First and foremost, I am a wife and mother. I have been with my husband since 2008 and we have blessed with three pregnancies and two babies. Our son is 3 years old and we will have our second baby in December! I am also a Doula, Childbirth Educator, and Lactation Counselor.
2. You have an obvious passion for birth! How did you get started and how is that different from where you are now?
I became a Doula in 2013 after the birth of my son. It was a hard and very traumatic birth that led me to question why support isn’t readily available to birthing and new moms. Lactation support and Doula support go hand-in-hand, so I decided to become a Lactation Counselor shortly after becoming a doula.
Along my journey as a doula, I realized that my favorite part of supporting new moms and families was the knowledge I was able to pass to them. I enjoyed teaching them about labor, birth, and everything that happens in the postpartum period. It was then that I decided to become a Childbirth Educator as well. The timing was perfect since we found out we were pregnant again right after I completed my training! I was able to transition from an on-call 24/7 schedule to teaching classes every week or so. It helped me so much in the very early and very exhausting days of my pregnancy! I plan to take doula clients again one day, but am enjoying being a teacher AND enjoying my family right now!!
3. What is your favorite part about being a Childbirth Educator?
I love teaching so much! I love instilling knowledge, power, and concern in my students. I say to every client that it is “Your body, Your baby, and Your Birth”; my goal as their teacher is to provide them with all the facts and information so they can make the right decisions for their body, their baby, and their birth. We should never forget that a mother’s feeling about birth is her most important tool when having a baby.
4. What is your least favorite part?
Perhaps my least favorite part is not being able to reach every mom. We are still in an era where birth is heavily distrusted. Somehow, we have forgotten that our bodies are MADE to birth babies and we can trust them wholly! We don’t always need to be monitored constantly, forced to have our babies by someone else’s timeline, told that our bodies are broken or inefficient, or really even messed with at all during birth! We CAN have our baby and it CAN be a Peaceful Delivery. ;-)
5. Many people don't realize that fear greatly impacts pain or “challenges” in birth. What are some quick tips that you can give families so they don’t fear birth?
Fear travels along the same neural pathway as pain. We have to stop thinking of any pain associated with birth as the result of an injury. Running a marathon is hard and sometimes we really hurt while doing it, but we aren’t injured. We run through the pain because we know we will be done soon! We can think of birth the same way. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, the contractions won’t last forever, you HAVE to have your baby! Don’t fear labor or birth, know that it is just a stepping stone to meeting your baby. Trust that your body knows exactly what it is doing and acknowledge that it may be hard. You can do it! We can all do it! Knowledge is power and once you know and understand that birth is normal, you can have a very empowering experience!
6. Taking care of yourself during and after pregnancy is very important. What advice would you give an expectant mother?
Taking care of yourself during pregnancy is important, and very easily attainable. Eat lots of good foods, drink lots of water, take a great prenatal, take lots of naps, and enjoy those little flutters!
I have a 21 day rule about postpartum. I say don’t do a darn thing for 21 days. Yes, 21 days! It took a really long time to grow that baby in your body and you took great care during that time. We need to take just as much care after we have babies too! One of the leading causes of postpartum mood disorder is lack of rest. So let the dishes pile up, let the laundry go undone, let your mother in law cook you dinner. You get to cuddle with your baby, nap, nurse, and repeat. The postpartum period is one of the only times we get to rely 100% on other people, and they are completely willing to help!!
7. Are there any tips that you can give expectant parents to help them during labor?
Drop. Your. Jaw. Julie White obsessed about a dropped jaw, relaxed shoulders and an overall “loosey-goosey” feeling in your body during labor. She said it so many times that my husband also obsessed about it during my labor. I remember looking at him, in a very not nice way, and using choice words about him saying “drop your jaw” again. He gently smiled and said “ok babe”, but quickly said it again about five minutes later because I was, in fact, not dropping my jaw. I was tightening and causing myself unnecessary tension and pain. As soon as he reminded me, even though he knew there may be trouble, I relented, dropped my jaw, and felt SO much better.
So now, in my classes, I am the teacher who obsesses about a dropped jaw. I say it and I say it and I say it! I tell them I am going to be annoying about it and then some, but they always remember to drop their jaw when the time comes to have their babies (and if the mom doesn’t then the cycle of the annoying dad = mean looks from mom repeats). :-)
Relaxing your body allows your brain to release endorphins. Endorphins act like opiates and help with pain! Remember the neural pathways that fear and pain travel on? Endorphins are like the Maserati that passes all the slow cars on the freeway. They get to the brain BEFORE pain and fear and help to block them out!
So please ladies, DROP. YOUR. JAW.
8. What is your favorite quote and why?
“Drop your…” ha, no I’m just kidding! My favorite quote is “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” -Author Unknown
That quote means so many things to me, but as a mother and wife it means slow down and enjoy your life! Life isn’t a competition or a race. We don’t always need to rush to the next place or be better that the person before us. We need to sit back and be thankful for everything we have been blessed with. If we can slow down and just enjoy our lives, I think we will be much happier!
9. Share 5 things about yourself that most people don't know.
- I have an intense fear of falling out of a moving vehicle. I have no idea why! I always check the lock on the door when I get into other people’s cars, just in case.
- I really would have liked to live in the 1920’s-30’s. I have a very romantic idea about the jazz, the people, the cities, and what was life was like then. Great Gatsby please!
- I’d very much like for all technology to stop working...but only until I realized that heated houses come in really handy in the winter!
- I dislike the color red. I don’t know why, red never did anything to me.
- Snow is one of the most magical things to me. Most people scoff and fret about being warm when it starts to snow. Not me. I could stare at the snow falling for hours!
10. Parting words?
Drop your jaw.