Venessa Downing and Kelly Carrington own Birth Happens.

Kelly Carrington defies the definition of a doula in both the Merriam-Webster and English Oxford dictionaries: a woman who gives support, help, and advice to another woman during pregnancy and birth. Carrington does all of those things daily, but he’s a man.


As the only male doula certified in Canada by DONA International, the world’s oldest and largest doula association, Carrington stands out from the crowd. He’s well over six feet tall and broad shouldered. His compassion shines through when he talks about his job, but he’s a tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy. “My clients appreciate that I’m not a flower-crown wearing hippie,” he says. “I’m straightforward, no bullshit.”

Doulas aren’t medical professionals. They act as a support for the mother and partner before, during, and after birth. They educate moms and partners on what to expect throughout and after pregnancy, and help parents understand the decisions they want to make, and those they may need to make on the big day.

“Some women feel like a C-section is a failure,” Carrington says shaking his head. “You grew a human! How could that ever be a failure? Unless it come out your ear, it’s a natural birth.”

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