One of my resolutions in 2020 is to shine a spotlight on some of my amazing birth worker peers here in Charlotte. I am surrounded by an abundance of inspirational and bad ass women who are devoted to providing care, offering education, and being a beacon of calm and strength for women as they progress through their pregnancy — from fertility and prenatal through the 4th trimester and beyond. So each month, my plan is to interview someone new and inspiring and share it with all of you here!
First up is Sarah D’Amico, the owner of Bellies + Babies, a prenatal/postpartum massage, yoga and postpartum care support business here in the heart of the Queen City (with a new location in Davidson!). I first met Sara at a birth worker fair and I just loved her energy. She is smart and funny and spunky! She mentioned that she needed some wall art for her new studio space in Davidson and asked me if I’d like to display my birth photography there—and a partnership was born! As a mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister and business owner who is trying to juggle it all…I am attracted to other women who are trying to juggle it all as well! And what I love about Sara, as you’ll read below, is that she’s not afraid to try.
Tell us a little about yourself! (Where you grew up, your childhood, college, husband/kids, how you ended up in Charlotte, etc.)
Just a New York girl living in a Carolina world 🙂 Born and raised in Rochester, NY until we decided to move to CLT in 2015. Graduated with a 4.0 from RIT with a Bachelors in Business Admin and shortly after discovered my love for birth work and became a birth doula…would have been nice to discover my passion before student loans…lol.
How did you get your idea or concept for Bellies + Babies?
Angie Allison actually started Bellies+Babies after a difficult pregnancy. She refused to accept the normalized rhetoric that pregnant women should just deal with the discomfort and pain that accompanies pregnancy. She passionately believed that women deserved better so she set out to provide services that would help women.
What was your mission at the outset?
Our mission has never changed. We want to provide women with the space they need to be their best selves. Massage therapy helps to create space in a woman’s body, especially as her body transforms during pregnancy. But more than that, we aim to create a safe space where women can ask questions, be validated, and receive support.
When did you officially open your first Bellies + Babies?
B+B opened in 2008.
What services do you offer?
We offer massage therapy (fertility, prenatal, postpartum, women’s wellness), reiki, and yoga (prenatal, postpartum, mommy+me). We also host childbirth classes taught by Mellissa Willette, breastfeeding support groups, and other special workshops and classes. Ana Karim also offers pelvic floor therapy services at our studio. Our ultimate goal is to have a variety of practitioners women can access in a space that feels familiar and safe.
To what do you attribute your success?
The amazing, talented women who offer all of our services. They are truly the heart and soul of what we do.
What’s your company’s goals?
Our ultimate goal is to change the narrative around pregnancy, and especially postpartum. We want women to look at massage and yoga as a necessary part of their healthcare, not a luxury. I think we normally feel guilty “indulging” in self care as women, but really taking time for ourselves is essential to our well being and ultimately our family’s well-being.
What is unique about your business?
We are the only massage therapy studio in Charlotte specializing in prenatal and postpartum massage therapy.
What were the biggest challenges running your own business?
The biggest challenge is relationships. Like all relationships. Making sure I am present in my relationship with my kids and husband, growing relationships in the community and with our clients, and ensuring that our instructors and therapists feel valued and appreciated. Relationships are essential and hard and I firmly believe they are at the very heart of everything we do.
What would you say is the biggest thing that holds women back from taking the leap into entrepreneurship? What made you decide to take the leap?
I don’t think there is enough relatable role models for women entrepreneurs. We need more diverse female voices (diversity in race, income, education, ethnicity, location, etc.). And I think we hear more from the women just starting out and the women struggling. I think, as a culture, we are entranced by women succeeding (which is awesome!) but success is a spectrum and we need to hear about the entire experience, not just the pinnacle.
How did you let go of the things holding you back?
I didn’t. I just took the leap anyway. Isn’t that the definition of courage – still being afraid, but doing it anyway 🙂 Sometimes you just gotta leap.
Which of your accomplishments makes you the proudest?
I am proudest of the presence we have on social media. In such a high-traffic (and noisy) medium, it’s incredibly humbling to be a recognizable voice. Truly, if I can positively impact just one woman with my words, I’ve done my job.
From where do you draw inspiration?
Great question! Life inspires me – the chaotic beauty of it all. I make a conscious effort to keep my mind and heart open to well, everything. Articles in professional journals, conversations with friends, truth bombs dropped by my kids – if it rings true in my heart, I share it.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in starting and running your own business?
Be true to yourself. Always. Especially during the hard moments. People won’t always agree with your actions or decisions but if you can hold true to your integrity and your values, no matter what happens you didn’t compromise yourself. I think that says something important about your character as a human being. And at the end of the day, whether you own your own business or not, we are all people.