Empower Your Birth bio picture

  • “A mother's joy begins when new life is stirring inside, when a tiny heartbeat is heard for the very first time, and a playful kick reminds her that she is never done.”

    Thank you for your support at the Empower Your Birth conference in March 2016!

    Tickets to the newly announced OCTOBER 2016 Murfreesboro EMPOWER YOUR BIRTH conference will be available here! Be sure to follow us and this amazing event for moms and dads, expecting parents, and families planning to get pregnant on the Facebook page to stay updated on announcements!

Inside Scoop On Sherokee Ilse

  1. What training do you have?

    The training of real life mostly.  And great professors, community teachers, birth professionals and parents.  I am a trainer myself and have been doing that for too many years to count.  God has given me the passion to be a teacher with the gift of persuasion and common sense. And I read a lot to expand my knowledge.

  2. What brought you to teaching?

    Ever since being a child, I have played the teacher roll.  I loved school (mostly, even homework!  I know…crazy, right?) and wanted to teach.  Got my degree in sociology/psychology and education..  I taught for a few years, became a trainer in business, co-founded and helped run a school (K-8) for 12 years and taught craft and handiwork for fun.  Then, when we had a miscarriage, and the next year the death of our son Brennan, everything changed.   I wrote books, taught clinic and hospital staff as well as other birth workers and parents on how to be their own advocate, how to deal with loss (all types of losses in childbirth) and even started traveling to do international teaching.  I love to support families and care givers.  Teaching is my passion and my calling.  I had no idea it would turn out that I would do ‘this’ type of teaching for over 30 years.  Once in awhile, I still find ways to also teach children which is exciting.

  3. What do you want to say to EYB attendees?

    I can’t wait to meet you all.  As the mother of two living sons, a new grandson and of three babies who died too soon, I want to share my positive spirit and enthusiasm to support each of you in your parenting journeys.  I invite you to be open to what there is to learn in areas you may not have even defined as important to you yet.  Don’t just stay in your comfortable zone.  Be positive and believe that all will work out.  And know that no matter what, you are not alone.  You have a caring community to support you here in Nashville.  There are many who would envy you if they knew what they were missing.

  4. What books have you read or written lately?

    Besides my books to prepare for upcoming speaking engagements (The Prenatal Bombshell:Help and hope when continuing or ending a precious pregnancy after an abnormal diagnosis (2015) and Empty Arms: Coping with Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Neonatal Death (1982/2016)…I love reading books by Dr. Kevin Leman.  The one I read last week was great. Have a New Kid by Friday: How to change your child’s attitude, behavior & character in 5 days.   I highly encourage it – good to read before you need it when the children are young.  Practical advice about how to raise children who behave mostly and have good character.

  5. Do you have any children?

    Living children Kellan (wife Candra) newlyweds and Trevor (wife Marie) and 14 month son Mark.  Miscarried babies Marama and Byrna and stillborn son Brennan William.

  6. What is one of the most daring things you have done?

    I was invited to be on a national television show in the early days of my work with infant loss.  Going to Hollywood and speaking to people I could not see (just the camera) was a challenge.  So little time to get across so much was tough.  After that I was also invited to be on Oprah when she first got started with her show.

  7. If you could pig out on a dish, what would it be and why?

    I am a smoothie queen and into health.


Sherokee Ilse
International Bereavement Educator/Speaker
Author, Empty Arms

Tucson, AZ



sherokee Ilse

Where Should I Have My Placenta Encapsulated?

Many people have asked us about placenta encapsulation. We decided to ask our local placenta expert, Anna Morgan. She has been encapsulating placentas for four years and is certified. The following are her words of wisdom to all you moms out there…….


Encapsulation Location

If you have looked into placenta encapsulation you may have noticed that there are differences in encapsulation preferences, such as location, encapsulator, and method, which can be very confusing. Therefore, I would like to present the options so you, the parent, can make an informed decision that is best for you.

Location options: Your home or your encapsulator’s workspace, whether that be her personal home or a professional placenta kitchen. There are no laws in Tennessee regulating the location an independent encapsulator chooses in which to process. OSHA Blood borne Pathogen Training for Placenta Encapsulators teaches how to properly clean and sanitize the workspace before beginning and after completion of the encapsulation process and how to adhere to universal precautions for safety and sanitation. For this reason, it is important for you to know the reputation of your encapsulator.

Encapsulating in the encapsulator’s workspace:

Pros: Your placenta is picked up within 24 hours, usually sooner, from your place of birth. Your only job is to be sure it is placed on ice or in a refrigerator within two hours of birth. Most encapsulation specialists are happy to take and send you photos of the process as they work and immediately after the process is completed at your request. Once the encapsulation is complete, it is returned to you. You do not have to make any plans or make sure your home and kitchen are clean and sanitized which per OSHA standards requires the use of chemical sanitation products.

Cons: Your placenta is out of your care. The concern some people have is that you cannot be certain that you are getting pills made from your placenta and that you cannot know for sure how your placenta was cared for when it was not in your care from start to finish.

Encapsulation in your own Home:

Pros: Your placenta is never out of your care or the care of a family member or friend. You have someone you know overseeing the process from start to finish. You can have your own pictures taken of the process and have the ability to visit with and get to know your encapsulation specialist while she works. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about encapsulation, the process, and it’s benefits. If you have a home birth or are home quickly following the birth you can see the process yourself if you choose.

Cons: You are responsible for arranging for someone to get your placenta to your home and keep it on ice or in the refrigerator until arrangements are made to meet the encapsulator at your home to begin the process. There should always be someone present when the encapsulator is in your home. Your kitchen must be thoroughly cleaned before the encapsulator arrives so she is able to properly sanitize and work with the most safety to you and your family, as well as to herself. You would be responsible to assure the dehydrator is never shut off during the encapsulation process as that can cause the placenta to be unfit to consume. Pets in the home must be considered and usually contained so there is no risk of contamination. The sounds and smells of the encapsulation are pleasant to some but disagreeable to others. Some consider these cons to be more inconvenient than negatives.

As a certified doula and placenta arts and encapsulation specialist I strive to provide you professional, caring service along with accurate information so that each of my clients can make the best and most informed decision regarding their care. I treat every placenta with the respect deserved and adhere to the highest standards for safety and sanitation for the protection of every client no matter which location is chosen. Another precaution I take is never having more than one placenta at a time in my possession. If I have two placentas that need to be started in the same day, the parent has several options: wait until the following day for me to pick up, have me come to their home, or have my wonderful business partner, Katie Richardson, take over that encapsulation.

You, the new parent, and the care of your placenta are our highest priority!

***Anna Morgan with Enshinra-Mid TN and Nashville Birth and Babies



Unity Nashville (the Empower Your Birth venue for 2016)

We’re getting excited to turn the location of Unity Nashville into a lovely space for learning, growth, community, and excitement on March 12th, 2016.  Give the photos and video a look, and get excited along with us!


When you enter (from the main doors) on March 12th, you’ll step into the foyer, and head through the door on the right, down the hall to the view the amazing vendors, who are ready to provide you with resources and options to help you in your pregnancy, birth and parenting journey.  Doors in the Vendor Hall will take you to the main speaker hall, the classrooms, or the outdoor area (we’re hoping for beautiful weather).


Thank you for joining us this year.  If you have yet to grab your ticket, do so now at http://www.empoweryourbirth.com/register.  Be sure to invite a friend to come along – don’t wait until after the conference when they ask you why you didn’t tell them about it!






5 Tips for avoiding a primary cesarean



5 Tips for Avoiding a Cesarean

5 Tips for Avoiding a Primary Cesarean
The most recent data still shows that one in three women in the United States will undergo a Cesarean delivery but a C-section carries its own risks and possible complications in future pregnancies. However, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of avoiding a surgical delivery. Let’s look at 5 ways you can be proactive in avoiding a Cesarean.
C-Section rates vary widely across the country ranging anywhere from 2% – 70%, even among low-risk women. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes an ideal rate is between 10-15%.  When interviewing a care provider, be sure to ask about their personal delivery statistics. If they don’t know or if it’s high, move on.  In the same way, be sure to check the statistics for your birthing location. You can have an awesome provider but they may be bound by the practices and protocols of the facility, which will greatly affect your experience.
How the baby is lying in the womb can influence your delivery a great deal. Malpositioned babies (i.e. a posterior or asynclitic) may contribute to long and difficult labors. Also, because of the diminishing expertise and education for breech delivery, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a care provider comfortable with a vaginal breech delivery. It most areas of the country, a breech baby equals an automatic C-section. There are a variety of ways to help baby into an optimal position including regular chiropractic adjustments, Miles Circuit, rebozo work, and Spinning Babies.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently advised that more time should be allowed before moving to a Cesarean noting that 6 cm is the start of active labor. They also increased their recommendations for time spent pushing, even suggesting that first-time mothers with an epidural should be given 3+ hours. If you are low risk, staying home as long as possible is a good idea. Going in too early could put you on a path to unnecessary interventions and time restraints.
A 2013 study found that women who exercise 3 days a week lowered their risk of a C-section by almost 35%. All exercise regimens should be approved by your care provider but a mix of cardio, stretching and strength training is ideal. Prenatal yoga can be a great way to get started with an exercise regimen. It equips moms to be with strength, stamina, and flexibility as well as breathing practice and emotional balance.
No matter where you look, research sings the praises of doulas. Even ACOG and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) admits that “this resource is likely underutilized.” Continuous labor support has not only shown to decrease the likelihood of a Cesarean delivery but labor times were shorter and mothers reported being more satisfied with their birth experience.
Sometimes birth is unpredictable and a C-section can be a live-saving procedure for mother and baby. Even if you are preparing for a vaginal delivery, it’s important to be informed about Cesarean birth. I’d love for you to join me on March 12th at the Empower Your Birth Conference. I’ll be sharing 5 Tips for a Faster Cesarean Recovery.

Am I Crazy to See A Chiropractor?

Chiropractor Doing AdjustmentI am the daughter of a medical doctor. I grew up visiting the hospital and was not scared of what would happen there when I gave birth, but I was not prepared for all the aches and pains of pregnancy. With my first several pregnancies, I just suffered and hoped it would get better. As I had more pregnancies and things did not improve, I knew that I needed to try other options for relief instead of sitting around feeling miserable. I had several friends suggest going to a chiropractor to get adjusted. I was very wary of that for two reasons. 1. My dad told me that they were quacks and not to be trusted. 2. My friend saw a couple different chiropractors in Nashville and told me about the screaming in the office from the other patients as they got adjusted and how she was in pain for over a week after visiting them.

If I was going to “try out” a chiropractor I needed more information. I started researching and learned that not all chiropractors are equal even after all the years of medical training. Not all are trained to work on pregnant women.

How do I know the between difference the many practices in Nashville?

ICPA chiropractors specialize in dealing with prenatal care, pregnancy, and children. They complete over 200 hours of additional training specific to women and children. You can find one on the website or check to see if your current doctor is one.

I decided to test it out and try to get relief for my varicose veins since nothing else had helped. View full post »

A Wonderful Home Birth of Meara Mae

It’s a familiar scene…standing in the bathroom looking down at the counter where a plastic stick is sitting with two pink lines.  We’re pregnant! Excitement and nervousness are only two of the many emotions we felt that day, after finding out we were expecting our third child.  Immediately I turned to my husband and said, “I’ll betcha any money that this one is another boy!” “You never know…” he said smiling.  “But it does seem like all we can produce is boys!”  We have two happy, healthy boys and I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world!  Brothers and best “frenemies” that, at the time, were 17 months and 4 years old.  We always knew we wanted at least 3 kids, but somehow it didn’t seem real that in less than 9 months we’d be a family of 5.

I turned back to my husband, Phil and said, “well I’d better call the midwife!”  View full post »

February 11, 2016 - 1:59 pm

Kathy Noble - A Beautiful Birth Story! Love how she felt So Supported! And the bond she formed with her caregivers prior to the birth as well as the information received on nutrition and other aspects during the pregnancy are what I have also witnessed with Midwifery care.

Do You Want Zero Regrets? Get some tips from Tessa.

Some days we wonder if our conference really does help anyone. It is a ton of work and love put into this event just for you. Our hope is that people will come and learn so that they can make informed decisions about their birth. We hope to give no bias, just a stepping stone for you to then spread your wings and fly.

EYBbirth1EYBbirth2Tessa was one of the moms we met in March. She was pregnant at the conference in 2015 and came ready to learn. This fall she had her baby at the Farm and wants to share the story with you. The amazing thing is that she gave birth in our cool conference shirts (it was totally unplanned). What an inspiration! She has no regrets. If you want to read more of her story visit Mother To The Max. #noregrets