My vocation, my sense of calling as a human being at this point in my life, both in and beyond job and title is to help families to have their own PBE… Positive Birth Experience.

I’ve written before about how the work that I do with families is my true calling. In fact, it was the first post I’ve ever written on this blog. But over time that calling has shifted.

When I first started out, before I’d ever given birth or actually done any parenting of my own, I had the naive and at times self-righteous passion of an activist teenager. After all, I had taken the training, I had read ALL of the books, and I knew what was “best” for the families in my classes. I had a bad case of tunnel vision. Loads of desire and passion, but no real-life experience. I remember meeting with my families at reunions after their births and I would feel personally responsible, as though I’d let them down, if they ended up with a birth that didn’t look like anything they’d written on the Birth Plan they drafted during class.

As if I, or their 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper, had any control over how their birth would unfold.

I find myself today, 20+ years and four children of my own later, with a completely different mindset. I’ve mellowed in some ways and gotten even more passionate in others.

The realities of pregnancy, birth and parenting are so much more nuanced than I once believed them to be. There are too many variables to account for, too many that are unseen or unexpected, for anyone to really make an actual plan about how these things will play out. So instead, I try to work with pregnant people and those who love them in ways that I think will really prepare them for what’s to come.

  • I want the families in my care to come to my class, or talk with me over the phone or online session and feel listened to, validated and understood.
  • I want them to have knowledge about how they can best fully participate in their birth.
  • I want to help them not only accept their feelings of vulnerability around this life-changing event, but embrace these feelings and move toward them with intention.
  • I want them to feel confident in their ability to do this thing called birth.
  • I want them to know what questions to ask, when necessary, that will help them make decisions in real time, as birth happens.
  • Instead of chasing after the ideal “Pinterest Birth Experience,” I want them to be ready for the real, authentic, messiness that often happens in birth. I want them to know that even when birth goes rogue, it can still be a Positive Birth Experience.
  • I want them to drop comparison and judgement from their birth and parenting experiences. Both of these things are detrimental to developing a sense of self-confidence in their new roles. Judgement of others stems from a deep sense of insecurity and does little to lessen it. And when time is spent imagining others’ experience, there’s no chance to enjoy or be present in this very real moment.

It’s hard for me to distinguish my professional from my personal vocation or calling – which is as it should be, in my opinion.

  • I want my every interaction to be honest, open, authentic and real. That kind of connection with others can only happen from a place of trust.
  • I need to trust that in laying myself bare, others can put down their own armor and we can meet heart-to-heart.
  • This means acknowledging when I’ve made a mistake, asking for forgiveness, and admitting that I need help.
  • It means practicing what I preach to the families in my classes: Don’t run from feelings of vulnerability, explore them with wonder and curiosity – remaining open to the transformation that can occur.

Birth is a life-changing event full of all the trappings of a story that you just can’t put down: adventure, intrigue, potential struggles and obstacles to overcome, transformation, wonder, beauty, and the greatest love you’ll ever know! I hope to be one of the mentor’s that my families meet on their hero’s journey… someone they can trust to help them cross the threshold from the Known to the Unknown and gently guide them to find their way home again. 

Please be in touch if you are looking for a mentor guide to help you have a positive birth experience and to tell the tale of your hero’s journey.

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