Are you a mom who was disappointed with a previous birth experience or a first-time mom who is looking to gain as much knowledge as she can?
Previously, I've done a post about reasons to take a childbirth class and what benefits you might find from choosing an independently-taught class over a hospital-based class. In this post, we will explore THREE MORE reasons to take a childbirth class, and why it's worth it!
There are typically two ways to take a birth class 1) through your hospital or 2) through an independent childbirth educator (this is also usually the type offered through midwifery centers).
So, how do you know which class to choose? Besides knowing that you get what you pay for, you should be able to find a childbirth educator you can trust and class environment that is both comforting and challenging.
Alright, here we go!!!! 3 MORE reasons to take and independent childbirth class...
Reason #3 Your Partner Will be More Equipped to Help You During Delivery and Afterward
Want your partner or husband to step up to the plate when it comes to welcoming your new little one?
I often have partners come into my class with a glimmer of an idea of how they want to support the new mother, and it is so inspiring to see them come away with more details hammered out, equipped with more confidence & encouraging words, and a better understanding of why their wife wants abc, but not xyz. An independent childbirth class will coach your partner on why he should be on board with comfort measures, encouraging words, and being your best breastfeeding advocate.
He will come away with motivation and tools to be a better support person and a better daddy! Plus, you will be better able to start conversations about the birthing process and parenting.
Reason #2 Connecting With Other Parents
We can sometimes tend to focus so much on the safety of birth or having all the right baby gear ...that we actually forget what having a baby is truly all about at the core: relationships! Having a baby is obviously about your relationship with your baby & partner, but it is also very much about the village you'll surround yourself with.
Motherhood can feel very isolating, and if you're not proactive during the first few months or so, it can put you smack dab in the middle of a season of postpartum depression. More and more research is showing us that when women have a support group network of other women, they not only reduce the risk/affects of depression, but they actually tend to thrive!
The other couples taking an independent class with you can become a built-in network of friends who are going through the same challenges as you at the same time. Very often, I have seen my clients exchange contact information and develop supportive, ongoing relationships before and after the arrival of Baby. This especially occurs in a class that is at least four weeks or ten hours in total length.
An independently-taught class will go beyond, "Here's what will happen when you get your epidural" and delve into how to really get the birth you want.
Evidence-based care means BEST PRACTICES, and it means the perfect trifecta of what scientific research supports in unique situations, what your provider's experience would advise you to do, along with what the mother's wishes are for her personalized care.
So, how do you get the care that you want? An independent childbirth educator will coach you on speaking up for your own wishes so you can practice & be prepared for the moments of vulnerability. Independent educators can also provide you with the RIGHT places to look for resources (beyond google).
What will you do if you encounter a situation like an unexpected complication in late pregnancy or a potential need for induction? Parents can't learn the entire body of birthing knowledge in a few hours--not even in a few years--but they can learn where to look and how to have a conversation with their birth support team.
Be well. Come away from your birth with a safe and satisfying experience.
I welcome your questions and comments below!
The creative way some mothers are healing from postpartum issues and processing the emotional journeys of pregnancy, birth, and even infant loss & miscarriage.
What is "art therapy" and why would a pregnant woman or a woman who had suffered the loss of a child seek out this kind of therapy? Is it making art? or is it a therapy session? These were the questions I had as mom and an artist myself.
This will be cross-posted on my other blog.
I sat down with Susan Jacobsen, a local Colorado Springs art therapist who holds a space for clients in the Cottonwood Center for the Arts. She answered my questions in the interview (full transcript below) and explains how her personal history drove her compassion for women seeking healing from trauma. Her work also helps those who are just looking to better their emotional wellness surrounding childbearing.
After struggling through fertility issues, Susan became pregnant. Sadly, she lost her baby when doctors failed to diagnose her with HELLP, syndrome which led to serious complications.
Susan later became pregnant again and gave birth to her second son.
"And so, as I was pregnant with Jens there was all of the angst and anxiety and fear about... Is it going to happen again? and...what's normal? ...and what's not normal?"
She also says that many women find they need to place importance on paying attention to their own emotional wellness when they become pregnant. The way women are feeling about their pregnancies, their birth team, and their lives affects their birth.
"I really wasn't trying to be obnoxious about it, but I thought, I'm not overriding my intuition just to not make a doctor upset."
Susan had a complicated time with her pregnancies, but she works with women going through all different types of unique experiences.
"But, all of that had kind of led me here
To be able to make a difference for people...women...for MOMMIES! Yes, mommies are so important. Yes, they are." says Susan.
Susan studied art therapy before becoming a mother, and maintains licensure as a professional counselor in Colorado. Susan's studio space allows clients to play with a wide variety of art materials while working alongside her as the therapist.
Today, she continues the work, but has added another dimension to her business including
If you're interested in attending sessions with Susan, find her online at Henry's Heart Art Therapy.
M: What was your reason for starting this business? What was your background?
S: I've been an art therapist for a long time. I got married kind of late--I was 35--but shortly after, I got pregnant. I had a really normal pregnancy until...I didn't. Our first baby was stillborn due to something called HELLP syndrome. I don't know if you already know what that is or not?
M: I've heard of it, but don't remember what it stands for.
S: HELPP Syndrome is not super-common. They've gone back and forth on whether it is related to pre-eclampsia or not. It has similar symptoms, but probably a different cause. The acronym stands for Hemolysis Elevated Liver enzymes Low Platelet count.
M: That's probably why I don't remember what it stands for.
S: And it's not super-common, which is probably why they missed the diagnosis with me. My son was stillborn at 37 1/2 weeks. And then, I became very ill because part of what happens with HELLP Syndrome is your liver starts to attack the placenta. I became very sick. When your liver starts to do all of that stuff, it affects your platelet count which is what allows your blood to make blood clots...so then all those little chunks of blood cells clog up your kidneys. So, I went into kidney failure. They had to transfuse me before I could deliver. Uh, there's a whole raft of health issues that came up for me. I was in the hospital for 17-18 days, and I was in ICU on dialysis. All these kinds of things. So, that was hard.
His name was Henry, which is where I got the name Henry's Heart Art Therapy. So, it was really hard; there was the loss and the questioning... Some of what really helped me through that was my artwork. Being a therapist and being able to understand some of that--at times--was helpful and being able to understand it all. Then, we had two other miscarriages after that. We went back and forth about fertility stuff. I ended up going to a holistic kind of retreat. Four years after losing Henry I got pregnant with my second son, Jens, who is now seven. I got pregnant a month after the retreat, following their recommendation. After losing Henry, and everything that I had to do personally to come back from that, I think it made me stronger. And I think it made me a different kind of mom than I probably would have been otherwise.
S: And so, as I was pregnant with Jens there was all of the angst and anxiety and fear about... Is it going to happen again? and...what's normal? ...and what's not normal? ...and so I really decided I am taking charge of anything I can take charge of in this pregnancy. I hired a doula, and I did a lot of research on what's what, and what are the symptoms of this and that. But, at the same time trying to keep my anxiety in check and doing things like yoga and really putting a lot of things like that and guiding into my artwork...and doing a lot of that kind of stuff just to keep myself in a good place, because, as a therapist, I know that the anxiety of a pregnant mom can affect your relationship with that baby, and I didn't want that. I didn't want Henry's death and my problems to carry over and be Jens' problem. I didn't want to do that.
So, I did a lot of that work for myself in that process and then as Jens has gotten older--I wanted to start this business for a long time--but you know as a mom you get torn between being a mom and being there for your kids and trying to start a business... So it seemed like a better time, now. You know, he's a first-grader, (he’s a 2nd grader now) don’t know if that matters. and he's into school now so I could relax a little bit.
M: Oh, he's a first grader? My son is a first grader: Samson, he's seven.
S: So, you know I mean it's not that he doesn't need me anymore, but he's got a place that he is in the mornings. I felt like this was the right time to start that business, and really what it was was I was wanting to give back some of what I learned to other moms who are maybe going through some of the similar things...or going through anything. You know, I think that when you're pregnant you're hormonal, and you're emotional, and I think it's important to take some time to work on your own stuff during that time and let someone help you with that. When you have that baby, then your life becomes about that baby, and you don't really get the opportunity to kind of figure some of that stuff out. So that was what sort of led me to doing some of this kind of work.
I did prenatal yoga throughout my pregnancy with Jens, and it was one of the best things that I did. And I thought, you know you could provide some of that support through what I do. I'm not a yoga teacher, I'm an art therapist, and I think it's a great fit.
M: Tell me about art therapy...you would say you're primarily a therapist, and then art is how you work through things or? Would you say you're a mix of both artist and therapist?
S: That's a tricky question. It's a common question, actually. There are therapists who are therapists first and then they incorporate art into their work but they're not really trained in art therapy per se. Art therapy is kind of its own field.
M: Yeah, I have a friend who's trained in art therapy, and I've never really asked her this question. She works specifically with kids, so I've asked her things like, " Here's this thing that my kid drew. Tell me what this means." But I've never really asked her about [the work].
S: Yeah, and I think that it is an identity thing that art therapists struggle with all the time. I am licensed here in Colorado as a professional counselor, because they don't have an art therapy licensure. But I can be licensed as a counselor, because my degree--though it's in art therapy--my program at least was very clinically-based, and we took a lot of the same things that the psych folks took in addition to our art therapy coursework. We took the testing classes and all of that kind of stuff and all the like DSM diagnostic classes and all that. So, I can be licensed as a counselor which is helpful to be able to...like if you want to bill an insurance company. Most of the insurance companies are not going to accept just an art therapy billing...be able to ...so if you're a licensed counselor, you can do that sort of billing. So, it's sort of a benefit to being a licensed counselor. I currently don't accept insurance here, just because it's a billing nightmare quite frankly, when you accept insurance.
M: So, if a client came in and wanted to talk to you about pricing structure or all of that...how does that work?
S: What I do is like for the pregnancy class--I call it Art of Expecting Group--I charge $25 per time, or they can buy a five-package...a five punch card kind of package, and they up saving a little bit doing that. But that includes materials. I try to set my fees low enough that people can have it somewhat affordable. It's not as inexpensive as going to prenatal yoga, for example, but I have a lot of overhead with supplies and you don't have to bring your own supplies. So, I feel like that's a good compromise for not taking insurance.
Plus, for what I do with the pregnancy group, I don't feel like it is therapy per se. It is more like supportive, expressive time, and not so much like group therapy...if that makes sense. So, I don't wanna...I mean group therapy fees for private pay can be $60 - $70 an hour. So, I don't charge that, because I don't feel like it's that kind of group.
I also do a grief group for people who have lost babies, and that group is um...I charge the same for that $20 per time. So A part of me feels like I shouldn't charge for that group, but at the same time it is still professional input...it is still art materials, and so I feel like I can't really afford to not charge for it. And so that is something I do. But, in those groups I like to really help people figure out good ways to memorialize their child to express their feelings around that...to express their feelings about grief like an anniversary dates being difficult... and just sort of those kinds of things. And just getting the support from each other. and that kind of thing.
I also offer an open studio time where people can just come in and do artwork about whatever, and that doesn't have to be a pregnancy issue. I charge $10 an hour, or if you stay for the whole three hours, then it's $25 so you save a little if you stay the whole time, but...so come play for an hour with the art materials. Give me your ten bucks, and I mean it's not...I don't provide as much guidance or input that way either but it's a time to come in and see how...if you wanna test different materials and see if you wanna try them out.
M: So, do you have like a lot of mixed media stuff, primarily painting, like what are people primarily choosing to do when they come in?
S: Yeah, I do--I have a lot of stuff available. I'm an oil painter. The paintings up here are ones that I have done, and I've done a little bit of acrylic work, but I have oil pastels, I have collage materials for people who can do collage. It can sometimes be a great material for people who feel like they aren't very creative or don't feel like they can do art per se. It's a good place to start, because collage--I love doing collage, actually--I think it's fun. I think it's expressive, and you may or may not come away with something that you want to hang on your wall, but that's not really the point. You know for that kind of group, it's more about expression and that kind of thing. Like this book...
M: Well, spending time dealing with some things, huh? That's the important part.
S: Yeah, this was a book I did that was part of a -- I also have a trauma certificate, which is part of the art therapy training that we talked about sort of picking an issue...courage was sort of something they suggested because of the trauma issue.
M: Um, so tell me about our credentials.
S: ATR is that I am a registered art therapist with the Art Therapy Credentials Board which is a national board that credentials art therapists only, and then BC is the board certification through them which requires testing with them. The registration is simply you finish your grad school work, you do a period of supervised hours, and then you're registered with the Art Therapy Credentials Board as a registered art therapist. But then, if you wanted to become board-certified you have to take the lengthy exam with them, and then LPC is Licensed Professional Counselor through the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.
M: Is this Jens on the photo? With the little bucket hat? My son has a little bucket has like that, too.
S: Yeah, my husband gave me that for Christmas. And that's him when he was a baby. Tiny Peanut. He was five pounds and six ounces when he was born, so that was a couple weeks after he was born.
M: [Conan] was a little guy when was born; the first two were nearly eight-and-a-half pounds, and so then he was like this little six-pound-something guy, and I was like, "What?! You're lying. Weigh him again!" And then it seemed like I blinked my eyes and went to a midwife visit, and she was like, "He's ten pounds even." And I was like, "No, he's not. Weight him again."
Susan (to Conan): You must've been a good little eater.
M: Yeah. I'll take a photo of that (brochure), if that's okay with you.
S: This is the brochure that explains some of that.
M: Oh, it has a photo. Is there...is all of this on your website, or...? Is it the facebook page primarily or both?
S: I do have a website. I have both.
M: I didn't even look. Some journalist I am to not even look that up. You should research before, Marcia.
S: That has the website on the back; I think it's in my brochure, too, but...
M: But, like I said, I've never interviewed anybody. I'm not a journalist. You know when you do those...like assessments that tell you what career you could be good at in high school or whatever? Journalist was always one that came up for me, and I feel like there's no way I could ever do that. And I think that because in the back of my mind I have so much social anxiety, I'm afraid of people. But, I've worked through all of that now--I mean for the most part--I'm a lot further than I was when I was in high school, anyway. If I could've worked through some of that I could've been a great journalist. So, I went to college for art and my emphasis was graphic design. Our school was a liberal arts school, so we had to study all of the things. But that was a really awesome experience, and I don't really...I'm not a graphic designer now, but I really feel like I use everything that I learned. And then, I worked at the School of Psychology at Fuller Seminary for a couple of years and I found out about some cool stuff there like, ah therapy is not anything to be ashamed about! It's awesome! And then I had a few kids and I was like, "I'm gonna become a childbirth educator!" Well, actually after my second baby was when I decided to pursue it. So, that's why I'm like, "Oooh, your thing sounds interesting. I wanna know about that."
S: I want to do more networking with the childbirth people in the area. I don't want people to think I'm trying to take the place of childbirth classes...
M: Like a bereavement doula, or...?
S: Yeah, I don't want people to think I am trying to move in on their market. I just want to be part of the team.
M: You just do what you're gonna do, and that's great.
S: When I'm doing art in here, I usually turn the overhead lights on, because it's a little dark. It's pretty dim with just those. I think it's a nice um...
M: Can I take a picture of you with your credentials on the wall?
S: Sure! And the painting that's on the front of the brochure is the painting that's usually hanging on the wall here. They're doing a Madonna and Child artwork show here in March. It's going to be all artwork that's about moms and babies. It's going to be a juried show. So, I don't know for sure if the painting will be in, but I entered that painting in that show. (Update: the painting was not shown)
I'm not like celiac, but I have to watch how much gluten I eat, that was something I learned at the holistic retreat. The diet was no wheat, no dairy, no processed sugars, alcohol, and caffeine.
M: I would love to go off of processed sugars, but I'm not that brave.
S: It's hard to figure out at first, "Well, what can I eat?" because so much of that stuff is in everything.
M: I switched to my primary chocolate is just bars of dark chocolate, and I will break of just like a square. And that's so much more satisfying than like anything else, and I really feel like, "Wow, I've really had my chocolate satiated. And I don't feel like, "Om nom nom nom, I need to eat more," like you do if you eat a milk chocolate or... "
S: Yeah, sugar is weird, because I feel like it does have kind of that additive affect like you want to eat more of it.
M: Like you eat carbs, and then you want to eat all of the carbs.
S: Yeah, and I'm bad about that like, it's probably not a really good thing I found out now they have gluten-free bread. So, I'm like, Oh now, I can eat toast.
M: Over at Nemo's coffee -- have you ever been there? -- NO? Well, you have to go. Well, they have a drive-thru so you don't even have to go inside, but they have like a circular vegan and gluten-free bar --which I'm not vegan and gluten-free, but I tried them one day--and they're so delicious. I don't know if they're super-healthy, but they're vegan and gluten-free! You have to try them.
S: Yeah, so many things have a lot of sugar, a lot of salt.
M: I firmly believe that fat is not inherently bad for you. I think there's healthy fat and you should have healthy fat. Like, I told my class that I taught I told them, "Just eat the whole egg! Eggs are good for you!" They're like Really?!
S: You don't have to eat eight of them. You don't have to eat the whole carton...
M: I am very blessed to have three kids. So, we had Samson seven years ago. Then we had a miscarriage. And then, after that, I was like okay so not only did I have a horrible birth with him and then I had this early miscarriage when I was really expecting that God was going to give us another baby right now. Then, I was in the early part of my next pregnancy with my daughter, and it was a LOT to work through. And it was so much prayer and working through so many fears and things, and then the birth ended up being so amazing. It was like that day and then the couple weeks following was the best time of my whole entire life. And I was like, this is so wonderful! Like, God answered SO many things for me! And I was just overwhelmed with...the whole world became so vivid. And after that it was just wonderful. I contemplated it and contemplated it for months after. I was just like God answered all of these prayers. So, then after that I was just like I want women to know, I can help you be not afraid, because there are so many fears.
S: Yeah, I had one lady asking me about what I did. And, she was like, "Well, why on Earth would pregnant women need therapy?"
I thought, "Are you not a mom?" There's all kinds of reasons that pregnant women need to be able to talk about things and process.
M: It affects the birth!
S: It does, it affects the birth.
Like, I know I was so determined with my pregnancy with Jens I'm going to do the things I need to do, and if something doesn't feel right to me... I mean with our first situation with was partly a malpractice sort of thing. They should've caught the HELLP syndrome, and usually with HELLP Syndrome if you deliver as soon as it is caught it will be okay, because your body stops and so--had they diagnosed it appropriately, and listened to me when I was saying, "This is what I need," instead of saying, "No no no, you're fine, it's your first pregnancy, you're just worried."--so I was like, no no no. Second time around, if I have a thing, you're gonna check it out and listen to me.
I really wasn't trying to be obnoxious about it, but I thought, "I'm not overriding my intuition just to not make a doctor upset.
Not that I have anything against doctors, they're wonderful people and they serve a wonderful purpose, but I was like, "No...I'm not...you need to listen to me, " And I did have a doctor initially that did not want, um, I mean she didn't...she...I don't know what her deal was exactly, but I had my whole medical records because I took them to court, and my attorney had our....MY medical records which is and has all of the complications that happened and why it happened and So, I took that to my OB when I got pregnant with Jens and she was oh okay. She had it for three months, and she never looked at it.
M: Oh, yeah, [they don't] look at any of the things that they...
S: Finally, I was like, "You know I really wanna make sure that what happened last time doesn't happen again." So, she said -- Because I was 40 I think, when I was pregnant with Jans -- she said, "Well, you need to go to Maternal-fetal medicine anyway, because they need to check you out because you're an older mom."
M: But advanced maternal age, in and of itself, is not an indicator of anything
S: Exactly, which I learned at the retreat that I went through that it doesn't matter that much--your age--that if you're healthy and your eating healthy...that younger women can have birth complications just as often as older women. So, anyway, I was like, "Okay, whatever." I was like, "Can they do any kind of tests that indicate whether I was likely to have HELLP syndrome again?" She was like, "Yeah, there's a couple things they can do." So, I went over there and she never told them that part of my history. So, I asked the doctor at maternal-fetal medicine: I said, "What about the stuff that helps determine whether I might develop HELLP syndrome again?" She's like, "What are you talking about?" So, I tell her the whole story, and she's like, "That was not on my referral sheet." She showed it to me. She was mad. I mean, she was trying not to be mad, like trying not to throw this other doctor under the bus. But, she was like, "They didn't ask me to test for that. We can totally do that."
They did this doppler thing to test like a blood-flow-to-the-uterus kind of test. But since I fully recovered and didn't have any residual effects from the
first time, and since the results from this test, she was like, "You have no greater chance of developing HELLP syndrome than the general population at this point." Which was a HUGE relief to me, which I'm thinking, "Why didn't this other bozo lady tell me that?" I was so angry when I was like, you know I've spent three months stressing about this when I would not have had to. And so, the maternal-fetal medicine doctor was like, "If you would like to see us, we could totally see you if you want to do that. Because we're specialists, and we deal with high risk pregnancy." But when I go back and tell my other doctor about that, she was like, "Well, I don't know. They're pretty choosy about who they take over there. And, I don't know. They would need a referral from me. You can't just GO there.
And I'm like, "I'm telling you she TOLD me. The doctor over there told me."
M: Well, some doctors have a bit of a complex.
S: I guess. Well, she was sort of like saying "Why can't I handle it? I can handle a high-risk pregnancy." But you obviously can't because you had my medical records for three months, and you never even read it. You don't know the severity of what happened to me the first time. And so, finally, I just decided I don't care about how she feels. I'm going to maternal-fetal medicine where they're specialists. And every one of the their doctors read my medical record. They were at Memorial [Hospital] at the time; now they're at Penrose [Hospital], I think. But they all read my charts and they all knew what happened to me before. They all knew a variety of different tests that they could do. They monitored the crap out of me.
M: Because I don't want somebody attending me in labor that doesn't know what I'm afraid of and my health history, and doesn't seem to care about my health.
S: So, I was like totally comfortable with whoever happened to be on call when labor intensified. They all know what's going on with me, and they were great about my birth plan. I had -- I don't know if you know Randy Baggins she's not a doula anymore -- she's a nurse now, I think. But she was great. She was telling me all of these things like, "You can birth in your own clothes, if you want, even though you're birthing in the hospital. Which was really empowering for me, and she--you know--they...they were just wonderful. Because I had my own birth plan, and I went over it with the doc...Doctor Martin. She looked at my birth plan, and she said... I mean I was like, "You know I'm not trying to be unreasonable, but I don't want an epidural if I don't need one. Because I researched about the epidural after the fir st time. I didn't want an epidural again. She was like, "It's okay. You don't want pain meds, you don't have to have 'em. You know, we'll totally work within all of that. "
M: yeah, yeah
S: It's a way to go, really. And she wasn't even ... actually Randy caught him.
M: REALLY?! The doula caught the baby?!
S: Becuase I was in labor, then my labor kind of stalled out, then it started again. I had a little bit of pitocin to kinda get it started again, and then she was there and the labor & delivery nurse was there. And I was sort of stalled out.... I dilated really quickly at the end, and I was like...I'm doing the squatty bar and all this stuff, so I pushed like three times and he was out, and she caught him and she was like--later she told me--she was like, "Well, yeah, I really probably wasn't supposed to because I don't work for the hospital--but you know--it was like I was there and he was coming. And the nurse wasn't in the right room
It was just funny, because Dr. Martin comes in and was like, "Looks like I missed the show. I came as soon as they called me. It was fine. IT was all good. And he was born at 36 weeks. I had my water broke, so I went into labor at 36 weeks, but it was fine. And he was on the NICU for a couple of days, because ...
But that was pretty...it was good to kind of be able to assert myself and do it the way I wanted to do it for the most part. I mean, I was not a candidate for a home birth, because of my other issues, that was not ever really an option. And I'm not sure I ever really would have chosen that anyway, because I think that I would have been too anxious.
M: If it would have been more stressful for you to have been at home then... Then, that can be more stressful for you to be at home, too.
S: Yeah, so I was sorta like you know for the most part you can leave me alone during the labor, and I bounce on the ball and do everything I need to do
We'll let you do that, but we're going to hook you up to the monitors and let you walk around, but you have to have the monitor on. Okay, whatever. I can live with that. I really just want a healthy baby when I'm done with this process.
But, all of that had kind of led me here
To be able to make a difference for people...women...for MOMMIES! Yes, mommies are so important. Yes, they are.
M: So, what was the retreat that you did? Was that here in Colorado?
S: It wasn't. They did one in Colorado, but -- when Jens was 2, we thought we were going to have another baby, but it wasn't in the cards for us. But, it um it was called the "Fertile Soul"
M: But, is it like a fertility thing primarily, or...?
S: Um, yeah I'll show the book. Dr. Randine Lewis is her name. She, um, did this book called "The Fertility Cure" after her own experience with loss and infertility. She trained in Western medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. It is all about getting your body back in balance through diet, energy work, thoughts and emotions. It’s also about opening yourself up; being receptive to what is, rather than being so caught in effort based trying to “achieve pregnancy.” Effort based trying only makes you more and more out of balance. You cannot force a miracle; you can only be embrace it. It is simple and complicated at the same time, but I know I have Jens because of just that kind of work.
this interview was conducted in March 2016
Mrs. Marcia Hyde, CCCE
"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turns his face toward you and give you peace." Num. 6:24-26 NIV
I have had many mothers request this, so I am sharing my list here. These are from my lists that I personally used. You may find something different that is helpful for you. Here you go!
"Be anxious for NOTHING but in prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phiippians 4:6,7
Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength ♥
You will keep her in peace, perfect peace whose mind is stayed in You. Isaiah 26.3 modified
For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control. 2Tim. 1.7
Stand still and consider all the wondrous works of God. Job 37.14
I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears; the Lord is my deliverer! Psalm 34.4
Be truly glad! There is a wonderful joy ahead. 1Peter 1.16
Children are a blessing from the Lord; the fruit of the womb, a reward. Psalm 127.3
Be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion! Philippians 1.6
Cast all your cares upon him, for he cares for you. 1Peter 5.7
I will sustain you, and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46.4
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! ...Blessed is she who has believed what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished! Lk. 1.42-45
My grace is sufficient for you. My power works best in your weakness. 2Cor. 12.9
I am your God; I will strengthen and help you!
I will uphold you with my righteous hand. Is. 41.10
I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. John 14.27
To everything is a season a time for every purpose under Heaven...a time to be born. Ecc. 3.1
"I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord." 1Sam. 1.27&28
...You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring where waters never fail. Is. 58.11
Two are better than one; because they have a good return for their work labor; for if they fall, one will lift his companion. ...Again, if two lie down together they will keep warm...Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. A threefold cord cannot be broken. Ecc. 4.9-12
Perfect love drives out fear. 1John 4.18
Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly , and the burden I give you is light." Matt. 11.28-30
Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Prov. 4.25
...And the Lord God formed a man's body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. ...And the man became a living person...and the Lord God said, "It is not good for a man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him..." "At last!" Adam exclaimed. "She is part of my own flesh and bone!" ...This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
And Eve said, "With the Lord's help, I have brought forth a man!" Gen. 4.1
Those who love your law have great peace and do not stumble. Ps. 119.165
Faith is the confidence of that what we hope for will actually happen, it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Heb. 11.1
Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4.16
But when we ask, we must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed about by the wind. James 1.6
They will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be blessed. I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking I will go ahead and answer their needs.
"I tell you the Truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mk. 11.23-24
Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Ps. 119.37
They will not work in vain, and their children will not be doomed to misfortune. For they are people blessed by the Lord, and their children, too, will be blessed. I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking, I will go ahead and answer their needs. Isaiah 65.23-24
For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and [that] my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was made in secret [and] skillfully wrought in the lowest parts...Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when [as yet there were] none of them. Ps. 139.13-16
By you I have been upheld from birth; you are He who took me out of my mother's womb. My praise [shall be] continually of you. Ps. 71.6
Seek his path in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Prov. 3.6
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. Ps. 16.9
"The midwives answered Pharaoh, 'Hebrew women (God-fearing women) are not like Egyptian women, they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive." Ex. 1.19
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. 1Cor. 6.19-20
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8.37
It is God who arms me with strength, and makes my way perfect. 2Sam 22.83
I wrote these down at a time when I did not yet appreciate the importance of noting the version of the Bible. If you have comments or corrections or even a hymn you'd like to add, please leave comments below. Thank you!
In my next blog post, I will be sharing about how women can seek encouragement and healing through art therapy. I did an interview with and art therapist, Susan Jacobson, which I have been in the process of transcribing. She works in Colorado Springs, and has a special practice for pregnant mothers. I think in art therapy, there can be a lot of beauty that happens there.
"I also do a grief group for people who have lost babies, ... But, in those groups I like to really help people find good ways to memorialize their child to express their feelings around that...to express their feelings about grief like an anniversary being... just sort of those kinds of things. And just getting the support from each other..."
Want the rest? Stay tuned...
#expressive #creation #loss #grief #birth #motherhood
I hope everyone had a great Summer! As we head into Fall, we will be placing some new dates on the calendar for classes. Until then, here's what I've been up to lately...
I got to help out at the Birth Network booth at our most recent birth fair in Colorado Springs. I met a lot of lovely pregnant ladies (and some dads, too!)! If you were one of them, be sure to give me a shout out in the comments.
We hosted an essential oils class in our home with the lovely Jamie Dibble teaching us about how to use essential oils for personal health. She has some great resources on EO use for pregnancy, baby, and postpartum!
I was privileged rally for choices in childbirth with the annual ImprovingBirth.org rally. This is the first year our city has participated in the event. We had a good turnout and shared signs showing our support for women. Thank you to Caitlin Novak for taking the lead as rally coordinator. We got to talk to FOX news about the importance of women being their own best advocate.
I had started the pregnancy determined in my mind that we could have the birth at home.
My husband, Ian, was iffy at first about the home birth idea. I won him over with my charm and good looks (and informing him on the safety helped, too. Ahem.).
Home birth midwifery care was positively glorious. We spent an hour talking to each other face-to-face every few weeks about anything and everything. The midwife helped me focus on preventative care--things the "medical model" of maternity care never bothered to coach me on with my first two pregnancies. I could have the healthiest, most comfortable pregnancy and no interventions would become necessary.
Baby had been flipping between breech and transverse for weeks, but had finally successfully gotten stuck in the perfect head-down position for birthing at around 36 weeks. (Thank you, spinningbabies.com and chiropractic care!)
We were now approaching the final stretch. It was the before my due date, and I had recently published a blog post on not worrying about due dates. I had just come to an agreement with my birth photographer friend, Brezi. I felt some rushes that I had to "sound through" when I awoke that morning. I knew that meant this could be the big day, but I wanted to ignore it and not get overly-excited in case it was not the real deal.
I went to my prenatal appointment that was scheduled for that morning. I was feeling good; talked with Midwife Emily about what was going on. She asked me how I knew I was in labor the last time. "Well, I woke up in the morning with contractions that I had to sound through."
During the appointment, my daughter had to use the restroom. In an especially stubborn mood, she threw her pants in the toilet. I ended up taking home a crying little girl wrapped in a borrowed blanket. Life with a three-year-old.
Fortunately, when we got home, she napped. What a blessing.
I texted Emily that afternoon that I was having more "hurt-y" contractions. At some point, I think I took a bit of a nap. Glad I was rested up, because things were about to get really real.
By 5 pm, I was texting with Emily, Brezi, and my friend Emily P. that I was sweating, rushes were coming at closer intervals, and I was sounding through some of them.
By about 630 pm, the rushes were lasting about 1 minute.
Ian set up the birth pool as people were starting to arrive.
I was feeling relaxed that the house was clean & organized and I didn't have to worry if someone was there to help with the older kids. Brezi, Emily P. and Ian were all pitching in.
I applied ClaryCalm (a mixture of essential oils) to my abdomen and just kept trying to breathe & feeling relaxed.
Things were moving faster and faster. "Here comes another one, press on my back." Counterpressure had helped tremendously with my second birth. It was good to have everyone know in advance that I wanted it again.
This is where things start to get really fuzzy and time seemed to disappear (as it tends to do during birthing). I remember trying to listen to the Hypnobirthing tracks, but I couldn't sort it out with all the voices in the room.
I moved around a lot that evening, rocking on all fours, sitting on the ball, or swaying my hips. It really helped! There was a part of me that felt a little awkward doing these strange things in front of everyone, but I felt at peace with these women whom I had formed relationships with. I was doing what I had to do to move the baby down and out.
Brezi reminded me that it would feel so much better once I got into the tub. I knew that in my head, but hearing her say it to my foggy brain gave me hope.
Fast forward to me in the birthing tub in our living room. The water felt great. I was feeling fine between the rushes--talking and watching everyone. "Babybabybabybabybaby," I was saying. Whenever I caught a glimpse of my kids' faces, I was trying to remember that I was looking forward to the new little person that I would love. That's about all I can remember until it was pushing time! Later, my midwife recalled, "You sang through transition. No particular tune, but so melodious and powerful." I stopped saying, "Ohhh," and began using REALLY BIG, deep, animal sounds to move the baby down. (Think Tarzan) I was on all fours hugging the side of that big, squishy, inflatable tub for what seemed about forever. Yet, somehow it seemed like it was only a minute.
I closed my eyes and shut out all the faces, only listening to the voices. My friend Jennifer (the midwife assistant) was reminding me to "push it out my bottom". Okay, that really helped! My friend Ramona (another midwife) was taking turns with Ian to do counterpressure on my back and give gentle encouragement. I remember hearing Emily P.'s voice cheering me on.
I didn't want to move from that spot, but things were getting really intense and Emily the midwife knew it. They needed to make sure we were doing well--to check the baby's heart beat. I got repositioned floating on my back in the water. Emily could feel the bulging bag of waters. I was really bearing down thinking that the pushing was taking forever.
Someone gave me a few breaths of oxygen.
I felt the warm, bowling ball head starting to FINALLY emerge and knew it was almost over. The sac finally broke as the baby's head entered the warm bath water. Phew! (as soon as the head was out, the rest of the body slipped right out.)
Someone put the baby into my arms, and I was clutching the baby reclining in the water together...earthside...at last. Relief.
I checked between the legs and announced to Ian, "It's a boy!!" Baby was crying and hollering. "Good job, Baby!" I said.
I wasn't done being noisy yet, myself. "Someone sing something. Sing Amazing Grace." And we all did.
We had to use that window of opportunity where I was feeling elated to get me to the bed. I didn't make it to the bed before we had to deliver the placenta. The midwives had me covered and made sure we weren't leaking fluids around the house. We carried the baby and placenta with cord intact to my bed. The midwives had set up my bed with a shower curtain covered by an old sheet and bunch of comfy pillows and chux.
I was enjoying the feeling of holding that warm little body against mine. Daddy also took a turn holding the baby. Ramona offered me lots of fluids and snacks. The midwives spent time with us making sure we got the baby to latch, that I could urinate, that I wasn't torn, taking our vitals, Motrin for the afterpains, and they gave Ian lots of good instructions before tucking me in for the night with Baby.
He was born 6 lbs. 6 oz. (about 2 pounds smaller than siblings!). The time was 9:47 pm, just hours shy of his due date.
I'm on maternity leave right now from teaching classes, but I haven't told anyone my due date. Why?
I don't think a pregnant woman needs to pin down an exact date and announce it to everyone who asks if she doesn't want to.
The main reason is because women are under enough pressure already to look/feel a certain way, to worry (unnecessarily) about the baby's size, or “get that baby out already.”
The other reason is because due dates don't matter that much, and I'd like to take the focus off of the due date as much as I can. We're talking merely a day somewhere in the middle of a five-week period of time that would be perfectly normal and natural for a woman to birth her baby. I have encountered at least three women in as many weeks who were having healthy pregnancies, but felt strong pressure to artificially induce labor from the medical establishment--corporations wanting to choose their babies' birthdays!
It sounds ridiculous when I put it that way, but that is what it boils down to.
Certainly, there are a few medical reasons to induce labor for the safety of the mother and baby, but I am relieved that my midwife isn't concocting risk factors in order to put an “expiration date” on my forehead.
A woman may already be feeling many physical discomforts, especially in late pregnancy, and hearing from her doctor, her neighbors, and co-workers that it's “probably time to have that baby” can certainly add to the pressure.
There is freedom in knowing you weren't being told what to do out of fear or coercion.
All couples have the power to make informed decisions about their birth through education about risks and benefits. The confidence of knowing that the best decision was made by weighing all possible options adds joy to the birthing and postpartum experience.
Perhaps one day our culture and our medical professionals will be informed enough—and respectful enough—of birth that due dates will not cause such undue pressure.
So, whether a pregnant woman decides to keep her due date shrouded in secrecy or shout it from the rooftops, may she do it out of the freedom to take ownership of her motherhood.
Those of you who stopped to say hello at the Healthy Pregnancy Fair in March will recall that I am starting up a support group.
This is for any parents in our area who are looking for help with issues related to sleep habits for their infants or young children.
This group is also for experienced parents who can provide encouragement.
I attended a professional training on this topic and will be moderating the group.
We will be drawing from resources such as
Find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1598633727037060/
OR search Facebook for "Sleep Support Group Colorado Springs"
As interest and membership blossoms, we will have in-person meet-ups to talk more and get to know each other! I look forward to getting know you and encouraging each other.
As always, I invite you to interact with me as we learn together on social media!
My Pinterest boards include information on natural living, parenting, safety, and pregnancy & birth.
My facebook page is always adding new, informative, empowering articles for you! www.facebook.com/BirthPepTalk
Something you'd like to see or learn more about?
Feel free to contact me on Twitter @Marcia_Hyde
or text 719.388.6267
Marcia prepares new parents through birth classes in Colorado Springs and is an advocate for moms and babies during the childbearing year. She also supports parenthood journeys in other ways through her sleep support group for parents. She is an artist, seamstress, Lemongrass Spa consultant, and CAPPA certified childbirth educator. Marcia lives in Colorado with her husband, three children, and their dog, Calamity Jane.