How LA Doula Erica Chidi Cohen Created a Modern Haven for Pregnancy & Parenting
Lead photo: Loom, Other photos: Morgan Pansing
Erica Chidi Cohen is something of superstar to the set of stylish, creative, successful mothers and prospective mothers around Los Angeles and San Francisco. The doula came by her work honestly: her grandmother helped women in their family's African village with childbirth and breastfeeding. And with Chidi Cohen's educational background in communications and media, her practice naturally merged ancient methods with a modernized voice — a unique facet that has won her many admirers.
Her latest effort, LOOM, is a community space in LA's Mid-City neighborhood that offers classes, coaching, and — possibly most importantly — inclusive camaraderie to those on the many pathways of pregnancy and parenting. Additionally, Erica's outreach has recently expanded even further than those who are able to visit LOOM or hire her as a doula: her book Nurture: A Modern Guide To Pregnancy, Birth, Early Motherhood — and Trusting Yourself and Your Body, offers the public the information and expert tips she's learned in nearly ten years of work. Amid all this recent success, Erica answered our questions about what drove her to open LOOM, what she wishes more parents knew about making birth plans, and more.
We love that you've made it your life's work to create welcoming communities for parents. What inspired you to finally open your own physical space?
I have been working with families for nearly a decade to provide birth and postpartum doula support. I met my co-founder, Quinn Lundberg, when I was her doula and postpartum educator for her second child. What started as a client relationship quickly became a close friendship, and she really encouraged me to bring my work to more people than just a few clients. We wanted to open a nonjudgmental space where people can be heard and feel supported through their decisions around pregnancy, parenting and reproduction.
Tell us more about the new LOOM space: what inspired the interior decor and how does it help contribute to the environment you want to provide for parents?
The space has tons of natural light, which was an absolute must for me when searching for the perfect spot. There are two larger studios where events and classes take place and two smaller rooms dedicated to individual coaching. We enlisted the amazing team behind Wall For Apricots to design the interior of LOOM. Designers Katy Burgess and Brady Cunningham brought the idea to us to pull inspiration from Alvar Aalto, a Finnish architect and designer who focused on modernism with a human touch. We knew we wanted a physical space that could promote healing in the human body.
What's the most important thing for mothers to keep in mind when making birth plans?
Get educated on your options. If you know what to expect, you can make better decisions and preferences. I don’t believe in birth plans; having birth preferences is much more clarifying process. A “plan” can seem fixed whereas preferences have flexibility, which is the most important component in any birth experience. Be gentle on yourself, be flexible, and do what feels right for you. Your birth is your birth.
What can parents expect to read in your book that they may not find elsewhere?
The voice of a friend and a balanced look at how to move through the process, no matter how or where there are choosing to birth. The book also spends a lot of time looking at the interior emotions of pregnancy, which I think is often overlooked.