Today we’d like to introduce you to Kate Tyo.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always been drawn to pregnancy – there’s something magical about the idea that someone can literally create another being inside of themselves. In college, a lab instructor I had casually mentioned that ‘women have no idea what their bodies can do’ as she used a skeleton to demonstrate the hinging of the pelvis that occurs during childbirth. Her statement grabbed me, because if there was something I was fully capable of doing that wasn’t on my radar, I needed to find out more. And so, I did. A chance viewing of the documentary “The Business of Being Born” catapulted pregnancy and birth from my “Find Out More About” list to my “Women’s Empowerment” list. A few years later while living in Sweden I started pursuing birth doula certification and I also gave birth to my first son (no, he cannot claim Swedish citizenship, though that would be most lovely). When I returned to the States I started practicing as a birth doula here in Chicago, and have been doing so on and off (in between the births of my three kids) since 2011.
In 2013, I decided to add placenta encapsulation to my services because it was something I had found so useful, myself, and it was also a fabulous way to stay connected to the birth world while taking time off to be with my newborns. As my knowledge and experience with encapsulation has grown, my love for it has grown – I truly love placentas, which is not something most people expect to ever hear (or say). As placenta encapsulation has entered the mainstream (yes, you read that correctly) and as I’ve steadily focused on my work I’ve seen my business grow and I’m so proud – I love serving women during this incredible time in their lives. It’s one of the greatest honors to be invited into such an intimate experience, whether it’s by supporting a woman during the birth or in seeing a woman in those first hours or days after she’s had her baby. It is incredible to be a part of so many women’s powerful and glorious moments.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My biggest struggle has been to get over the obstacles I imagine to be in front of me. It is self-sabotage to think that what I offer doesn’t matter because there are people that have been doing this longer than me, offer more than me, or simply do something differently than me. Likewise, it is a false crutch to think I’m ‘better than’ because I’ve been doing this longer, I offer more, or I do something differently. Each birth worker brings something to the table and I believe that there is actually room for everyone. I’ve also found that what has real bearing on outcomes with my clients and outcomes from a business standpoint is continually honing my vision and aligning my practice with my values. That in itself can be a challenge because it requires a lot of self-reflection which requires slowing down. In the end, I do this work because I feel called to it and I feel a deep passion for it. I see it as an incredible gift to feel this way about my work.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Tyo Birth Care – what should we know?
Tyo Birth Care provides birth doula services and placenta encapsulation services to the incredible women of Chicagoland. As a birth doula, I’m hired by pregnant clients to help them figure out what in the world they want for birth and then help them go after it. People tend to be drawn to me because I’m funny – I think the idea of having humor in birth is really novel and also really desired. The most common feedback I get after a birth is that my presence is fantastically calming.
Hire me if you want to laugh your way through a cervical check and “om” out your baby!
As an encapsulator, I am immensely proud to be certified through APPA (The Association of Prepared Placenta Arts). When I discovered APPA I had already been trained and certified to provide encapsulation, but I knew APPA’s intense focus on research and safety and its ethical expectations from its encapsulators were 100% aligned with my core values.
I think my encapsulation clients would say that what sets me apart is my follow-up with them. In our culture women and families are making an incredible transition with very little support and I see it as my opportunity to fill in the gap here and there. Each client I have is followed up with; sometimes I hear nothing back, and sometimes this opens up a dialogue of providing resources, practical tips, or simply providing a listening ear. This is one of my favorite parts of my work.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I got my start working with Chicago Volunteer Doulas (CVD) which is a fantastic organization that provides free and low-cost doula services to those that qualify. Malik Turley (Hip Circle Empowerment Center founder) took me under her doula wing, teaching me incredible amounts and being willing to bring me into partnership work with her when I was still so new I would cry at every birth. (Ok, maybe I still do that. Whatever.) And of course, every client I’ve had has taught me something powerful. In some ways, birth is birth is birth; in other ways, each birth is a world unto its own.
- Birth Doula Support – $1200
- Placenta Encapsulation – $300
- Add-ons – $40-75