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Lying-In and Postpartum Recovery with Earth Mama Organics

 

While having a new baby is truly an amazing experience, your new beginning with baby and your postpartum recovery should always begin with rest, healing and self care, also known as “Lying In”. Understanding that our bodies crave healing and support after the miracle of birth is incredibly important.

Throughout history, children were raised in communities. When a woman labored, she was surrounded by friends and family. After birth, she was off duty to rest, recover, and breastfeed, while her tribe cooked, cleaned, took care of the other kids, and ran needed errands. Today, most of us live separated from our families, often experience pregnancy through postpartum more or less alone, and deliver our babies amongst strangers. A friend or a family member might stay with us briefly after our babies are born, but then we’re on our own. Because of this, it’s important to know what steps to take in order to best prepare for your postpartum recovery.

HAVE A PLAN. Make the most of the time you have with your new baby by creating a plan of recovery in advance. Postpartum struggles can be very overwhelming. By having a plan and sharing that plan with loved ones, you are eliminating some or all of the most common postpartum stressors. Earth Mama Organics provides a free downloadable Lying-In Plan, created to help guide expecting mamas through thinking about their own plans for postpartum healing. My online course has an entire module devoted to helping you know what to expect and how to plan for the support you need during this sensitive time.

MEDITATE. Taking time to relax and calm your mind can make a huge difference in our external and internal energies, by sitting or lying in a comfortable position and focusing on your breathing; guiding it to be slow, deep and even (make the inhale to exhale ratio each to a count of 3 or 5 for example) or doubling the exhalation time (inhaling to a count of 3, exhaling to a count of 6) is especially soothing. If meditation isn’t your cup of tea, try to find time to relax in quiet with your favorite book or listen to calming, uplifting music or sounds. Know that it's alright to take a moment for yourself. Your energy and your mental health need nourishment during the postpartum period. 

PREPARE YOUR HOME/RECOVERY SUITE. When the ‘nesting phase’ kicks in, and it likely will, channel that energy into creating a space that is postpartum friendly and unique to you. In the weeks leading up to your labor, gather some or all of your postpartum/newborn necessities and make sure they are in a place that is easily accessible to you when you’re lying in with baby. The last thing you need is to run to the other side of your home to grab a diaper or nipple-balm as soon as you’ve laid down. Make sure your linens are clean and things are where you’d want them, so that you’re ready and able to spend your time healing and connecting with your baby.

SELF CARE is so very crucial during this time. Earth Mama’s line of herbal products are specifically designed to care for women before, during and after pregnancy. These products are made the way herbalists have been doing it for centuries; through infusion. As most of my readers know, I widely support a holistic approach to pregnancy and postpartum recovery, so knowing that these products are made traditionally and are organic, without any parabens or artificial fragrances is reassuring. These processes offer a more powerful concentration of herbs, thus allowing the herbs to really do their jobs.


The following Earth Mama postpartum recovery care products are formulated to help new mothers to feel their best while connecting with their newborn. These products can be used to treat perineal soreness, lacerations/episiotomy, hemorrhoids, and c-sections as well as a number of other concerns. 

Organic Herbal Sitz Bath These easy to use herbal sachets are made from a combination of organic witch hazel, yarrow, plantain and calendula, and can be used to brew a sitz bath or as a cold compress for immediate relief to the perineal area. Earth Mama suggests mamas should brew, cool, and pour the herbal sitz over a regular postpartum pad, freeze the pad, and then use it as an ice pack for long lasting relief! You can make a bunch in advance and freeze them in a ziplock bag. 


Organic Perineal Balm provides lasting, cooling comfort down below. Made with organic herbs and oils, this product sits on the surface of the skin, allowing the herbs within the product to stay put and help in the healing process. This product can be used as needed, so be sure to apply it as often as you’d like. 


Herbal Perineal Spray This touch-free spray serves up quick, temporary symptomatic relief dispensed with an upside-down sprayer, making it easy to apply to those swollen or hard to reach places. According to Earth Mama’s website, leftovers can be used as a refreshing facial toner or after shave spritz which sounds enchanting and refreshing! 


Organic Skin and Scar Balm This product is made with a nourishing blend of organic herbal ingredients, traditionally used to help reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. While stretch marks are all but preventable and genetics are mostly to blame, this balm aids in reducing the appearance of the inevitable - even though I encourage you to embrace these marks of new mama beauty, blessing, strength and wisdom. A little goes a long way and as long as your wounds are closed, this Earth Mama Organic Skin and Scar Balm can be applied up to three times per day.


Organic Periodic Tea First and foremost, it is important to note that this tea is NOT for use during pregnancy. Originally labeled, “Postpartum Recovery Tea” this tea can be consumed within the first hour after birth. It’s benefits include a reduction in bleeding, cramping, and assistance with the hormone shifts experienced after birthing both your baby and placenta. I find that this tea is best served nice and hot, but you may enjoy it cooled and over ice as well! 


Postpartum Recovery Time
It’s common to be very active with self-care before giving birth and then feel it’s impossible to balance everything after birth. It’s normal to have anxiety and fear around what might happen if you don’t get it all done and even start talking down to yourself for not 'doing enough.' Take the time to remember that not everyone’s body heals on the same schedule and while one mama may feel normal in a few weeks time, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking things at your .own pace. If you need regular contact with someone who understands the physical and psychological levels of what is happening to support you through this time, I offer an array of holistic care options for post-partum mamas.

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Postpartum Struggles Are Real

 

Statistics show that about 15% of new mommas experience postpartum depression. And 70-80% of us experience “baby blues,” that 2 week period after the baby’s born when we can feel confused, overwhelmed, sensitive and just not ourselves.

If this is you, you’re obviously not alone. Here’s what you need to know: There is no failure in pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

You can move with grace through potential sadness, grief, fear, and anger to embrace and heal from your experience. When you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, depressed or anxious, unconfident and unsure, a holistic postpartum plan can give you back your joy and confidence. You got this. But it takes a village to raise a baby and new parents. Sometimes we just need a little guidance and support - especially in modern times.

I know what it’s like to experience birth trauma and struggle to put it behind me. Or to try to find balance when there’s a new baby in the house - when the idea of “me time” seems like a cruel joke.

After My Own Last Birth I was Sick and Alone

Even as a nurse-midwife, I found myself in a postpartum situation that confused and scared me.

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Several weeks after the baby was born, I began to feel like I was over caffeinated. My thoughts were racing, I was extremely agitated, panicked, completely overwhelmed and unable to function. Making decisions felt impossible and I couldn’t sleep. I felt faint, and was losing weight.

I was ashamed and embarrassed. How could I, an expert, find myself in such a state of confusion and intolerable symptoms of anxiety? I didn’t want to ask for help. The people I did ask were unable to treat me, and my husband was confused and worried.

I started to have scary and repetitive thoughts. Noises seemed too loud. Faces seemed too big. What the hell was wrong with me?! I felt like I was drugged. Somehow I suspected my thyroid was off, so I asked my colleague to draw my labs. Then I nearly passed out.

After a call to 911 and subsequent visits to a postpartum stress center, I learned that I had postpartum thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition in which the thyroid initially makes too much hormone, before not making enough.

The diagnosis gave me the confidence to finally accept help. I knew now that I wasn’t crazy. I knew I shouldn’t be embarrassed...but I was at the time. I stayed with my mother, who lived several hours away - near the center - for an entire month. And my husband and friends all worked together to care for my other kids at home.

I had to stop work for an entire year while recovering from my illness. And it took me a number of years to fully heal using a comprehensive holistic approach. My yoga and meditation practice were life changing, but the complete healing happened after intensive Clarity Breathwork sessions. It was the most delicious and miraculous feeling of relief I ever experienced.

The Forgotten Fourth Trimester

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Throughout history, children were raised in communities. When a woman labored, she was surrounded by friends and family. She was attended to by the community midwife, often the same person who was there for the births of all the other babies in the area and potentially even her own birth. After birth, she was off duty to rest, recover, and get the breastfeeding, while her tribe cooked, cleaned, took care of the other kids, and did needed errands.

Now, we live separated from our families, often experience pregnancy through postpartum more or less alone, and deliver our babies amongst strangers. A sister or mother-in-law might stay with us briefly after our babies are born, but then we’re on our own.

In the US, women are sent home alone after a few days in the hospital, and maternity leave is shockingly brief. We’re expected to pick up at work right where we left off after just a few short weeks at home with our new baby. Paternity leave is almost non-existent in this country, except for some more progressive family friendly workplaces.

Of course so many of us experience depression, anxiety, worry, and a lack of confidence! This way of viewing motherhood is simply unnatural. You can’t institutionalize the sacred.

But, thriving postpartum is possible. Especially when you go into it with a plan.

How to thrive postpartum

If you’re currently struggling in your “fourth trimester,” here are some tips you can implement right away to take the edge off.

Exercise. Try to make time for whatever type of movement feels good to you. Have someone take the baby while you go to a class. Put her in the stroller and go for a walk. Put on a workout video while she’s napping. Turn on some music that reflects your mood and move your emotions with your body; then turn on something upbeat and dance like noone is watching.

Connect with your community. Join a mommy support group either online or in-person. Reach out to friends and family that tend to cheer you up or make you feel comforted. Ask a neighbor to join you for a walk. Take a postpartum mommy and me yoga class. Don’t be afraid to open up about how you’re feeling. You might be surprised how many people can relate. And make sure to get daily soul nurturing hugs.

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Meditate. Taking time to center down can make a big difference in our energy and confidence. Spend quiet time in nature. If you’re not accustomed to meditation, find a guided audio to listen to or just turn on some relaxing instrumental music, get comfortable and focus on your breath.

Nap. Now is not the time to stress about housework. Sleep deprivation leads to depression, anxiety, reduced memory and concentration, weight gain and a host of other health problems. Allow yourself to nap when the baby’s napping. The housework can wait.

Skip the sugar. Regularly eating sweets and simple carbs like breads and pastries puts us through a vicious cycle. Sugar crashes lead to low energy and low moods, which lead to carb cravings. Stick to fresh whole foods - and add more protein and healthy fat for a balanced diet and a balanced mood.

Do what you love. Each day, do things that bring you joy - even if it is for a few minutes at first. Think about what excites you and try to do more of it in your regular routine. Let it be easy and simple. That may be a quiet cup of tea, a visit with your friend, a stroll in the park, a flower or herbal bath in candlelight, watching comedy, getting a massage, doing some yoga. As baby gets older, make taking some time to yourself each day to do these things a non-negotiable like eating, drinking and sleeping.

Seek help. When your sadness or anxiety feels like more than “baby blues,” seek a qualified professional to help you through it. If, like me, you have an undiagnosed medical condition, the suggestions above just won’t be enough.

I have a holistic approach to life, including healing after pregnancy and birthing. Nothing replaces abdominal toning and exercise for restoring muscle strength and tone - which I encourage for all mamas as soon as they feel up to it postpartum. Nothing replaces touch, slow deep abdominal breathing, and a 'love your postpartum body' perspective that I promote.  But I have found many mamas simply feel comforted by this support garment, especially early postpartum and temporarily as needed....to be used without forfeiting abdominal toning and strengthening exercise, breathing well and touch. 

I have found Bellefit supportive garments to help like they use belly binding around the world such as in Indonesia. They do aid in early postpartum healing and provide support many mamas feel comforted by. I deal with human beings and the reality is many postpartum mom's struggle with body image, feel frustrated that getting back to themselves takes longer than expected. Being into holistic health and healing includes being sensitive to real human struggles - the mind, body, heart and soul of each person and their unique situation. Having helped countless women with these issues after having a baby as a midwife, I have found many still love that binding and feel better with this support, and ability to fit into their pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably and sooner than they would if they went through a C-section or natural childbirth recovery without it - especially when they have to dress up and fit into a certain favorite outfit for a special occasion or wedding not long after having a baby.

For more info on the Bellefit girdle, check out my blog about it hereHave a Great Postpartum Recovery (with a little help from Bellefit)!

I am thrilled to announce that you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase here.

“Anne Margolis was my incredible midwife. She is practical, science-based, and vastly experienced, but most importantly, she’s an awakened woman here to light the path to your most joyful self. Anne is the incredible midwife who taught me, through this process, how to midwife my own patients’ rebirth experience. Her own educational course is a deep but manageable dive into her accumulated wisdom, packaged for your journey. Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing.Yours in the truth.”    — Dr. Kelly Brogan MD

“Anne Margolis was my incredible midwife. She is practical, science-based, and vastly experienced, but most importantly, she’s an awakened woman here to light the path to your most joyful self. Anne is the incredible midwife who taught me, through this process, how to midwife my own patients’ rebirth experience.
Her own educational course is a deep but manageable dive into her accumulated wisdom, packaged for your journey. Forget your childbirth class, and take steps to your most empowering experience. If you are thinking about conception, pregnant, or love someone who is, take it from me that her wisdom is life-changing.Yours in the truth.”

— Dr. Kelly Brogan MD

Excellent childbirth education and preparation in advance are crucial for rocking your birth and postpartum experience, and are major reasons why I created my Love Your Birth course. It is a comprehensive online course that teaches women what they need to know about planning and carrying out the birth that they want in all settings - the hospital, birthing center or at home. It’s a course on how to have a holistic, healthy pregnancy through postpartum - for the body, mind, and soul - and is how I have guided thousands of women and their families in my midwifery practice for over 21 years. It contains a rolodex of my favorite resources with over 200 of the best books, movies and supplies I use personally and professionally with my clients, family & friends. Even diving into a fraction of this list will have you feeling empowered and prepared for conception, pregnancy, postpartum and parenting...It includes resources on improving and even ensuring ensuring healthier pregnancy and birth outcomes than the status quo, and preventing and healing from birth trauma so prevalent in the modern world! I also help you prepare your mindset for such a task, to debunk myths, and to reframe any current ideas or conditioning about pregnancy, birth and postpartum that can use a change in perspective or that are simply incorrect and do serve you. After finishing the course, the idea is that you are now able to create and have the healthy, beautiful and empowering journey through pregnancy, birth and new parenthood that you really want. 

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How to Prevent and Heal Birth Trauma in Babies

 

In part two of birth trauma in babies, we’ll be looking at how to prevent birth trauma in the first place for your little one. We’ll also look at how to help your baby heal from trauma, if it did already happen.

Your baby will learn about care, love, and healing; it’ll benefit him or her for life!

How to Prevent Birth Trauma in Babies

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In terms of prevention, a healthy pregnancy and beautiful natural birth are sure ways of encouraging healthy outcome and without birth trauma for you or your baby.

So, let’s quickly look at what you can do to promote a healthful and deeply fulfilling experience, while preventing any need for intervention that can lead to traumatic experiences.

Having a Natural Birth

So, what can you do to put in place the kind of birth that will support you and your baby to come into the world as nature intended?

Begin with preparation in pregnancy.

Attend my webinar on preventing birth trauma.

In it, I go over crucial tips that’ll help you develop a comprehensive plan and prepare for a natural birth. You must prepare well in advance, like you would for running the 26 mile marathon, or your own wedding.  If you want to succeed in getting what you want - rocking and loving your experience and have a healthy outcome physically and psychologically - you can not afford to just wing it. Not in today's world. 

Yes, your body knows how to give birth, when we get our modern minds out of the way and we are with people and in settings that support it and do not disturb it when everything is normal and healthy. 

Look for a midwife or doctor and birth setting setting with high rates of successful natural births, without routine unnecessary interventions, that completely allows you to have your voice, and respects and supports your decisions.

You may need to learn a complete mindset shift, especially if you do not know anything about natural birth, or have not been around it as women were throughout history; this is extremely important if you don't feel confident, have lots of fear and do not feel supported.  Although underestimated, preparing your mindset is also a powerful and a foundational place to begin when creating your birth plan and getting ready for your birth. When you set your intentions for your experience, you’re more likely to manifest what you want. 

The mindset plays a huge role in the success of famous athletes, performers, as well as business men and women - they all have coaches to help them with that so they become the rockstars they are. You do not need to be famous or perform. But you do need to take back your birth so you can have a healthy one that you love, and without trauma. Your ability to do this rests in your attitude and mindset, that needs to transform and be different than the herd mentality.

And do hire a doula - who can be your coach for your big day. It is another must.

Do any of the following situations apply to you?

  • It is your first baby,

  • It’s your first time planning a natural birth,

  • You want a vaginal birth after cesarean birth, or

  • You already had a traumatic birth and want to plan for a much better, and completely different, experience next time around.

If you answered yes to any of the above, then I recommend you take my online Love Your Birth  course as it goes over all of this in much greater depth. I literally teach you how to transform your mindset so that it serves you on this journey of a lifetime.

The lessons in the course come from my extensive experience guiding and and empowering women and their families in my practice. They’ve led to the awesome birth experiences that I have been honored to witness for over 20 years.

All mamas who have been through it benefited from it immensely. Take a look.

What to Do During and After the Birth

Babies are way more capable than we give them credit! Your unborn baby—when he or she is ready—is naturally inclined, with the help of your body's labor, to move through the birth canal of their own will and effort, when given the opportunity. 

Photo by @senhoritasfotografia.

Photo by @senhoritasfotografia.

In part one of this birth trauma in babies blog series I discussed how babies are actually more alert, cognizant and sensitive than we realize. If we interrupt the birthing and postpartum process when all is well, with any kind of medical or surgical procedures, testing and interventions, the baby will feel terrified, unsafe, their own agency taken away, their space violated and threatened. Then the trauma reaction ensues! Interventions that can cause trauma can include drugs, internal electrodes on their head, forceps, vacuum, cesarean, immediate cord clamping, suctioning their airway, rough handling, or separation from mom. All the more so when there are complications and interventions are truly needed. 

We need to be sensitive to the baby’s psychological experience when giving care during and after the process of delivery. In the womb and certainly as a newborn, baby is fully aware and conscious and is even more vulnerable to trauma than an adult, as baby's nervous system is still developing.

In addition to the prevention mentioned above, we can help minimize risk of birth trauma by creating a homey and private atmosphere for both mom and baby - in all settings.

That includes dim, soft lighting, and a quiet, peaceful, slow paced environment.  Also, if a mom feels loved, honored, supported and cared for, if she feels calm, safe, intimate and sensual, she’ll not only labor real well, but also will have yummy hormones that pass over to baby, so baby is bathed in them and feels this as well.  Check out my birth trauma series about mothers for more on how we can prevent and heal trauma in moms.

When I talk about gentle care, I’m talking about gentle handling, soothing reassuring voice and touch, eye contact, being held, breastfeeding, and a lot of skin-to-skin contact with mom or partner —this should begin after birth.

Photo by @sehorhitasfotografia.

Photo by @sehorhitasfotografia.

Don’t cut the cord immediately either. That is baby's life line to oxygen, blood volume and essential nutrients and immunity to help baby transition to life outside the womb. Clamp it only after the pulsing stops or the placenta is birthed. 

Babies also love relaxing music and bath water - and who wouldn't like flower petals floating around, the ambiance of real or electric candles, and a delicious light scent of lavender or citrus?  If you have a water birth, watch them open up, move their arms and legs, and look around when held in the birthing pool. 

This is a sacred time for meeting, connecting to and bonding with each other, so unplug from your phone and computer, and have someone else in charge of spreading the exciting news and taking pictures.

If a cesarean birth is needed, it can be gentle, to simulate a family-centered, natural birth as much as possible, so it feels like a huge personal celebration rather than an operation. These same concepts apply however baby comes into the world.

Furthermore, any procedures or exams that need to happen after the baby’s birthed can be done at mom’s bedside while she’s holding and soothing her baby, explaining what’s going on if something is being done to either of them. A healthy baby needs to stay with parents at all times and not be rolled away in an isolate crib, taken to the noisy and brightly lit nursery of strangers for any examination or intervention. 

How Can Babies Heal from Birth Trauma

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In today’s technological world, there are more stressful, scary, drug-induced labors and surgical births than ever before, especially here in the United States. Healthy birth has become an impersonal medical and/or surgical event, a potential crisis waiting to happen in an intensive care like setting in many hospitals; is not a normal, beautiful part of life, the humane, cozy, family-centered celebration it once was.

At least there are some improvements happening here and there, such as:

Needless to say, a lot of healing needs to take place in the last several generations, once birth was moved to hospitals in the early part of the 1900s!

Let’s take a look at some of the things we can do to help heal birth trauma in babies.

After the Traumatic Birth

In working with traumatized babies and infants, the most important thing in giving care is love. This may seem obvious but don’t take this parental superpower for granted!

As a parent, lead with your heart. It is full of wisdom and does not lie, but rather sends you in the right direction.

When interacting with your baby, always have tenderness, comfort and compassion in mind—for yourself and your baby! The more compassion you have for yourself, the easier you can extend it to others in abundance.

Practice Kangaroo Care - while in the hospital, if intensive care is needed, and definitely at home. This simply involves holding baby (clothed in a diaper only) against your skin and cover yourselves with a blanket. Its benefits are well documented and can be done safely despite baby's attachment to medical devices in the NICU, depending on baby's condition. Basic closeness, touch and attention improve their health and healing immensely.  

Your baby needs to know that even when life gets difficult—because it will—there’ll always be love. You can provide ongoing reassurance you are there for your baby. Talk to your baby in a soothing manner, and allow them to tell their story with their body and in the nonverbal way that they do. They have much to say without the ability to talk. 

Their excessive crying or “fussiness” is not simply difficult baby behavior—they’re trying to tell us something. Validate their scary experience and let them know that they’re safe now. Sing to them. Rock them. Calm them.

Take a look at renowned midwife Karen Strange’s resources on baby trauma healing. She is an expert and international educator in neonatal resuscitation and works fully from the baby’s perspective. You can begin using these incredible tools of connecting with baby in pregnancy. 

Working with a Therapist

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In treating traumatized babies, Dr. Graham Kennedy tells us that a therapist will be observing and interacting with the affected baby through movement as well as through “hands-on palpation using craniosacral therapy.”  Therapists skilled in somatic experience and cutting edge trauma healing modalities for babies are ideal. You can find a list of some wonderful ones here. 

Usually, the movements the baby begins to make are similar to those he or she made in the womb during labor, but this time giving us the story of what happened to them.

“Working with babies involves holding a space in which they feel supported enough to begin to tell us the story of what happened to them, what they experienced and where it became difficult or even traumatic.” (Graham Kennedy, November 2008)

This reenactment can have a profound change on the baby’s brain, rewiring them to experience what they would have experienced in labor were they to have had a stress-free and intervention-free experience.

There are many possible imprints and effects of birth trauma, but they can all be healed. This is well backed by much literature, science and research, especially as we are growing in our understanding of trauma, its impact and how to heal from it when we get stuck in trauma responses. 

For example, down the line, you may notice your infant or young child having trouble starting or completing tasks (or both!). This may be an effect of their birth having been interrupted—this may have caused your baby trauma, it is stored in their bodies, and now they’ve learned to carry with them a certain passivity.

Babies born by forceps, vacuum or cesarean may later on feel they have to be rescued, can't do it alone, support is painful, get angry with authority, being controlled or manipulated, or they may not want to be here at all - and that can impact every aspect of their lives.

Babies who were drugged from their moms getting pain medication, may suppress their aliveness, have issues with addiction, feel spacey, out of it and trouble being conscious in their own lives.

Babies who spent time in an incubator away from their parents, feel separate and alone, have deep longing for connection and touch, develop a psychic wall of protection, and are easily triggered by abandonment.

In later childhood through adult years, this can be completely resolved with Clarity Breathwork - I do sessions locally in my practice, and online for the global community. 

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The trauma response is an important part of our lives and it is our brain’s and body's way of protecting us at the time of perceived danger. It is a normal instinctual reaction in animals, including humans of all ages, and does not become a disorder unless it is interfered with and suppressed.

It does however, need to be treated with expertise for complete effective healing. If there is a traumatic response dysfunction, it is not a life sentence. You don’t have to hold on to those scripts anymore and neither does your baby. Full recovery is possible.

Healing birth trauma in babies is one of the most caring and giving things we can do for our children. 

Do you want to heal from trauma, inner stress and emotional pain that is negatively impacting your life? Let me help you! Read my book Trauma Release Formula available on Amazon.

 

Birth Trauma for Moms, Part 2: Prevention and Healing

 
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If you’ve confronted birth trauma or are dealing with it now, then you’re not alone. Learn more about how you can prevent it and about what you can do to begin healing.

I discuss birth trauma for moms and babies, so prevalent in the US and parts of the modern world, and how to prevent it, in greater depth on my free online masterclass. It is a must watch, as birth trauma is on the rise, effecting over 1/3 of women according to what has been reported - and many suffer silently - so how many go unreported? The numbers of people and lives this impacts are staggering. 

Prevention

Mindset Shift

Our Model of Conditioning

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The model of pregnancy and birth we’ve been conditioned to believe in these past 100 years or so has grossly skewed a modern woman’s natural ability to give birth in a natural way.

In part one of this Birth Trauma series, I briefly explained how birth around the world was, since the beginning of time, widely seen as a normal part of life, and a celebration rather than the medical event that it is today in the U.S. and parts of the modern world. But, in moving births from the home into hospitals, we’ve since lost our intuitive response to birth as a natural process.

Our bodies know how to birth a baby—it’s the same way we’ve been doing it for 1000s of years before medical procedures and technology.  So, a big part of preventing birth trauma would be a mindset shift—in fact, it’s a return to what we already know.

A first step in the gradual shift of your mind would be to forgive yourself the conditioning you’ve been taught to rely on—that you must hand over your body (and, essentially, your power) over to your doctor, hospital, modern medicine and technology.

We’ve been raised a certain way in this era of medical and technological advances. It’s not your fault! If there’s any trauma you’ve experienced or are experiencing now, it’s not your fault!

It might be worth asking your own parents, if you can, about the process of pregnancy and birth that they’d experienced in bringing you into the world. As you’ll inevitably learn with trauma, it is not simply forgotten.

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Traumatic experiences can begin in the womb. Babies are born fully conscious. A baby in the womb feels whatever its momma feels - keeping a file, so to speak, of cellular memory within the subconscious. Traumatic birthing experiences, like the use of drugs to induce labor and numb pain, internal electrode probes screwed onto baby's scalp, forceps, C-section, immediate cord clamping, suctioning, rough handling, bright lights, separation from mom and being left alone in a nursery incubator etc., can be hard-wired into a deep memory base that you, as a now functioning adult, can’t even remember, let alone access!

Psychology news  tells us that the more traumatic and hard-wired habits we’ve developed are because of experiences from before the age of 9. Imagine that: most of our decisions and personality today are based on our childhood and baby selves! 

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Therefore, the emotional component of pregnancy and birth needs to be honored even more so - as it impacts mom as well as baby. In the shift from home to hospital, birth became a medical and often, now a surgical event - sterile and almost emotionless, stripped of humanity. The huge psychological impact of childbirth on mom and baby is widely disregarded, and when care is given without this sensitivity, there is increased risk of birth trauma for them both.

A return to our emotions is essential in giving birth. Needless to say, this is supposed to be a time of love and honor and joy—when a birth is led with these feelings, the chances of it being successful, natural and healthy are that much higher.

A Return to Confidence

With this mindset shift comes a return to the confidence of knowing that we as healthy women, have a feminine capacity to grow, birth, and breastfeed our babies.

With confidence, you’ll feel more capable of taking on the responsibility of your pregnancy and outline what you want for your child’s birth—not what the medical system deems it should be or believes it is.

Confidence in pregnancy and birth comes from an understanding that women birth like they breathe - naturally. (You don’t have to teach your organs to function, your heart to pump blood, or your lungs to fill with air - they are brilliantly designed to do that without your involvement.)

But, this confidence is also best supported in a space where a woman can feel at peace and that she is being celebrated in a gentle and beautiful way.

If a woman is stressed, if she’s being monitored in a way that is invasive, where there’s poking and prodding—especially without consent—then, this woman is definitely not going to labor well and most definitely not as quickly or easily as she otherwise would. She’ll then need to be medicated  to “get things moving” which will cause a faster and more intense labor, and that results in the need for pain relief medications.

Our current maternity care system’s disconnected and medical treatment of birth is what’s causing the need for more medical and surgical intervention and emergency situations in the first place; it leads into a cascade of further interventions and more serious problems like the high rates of maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality that plague the United States.

This is why a woman’s physical and mental and emotional state and space are so important in avoiding birth trauma. In a space where a woman feels respected and heard, she will feel safe enough to birth in a way that is natural and healthy for her and her baby.

Planning

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This is why excellent childbirth education is a must, why planning for your birth is so important today, and is a major reason why I created my Love Your Birth course. It is a comprehensive online course that teaches women what they need to know about planning and carrying out the birth that they want in all settings - the hospital, birthing center or at home. It’s a course on how to have a holistic, healthy pregnancy for the body, mind, and soul - and is how I have guided thousands of women and their families in my midwifery practice for over 20 years. It contains a rolodex of my favorite resources with over 200 of the best books, movies and supplies I use personally and professionally with my clients, family & friends. Even diving into a fraction of this list will have you feeling empowered and prepared for conception, pregnancy, postpartum and parenting...It includes resources on improving and even ensuring ensuring healthier pregnancy and birth outcomes than the status quo, and preventing and healing from birth trauma so prevalent in the modern world!  Be prepared to do some research on your own, but knowledge restores your power. I also help you prepare your mindset for such a task, to debunk myths, and to reframe any current ideas or conditioning about pregnancy and birth that can use a change in perspective or that are simply incorrect and do serve you. After finishing the course, the idea is that you are now able to create and have the healthy, beautiful and empowering pregnancy and birth that you want. 

You can get a free nugget from my course - all about creating your ideal birth plan here. A huge part of preventing birth trauma is getting clear your birth preferences, knowing the pros and cons about all the tests and procedure, all the interventions your may be faced with, so you can make informed decisions - rather than simply give over your body, your choice and voice to your health care providers and institution you choose.

In looking for that supportive birthing space I talked about earlier, seek care providers and settings that have a low intervention rate (low rates of medical interventions like inductions and epidurals, low rates of cesareans, etc.)—their practices are more likely to be in line with your goals.

Hire a doula.  What’s a Doula and Why I Recommend One

Birth, for most healthy women, is a normal process that needs no intervention but sensitive support and enouragement when all is well —the medical system does have its place (which we’ll get into later) but normal birth requires no invasion and therefore need not be traumatic whatsoever!

In fact, as a midwife, I’ve had women tell me not only that they feel proud of their labor and birth, but also,  that they even feel in ecstasy with their experiences - even if intense and challenging.

Photo by Senhoritas Fotografia

Photo by Senhoritas Fotografia

A birthing woman should feel private, safe, sensual, gentle and undisturbed. The same vibration it took to get the baby in (the intimate, sensual, vulnerable and safe feelings involved in making love), is the same vibration needed to get the baby out.

Read a mom in my practice blog of her experience giving birth in this way: Birth Story - Sacred, Sensual, & Laughing Baby Out.

HEALING:

Acknowledgment, Validation, Support

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Now that we have a sense of what it takes to put in place a birth free of trauma, how do we heal it if we’ve already experienced it?

Full healing is possible. I want you to feel that, imagine that for you, and know that it is true. I have not only felt it myself, but have witnessed it in countless others just like you, who have sought my guidance for their trauma healing in the last two decades.

The foundation of healing any sort of trauma is acknowledgment, validation, and support. If you need more personal guidance, let me know: Heal Your Birth Trauma

Acknowledgement and validation seem counterintuitive to our culture of suppression but don’t repress your feelings. Embrace every single one of them - joyful and mournful. Just as it is part of life to have light and dark, sun and rain, there is joy and pain. They are all sacred. Feeling all of your feelings makes way for the processing them, but also the allowance to trust them—yes, I said trust them! And healing is in the feeling and expressing emotions healthfully so they do not get stuck and cause physical and psychological health problems.

“Bad” feelings aren’t bad in and of themselves—and you certainly should not feel guilty for having them (that definitely doesn’t help create any path toward healing!). Bad feelings are actually guides toward helping you find what’s upsetting you, to find what’s imbalanced in your body. Your body is brilliant and does not lie. Our mind can make up all sorts of false stories, but your body tells the truth. It is wise to listen to its messages. In this way, holistic intervention looks a lot different than medical and surgical intervention.

As a midwife, holistic practices search through the painful feelings of birth trauma and look to see what are they telling us and what can be done to help relieve or remedy the root cause. 

What can we change in terms of lifestyle habits that can help you cope with any of the feelings you're worried about? We look at how can we help your body, your mind, your heart heal. What is truly the soothing for all of who you are?

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The idea is to listen to what’s really going on with you as a new momma. What are you eating and drinking? How are you sleeping? How can you get more quality sleep, eat foods and take supplements that support your well-being, and avoid what harms you?

Sometimes it simply goes back to needing that sense of support. We’ll look at perhaps you need extra help if feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you need more regular outings with a good friend and a cup of tea. It may help to join a support group of mothers who have experienced birth trauma and connect with those who have healed from it. One day you can be that mentor for another suffering momma.

Maybe you need a daily walk by yourself or to take a dance or yoga class. Maybe you simply need more time to yourself, to unplug and be outdoors in nature, and to ensure quiet moments where you’re simply breathing.

Maybe you need to feel and express certain emotions more deeply - can we do that through song and dance, listening to sad and/or angry songs, and then something uplifting and moving it through your body? I have been in many healing workshops of small groups to several thousands dancing the dark emotions as well as dancing the joy. You fully felt, expressed and moved through your emotions in childhood, so you can do it now, and music helps you remember how. I have over a thousand songs for this that I use myself and to help others. Here is a sample playlist to help you dance your 'dark' emotions.

My healing advice includes making sure you get a good laugh, a good cry, and a good hug every day!

Surgical/Medical Intervention

Medical and surgical interventions have their place as I always say, and when they are needed, they are something for which to cultivate immense gratitude. In cases of high risk where the mother and/or baby are in real danger, these interventions can absolutely make all of the life saving difference. But, please take note that these situations are emergency or high risk situations and when it comes to normal and healthy pregnancies and births,  pharmaceutical drugs and surgery should not be the norm. They usually cause more sproblems - especially when all is well; and even when there are issues, they do not result in true healing. What is needed is a more comprehensive holistic approach.

When there is severe postpartum depression and a mother’s feelings are so grave that she feels the need to harm herself or her baby, psychiatric care can be a complete necessity as part of larger healing regimen. When there is symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental illness, I prefer to build the foundation and start with best selling author of A Mind of Your Own and integrative psychiatrist's Dr Kelly Brogan's natural and highly effective modalities  - which is now also available as an online course

Somatic Healing and Clarity Breathwork

According to decades of cutting edge research in trauma, we are learning that the best way to heal trauma is not necessarily through the traditional practice of cognitive and medical therapy but somatic therapy. You literally have to reset the nervous system wired to the trauma response, and to shake it off! This sounds trivial but the body, quite literally, physically stores its trauma and it can impact our health and well-being, and just about every aspect of our lives.

Related: Somatic Experiencing - How Trauma Can Be Overcome

If you’ve ever noticed an animal shake itself as they all do, or a bird flap its wings profusely (usually after after a particularly intense situation for them), that’s because they are alleviating themselves of the initial and sudden stress that the situation created within their bodies. A deer in the wild, after escaping from a tiger and reaching safety, shakes off the trauma energy and resumes being in a calm state without carrying emotional baggage. 

Babies, toddlers and young children authentically feel, express and move their emotions - joy, as well as sadness and anger in full blown temper tantrums, then get up and resume play. Cultural conditioning has caused many of us to shut down, tune out, repress, deny, escape from and numb our uncomfortable feelings.

When humans encounter the stress of an intense situation, the fight or flight response kicks in and we often hold our breath, or breathe more rapidly and shallow. Any emotion felt at the time is stored as trapped energy in the body. Think of a horror movie you’ve watched, when you’re suddenly surprised, scared or horrified,  the typical reaction is to take a quick and sudden gasp, not to breathe slowly and deeply into your lungs and focus on inner peace. 

We live in a society today that is in constant overdrive fight or flight mode without a means of release and reset; we are storing more and more stress energy in our bodies, and this one of the main causes of modern chronic physical and psychological illnesses. 

A great way to begin the somatic healing process is by Clarity breathwork and this process is what truly helped me move through and out of my own birth traumas, even the trauma of childhood abuse and major adult stresses. 

Clarity Breathwork is a powerful and effective modality that uses a specific type of breathing to release the trapped trauma energy and psychic pain that is stored in your body, without having to think or talk much about it. It allows your nervous system to reset to optimal original settings. It enables your body to more easily shake off whatever stress it’s been storing. It leaves you feeling an incredible and lasting relief.  You will notice more ease, flow and joy in your life and relationships. It's healing effects are so profound, I had to become a practitioner myself and share the gold.

Whatever trauma you’ve felt or are feeling, please know that your pain is real, it’s not your fault, you are not alone, there is support and healing for you.

Every woman has the right to the pregnancy and birth that they’ve envisioned for themselves and their baby. A woman who is treated with a sense of respect and dignity and whose choices are honored will not only labor well but will be far less likely to look back on her birthing experience with a sense of guilt, shame, failure and deep emotional pain.

It is possible to have a return to Self and allow your body to experience pregnancy, birth, and life afterward in a safe, peaceful, sensual and passionate way. It is possible to get back your inner calm and joy. This is your right!

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Was your birth upsetting or traumatic? Do you have more questions about processing your birth and need help healing? Arrange some time to chat with me. I’d love to answer your questions and help you heal and get yourself back - I have a program specifically got you, that can also include this revolutionary and last natural healing modality called Clarity Breathwork.  Helping women heal from birth trauma is one of my passions and areas of expertise. I have officially published and prelaunched my first two books on Amazon on prevention and healing from trauma...and they both became #1 Bestsellers! They will be released in March, but feel free to check them out. 

Natural Birth Secrets: An Insiders Guide How To Give Birth Holistically, Healthfully and Safely, and Love the Experience! Kindle Edition
by Anne Margolis CNM, MSN, Yoga Teacher, Clarity Breathwork Practitioner (Author)

Trauma Release Formula: The Revolutionary Step by Step Program for Eliminating Effects of Childhood Abuse, Trauma, Emotional Pain and Crippling Inner Stress, to Living in Joy without Drugs or Therapy Kindle Edition
by Anne Margolis CNM, MSN, Yoga Teacher, Clarity Breathwork Practitioner (Author)

If you are pregnant, learn to prevent birth trauma in the first place. Come join my FREE online masterclass, to learn all about Birth Trauma for moms and babies, so rampant in our country and parts of the modern world. Its called  "Secrets To Holistically Healthy Joyful Birth Without Birth Trauma" Discover 5 simple but crucial things you can do right now to drastically reduce your risk!  Sign up Here!

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I have a holistic approach to life, including healing after pregnancy and birthing. Nothing replaces abdominal toning and exercise for restoring muscle strength and tone - which I encourage for all mamas as soon as they feel up to it postpartum. Nothing replaces touch, slow deep abdominal breathing, and a 'love your postpartum body' perspective that I promote.  But I have found many mamas simply feel comforted by this support garment, especially early postpartum and temporarily as needed....to be used without forfeiting abdominal toning and strengthening exercise, breathing well and touch. I have found Bellefit supportive garments to help like they use belly binding around the world such as in Indonesia. They do aid in early postpartum healing and provide support many mamas feel comforted by. I deal with human beings and the reality is many postpartum mom's struggle with body image, feel frustrated that getting back to themselves takes longer than expected. Being into holistic health and healing includes being sensitive to real human struggles - the mind, body, heart and soul of each person and their unique situation. Having helped countless women with these issues after having a baby as a midwife, I have found many still love that binding and feel better with this support, and ability to fit into their pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably and sooner than they would if they went through a C-section or natural childbirth recovery without it - especially when they have to dress up and fit into a certain favorite outfit for a special occasion or wedding not long after having a baby. For more info on the Bellefit girdle, check out my blog about it here

Have a Great Postpartum Recovery (with a little help from Bellefit)! I am thrilled to announce that you get a $20 Off with code: ANNE20 at checkout - if you purchase here.

 

 

My Two Books Pre-launched #1 Bestsellers

 
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I have some exciting news to share with you! I have officially published my first two books on Amazon today...and they both became #1 International Bestsellers! The titles are below. 

I am forever grateful of your support and would love for you to share this with any of your friends or family that you think would enjoy this as well! 

 

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Trauma Release Formula: The Revolutionary Step by Step Program for Eliminating Effects of Childhood Abuse, Trauma, Emotional Pain and Crippling Inner Stress, to Living in Joy without Drugs or Therapy Kindle Edition 

by Anne Margolis CNM, MSN, Yoga Teacher, Clarity Breathwork Practitioner (Author)

If you’ve experienced intense stress, emotional pain or any type of trauma, this program is a must - it represents true hope that saved my life and the lives of countless others. Once you know the key that unlocks the emotional pain, suffering, your ongoing personal life, work and relationship issues, and ongoing stress related physical symptoms and illness, and how to unlock it all, you experience such a powerful healing. 

For the last 22 years I have worked as a holistic nurse midwife, then with the added expertise as a yoga teacher, advanced grad and volunteer staff of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts, and Clarity Breathwork practitioner. I have shared the most intimate experiences with women and their families as they move through young adulthood through and beyond menopause, and as they have their babies. I have held space for the huge powerful transformation of birth – that involves challenging situations of extreme intensity and vulnerability, pain of all degrees, facing enormous fears head on, surrendering to a process far greater than all of us…as well as great joy, love, and miracles. There is no pain – physical or emotional – that scares me – I am comfortable with it all; I have either felt it myself, heard about it, witnessed it, and helped others move through and heal from it. Over many years, the women in my practice, their partners, extended families and friends have shared with me and sought my guidance for their deepest darkest sufferings.

I would say just about everyone has baggage, past trauma of some sort, emotional pain and inner stress that is part of being human. Or it comes out as physical problems. Even if there is no apparent history of physical, sexual or verbal abuse unfortunately occurring at staggering rates (beyond 1:3 what is reported), most -people tell me they are one or more of the following:

From my book signing trip!

A Doctor and Midwife Recommended, Guide For Pregnancy To Postpartum Bliss Whether Birthing At Home, Hospital or Birth Center- even if this is not your first baby! 

This is a unique approach on how to have a deeply positive, empowered, and joyful journey through pregnancy, birth, and becoming a mom postpartum. Whether you have visions of a cozy home water birth, giving birth in a birth center free of pain meds and intervention, or a hospital birth with the latest technology and emergency care access just in case, this is the ultimate pregnancy to postpartum training so you can be prepared from an emotional, physical, and spiritual perspective to relax into birth and momma-hood with excitement and ease.

This comprehensive training will help you find your center and feel balanced, strong, relaxed, and calm within yourself during this special rite of passage into momma-hood- in the midst of all the chaos of life along the way. It will help you tune into your deepest desires and create joy and pleasure in your pregnancy, birth, an life as a mom - to take you and your family higher.

I’ve taken everything I’ve learned, trained and supported thousands of women, babies and their families with for over twenty years in my private practice locally and around the world, to create this book and do my part in improving maternity and newborn care and experiences, by empowering women and their families to speak up. These are my insiders secrets to increase your likelihood of avoiding high rates of risky medical and surgical interventions, serious complications including birth trauma for you and your baby, and having the birth of your dreams.

- stressed out, worried and anxious,

- overwhelmed, overworked and depleted, burned out, taking care of everyone but themselves

- filled with resentment, anger, rage

- irritable, cranky, and reactive

- unhappy, uninspired, unfulfilled, sad or downright depressed – do not feel joy

- addicted to harmful habits and do not do much to take care of themselves

- embarrassed or ashamed by some part of their body or not liking the way they look

- struggling with eating disorders,

- stuck and can’t make decisions

- disconnected from themselves and others

- shut down, powerless without a voice

- longing for something more and better, but don’t even know what they want, or thinking something outside of them will rescue them and make them happy

- plagued with self loathing, self doubt, not feeling valued, worthy or good enough, like a failure

- filled with shame, blame or a sense of being wrong

- lonely and isolated – without community, or even within their circle of friends and family

- sensually and sexually shut down and turned off

- troubled by relationship issues (immediate, extended, friends and/or professional)

- battling  career and work problems

- suffering with ongoing physical symptoms or chronic health conditions from body aches and pains, to migraines, intestinal issues, acid reflux, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, cancer …the list goes on. If you can relate or have some of these feelings or issues, you are in the right place.

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I want to thank my mentor Mike Koenigs for guiding me to prelaunch two books on my two passions for helping people!!! Both are available on Amazon already! Will be released on kindle in March and paperback in April!!