologist, breastfeeding advocate, and Certified Nurturing Parenting Facilitator. Her passion for working with pregnant moms started when she was studying to be a massage therapist and was introduced with the concept of a Doula. Carolina's own pregnancy showed her that moms need deep caring and pampering to help them through the process of creating a new life and becoming a mother. Carolina believes that doula care doesn't have to be a luxury. After having her son, Carolina started focusing her abilities on helping moms have the most optimal pregnancy and birth experiences.
Trained by DONA Trainer Rae Davies, and a graduate of Educating hands School of Massage and the Laura Norman School of Reflexology, Carolina combines her knowledge as a doula, massage therapist and reflexologist, to provide her clients with services that are tailored to their needs, ensuring that the parents are the focal point of the whole experience.
Na'imah is a Certified Labor Doula, Childbirth Educator and Breastfeeding Counselor. She is a peaceful yet spirited wife and a mother to 3 magical children. As an experienced Labor Doula, Na'imah has provided care to women and their families for over ten years. Her passion is serving women and their families throughout this momentous time. Na'imah accompanies women as they prepare for childbirth, and continue to support them in birth and beyond. Na'imah shares her wisdom and understanding of birth, breastfeeding and holistic parenting to advise and support women in their decision making process. She sees her work as one of nurturing women as they explore their birth visions and walking with them as they uncover their own practices and rituals that will birth these visions into being. Na'imah understands the dynamic nature of pregnancy, labor and birth and incorporates these various aspects when consulting with clients.
Grethel Croft Gilbert
A homeschooling mother of 2 boys with a God given desire to pursue midwifery like her grandmother and travel as a midwife missionary Grethel has found that her heart lies in nurturing mothers and families. She is a DONA trained birth doula, a trained birth assistant and a Certified Baby Wearing Educator (CBWS). She mentors women and families in birth, parenting and was more recently called to mentor survivors of sex trafficking.
Grethel sees her different roles at work all being matured by what she has learned and is continuing to learn as a Birth Doula and understands how being informed along with support, compassion and love can change outcomes. Her own VBAC birth journey instilled a deep respect and appreciation for understanding that each woman's birth journey is unique to her and her circumstances. Grethel is fluent in Spanish, English and American Sign Language.
Tangie's path as a labor/postpartum support provider began many years ago, even prior to giving birth to her own children. After attending a couple births and not even knowing what a "doula" was, she became eager to share her experiences and help other women and families feel more in control of their births. Her dream became a reality in February 2012, when she completed my DONA approved training at The Gathering Place. Tangie has an educational background in Child Development (M.Ed.), and is also a Certified Breastfeeding Educator.
As a doula, she believes that her role is to provide important physical, spiritual, and emotional support for the preparation for birth. She takes pride in inspiring women to trust their ability to birth. In essence, she embraces their vision for birth. Tangie believes that pregnancy and birth is a sacred time for each family and this time is to be cherished and protected. It is her privilege and an honor to serve couples as they become a new family. Each birth is unique. It is your own special story, and she loves to help families write their story.
Florencia is a DONA trained doula by Ana Paula Markel, a DTI certified Post-Partum doula, breastfeeding educator, baby wearing instructor and an ICEA trained childbirth educator. She has a B.A in Finance but found her calling as a doula in 2011. Her difficult pregnancy and post-partum period inspired her to nurture other mothers like the women around her had done for her. She had a natural water birth with her son Lucas but is fully supportive of the type, setting or method a mom chooses for her birth. She firmly believes in informed consent so that moms can be empowered through whatever choice they make. Florencia attributes who she is as a doula on her training and experience, but mainly on the families that she has served, as they always teach her an important life lesson and great friendships. She is also fluent in Spanish and English.
Vanessa is a birth doula who believes in unbiased support for women in all types of scenarios. Having spent six years delving into birth, doulas, and what goes into working with women and babies Vanessa decided to take the leap and bring her knowledge, acceptance that there is always more to learn, and her nurturing abilities to the birthing world. As your doula, her goal is to bring you the information you require to make the decision that best suits your needs. She will also provide physical and emotional support as well as using her resources to provide you with access to the best care possible.
Ifat (pronounced E-Phat) is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT), Internationally Certified Doula with Network Doulas of the World, Birthing From Within Mentor, and a Mother of three.
Ifat’s three birth experiences were quite different from each other. She experienced a hospital, birth center, and a home birth. It was her own birth journeys (including a couple of miscarriages) that sparked the passion for her to support other women and their partners during pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Ifat offers guidance and support physically, emotionally and spiritually. She enjoys working with couples facing their fears, explores how to view pain from different angles and empowers couples to strengthen confidence in themselves. Coming from the yoga background, she likes to incorporate postures, breathing techniques, and guided meditation as she guides you to have the best possible birth experience.
Dawna is a full time birth doula, an internationally certified Childbirth Educator, Birthing From Within mentor/doula, Reiki practitioner, Newborn Care Specialist and Mother of a teenage boy. Dawna draws upon her knowledge in childbirth, continuing education, and trainings to bring forth a positive birth experience, as you define it. She comes with great experience and a couple hundred birth stories to share.
In 2010, she began her journey to become a certified birth doula through DONA (Doulas of North America) and never looked back. Dawna is familiar and comfortable with the local hospitals, birthing centers and midwives that attend home births. Dawna’s beliefs about birth resonate with that of Birthing From Within’s guiding principles that birth is a right of passage and not a medical event, even when medicine is involved. Dawna is an advocate for Women’s Rights in Childbirth and the Mother Baby Friendly Initiative. Her deepest passion falls with guiding and supporting our community women who are seeking to give birth by VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesearan) . Dawna is a US Army veteran. She spend her time serving our country as a field medic in South Korea.
Emotionally, Dawna connects to her clients and their entire team (family, providers, nursing staff) on a level that provides comfort (even in unexpected situations). She is respectful, professional and non- judgmental of the care givers you have chosen, the decisions you have made to custom fit your needs and desires, and of your space. She will help you create and protect your birthing space. Dawna approaches each journey with the belief that your birth experience will empower you as a mom, and as a woman. Most importantly to her, she fully understands what transitioning from a woman to a mother is all about. She is a mom too.
I am a Nursing School Graduate and am a newly trained doula. I believe that all women deserve respect, tenderness and support during their pregnancy and labor.I believe in supporting a pregnant woman's decision to give birth in whichever environment she chooses is best for her - in a hospital, in a birth center or at home. As a devoted wife and mother of 9, I have personally experienced both hospital and home births. I understand first hand the need for compassion and support a woman in labor needs. I find that being a support doula to a laboring woman to be a very important and rewarding experience.
I am a mother of three beautiful girls, a wife and a teacher. I currently hold a degree in Early Childhood Education with a specialty in Pre-k special education. My passion in helping others allowed me to discover the work of a Doula. Through the years, I have been asked by friends and family members to accompany them during their labor and delivery process. Providing them with encouragement, support, and protecting the process of labor and delivery has opened my eyes for the need of doula in our community. I believe that through a warm, loving, caring, and nonjudgmental environment all families can experience a joyous and empowering birth.
yoga and fitness instructors
Carole Steinhauser, M.S.,M.B.A., RYT
Carole Steinhauser is an experienced fitness professional who loves what she does and is super fun to work with. A great motivator, she gets up every day and lives health and fitness. Carole fell in love with yoga and pilates as a young professional tennis player and has since made a name for herself as one of South Florida’s finest group fitness instructors. As ever-evolving human being and teacher, Carole is devoted to share her passion for movement and help others elevate their body, mind and spirit. Carole is a mom to a toddler boy and never felt more motivated to get everyone to love and enjoy fitness as a lifestyle.
Courtney Just, M.A., E-RYT
In her ten years of practice, Courtney has become a dedicated yoga practitioner and teacher, studying with the most well respected movement teachers in the South Florida community and leading vinyasa yoga classes that combine classic asana postures and strength building poses with a focus on both the dynamics of alignment and subtleties of posture to create a practice that leads to greater ease and fluidity of movement. Courtney is also a certified kids yoga instructor, teaching at several Montessori and private schools in Miami, as well leading the Chimps Program and the Kids Yoga Teacher Trainings at Green Monkey. In addition to yoga, Courtney practices various somatic movement modalities which she incorporates into her practice and classes, including Feldenkrais Methood and The Alexander Technique–the later in which she is currently studying in a comprehensive teacher training.
Courtney has an MA in Liberal Studies with a focus on Eastern religions and women’s studies from FIU where she had previously earned a BFA in theatre, focusing on costume design and construction, and a Certificate in the Study of Spirituality. But, she is most proud of her new role as mama to her son, Maze, who is teaching her what yoga is really all about!
Liesbet was working as a massage therapist (ITEC certified in 1995 and ISPA certified in 1997) when she was introduced to Kundalini yoga by a good friend of hers. After just one class she signed up for a 9 month, life changing, teacher training. During this period of her life she also studied Chinese medicine, Movement Shiatsu and later Thai Massage. She became KRI certified and a member of IKYTA in 1998 and has studied with some of the most well known Yoga teachers in France, Los Angeles, Austin and in Espanola, New Mexico.
After the birth of her daughter in 2002 she started to teach Prenatal yoga and became certified in Austin with OM Mama, Leslie Lytle (2006) and also at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas (2009). After teaching for a few years she was drawn in by her students to become a doula, Childbirth Educator and later a certified nutritionist.
In the past 10 years or so Liesbet’s practice shifted and she has studied with some of the best Anusara teachers in America. She continues her daily practice and says that it keeps her grounded through life’s challenges. Her students recommend her for her expertise on safe movement, her calm demeanor and passion for holistic health. She loves to empower her students with knowledge so that they can make the best choices for themselves and their families.
Emmanuelle Paulhiac, LMT
Emmanuelle is a Certified HypnoBirthing® practitioner and has been teaching private and group classes since 2005. After the birth of her fist child in 2004, she embraced a new career path and became passionate about raising consciousness in birth practices. As a a Certified BodyTalk practitioner Emmanuelle has contributed in promoting awareness about this incredible healing system throughout South Florida. Her work focuses on pre-conception years including fertility issues, all stages of pregnancy and fetal development, childbirth and parenting for small children. Emmanuelle is also a Licensed Massage Therapist who has received additional trainings in Mother Massage® and Infant Massage. She is currently focusing on adding obstetric and pediatric specialties to her CranioSacral Therapy Practice. Her approach to healing is very gentle and non invasive, and emphasizes utilizing numerous modalities to reach deep layers of healing.
Krista Triebel, A.P. Dipl. O.M.
A licensed Acupuncture Physician and Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, Krista now helps lead others into this community as a committed resource for individuals on how to keep themselves and their families healthy. Her areas of exceptional passion and expertise are women’s issues and fertility, pregnancy and post-partum care. Some of the benefits of her work include an increase in fertility and success rates with artificial reproductive technology, alleviation of morning sickness, decrease in back pain, correction of a malpositioned fetus, labor induction, a shorter and/or easier labor and delivery and the correction of postpartum hormonal imbalances. When it comes to birth, Krista’s focus is to improve the quality of the experience and facilitate a more peaceful and comfortable pregnancy, labor and delivery. She does this through a combination of holistic treatments, providing support to the families, and educating and empowering women to make conscious and healthy decisions for themselves and their babies.
Miguel Toro, D.C.
Dr. Miguel Toro is a pediatric and family Chiropractor and has served families of South Florida since 2006. Dr Miguel is owner of Power Chiropractic, situated in Miami Shores. His passion and expertise has always been caring for pregnant mothers, newborns and children of all ages. Dr. Miguelʼs only focus in practice is to check for vertebral subluxations (misalignments of the spine) that can interfere with normal nerve system function and human physiology. Nerve interference due to these misalignments
can significantly affect oneʼs quality of life, their performance, and life potential. Dr. Miguel performs gentle and specific Chiropractic Adjustments to correct these misalignments and allow for better health expression. Dr. Miguel has received extensive training in adjusting babies and pregnant mothers, and routinely visits his clients at the hospital and at home during the birthing process.