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.”
    -Unknown

    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!

The Venue for 2015!

The 2015 conference is being held at The Donelson Fellowship which is located directly across from McGavock High School. Take Briley Parkway to the Two Rivers Parkway Exit. Follow that road until it dead ends and you will see the Empower Your Birth Signs located at the parking entrance. View full post »

THE MOM IDENTITY: From “Cool” to “Mom”

THE SUCKY PART

When you haven’t slept for months, are covered in baby spit-up, are carrying extra pregnancy weight, pee every time you sneeze and your breasts are leaking milk, it is super hard to feel attractive. It is super hard to meet your single best friend- who is already insanely beautiful- out for a coffee and not feel dumpy, frumpy and old.

And when night after night you need to go to bed when the kids do – because who knows how many times you will be woken up this night?! – and are too damn exhausted to go to any social outing, you stop getting invited to as many parties and events. Your social life starts to revolve around the small golden window between 3-6pm when the kids have all napped and are happy, minimizing the possibility of public meltdowns.

I have lived through this glorious chapter of life. And, yes, it actually IS glorious in many ways, but in many other ways it is sucks. And is hard. REALLY, really hard. There is a reason that sleep deprivation is used for torture.

FROM “COOL” TO “MOM”

Before motherhood my past identity was attached to, and caught up in, being young, cool, attractive, social, etc. Transitioning to “mom” status was not easy for me. First, to go to “married”, from single and independent…then to go to “yoga teacher” (not so cool) from professional dancer (super cool in my young eyes)…to move to the South from NYC…and then to go to “mommy” from young and free.

There were a lot of blows to my ego. A lot of disintegration of the identity I had carried during my 20’s.

And then I started to age on top of it all.

What did all this mean? Did it mean that all the superficial stuff I had based my life and identity on were being revealed for what they truly were? Not very strong, not very stable….

WHAT IS AN IDENTITY?

What are “identities” anyway? They are attributes, negative or positive, that we assign to ourselves or others. And, guess what? All of these identities are not Truly who we are. Yes, they are roles we play: the career woman, the SAHM, the wife, the daughter, the fiery-temper one, the low self-esteem one, the teacher, the student, the funny one, the shy one, etc. Yet these roles need not define us. They do not encompass ALL we are, and when we are attached to our identities they actually hinder us from expansion and growth.

THE LET GO

For me, I needed to let go of the roles I identified with before I become a mother (super social, dancer, student, etc.), to Fully embrace this new chapter in life. NOT that these parts of me were gone, but I did not need to feel like I was a “nobody” without them. NOT that I could not pick them back up later, or learn how to integrate them into my new responsibility as mother, but recognizing and accepting that, guess what? Right now I cannot fully be the mom I want to be if I go out dancing until 1am too often. I am too tired the next day, they will wake at 6am anyway, and I lose my patience with them. Right now they need a momma that is as rested as possible and Present for them. Right now they need a momma that wakes up before they do to set a Peaceful tone in the house. Right now I want to be a momma I am proud of, doing my personal best with the current tools I now posses. Right now I want to be a human that my children can emulate, loving and taking care of myself and my family in the best way I know how.

THE ACCEPTANCE

So, how did I ACCEPT this new identity of “mom”? Very slowly. Probably too slowly. After my first  child I denied it and resented my husband who was still “cool” – out playing shows with his Latin band. After my second child was born I was determined to dance again, at least for fun! So I went out dancing with friends at Play, the local gay club, a few times. But my boobs would hurt because I was still breastfeeding, so I’d have to come home late and pump. Not so sexy and carefree.

By my third child it had all started to settle in for me and I RELISHED AND ENJOYED every second of his infancy. I didn’t want to be out and about as much. I wanted to drink in every bit, every new discovery that he and his siblings were growing into. I know it may not take most moms this long! But for me it was a long six year transition to move from “Maiden to Mother” (as mysticmama.com calls it).

And what did accepting the identity of “mother” mean to me? I have accepted this role of nurturing and teaching and loving my children into secure, kind, aware little beings. I have accepted that this is a HUGE gift, a HUGE honor and a HUGE challenge. I see how drastically my mood affects their day, how my words affect their psyche.

I am 100% in the “mother-thing”, now, although I still have my own identity outside of the home and, for me, that really helps. I am still their #1 caregiver, but I also don’t mind sharing the responsibilities with others so that I can continue my “other” life-purposes and vision. It’s still super, de-duper hard at times (like yesterday), but I am sooooo grateful to be a mother!

THTennessee photographer KalimanaE JOY

The Joy, OH! the joy that comes when we embrace this new reality, this gift and calling to be a mother. It is a Rite of Passage of the most enormous magnitude. We grow to (somehow) embody more love with each new little one that arrives. We become more whole and wise human beings, realizing that we are not the center of the Universe, but we are each an intricate and essential part of it all. This evolutionary Right of Passage also brings us to into our power as creators of the New Earth.

THE STRENGTH

So when you feel the sense of loss from your old identity passing, whether that takes 6 weeks or 6 years, know that you are now moving into a greater expression of yourself. You are stronger than you know. And the Grace that accompanies motherhood will carry you through. From the most intense pressure comes the the greatest growth and transformation. Motherhood is a spiritual practice. What I have learned through these very intense early years is greater than any spiritual workshop, class or training I could have taken. 

So, breathe, mama, breath. You are in one of the greatest training periods of your life.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bethany is a Pre/postnatal Yoga Therapist and the mother to three magical children.

Bethany Joy Hard
www.bethanyjoy.net

Think You Can’t Afford The Birth You Want?

Have you ever made a plan of what you want during your pregnancy and birth, but found you could not afford it? Well, it is possible. Joanna is traveling to our conference to share her unique insights so that you can achieve your birth desires. Join us for her class is from 4 til 5 March 7th.

Investing in Your Birth: How what your attitude, thoughts and health affects the outcome of your birth.

Joanna L. Davis, CPM, LM(VA), EMT-B

 

Today in any state in the America, approximately 1 in 3 women  will have their baby delivered by Cesarean.  The case for availability for Vaginal Births after Cesarean is becoming increasingly difficult to make, even though the ACOG supports VBAC and evidence shows the benefits outweigh the risks.  The United States currently ranks 49th for infant mortality and 47th   for maternal mortality for industrialized countries worldwide!  The Cesarean delivery is the most commonly performed surgery in this country to date.  Part of the problem in America is one of lifestyle and health.  1 in 3 Americans is obese, 1 in 10 (or more) has diabetes and and approximately 1 in 4 has some form of heart disease.  So, planning your birth starts with a healthy lifestyle, which requires an investment often times before pregnancy even begins, especially in the case of planning a VBAC.

After we address lifestyle we have to look at the current mindset regarding birth in our culture, including the media.  Birth is portrayed as a dangerous, ridiculous and most often emergency event, when the reality is that birth is a natural process.  Helping families to create the proper mindset around birth is essential.  Helping women and couples to make goals and invest energy in what they do want is important and often overlooked.  Too frequently in our society we are prompted to pass the responsibility for our health and our choices overall on to “those more qualified”,  This presentation initiates a dialogue that the parents are truly the most qualified person, and thusly the most important decision maker in the process.

Lastly addressing the financial investment in attaining the birth you want is a must.  Too often people say “I can’t afford a midwife/doula/health coach/childbirth education class and they end up railroaded into interventions and birth outcomes that are less than optimal, and most of the time completely avoidable had they had the proper information and support, many times walking away saying “I wish I had known”.

This lecture can be conducted in one hour, with handouts, a slide show and time for questions and answers.

Please feel free to contact me for more information.

Thanks,

Joanna L. Davis CPM, LM(VA), EMT-B
(804) 658-9882    or   midwife@wiyama.com
http://wiyama.com

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November 27, 2015 - 5:59 am

France - First of all, I LOVE Kmom. She is so amazing. Have you seen the bredakown she does on VBA2C research? It is really, really good and if I were going to research (which I’m NOT!) I would bookmark that page and reread it a million times before my next birth.I think an important place to start would be to get an idea of what kind of birth a woman wants. If she wants a natural birth, does she know what it will take on her end to get this? As I learned, it is more than just saying you want one it takes a lot of work and the willingness to take personal responsibility for so much in your pregnancy. If we know a woman wants a certain type of birth, we can give her a lot of the knowledge and resources necessary to make this happen. For example, if she doesn’t even know, or think to ask, what her doctor’s policy is on going post-dates, she may be staring down the barrel of an induction around 40 weeks when she never even thought of that when she chose her care provider. I think also erasing, or at least trying to address, a lot of the fear around childbirth and the unknown would be really helpful. So often a woman’s only information about childbirth may come from mainstream media or people who are all too happy to talk about how painful the experience is and create a lot of fear and anxiety around the whole thing. This can lead to a woman accepting all kinds of interventions she might not otherwise want for fear of not being able to handle the pain of labor. I’m not saying every woman should have to go all natural, but I do think it is important that women are informed on the risks and benefits on all procedures associated with the birth they desire.As far as care providers, I think it would do a lot of good if doctors (and midwives) would be really up front with what their practice is comfortable handling. It would be great if they would spell out their policy on going post-dates, when they would consider inducing a woman (whether she asks or they feel it is time and how difficult would it be for a woman to refuse), a woman’s ability to refuse routine prenatal testing and/or ultrasounds. As far as VBACs specifically, I think the post-dates issue is especially important, as well as if they would induce (and how). That can really be important information for a VBAC mom to have. And, of course, you don’t want to have a mom get to the end of her pregnancy and have a VBAC mom, who thought everything was proceeding well and normally, all of a sudden be on a timetable to have her baby. I think if a CP is going to have a policy, that’s fine, but I think they should also be willing and able to explain the rationale behind it, have that be supported by scientific evidence, and be open and honest with their patients so that no one is blindsided.

Meet Mary Anne, a local CPM to be on the Choosing A Provider panel

​Since August, 1994, Mary Anne Richardson has been in the field of birth. During that time she has trained and worked in hospital settings, and in the homes of clients. She has assisted or delivered (caught) over 600 babies, weighing from 1 1/2 pounds to 11 3/4 pounds.

Her experience with birth includes management of: breech, twins, VBACs, and hemorrhage.   She has dealt with placenta previa, placentaabruption, retained placenta, cord wraps, and velamentous insertion of the cord.

She is the sole midwife and founder of Tender Beginnings a teaching practice supplying services for middle Tennessee and has trained 5 midwives currently working in the same area.

Mary Anne has been active in the promotion of midwifery as a profession in the state to include working on Tennessee state legislation of midwives, serving on the Council of Certified Professional Midwives of the Tennessee Department of Health.  She currently serves as the Consultant for the above mentioned council.   She served on the board of the Tennessee Midwives Association to include 2 plus terms as the president.   Mary Anne has organize or promoted educational opportunities for midwives in the area to include;  An international MANAconference,  B.E.S.T workshop,  Newborn Metabolic Screening workshops, to name a few.

Education
Ten Tennessee Birth Place: Basic Midwifery
Ten Tennessee Birth Place: Recognition and Management of Emergencies and Complications of Pregnancy
InI  International  School of Midwifery, Victoria Jubilee Hospital, Jamaica: Hands on training dealing
                      with complications
       Columbia State Community College: Emergency Medical Technician Intravenous Therapy
       Columbia State Community College: Nursing Program,
Mi    Middle Tennessee State University: currently to complete a Bachelors Degree
       Doulas of North America: Doula Training
S.T. S.T.A.B.L.E. program completed 2009 and again in 2013.  This is an advance program for the care on
                     newborn infants.
       B.E.S.T. (Birth Emergency Skills Training)  2014

Certifications

Licenses

View full post »

My Leap Day Birth Story at the Farm

Hannah is joining our Doula Panel from 4 til 5 pm March 7th. She is an amazing woman with a variety of birth stories to share. One of her stories was even shared on the Birth Without Fear Blog.  Go read it http://birthwithoutfearblog.com/2012/07/11/post-dates-birth-at-the-farm/ . Hannah has had doulas at her hospital and home births, giving her unique experiences. She is now becoming a doula herself to help other women get educated to make better birth choices.

Rainbow Baby

We have heard about all kinds of babies, but what is a rainbow baby? Just as a beautiful and bright rainbow is the hope that follows a storm, so is the baby born following a miscarriage or a stillborn.

Leanne has her own rainbow baby and will be one of our panelists at our  upcoming birth conference March 7th, 2015.  She has faced many challenges, but has chosen to try again and to not grow bitter from the ups and downs. Hearing her story motivates and deepens our belief in the core of strength in every woman, Her smiles are genuine, but her eyes have a depth in them of one who has traveled dark days, but still carried on. She has chosen to use her trials to help lift other moms. She is the only loss doula in Nashville. As a loss doula she helps families experiencing loss and serves them on their journey. We are grateful for her many hours of service working to make one life a little better.

To read her full story, visit: http://facesofloss.com/2010/10/377.html

Change the way you stand for a better pregnancy & birth 

An article by Taylor Broggie, Restorative Exercise™ Specialist-Certified Personal Trainer

We all know the common pregnancy posture: pelvis and belly pushed forward with hands resting on the low back.  It’s so common that we’ve come to accept it as normal (inevitable), without realizing that many of the common complaints of pregnancy are directly related to this position.  (A position you can change!) Back pain, swollen feet, diastasis recti, achey hips, high blood pressure, leaky pelvic floors, and even a pelvis that is “too small” for a vaginal birth are all common issues that can be helped or even completely resolved by improving your alignment.  Alignment is the orientation of all the parts that allows everything to work the way it is intended to work with the least amount of damage.  The first step to better alignment is simple and requires no extra time or money: change the way you stand. For decreased pain, improved strength and mobility, and optimal pelvic floor function, back up your pelvis so that your hips are stacked over your ankles. (You can see a good visual and read more about alignment here.)

This alignment point is applies to all humans, but it becomes even more important when you are pregnant.  If you add 40 extra pounds to a frame that is unstable, you are going to notice pain or dysfunction at the “weakest link”.  For example, maybe you stand with your pelvis thrusting forward and have occasional back pain.  Then you get pregnant and have excruciating back pain.  Is the pain cause by the pregnancy? No, it’s the result of putting extra weight on a skeleton that was already misaligned.  Pregnancy magnifies whatever misalignment you had going into the pregnancy.

This is my dear friend Leanne about 38 weeks pregnant.  She is such a good sport.  (Fun fact- she actually went into labor an hour after I took these photos.  Picture A: we have the typical pregnant posture. Imagine her hands on her lower back, belly pushing forward as she waddles along.  (I say “imagine”, because Leanne worked so hard on her alignment during pregnancy that she never actually waddled.) Her pelvis is leaning forward and her torso is leaning back.  Her pelvis is posteriorly tilted (aka, tailbone tucked under), her feet turned out, and her lumbar (low back) curve is distorted.  Picture B: we have a beautifully stacked skeleton.  Her ear, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle are all in a vertical line.  She has a neutral pelvis with her rib cage stacked right on top and her feet straight.

Picture A: Typical Pregnancy Posture (Just say no.)

Picture B: Aligned and Pregnant (Gold star!)

IMG_0751

IMAGE A

IMG_0750

IMAGE B

A pregnant woman who stands like Picture A will likely have more pain along with the other previously mentioned issues.  I’d like you to notice two very important things: the shape of her belly and the shape of her rear end.  It’s ok, I asked her permission to have a bunch of strangers analyzing her very pregnant figure. Can you see that both her belly and her backside are completely different shapes in the two different pictures? In the typical pregnancy posture (Picture A) her rear end is flattened out and looks smaller.  Her belly is sort of pointing upwards.  In the aligned picture, you can see her gluts look bigger (in a good way) and her belly is pointing straight ahead.

Looking at the shape of Leanne’s body is a subjective assessment, but it illustrates an important underlying concept:  How you stand affects your pregnancy, labor and delivery in very real ways. 

1) Better baby positioning in utero.  You are the container in which your baby lives.  When you change your shape, you change the shape of your baby’s container, and the baby will adjust accordingly.  How you stand during pregnancy can help (Picture B!) the baby to be in an optimal position for delivery.  More on this here.

2) Appropriate pelvic floor tension. Standing with the pelvis in a post tilt (tucked under, like Picture A) causes excessive tension in the pelvic floor and inactive gluts.  You want your pelvic floor to be relaxed enough to let a baby pass through more easily.  You also want your pelvic floor to be strong enough to hold up your organs and hold in your pee.  You need strong gluteal muscles to achieve this not too tight/not too loose pelvic floor muscle length.  When you stand like Picture B, your gluts are being used all day long to hold you up and move you around.  They will become as strong as they need to be to support your pregnant body and balance out the pelvic floor.

3) Increased birth space.  The strong gluts mentioned above will pull the sacrum posterior (back), increasing the birth space (who doesn’t want that?).  In addition to changing how you stand, you can also START squatting and STOP doing kegels.  For more on squatting and pelvic floor health, read what the Alignment Monkey has to say.

For an extra challenge, try this online class that has a lot of one leg squatting: A Balanced Approach to Hip Strength.

Attend Taylor’s class at the Empower Your Birth conference to learn exercises and other tips for better alignment. She also teaches group Restorative Exercise™ classes and one-on-one sessions in Clarksville and Nashville. You can find more information and resources at anthologywellness.com.

February 18, 2015 - 6:14 pm

Shannon Aguilar - Wow!!! There is so much good information here! I had no idea that your posture could ever have any affect on how you birth your baby! That was fascinating and very illuminating.