My name is Nellie Pilisi and I have been living in Ho Chi Minh City for the past six years. I moved here originally to teach young learners and soon fell in love with the country and decided to make it my home.
After the birth of my daughter in 2014, I experienced a personal paradigm shift. I realized how passionate I was about the world of babies and, more specifically, babywearing and breastfeeding. The creation of Saigon Slings followed shortly after my daughter’s birth – I started hand making baby slings, breastfeeding pillows, and baby toys. It was thrilling for me to meet new and expecting moms, hear their stories, and share my own insight. It also became very apparent to me that there were some major gaps in the support system for expat mothers in Saigon. I realized it was time for me to follow my passion and make some changes in the community.
During my pregnancy and the early months of motherhood, I sought out a few things that I was not able to find in Saigon – a childbirth class taught independently from a hospital, a choice of doulas, breastfeeding support, and playgroups running outside of District 2. One by one, I answered my own needs.
First, by creating a community of new moms and a variety of different play groups in my area. Soon after, I became a Certified Breastfeeding Counselor – helping new mothers and babies get breastfeeding started right through private consultations and informational workshops, as well as starting a free, monthly support group for expecting and new mothers to meet and share ideas and experiences.
This summer I began the process of getting my DONA Birth Doula Certification, and am excited to offer my services as both a Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator to the community – working completely independently of the hospital system.
I look forward to meeting more and more expecting and new mothers and building the support network that our expat community here in Ho Chi Minh City deserves and needs.