Investing in Families

Our Approach

Creating meaningful conversation and community throughout pregnancy and parenting.

The experience of pregnancy, birth and early parenthood stays with us well beyond the vulnerable perinatal period. We believe that prioritizing parents’ deep need for community and perspective in early parenthood creates the conditions for families to flourish. Children and their parents emerge from these early days more resilient, confident and connected.

We are a non-profit providing community based education and support focused on pregnancy through the early years of parenting. Our classes and events emphasize instinct and intuition, while addressing the social, emotional and non-clinical needs of new parents.


Birth Roots provides a community space where new families come together to build connections, share diverse ideas, and strengthen their parenting resources.

Investing in families.

Our Vision

We envision a world where all community members invest in new families during pregnancy, birth, and their early years of parenting. Every community member understands that such support is a critical investment in the long term health and well-being of both individuals and the entire community.

Guiding Principles
  • We balance inclusivity with authenticity.
  • We value introspection-based work over prescriptive methods.
  • We encourage continued engagement and involvement in the promotion of our vision and mission.

Our Team.


Leah Deragon

Co-founder/Program Director

As the co-founder of Birth Roots, Leah Deragon has been developing and delivering prenatal and postnatal classes and groups since 2003. Together, she and Emily Murray pioneered the Community Supported Parenting mission and the Facilitating Community model. As the creative mind behind the Pollinator Parade, the Little Monsters Ball and the Little Gnomes Winter Garden, Leah daydreamed about a permanent installation of all of these features in the form of a Nature Camp for toddlers, and today Baby Roots is one of Birth Roots most popular programs. She lives with her husband, son and daughter and their chickens just a hop, skip and a jump away from Birth Roots. Leah, her parents, her grandparents and her great-grandparents are all Mainers through and through.

Emily Murray

Co-founder/Program Director

After working as a birth and postpartum doula for several years, Emily decided to create a new kind of support for families. Together with Leah Deragon, she has infused the programming at Birth Roots with a special kind of non-judgmental, compassionate, respectful approach to supporting new parents called Community Supported Parenting. She and Leah now train facilitators in the Facilitating Community method that is the foundation of Community Supported Parenting.
Trained as a Hand in Hand Parenting Instructor, Emily has expanded the Birth Roots programming over the past several years to include more support for parents as they navigate the leap from infancy to toddlerhood. Emily weaves her deep belief in the goodness and capability of parents and children into all of the programming at Birth Roots to support strong and healthy beginnings for new families.

Kate McCarthy

Executive Director

Kate has been working in the non-profit sector for the past fifteen years, most recently as the Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Maine. She's a graduate of Colby College and the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine, and has held positions at Limitless Child International, Council for International Educational Exchange, MAPS Worldwide, and the National Child Welfare Resource Center for Organizational Improvement. The Birth Roots community was a lifeline to her as a new parent and she is thrilled to have joined the crew in March 2021. She lives in Yarmouth with her partner, Gavin, and two sons, Eamonn and Theron.


Tiffany Carter Skillings, CPM, IBCLC, RLC


Tiffany teaches our Baby Feeding class and is a Certified Professional Midwife and Lactation Consultant. Her practice is Two Rivers Lactation and Midwifery Clinic.

Nicole Hart


Nicole facilitates some of our Newborn Buds and Baby Sprouts classes. When not at Birth Roots, you can find Nicole with postpartum families through her two businesses, Arrive Postpartum Doula Service and Maine Mother and Company.

Shannon Mackey


Shannon, beloved Birth Roots facilitator and mum of two firecrackers, is owner of Little Fish Birth Services, providing pregnancy, birth, adoption and postpartum support, as well as pregnancy loss and abortion guidance. Little Fish is a queer-owned and reproductive justice-aligned doula services for all families. Shannon has been facilitating Birth Roots' prenatal and postnatal classes since 2014.

Abby Pitts


Abby facilitates both prenatal and postnatal classes at Birth Roots. She also serves clients in the greater Portland area of Maine through her business, Peacefulsong Doula & Education. She is a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, Certified Lactation Educator, and Placenta Encapsulation Specialist.

Board Members

Silver Shea

Board President

Silver Shea is a long time resident of Portland where she currently resides with her husband, daughter, cat and backyard chickens. She brings with her years of experience working in the non-profit community as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She has an education in the fine arts and a deep passion for all things design. She has most recently been pursuing the ever challenging career of stay-at- home mom, in which her Birth Roots flock has played an invaluable supporting role.

Samantha Green


Sam Green is the treasurer for Birth Roots and has served on the board since 2018. She has been an alumni since 2016 when her first child, Theodore, was born and again in 2019 when her second child, Rosemary, was born. With all her family in Michigan, she knew she needed a strong community here in Maine. Birth Roots gave her the tools and the opportunity to build a strong network of fellow families to experience the joys and turmoils of raising little kids. When Sam isn't working, she is reading books or exploring nature with her family.

Brette Turner


Brette and her husband moved to Maine in 2016 after spending several years in Brooklyn and Detroit. Having grown up in smaller towns, they were both delighted to find a welcoming community here in Portland. When they welcomed their daughter in 2019, Birth Roots was their lodestar. Professionally, Brette has spent several years in corporate finance and business development. In her free time, Brette enjoys exploring the endless wonders of her new state with her little family and discovering all kinds of toddler friendly activities with her flock.

Julia Bailin

Board Member

Julia Bailin joined the board in 2018, after having extremely positive and rewarding experiences with Birth Roots programming and events. In her professional life, Julia advocates for stronger parental leave, breastfeeding, and parenting-related policies and benefits at her own company and at companies around the country. Julia is mommy to 7-year old and 4-year old girls. Julia was born and raised in Maine and holds a B.A. degree in Anthropology from Dartmouth College. Julia's favorite hobbies include: messing around with her tool box, growing more tomatoes than she can eat, baking challah for Shabbat, and toodling around town on her bike. Julia and her family live in Yarmouth with their corgi, Cleveland, and two kitties, Rhubarb and Pie.

Rachel Gallo

Board Member

Rachel is a public health researcher at the University of Southern Maine and a mom of two boys. She has a Masters in Public Health and a keen interest in working with community organizations. Rachel has found comfort and support while sharing the ups and downs of parenting with her 2018 Birth Roots flock. She is passionate about the mission of Birth Roots and hopes one day all parents will feel support in the early years of parenting. Rachel lives in South Portland with family and enjoys going on adventures with her giant dog, as well as cooking, reading, and exploring Maine’s beaches.

Jenny Lupica

Board Member

Jenny Lupica is a born and bred Midwesterner who spent a decade working in textbook publishing and sales in Boston before moving to Maine 34-weeks pregnant with her first child. Jenny had heard that being in a new state, with a new job and a new baby for the fourth trimester was going to be difficult, and she felt lucky to find a Birth Roots flock to fly with during that tumultuous time. Fast forward four and a half years and Jenny now stays home with her three children, and still finds time to squeeze in some of her favorite pastimes like reading, playing tennis and cooking. As a member of the Birth Roots development committee she is grateful for the opportunity to connect with people and businesses around Maine about the importance of supporting Birth Roots and Community Based Parenting.

Marites Petropolous

Board Member

Marites Petropoulos is a born and raised Mainer. She attended Fairfield University for her bachelors in nursing and returned home to start her nursing career in Portland. She ventured back to school to get her master of science in nursing to become a family nurse practitioner from Husson University. She came to Birth Roots after the arrival of her first daughter in the fall of 2018. It was then she realized how crucial it is to support new families from the start and the impact of developing meaningful camaraderie in a family focused "flock". She has woven this learning experience into her patient care, focusing on the overall health and well-being of not only the patient but also of the community. She enjoys spending time outdoors soaking in the beaches, lakes, hiking trails, and camping with her family.

Our Outdoor Classroom.

The Birth Roots Outdoor Classroom, located in our backyard at 16 Vannah Ave, was thoughtfully designed to provide open-ended, elemental features for child-led, nature-sourced exploration. Each spring, summer and fall, you’ll find a gathering of Gnome-sized scientists and adventurers assembling for our Baby Roots Nature Camp. Here, the freedom to be messy and get dirty fosters independence, problem solving, sensory integration, social skills, and nature literacy.

Our Outdoor Classroom also provides a safe, comfortable, shaded space for prenatal and postnatal classes during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

We are forever grateful to the Quimby Family Foundation that has generously supported our Outdoor Classroom since its beginnings in 2019.