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Postpartum Depression: Ending The Stigma

 

Postpartum Depression: Ending the Stigma

Guest Contributor: Haley Rolff

"The exact rate of postpartum depression is unknown because there are so many undiagnosed cases.  In the US, it’s estimated that up to 80% of women who give birth will experience some form of it, whether it’s the “baby blues” or a more severe type of postpartum depression (American Pregnancy Association). There are 4 million live births a year which means that 3.2 million women are at risk! This is before taking into account the women who have experienced stillbirths (about 24,000 happen each year in the US) and miscarriages (which happens between 660,000 and 880,000 times a year in the US) (CDC, Mayo Clinic).

As for clinical postpartum depression, specifically, about 900,000 cases are diagnosed each year (Postpartum Progress). Medical experts estimate that, when taking undiagnosed cases into account, that number could be twice as large!

Why are there so many undiagnosed cases? After conducting research and going through over 250 interviews (with moms, dads, and postpartum specialists) a team of students at Northwestern University speculate that the culture around postpartum lifestyle in the US may be a major factor.

When asked whose health came first (between the mom’s health or the baby’s health) the universal response of parents was the baby’s health. Moms think that the baby’s health comes first so much so that many of them don’t eat enough, rest enough, or practice enough self-care. Instead, they overexert themselves trying to obtain the “perfect motherhood” which many characterize with impossibly high standards in terms of the state of a mom’s baby, home, and over-all image.

Let’s start with the standards around the baby. It begins with the baby shower, where the mom receives stylish onesies, blankets, and tiny socks for her baby, who, not only is too young to enjoy its ‘gifts,’ but will quickly outgrow most of it. Those things then turn into more clutter for a mom to worry about.

Beyond the culture around the baby’s style, moms are most worried about their baby’s health. They also feel pressure to spend as much time as possible holding and interacting with her infant for the good of its development (an overwhelming message that is constantly pitched on parent blogs and other social media). Moms then feel incredibly guilty if her baby cries excessively, have issues feeding, or get sick because they see it as a sign of failure as a mom. In reality, these problems are normal and actually shared by most parents.

On Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, however, no one posts about these problems which make them seem uncommon and a sign of bad parenting. Parents on Facebook mostly post about the positives. Why would you want to update your friends, family, and coworkers about the fact that your infant isn’t taking to breastfeeding, or is causing you to suffer from sleep deprivation? It’s easier to post cute pictures of infants’ moments of joy and pretend that life is always blissful. Moms on Pinterest post about incredible DIY baby projects, intricate baby fashion, and picture perfect homes. They don’t post about the house getting messy when parenting gets super demanding, or the sweatpants they throw on when they don’t have time to choose a stylish new mom outfit (which is much more common). Instagram is where celebrity moms and fitness-bloggers-turned-moms post their rapid postpartum recovery: somehow they get a six pack a month after giving birth, and their makeup is always perfect. In reality, the postpartum recovery process takes a while and each body has different needs and fitness restrictions.

All of this culminates into unrealistic standards for motherhood. According to the interviews, many moms who looked back on past pregnancies admitted to buying into some of these standards and regretted the toll it took on their own well-being (some interviewees revealed that they had undiagnosed postpartum mental illnesses).

Not only do these standards play a role in damaging the well-being of many moms, but it also plays a role in creating a stigma around postpartum mental illnesses, by constantly plugging that motherhood is an overall joyful experience. Although some people (even celebrities like Chrissy Teigen) are starting to talk about their experiences with postpartum depression, it is still vastly overshadowed and stigmatized by much of the media, or simply downplayed to “baby blues” which invalidates those who actually have clinical postpartum depression.

If you or a mom you know may be suffering from a form of postpartum depression, seek help from a doctor, (midwife), or a support group. Talking to people and sharing experiences is the only way to end the stigma, because it normalizes what has been wrongfully projected as obscure and shameful: mental illness. More importantly, it provides moms the support they need. Every mother deserves to be healthy, and every baby deserves a healthy mother.

Bundles of Health, a startup born out of Northwestern University, aims to give new moms better care postpartum. The company offers a curated selection of the most useful gifts to include in a baby registry. Instead of onesies, blankets, and socks, Bundles of Health allows family and friends to gift the mom-to-be a month of housecleaning, food delivery, or a postpartum doula. To add to your Amazon, Babylist, MyRegistry, or Target registry, click here. Help your loved ones give you the gift of health and happiness, time and peace of mind!

Check out Mayo Clinic’s description of postpartum depression signs, symptoms, and advice here: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/symptoms/con-20029130 "

For Postpartum Mommas Worldwide

Whether it's banishing postpartum depression, healing birth trauma, or balancing me time, I'm an expert in postpartum care and can help you, no matter where you live. I've went through it all personally and professionally. I know postpartum blues, depression and anxiety well, and have helped thousands of women through what I call the "Forgotten 4th Trimester," to prevent or overcome postpartum depression and anxiety in a wholesome, effective and lasting way.  When you are struggling with feeling overwhelmed, exhaustion, mild to moderate feelings of depression or anxiety, newborn care or breastfeeding challenges, or finding a sustainable new momma rhythm, I can help you with personalized guidance for your unique situation.

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5 Essential Tips for Breastfeeding Newborns

Are you prepared to ‪breastfeed your baby? Here are the first 5 tips to get you started.

1) Prepare in advance with education and 2) Get support

Whether you are expecting one baby, multiples, or plan to tandem nurse, the best way to prepare to breastfeed is the same as the best way to have the most positive birth outcome: through education during pregnancy when you do not know about it! More and more mamas today approach their birth full of information and support, which is great! But many mamas do little to prepare themselves for ‪‎breastfeeding their precious little ones ‪‎before they are faced with it postpartum.  In addition, It is much easier when you are determined, surrounded by breastfeeding mamas and support - which you can seek out while pregnant, and have a natural unmedicated birth. It is harder without all that, but absolutely doable. My Love Your Birth online course goes into much more detail about breastfeeding and preparing yourself in advance with knowledge and support, the hows and whys, and what you can do to prevent potential common breastfeeding breastfeeding and set yourself up for optimal success.  

Photo of @mamacarlock is by @kindredphotographer

Photo of @mamacarlock is by @kindredphotographer

Breastfeeding is a magical experience for the entire family, and it's one I am proud to support whole heartedly - especially as it's so incredibly beneficial for mamas and babies, on many levels. I am determined to help mamas and babies get the support they need so their breastfeeding journey is a successful one. I have helped thousands of mamas on their breastfeeding journeys, and am happy to share the wisdom from my education and those experiences with you.

Breastfeeding is a natural process healthy mamas and babies know how to do. But it’s not always easy. Natural unfortunately doesn’t necessarily equal easy, especially in the beginning, and for first timers! It is a learned instinct, but once you and baby get it, it can be so easy, even pleasurable and incredibly worth it. While many do get it right away, for others there is a learning curve that takes a few weeks to get into your groove, and sometimes extra support is needed - especially if its your first experience and you are not surrounded by mamas breastfeeding, as women were throughout history since the beginning of time, and still are in many parts of the world.  It is the way all mammals naturally feed their babies. 

This mama pig is so full of the oxytocin and prolactin hormones, she is completely relaxed and in pig mama bliss. Animals just know what to do. In unusual cases, if a baby animal is having difficulty in the wild, they did not survive. And that is simply part of wildlife reality. If an animal is owned by a person, they usually help the rare little one that is having trouble. Humans who are passionate about breastfeeding but facing challenges are fortunate to have all sort of lactation support, wet nurses, donor milk banks, pumping, storage and alternative feeding methods to get babies breastmilk.

3) Start breastfeeding within the first hour postpartum, or as early as possible by 4) placing skin to skin and allowing for the breast crawl

The first hour after postpartum is an ideal time to start breastfeeding as babies are naturally wide awake, alert, and have strong suck, root and crawl reflexes - from the hormones of undisturbed childbirth.  Make sure the lights are dim and the room is quiet. Place baby skin to skin on your abdomen or chest.

Healthy babies have reflexes to actually crawl up and find their way to the breast, find the nipple and start sucking on their own. It takes patience but there is no rush - and it's truly amazing to watch. Check out movies like "The Breast Crawl."  There are plenty like this on you tube. Healthy postpartum mamas have a huge heart, the maternal instinct to love and care for their babies enhanced by the hormonal cocktail circulating in the body after undisturbed birth; and their breasts are filled with colostrum  - commonly referred to as liquid gold, that transitions in a few days to breast milk which completely meets your babies' needs at least for the first 6 months and beyond.

 

5) Make sure baby's latch is wide

It's optimal for them to be allowed and encouraged to do their crawl up to your breast, but yes, there are times when some assistance is needed. But don't give up. If baby is falling asleep and you efforts to wake baby have not worked, or baby does seem frustrated and is starting to get fussy trying to find your nipple, there are things you can do to help. You will have an easier time getting her to breastfeed before the crying starts. Sit up and get yourself comfortable with pillow support as needed, cradle hold your baby in one bent arm so his face is directly in front of your breast a tad below your nipple, leaving your other arm free. 

When your baby is held close, facing your nipple, wait for baby to open his or her mouth wide enough to get a good latch to breastfeed. A good latch includes as much of your areola as possible - the darker circular area surrounding your nipple, where the breastmilk is contained, as well as your nipple, where the milk is released into baby's mouth. Baby needs to compress and squeeze the milk out of your milk sinuses in the areola prior to sucking - which are all part of the breastfeeding process.

Sometimes baby's latches are occasionally shallow in the early learning stages, which usually means baby is sucking mostly on the nipple; this not only feels painful, but also baby is not getting the proper amount of milk needed. If that happens, press down on the nipple with your finger to release baby's strong latch and try again. Until you both get the hang of it, you may need to hold your breast as this mama is doing, and slide the nipple up and down against baby's lips. This will stimulate baby to open wide and then you bring baby to your breast to feed. Practice and patience do make perfect and are well worth it. 

 

It is crucial to have lactation support available. Sometimes all you need is some wisdom from other seasoned breastfeeding moms or your local La Leche leader. Often guidance from your midwife does the trick. If not, and more extensive assistance is needed, do not hesitate to contact your local lactation consultant. Make sure to ask that needed help right away, as the earlier breastfeeding is established the better for both you and baby.  It does take a village of love. We must bring back that village. 

The newborn baby has only three (main) demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three." ~ Grantly Dick-Read. 

Let Me Help You Not only Rock Your Breastfeeding, but also....Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life.

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself, letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, setsclear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom and communicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process! I’ve taken everything I’ve learned, trained and supported women with locally for over 20 years in my private practice and I’ve poured all of my love, passion, knowledge and experience into creating something truly special for you

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases at askrembla.com -use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

Get a 10% discount on your Sleepod purchases ataskrembla.com-use the code SWEETHOME to get your discount. 

I am passionate about changing lives. This  44-day course  is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back!  This course  is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. 

I am passionate about changing lives. This 44-day course is changing lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! This course is a must, by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. 

You are supplying your baby's complete nutrition and hydration requirements, as well as your own. It is difficult to get everything you need even from the best of whole food varied organic diet. Do you need supplements? Here are some of my favorite I recommend to mamas in my practice.

Healing Depression and Anxiety Naturally

Check out the course  here .

Check out the course here.

I feel compelled to feature an excellent article by renowned holistic psychiatrist Dr. Kelly Brogan, author of NY Times best seller 'A Mind Of Your Own', a dear friend and trusted colleague I can vouch for personally and support whole heartedly. It's about something that touches just about all of us, and me deeply as a woman, mother and midwife who cares for them.

It took my own illness postpartum after my fourth baby and the subsequent failure of western medicine to cure it, let alone treat it risking terrible side effects, for me to do years of research on alternative natural modalities and find complete healing, and to understand and best help the countless expecting and postpartum women who seek my help to heal their suffering. It took a tragedy I witnessed with a baby girl who, after a beautiful normal birth and fetal heart rate, was unable to transition to life outside the womb despite the best of efforts and tragically died in the NICU, for me to become most passionate about this topic; the autopsy report said the death was caused from fetal exposure to a common medication to treat mama's depression prior to and during her pregnancy, prescribed by her psychiatrist and approved by the perinatologist for her to take while pregnant and proceed with a homebirth, as she was not interested in other holistic modalities. A year later the autopsy report was amended and all mention of the woman's depression and the medication she was taking was completely removed not only from the report, but from the hospital chart. I was mortified. I shared the case with other colleagues and physicians, and with a leading midwife in one of our organizations that collects the data and outcome stats of midwives around the world, which continuously documents the safety of homebirth midwifery care; she was shaking as she told me the same events were reported by midwives in other states - she had just reviewed a case two weeks prior.  The physicians I spoke with casually brushed it off; they suggested when the case was reported to the pharmaceutical company per protocol, there was probably some financial incentive given by them to the hospital to amend the record. No one was interested in or could afford pursing this any further. I never really comprehended the power and corruption in the health care industry.

The Drug-Free Solution to Ending Depression

Adapted from A Mind of Your Own by Kelly Brogan, MD

When I talk about medicine and mental health to large audiences, I often start with the following imagery and facts: think of a woman you know who is radiantly healthy. I bet your intuition tells you she sleeps and eats well, finds purpose in her life, is active and fit, and finds time to relax and enjoy the company of others. I doubt you envision her waking up to prescription bottles, buoying her way through the day with caffeine and sugar, feeling anxious and isolated, and drinking herself to sleep at night. All of us have an intuitive sense of what health is, but many of us have lost the roadmap to optimal health, especially the kind of health that springs forth when we simply clear a path for it. The fact that one in four American women in the prime of their life is dispensed medication for a mental health condition represents a national crisis.

Humans have used mind-altering substances to try to dull and deaden pain, misery, sorrow, and suffering since time immemorial, but only in the last few decades have people been persuaded that depression is a disease and that chemical antidepressants are the remedy. This is far from the truth. Many of my patients have been to multiple doctors, bumping up against the hard ceiling of what conventional medicine has to offer. Some have even tried integrative medicine, which aims to combine both traditional medicine (i.e., prescriptions) with alternative treatments (e.g., acupuncture). After all, they are told that there are great natural complements to all the wonders pharmaceutical products have to offer. But the reason they can’t find a solution is because nobody has asked why. Why are they unwell? Why are their bodies creating symptoms that manifest as depression? Why didn’t they stop to ask this important and obvious question the first time they experienced a flat mood, anxiety, insomnia, and chronic exhaustion?

Before I even get to the answers, let me be the first to tell you that the only path to a real solution is to leave the medical world you know behind. This, the journey I will take you on, is not just about symptom suppression, it’s about health freedom. First let me tell you that I was once a typical doctor, not to mention a typical American who loved pizza, soda, birth control, and ibuprofen. My message is from a personal journey and thousands of hours of research that has compelled me to share the truth about prescription-based care: we’ve been duped.

Yes, my entire training was based on a model of disease care that offers patients only one tool—a drug—and never a shot at true wellness. We’ve handed over our health to those who seek to profit from it, and we’ve been buying into a paradigm based on the following notions:

  • We are broken.
  • Fear is an appropriate response to symptoms.
  • We need chemicals to feel better.
  • Doctors know what they are doing.
  • The body is a machine requiring calibration (via drugs). A little too much of this, too little of that.

I call this collective set of notions the Western Medical Illusion. It sets up a vicious system that ushers you into lifelong customer status, dependent and disempowered.

As you can likely guess by now, I love to rant. But I do so with the best evidence science can offer, and there’s a lot we know today about the real root causes of depression—and how to treat the condition safely and successfully—without a prescription pad. If there’s one lesson I will drive home, it’s this: shed the fear, take back your inner compass, and embrace a commitment to your best self, medication free. Even if you don’t already take a prescription drug, I bet you question living the rest of your life prescription free and reliant on your own inner intuition to know what’s best for you. The idea of supporting your body’s innate wisdom may sound quaint at best, or like dangerous hippie woo-woo at worst. I want to tempt you with these possibilities:

  • Prevention is possible.
  • Medication treatment comes at a steep cost.
  • Optimal health is not possible through medication.
  • Your health is under your control.
  • Working with lifestyle medicine—simple everyday habits that don’t entail drugs—is a safe and effective way to send the body a signal of safety.

In holistic medicine, there are no specialties. It’s all connected. I am a practicing psychiatrist with a degree in cognitive neuroscience from MIT, an MD from Weill Cornell Medical College, and clinical training from NYU School of Medicine, and I care deeply for women struggling with their well-being. I’m compelled to share what I’ve learned about the corruption of modern psychiatry and its sordid history while investigating holistic methods that focus on nutrition, meditation, and physical activity—what some practitioners are calling lifestyle medicine because the approach involves changes in everyday lifestyle habits, not the use of pharmaceuticals. While such drug-free methods are entirely evidence-based, they are virtually unknown in this age of the quick fix. For my patients to be well, I know they will need to approach their health with an extreme commitment to the integrity of their mind and body.

Why?

Because we are looking at the body as an intricately woven spiderweb—when you yank one area of it, the whole thing moves. And because there is a more powerful way to heal.

It’s so simple that it could be considered an act of rebellion.

Depression is an opportunity. It is a sign for us to stop and figure out what’s causing our imbalance. Rather than symptoms as a sign that you are broken and weak, born this way, and condemned to a struggle with low serotonin—simple, powerful changes can begin to send the body a signal of safety, and then free the mind. When the body and its interconnected systems is healed, symptoms resolve and the mind is no longer the enemy but a trustworthy tool for transformation.

Basic lifestyle interventions can facilitate the body’s powerful self-healing mechanisms to end depression: dietary modifications (more healthy fats and less sugar, dairy, and gluten); dietary modifications (more healthy fats and less sugar, dairy, and gluten); natural supplements like B vitamins and probiotics that don’t require a prescription and can even be delivered through certain foods; minimizing exposures to biology-disrupting toxicants like fluoride in tap water, chemicals in common drugs like Tylenol and statins, and fragrances in cosmetics; harnessing the power of sufficient sleep and physical movement; and behavioral techniques aimed at promoting the relaxation response. I’ve seen women transformed in a little as 30 days. Dare to be one of them! Learn the tools you’ll need in A Mind of Your Own.

Kelly Brogan, MD, is a Manhattan-based holistic women’s health psychiatrist, author of the book, A Mind of Your Own, and co-editor of the landmark textbook, Integrative Therapies for Depression. She completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from MIT in Systems Neuroscience. She is board certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine, and is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms. She is a mother of two.

Depression has become an epidemic in which psychiatrists commonly make a diagnosis label and quickly write a prescription. Depression effects 1 in 4 women of reproductive age, and anxiety and stress induced illnesses are rampant. Dr. Brogan's course is a must. I recommend it to professionals who serve women so they can best help them or themselves, and I recommend it to all those who seek my guidance. I feel it is especially critical to help pregnant and breastfeeding women prevent and effectively treat these mental illnesses naturally, as the medications not only impact mama but can seriously impact baby; these effects are real, I have witnessed them, yet they are downplayed by the medical community and pharmaceutical companies. I am passionate about dis-ease prevention, helping people heal their suffering and live in joy, and changing lives. Her 44-day course is changing thousands of lives. Vital Mind Reset is a program that will hold your hand and help you heal your life without a prescription. It will also introduce you to a community of people just like you – all working to transform their lives and revive their power and joy. Be a part of this community. Be a part of something greater and get yourself back! 

Check out the course  here .   

Check out the course here.

 

DOWNLOAD Dr Kelly Brogan's FREE E-BOOK:   Change Your Food, Heal Your Mood   and discover 3 simple steps to a healthier body and a healthier brain — without psychiatric drugs!

DOWNLOAD Dr Kelly Brogan's FREE E-BOOK: Change Your Food, Heal Your Mood and discover 3 simple steps to a healthier body and a healthier brain — without psychiatric drugs!

The Strength of A Woman

@mikalacatherine

@mikalacatherine

"Today, along with every day since this day, I am so proud to be a woman and a mom." wrote inspired mama @mikalacatherine. "I had the incredible opportunity and privilege to carry my little boy for almost 41 weeks. But what I am most proud of is the fact that I was able to give birth to him. It's something I think about literally every day. I did it. Women every day do it. It blows my mind because the frequency of births makes it seem common. But let me tell you, it is not common. It is quite literally the worst and best thing I have ever done. Having given birth has made me so proud of all moms because now I know what each and every mom has had to go through with pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum. None are easy. All are important and meaningful. I know I risk seeming conceded with this post, but I am so dang proud of myself for doing it. Some days I am in awe of that fact. So today, I am so proud to be a woman and to stand with other women. With all mommies and caretakers. With all moms whether they have carried their babies physically or in their hearts instead. I am honored."

I honor of the billions of strong women who have found their strength and birthed (majority at home, naturally) since the beginning of time. Billions. Something to remember in labor, to encourage and empower. 

I saw the exam table and thought what a great place for warrior - because women are warriors, period - no matter where and how they birthed, whether they had babies or not.  In all these years I have met so many amazing women, women who have faced and dealt with a range of serious life challenges, many many women who grow, birth, feed and raise little humans, and those who were unable to even get pregnant or carry their pregnancies. The warrior pose is in honor of all women who find their strength at times when it seems impossible - and those are the women I have been blessed to know and learn from. 

Warriors are not born and they are not made…Warriors create themselves through trial and error, mistakes and limitations, pain and suffering, being upside down, wide open and vulnerable – and that is strength. Warriors get up and try again in spite of all of it. “Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn’t.” Ashley Greene. We women are stronger than we know, and we find that out when we have too. And once we tap into that power, we birth our babies, we handle the challenges, we birth ourselves...each and every day, with the little hardships and the mountains that seem impossible to climb...until we do.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

Art by Catie Atkinson @spiritysol.

"Behind every man stands no woman. There is no greater man than the man that can acknowledge the woman standing right next to him." ~ Rachel Wolchin. Women rock! Mothers rock! We are strong because we had to be, wiser because we learned through our powerful experiences, always doing our best with what we know, have and are faced with at the time; we are admirable warriors of honor because we stayed the course, did not give up despite the challenges and struggles, and had the courage to plow forward irregardless of fears. Our blessings are that we have a fan club - the little ones we grow within us, birth, nurture and take care of, who adore us without caring about the mess, the laundry, our to-do lists. They are the little ones we adopt or foster. They are the people we deeply care for who are not our babies. We are beautiful to them no matter how we look or dress; we are perfect to them even when we make mistakes. They want our time and loving attention more than any material gift. I would love women to be treated and to treat themselves like the goddesses they are.

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Photo by Megan Hancock Photography

Let Me Help You Create The Happiest Birth Experience Of Your Life...

Whether you're a first time or experienced momma,

Or a midwife, doula, or birth professional guiding mommas..

Regardless if you are planning a birth at home, a hospital, a birth center or need a cesarean section, or if you are taking another childbirth education class…

You Really Can Create The Delivery Of Your Dreams.

And have a blissful birth wherever you are.

More Precious Than A Wedding...A Birth Should Be A Celebration!

Let me show you how to…

  • Understand the sensations of your body and connect your intuition with how your body is communicating and leading you towards what to do during labor
  • Tap into your inner calm to deeply relax yourself,letting go of busy, stressful and fearful thoughts on demand for the health of baby
  • Speak your truth from your heart in a way that deepens your relationships, sets clear boundaries, and has people listen to you and support you before, during and after pregnancy
  • Trust yourself, connect with your body wisdom andcommunicate with baby in belly
  • Connect with natural time and sync your body and mind up with your unique biological clock for ease from pregnancy to postpartum
  • Reprogram negative patterns, stories, and beliefs that undermine your confidence, strength and self trust so you can rock your birth

Physicians and midwives around the world recommend my teachings to their pregnant clients and many Doulas across the country learn the secrets of blissful birthing from me to supplement their Doula Training & Certification process!

To learn more, visit:  LOVE YOUR BIRTH Online Childbirth Course!

It is based on my years of experience, as a midwife and yoga teacher, helping thousands of women tap into their calm and live and birth from a place of grounded relaxation and joy. 

Educate and inspire yourself, ready your body, ready your mind, ready your heart with my list of TOP BOOKS of every category you can imagine listed  - with links on where to get them as books, listen on audio, or read them on kindle. The better prepared we are for a situation, the better the outcome will be. I feel passionate about empowering and educating women to get the most out of their womanhood, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, mama, yoga and life journeys!

I am excited about this course is by a best selling author whose personal story, insights and life changes after recovery from terminal cancer and a near death experience are beyond inspiring and riveting. Not only is it such a testimony to her strength, I feel it can help moms with many of the physical, emotional and psychological challenges associated with pregnancy, postpartum and beyond, also help all women and the professionals who serve them, and really every human being....to find their strength that is already within them.

“Dying to be Me” by Anita Moorjani emphasizes the importance of YOU. She discusses positive ways you can radically alter beliefs about yourself, your purpose on earth, your health, your relationships, and your life. These lessons may help you in recognizing and dealing with the various challenges you face, and may aid as a tool or a resource to be used for you to learn about YOU and reconnect to the best parts of you – Featuring lessons in Loving Authentically, From Surviving to Thriving, From Fear To Freedom, Finding My Purpose and Creating a Magnificent Life with special dear guest Wayne Dyer. Anita will also inspire you to radically alter your current beliefs about yourself, your purpose on earth, your health, your relationships, and your life;  and she can help you transform your life by living more authentically, discovering your greatest passions, transcending your deepest fears, and living from a place of pure joy. 

Birth Story: When Things Did Not Go As Planned

Usually births do not go as planned, and the unexpected happens. I encourage pregnant mamas to actually expect the unexpected, make birth references known and fully prepare for the birth they want, choose their provider and birth team wisely, then be very present, flexible and surrender to and actually embrace whatever happens each moment as meant to be because it did happen (a higher level would be to know it happened for your benefit - but that is a spiritual perspective); I do what I can to help them know that they did their absolute best - there is no judgement, no place for shame and blame, while acknowledging their feelings and telling them it will take time and support to process. Most of the time the unexpected is innocuous and could simply mean you birthed in your bed when you wanted a waterbirth, you told your mom to take your kids out when you previously wanted them there, or you wanted your partner to help catch your baby when he ended up holding you in a standing squat and you told him not to move as baby was crowning. Sometimes it could mean medical intervention was needed in any setting; sometimes, less commonly, it means transfer to the hospital from a freestanding birth center or home, when being there is no longer safe or appropriate because of complications, and sometimes that could even mean surgical birth. This mama @holisticnutritionandme loved her birth and was extremely grateful for her care and the outcome, because she had excellent, personalized, compassionate, sensitive and respectful care and because of her attitude and mindset. She know she did her absolute best and interventions were needed. She writes her beautiful birth story in spite of the challenges. #BirthWithoutFear  

"My baby girl, Liliana Dylan, was born on July 5th at 41+2 weeks pregnant, weighing 7lbs 13oz and 21" long. I was in active labour at home for 12+ hours with my midwives, doula, husband (Daniel) and mom. I got through contractions by alternating between using a birth pool, my exercise ball, walking and moving around. Staying still intensified the pain for me. My#midwife broke my water and I reached 6cm dilation. For hours my contractions continued to get longer and stronger but I wasn't dilating further than 6cm. My baby was posterior which made it harder for her to drop and gave me excruciating back pain. My #midwives recommended we transfer to the hospital for an epidural and pitocin due to lack of progression. So Daniel and mom drove me to the hospital while I was on all 4s in the back seat trying to make it through my contractions. Another 19 hours of labour at the hospital and 2 hours of pushing and my baby finally arrived! Although I didn't get the natural home birth I had planned for, I'm so grateful for the way everything turned out. Birth plans are great to have, but ultimately you have to roll with whatever you're served with when the time comes. Getting my baby out safely was always my one and only priority. My midwives and #doula were warriors and cared for me from start to finish. Daniel and mom were my rocks and did everything to make me as comfortable as they could. I couldn't have done it without every member of my birth team. Liliana has been doing great, she nurses like a champion and is the light of my life." What an inspiring #BirthStory and outlook to learn from @holisticnutritionandme. It is also an ideal model of supportive home to hospital transfer for the compassionate use of epidural and needed interventions that enabled mama to have a deeply positive birth experience despite the challenges, despite her #homebirth not proceeding as planned, despite hospital care that became necessary.  All#BirthIsBeautiful and #WomenAreAmazing.

 I compiled a list of my favorite reads on the journey from birth to birth and postpartum, that also include inspirational books about being in the now and embracing what is - all with links on where to get them. Below is one for LIFE, as most of it does not go as planned and we all inevitably face unexpected challenges. I hope this helps!! 

The benefits of cultivating a regular yoga and simple meditation or spiritual practice are huge, when it comes to staying present, calming yourself, and embracing all of life - even when things happen that we do not want. To create your own home sanctuary, a place where you can practice, here are the supplies I use and recommend. Yogaglo.com has wonderful online classes and here are some great prenatal and postnatal yoga classes on my favorite list of movies - when you can not get to a local class.

Enjoy radio shows from some of the world’s greatest teachers in spirituality, health, and wellness. Begin your journey of personal growth and healing now by listening to HayHouseRadio.com – radio for your soul.

Educate and inspire yourself, ready your body, ready your mind, ready your heart with my list of TOP BOOKS of every category you can imagine listed  - with links on where to get them as books, listen on audio, or read them on kindle. The better prepared we are for a situation, the better the outcome will be. I feel passionate about empowering and educating women to get the most out of their womanhood, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, mama, yoga and life journeys!