Nathalie Solis Pérez shares her journey to becoming a holistic doula and parent coach with us. Her work empowers and educates women through motherhood from pre-conception through pregnancy and postpartum into parenthood.

Shot at her beautiful home in Byron Bay, she conveys how her two sons came into the world and offers words of wisdom for women about to experience their own sacred passage into motherhood. 



Can you tell us a little about your path leading up to becoming a birth doula and parent coach?

I’ve always had a keen interest in women’s health and wellbeing and long before I knew what a doula was I was already doing the work. Friends would ask me to attend their births or seek advice around pregnancy and parenting. When I did my Masters in Cultural Anthropology, my research focused on gender studies, rites of passage and cosmology, so in a way my doula work is a continuation of this. Birth is where all of these things intersect: culture, politics, power and spiritual transformation.

When I gave birth to Pablo I knew I couldn’t go back to my former career in Arts/ Culture and Fashion. My birth transformed me on all levels and this empowering experience was the catalyst for me to shift my focus onto work that felt more rewarding and made an actual difference in people’s lives.

In 2019 I started working for Cleo, a tech start-up based in San Francisco. Cleo is a family benefits platform supporting parents around the world from pre-conception through pregnancy and postpartum into parenthood. As a virtual doula and family guide I now get to support hundreds of families in over 10 countries. What I love most about this work, apart from creating long-lasting and trusting relationships with parents, is that I get to work with an amazing team of midwives, lactation consultants, mental health experts, sleep specialists and parent coaches. Working closely with them on a daily basis has really expanded my doula skills into more general parent coaching and allowed me to offer support on a much larger and more global scale.



Would you be open to sharing any of your personal birth stories?

Both of my births are a true reflection of my two sons and their unique personalities. Pablo came into the world in the most gentle and beautiful way. We were at home and after a gentle five hour labour I gave birth to him in our bedroom surrounded by candle light. It was a beautiful, empowering and spiritual experience. I’ve always felt very connected with my body and after attending a CalmBirth antenatal class I just had complete faith in my body, my baby and my birth. No one touched or coached me, no one interrupted me or asked any questions. It was only me and my baby doing the work and riding the waves together. My partner, my sister, a dear friend and two wonderful midwives lovingly held space for us. This gentle and beautiful energy is what Pablo, now 9, still embodies. I call him my LOVE baby because that is what this birth and what he taught me.
Dei on the other hand I call my POWER baby and that’s how he came into the world - with force and gusto! Dei is quite vigorous and determined. He doesn’t mess around which is why his labour was only 3 hours long and completely took me by surprise. One moment I was eating breakfast and the next moment I was in transition with one contraction on top of the other and ready to push. It was an intense experience. The energy moving through me was so big and powerful it felt really overwhelming at times. I just had no time to get used to it, catch my breath or anchor myself. This quality of power though is what this birth and what Dei taught me: I am so much more powerful than I ever thought and together we did it.

Throughout my entire pregnancy with Dei I had this unsettling feeling that something was going to ‘happen’ and that we would end up needing medical assistance. And so I wasn’t surprised when after I had given birth to him I had a retained placenta and we had to be transferred to hospital. One of my beautiful home birth midwives came in the ambulance with us and fortunately it was all very calm and stress free. While I was prepped to go under for the surgery one of the lovely hospital midwives helped me express some colostrum which my partner André was able to give to Dei in those hours I couldn’t be with him.

All in all I can say that I had two wonderful home births. The second one with a slight twist but my midwives and doctors were amazing and I am very grateful they provided such considerate care and made me feel safe and respected at all times.

What do some of your dreams look like for you and your children? What kind of world do you wish for your kids?

I honestly feel like we’re living our dream already. Every decision we made over the past 15 years led us to where we are today. Creating work that fulfills us but also fits around our life, prioritising family and leaving the city so our children can grow up in nature were very intentional decisions. We are so grateful to live in this beautiful part of the world and amongst such a creative and inspiring community. I want my kids to grow up feeling connected to nature and having access to clean water and food, the ocean, fresh air, earth they can dig their hands into, and a community that cares about them. For me these are the basics of human wellbeing and happiness.



Byron Bay has such a rich community, how important is community and sisterhood around first-time mothers and yourself?

Becoming a mother is a rite of passage which needs community. You are leaving one group of society to enter another. This life transition requires a community to support, guide, encourage and reassure you as well as witness your transformation into Mother. We are not meant to give birth surrounded by strangers or go through motherhood alone. Both mother and child biologically expect a community of support around them. In most traditional cultures a mother and her baby are never left alone in the first forty to one hundred days after birth. Feeling lonely and isolated can have severe consequences for both mother and child, it impacts their physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. If you are pregnant try to create your village and tribe well before you need it.

Community and sisterhood is the reason I moved to Byron Bay 15 years ago. The women I have met here and am lucky enough to call my friends are truly special and the bonds we have forged over the past decades are strong. Things and people come and go, life happens but my sisters are always there.

Holding space for women leading up to and during birth is such a powerful role to step into. Where does your courage and strength come from?

I think courage and strength is what the birthing mother needs. All I need is stamina to support the parents for many hours, sometimes days on end with little or no sleep. What fuels me is protecting a mother’s and father’s experience and their memory of this time: How will they remember this? If you ask a 90 year old woman what giving birth was like for her she will still remember. This is an experience that stays with you for life. One thing you do need as a doula is unwavering faith in birth, in women’s bodies and wisdom. Since working with childbirth visionaries and pioneers such as Dr. Michel Odent and Gail Tully this trust in birth has never left me.

Another important factor is that I couldn’t do this work without my partner who has got my back when I need to leave my family within an hour’s notice and disappear for a few days. Having a community of other birth professionals around me is also essential to debrief and process my own experiences.




Before you begin the journey of motherhood, a lot of women can feel uncertainty, even fear sometimes. What would you say to these first time mums? Any words of wisdom?

Gather lots of support around you and find an experienced doula. Research has shown that using a doula decreases the use of interventions, shortens labour and increases birth satisfaction as well as improves health outcomes for mothers and babies. Also, if you don’t know your options in birth, then you don’t have any. So it’s important to educate yourself in order to make informed decisions that you will be happy with for many years to come.

When it comes to birth it’s very normal to have fears around the unknown - these are fears that are a normal part of the process. They are part of any rite of passage and big life transformation. But a lot of our other fears are stemming from things we have seen, heard or read that can be highly subjective, inaccurate or outdated. A doula can help you sort through the overload of information out there and provide personalised support so you can really reach your full birth potential. Like this, you can channel your energy into something productive and creative - such as coming up with your birth plan as well as a realistic postpartum plan. You need to take full responsibility for your experience. This is the first step towards embracing your role as a parent.

The more awareness you can bring to your birth and postpartum preparation the more you will be rewarded with a positive empowering experience. This doesn’t mean you will have a vaginal birth without interventions or won’t experience challenges. It means you will be able to navigate the journey more calmly and confidently, even - especially - when things don’t go to plan. It’s not the outcome that determines a woman’s birth satisfaction, it’s whether she felt seen, heard and respected throughout the process. Whether she felt in control of her choices and whether these choices were respected by her care providers.
Preparing for the time after birth is even more important and often overlooked. Working with someone who can give you a realistic understanding of what life with a newborn baby will look like, what to expect in terms of feeding, sleep, crying, normal newborn behaviour, caring for and knowing how to soothe your baby. A doula can also help you navigate the shifts and changes that you might experience in yourself, your identity and your relationships. This reduces unnecessary stress so that you can enjoy this precious time of becoming a family.




What was the biggest challenge you faced with your style during your stages of motherhood?  

During pregnancy I found it very hard to find clothes that could accommodate my rapidly changing body and still make me feel beautiful - so thank goodness you’re here now! It’s not easy keeping up with an ever changing body - the 9 months it takes for your body to grow this baby, the many months or years of breastfeeding, the months and years it takes for your body to heal and feel like ‘your own’ again. In terms of style motherhood should be a time to celebrate our bodies in all their ever-changing shapes and to help us feel beautiful. 



Any inspiring quotes or words you have come across that you would like to share? 

"In any society, the way a woman gives birth and the kind of care given to her and the baby points as sharply as an arrowhead to the key values of the culture." Sheila Kitzinger (Social Anthropologist & Childbirth Activist)

I also love this simple yet profound quote from one of my teachers Dr. Michel Odent (World-renowned Birth Pioneer, Obstetrician & Primal Health researcher):
"Birth is a normal bodily function, an involuntary process that cannot be helped. It can only be protected.”


Nat wears the Poppy Slip in lilac and the Poppy Wrap Dress in orange.