Esther McCant and her team of highly skilled doulas at Metro Mommy Agency are working to change the birth crisis for Black women in our community. It’s a topic Esther is so passionate about; she often strikes up conversations with pregnant women in checkout lines, imparting her wisdom and knowledge to make them feel seen and supported.
Giving birth can be a traumatic experience for many women. To change how women receive care, Esther empowers them to take charge of their own experience, giving them the tools and knowledge to advocate for themselves and how they prefer to bring life into this world. She says, “If Miami is supposed to be one of the best places to live, work, and play — it should also be one of the best places to give birth and be born.”
Miami-Dade County owes a debt of gratitude to a midwife in Tennessee for the gift of Esther becoming a doula and revolutionizing birthing in the 305. A mom of four boys, Esther discovered her calling through the guidance of the midwife who assisted in the birth of her third child. Living in Alabama at the time, Esther faced limited options for personalized care. She was forced to go to Tennessee, where she worked with a midwife to experience a water birth. Through the encouragement of her midwife, she was inspired to become a doula. She moved back to Florida with her family and attended her doula training during World Doula Week, kicking off her career as a doula, childbirth educator, maternal health consultant, and lactation counselor. Since then, Esther has provided labor and postpartum support to hundreds of women.
Esther founded Metro Mommy Agency in 2015 with a mission to help women give birth better. Her business provides a safe space for women and communities who often lack access to maternal care and face high rates of infant mortality, birth complications, and traumatic birthing experiences.
Being a mom in Miami is complex because of our blend of cultural and lifestyle factors. Esther highlights these challenges, explaining, “Due to Miami’s unique diversity, language barriers, and fast-paced lifestyle, it can feel like hospital settings are trying to move you in and move you out. What’s missing is how sacred it is to pause in labor and give mothers a chance to adjust to a new life coming into the world.
These birth experiences dictate the health of both mom and baby and define the postpartum period.” It’s not only the labor experience that matters — maternal care encompasses managing the difficulties of going back to work, postpartum depression and anxiety, and treating issues like high blood pressure and diabetes. As Esther points out, “When moms have negative birthing experiences, they lose trust in the healthcare system. There are long-term health implications for our community if we don’t get this right.” For Black women, the implications are more extreme. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, pregnancy-related mortality rates for Black women are three times higher than for White women. Of the maternal deaths in the United States, 84% are preventable.
Like any business, Metro Mommy Agency has experienced ups and downs. The COVID-19 pandemic hit Esther especially hard. Doulas were not considered essential by the hospital system, and she was forced to return deposits to clients. Doulas typically provide continuous labor support and are with moms every step of the way. The situation strained mothers and doulas alike, navigating a high-touch service via FaceTime and Zoom.
Throughout her business challenges, Esther draws inspiration from her late father, a Haitian immigrant who launched a business helping other immigrants find their way in this country. Her father taught them to navigate the system, learn to drive, and make a new life. He was a generous, kind, and giving man who helped others while maintaining a strong family presence. It’s evident hearing Esther speak about him that she is her father’s daughter in her determination to be the voice of change for many women looking to take control of their own birth experiences for healthier, happier outcomes.
As a Miami-Dade County small business owner, Esther has taken advantage of Mayor Levine Cava’s STRIVE305 Future Ready resources, ScaleUp 305 hosted by the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce, and BizUp, a County sponsored pitch competition. Esther received a scholarship for BizHack’s Digital Marketer’s Edge program. Her business also won the BizUp Grant and participated in StartUp FIU to drive her vision forward. She receives ongoing consulting with the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) at FIU. These local programs provide access to experts who usually charge thousands of dollars for their time. For Esther, their insights have proved invaluable.
Metro Mommy Agency was awarded Federal grants from the CDC and Department of Health to launch MOMCHA (Making Optimal Maternal Child Health Accessible), a referral system to connect pregnant people to doula services and a training program for healthcare providers on the role of doulas. Her business also partners with The Women's Hospital at Jackson Memorial, the YWCA of South Florida, Magnolia Birth House, and the Southern Birth Justice Network to reduce maternal and infant deaths and morbidity. Esther’s work has led to speaking engagements and greater visibility nationwide, including a feature on Good Morning America.
Esther has a big vision for her company’s future, expanding her team of doulas to provide the same level of care and attention to more clients. Metro Mommy Agency is truly making a difference in the community, starting with mothers and giving newborns the best possible start in life. The agency supports parents as they navigate the profound and noble act of bringing life into the world.
You can learn more about Esther’s work at:
Small business resources mentioned:
Written by Emily De Armas
Photo taken by Axis Helps