Sonja Hristina Bjelić

Sonja is a queer, Serbian-American poet, educator and birth worker based between New York City and Belgrade, Serbia. She received her Masters in Fine Arts from New York University in 2019, where she studied under poets Anne Carson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds, Terrance Hayes and Meghan O’Rourke. Before attending graduate school, she studied poetry and indigenous studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts; she also holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Iowa.

Her poetry has been published in various journals, and in 2018 she was awarded a Writer’s Fellowship by the Edward F. Albee Foundation. As a second generation Serbian-American, her work explores themes of identity, diaspora, dual consciousness, multigenerational bodily memory, family constellations, power, and language and the imaginary as mechanisms for destabilizing inherited (institutional and capitalistic) modes of thinking.

As an educator, she has taught writing at New York University, The City University of New York, and Legal Outreach, a nonprofit that “seeks to level the educational playing field for minority, low-income, and first generation students.” She is also a HypnoBirthing childbirth instructor guiding birthers in instinctive birth, as well as a birth doula with BABS, a nonprofit that provides no-cost support to high-risk birthers. In collaboration with poets Jiaoyang Li and Cole Bjelic, she coedits 叵CLIP, an online journal oriented toward experimental, hybrid and process-based writing and art.

Sonja sees birth work as an extension of her poetry practice and interests in language, breath, memory, the subconscious and the divine. She seeks to provide holistic, compassionate, inclusive, culturally sensitive and trauma-informed care to those whom she supports. As a birth advocate and doula, she wishes for all birthers to feel informed, empowered and emotionally fulfilled in their birth experiences. Growing up with a mother who had three natural births, two of which were home births, Sonja was raised to see birth as a deep experience with the potential to be, not only positive, but empowering and transformational.


In collaboration with Jiaoyang Li and Cole Bjelic, Sonja coedits 叵 CLIP, an online magazine oriented toward experimental writing and art. 

Issue 1 2019

Issue 2 2020

Submissions for issue 3 are now open and feature a special prompt by poet and scholar Anne Carson. 

Birth Work

I came to birth work as a child of home birth. My mom squatted me to earth in the comfort of her bedroom, and later planted my placenta under a nearby tree. While sensitive to the intensities of birth, I also know it doesn’t have to be an experience accompanied by fear. It is my vision to support birthers in achieving a gentle, mindful and emotionally fulfilled birth. I am a warm, grounded, and caring presence for you.

I believe my imagination, creativity and criticality combine to make a unique presence in the birthing space. As a poet, I’m invested in meditative and poetic modes of thinking and perceiving, which ground and balance me in a field that is becoming increasingly technological. I’ve also discovered that poetry is a natural compliment to HypnoBirthing, as both recognize the power of language, and both focus on breath, the subconscious, and sustaining altered and instinctive states of being. I’m passionate about returning power into the hands of birthers, and as your doula I will empower you to seek the birth experience you desire.

My role as your doula is fluid, adapting to your needs as they fluctuate; I act as your birth keeper, educator, companion, mediator, advocate and guide as I help you to understand and adjust to the physiological and emotional changes of pregnancy, remind you that birth is a natural and healthy process, encourage you to explore your feelings and birth preferences, assist you in devising your birth wishes, compile information and resources for you to make informed decisions, care for you emotionally, physically and spiritually throughout your pregnancy, labor, and postpartum, make suggestions for coping and labor progress, and help you in the initial latching and postpartum period.

I respect all birthing people and birth choices. For folks who can’t afford my support, I also work with the nonprofit BABS ( which provides free/low cost and trauma-aware birth doula services to those in need in the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

Birth Offerings

HypnoBirthing® Classes

What others are saying

Sonja is one of the most sensitive, in tune, attentive boss ladies I know.” -Zeynep

“Sonja, my Doula, was amazing.” -from DoulaMatch
“Having known Sonja for almost a decade, I can say she is most definitely a woman you want by your side. Even though it’s been years since we lived together, her friendship and strength still keeps me grounded. I almost want to have a baby just so she could be my doula. For now, I stay dog mom.“ -Audrey

Education, workshops and trainings

BA English and Creative Writing, University of Iowa

MFA Poetry, New York University

Birth Doula, DONA, with Rina Rios

HypnoBirthing® Childbirth Educator, HypnoBirthing® Institute, with Vivian Keeler

Breastfeeding Educator with Birth Arts International (underway)

Postpartum Doula with Cornerstone (underway)

Postpartum Doula with Cornerstone (underway)

Postpartum Belly Binding, La Matriz Birth Services, with Tema Marcado (underway)

Placenta Encapsulation, Moon Arts Placenta Alchemy, with Grace Roman (underway)

Grandma’s Hands Pregnancy and Postpartum Herbs and Nutrition in the Southern Tradition, Divine Birth Wisdom, with Divine Bailey-Nicholas (upcoming winter 2021)