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Catching Our Babies on Community Stories

In the latest episode, Community Stories profiles midwife Michelle Sarju and the staff of Open Arms Perinatal Services, whose mission is to empower, support and educate women during their first year of pregnancy, birth and childrearing. In their roles of social support and health providers for mothers, midwives and doulas form partnerships with their clients. “They can provide total support and holistic support,” says Open Arms’ Executive Director and doula Sheila Capestany.

As a mother of three, Sarju was drawn to midwifery after she had her first out-of-hospital birth with her third child. A midwife for over 300 births, Sarju explains midwifery appeals to her because “the philosophy of care is such an empowering model.” In her additional role as Open Arms’ Clinical Director, Sarju’s expertise adds to the non-profit’s mission.

Open Arms also has Outreach Doulas who work with immigrant communities. Libin Egal began her work with mothers in the Somali community after her own birth with a doula who “speak(s) my language, who knows my culture and who empowered me.”  Says Open Arms’ Capenstany, “What we know is that women are treated differently depending on what their racial and cultural background is. And we try to figure out where are places that we can advocate for women so that they can have the best possible birth experiences.”

Meet the support network of Open Arms and find out how they serve women and their families on Community Stories now at this link:

Or tune in on Monday, March 14, 7:00 p.m., SEATTLE CHANNEL, Cable 21. You can watch past Community Stories by visiting