About Mama Bloom

nicolemccHi, I’m Nicole!

I was born and raised in Austin, TX.

I attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a Bachelors in Social Work in 2003.

I married the love of my life around this same time! In 2003, I led my first parenting groups through my Social Work internship and had a specific interest in young mothers who needed support. I worked for three years in the foster care system all the while still being interested in supporting mamas.

In 2006, I got a dream job at Any Baby Can, supporting young mothers through weekly sessions and groups. I taught on childbirth education, newborn care, postpartum care, and parenting. Around this time, I saw a gap in care where many young mothers were going to their births by themselves or with little support. I had heard about a study of birth doulas in Chicago, who supported women during their births and had positive outcomes regarding bonding and less child abuse.

I decided to certify as a birth doula and began training in 2008.

I also got pregnant in 2008 and was due in January 2009. In September 2008, I attended my first birth as a birth doula and it was amazing! I birthed my son in January of 2009 and it solidified my love for childbirth and supporting women during such a transformational period. I worked independently as a birth doula for many years, supporting many as they birthed their babies and transformed into families. In 2015, I joined ATX Doulas and love collaborating with a doula team and am still attending births as a birth doula.

After the birth of my first son in January 2009, transitioning into motherhood was more difficult than I had expected.

I had planned and prepped for birth but was not ready for the challenges of new motherhood. I was deeply overwhelmed, anxious, grieved over the disparities of reality versus what I thought mothering would be like, and still finding my own voice and learning to trust it. I did not know how to ask for help and felt that I must be failing if I was struggling.

This unique time began a long journey of exploring my issues of perfectionism, desire for control, and a lack of self-care and self-love.

Through my own experience, I have come to realize the great significance in this huge life transition, and the power that opens up as you are recreated in many ways. I longed for a place to recognize this great transformation that was occurring in me but was unable to find it at that time. Out of this place, this work has been born.

I long to create safe communities where this transformation is recognized, supported, and empowered to build strong mamas, dads, children, and families.

I long to provide a safe and courageous space for mamas to explore all things that come with becoming and being a mother.

My life was dramatically changed by an inspiring coach who helped unlock all that was in my heart, help me find greater fulfillment, grieve in places where I experienced loss and propel me forward in the best version of myself, free from fear and playing small.

I have since had 2 more children and have grown and stretched myself in many ways.

Out of all of these passions and in my desire to support families during this time, I began training as a life coach with Coaches Training International in 2015 and began working with clients during this time. I also trained with Birthing from Within on birth story listening and PATTCh on Healing Birth Trauma, to help women who have had traumatic or difficult births.

I blend my background, skills, and trainings to help create spaces for mamas to find connection, support, and transformation in greater ways.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can work together, please sign up for a complimentary coaching session!  I’d love to get to know you.

–Nicole McCharen


Meet our Co-Leaders, Allison & Chantel!


Chantel Acosta-Saubon:
Hello. I’m the newest bloom of Mama Bloom and really excited to be a part of a passionate team of mamas who I admire. The heart of Mama Bloom, Nicole, was one of the first mamas that I met with my first-born daughter. I met Nicole at Any Baby Can, both as social workers in different programs supporting families, but we didn’t become close until we had our first babies in 2009 and we met to connect as first-time mamas. Then there was a host of bringing mama friends together all from the connections of Nicole. Since the birth of my first daughter, I have had two more daughters to add to our growing family. Never would I imagine that I would marry my high school sweetheart in 2005 and create three beautiful girls along the way.

I’ve always worked with families throughout my career. I came to Austin in 2000 and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2002, with a master of science degree in social work and received my clinical license in 2007. I’ve worked in a variety of foster care agencies providing counseling for children and families and educational support to foster parents, trained in trauma-informed care. I’ve also had the privilege to work with families with children with special needs and trained in infant mental health. In between working in agency settings, I stayed home with my daughters and did intermittent private practice and contract work part-time and was a board member for an amazing organization, Vela, who supports families with children with special needs. My time at the organization influenced my passion for continuing my work with parents and caregivers.

Recently my passion has led me to the early times of parenting.  I have been training in Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders and working with mamas through their journey of motherhood. The road that I have journeyed in my career and family life lands me back to part-time private practice and when Nicole talked about her groups, I knew I wanted to be a part of it if I could. I’m always drawn to amazing programs like Mama Bloom and see a beautiful future for these courageous groups to grow and bloom to touch more mamas’ lives in Austin and beyond.

It is such a joy to be a part of something from its beginnings and see the huge transitions, just like the transition of motherhood. I’m so honored to facilitate by the side of these two amazing mamas!


Alison Vaclav:
Hi there! My name is Alison Vaclav. Things I love: my family, my city, coffee, rich conversations, naps, rainbows and dancing (not always in that order).
I moved to Austin from my hometown of Huntsville, Texas in 1998 to attend the University of Texas where I earned (but never used) my degree in Journalism. During that time I met my husband Michael, and we spent a good portion of our time together in coffee shops talking, learning and connecting with friends.

As it turns out, our passion for people and conversation gave us the grit we needed to create our own coffee shop, Caffe Medici. We had no experience, very little money and a distinct habit of biting off more than we can chew. But one way or another, it worked, so we have had the honor of creating beautiful spaces and serving delicious coffee to our city since 2006.

In the middle of all that, we had five kids. Talk about biting off more than you can chew! Our first was born in 2004 and our last in 2013, so I spent about a decade as a stay-at-home momtrepreneur either pregnant or nursing. It was a full-throttle first season of motherhood that had great reward and great cost. It’s hard to overstate how being a mother to my four girls and one boy has transformed me—how it has broken and rebuilt me with grief, joy, overwhelm and pride over and over again. I experience parenthood as a raw, gritty, glorious business that requires skill and stamina. I deeply believe that all who embrace this noble and messy endeavor deserve empathy, encouragement and connection. That is exactly what Mama Bloom offers.

Hence, it was my total honor to join this unique postpartum team in the fall of 2017. The opportunity to support mothers in an intimate setting that fosters connection and compassionate learning is such a gift—not only to see other moms empowered—but also because I keep learning and growing as result.