I started out in college in 1999 with a focus in early elementary education, but as the next two years wore on I became more and more disenfranchised with the school system and the expectations on primary school teachers in our country, so I switch gears and changed to a double major in Sociology and Spanish. Little did I know that the track I was on would lead me ultimately to become a teacher after all, but a teacher of parents rather than their children.
In 2005 I took a training at the Yale College of nursing to learn how to teach childbirth education with the Centering Pregnancy group prenatal visit model. From then until I had my first baby in 2008 I led Centering Pregnancy groups in Spanish for the latina patients at the Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center, now the Charles River Community Health Center, in Waltham, MA. I started the first group by greeting the women and teaching them how to weigh themselves on the scale, dip their own urine samples to check for protein, glucose, and leukocytes, and take each otherś blood pressures. Once they learned how to do that they would get themselves started every group by dipping their own urine samples and taking each otherś vital signs while they chatted and connected. Each woman would have a belly check and a few minutes to chat with the midwife in private in a separate room after they got their vitals done, and every week I educated them on a different pregnancy related topic after all the belly checks and vitals were done. The women sat in a circle, eating snacks, sharing stories, and asking questions. Some tending to their other children. It is a beautiful way to approach prenatal care and a model still in use in many prenatal clinics, including with the Mount Auburn midwives at their Waverley practice in Waltham. Teaching hundreds of women and assisting the midwives in providing prenatal care in this model taught me that people are capable of being trusted with a much bigger part of our own health care than the current paradigm would have us believe.
In 2014 I added to my doula certification by becoming certified to teach HypnoBirthing- The Mongan Method. After 3 years and hundreds more families taught I had learned the importance of a strong mind-body connection for birth and the merits of meditation and mindfulness, but the more I learned the more I felt that HypnoBirthing as a childbirth education series was falling short in some important areas. For several years now I have been practicing meditation and trying to work it into my daily life, like washing your body or brushing your teeth, maintaining your mind should be something we learn how to weave into our regular self-care routines. But HypnoBirthing is teaching the law of attraction all wrong, as I understand it. In this class we are taught to avoid the mention of pain and to only entertain positive thoughts. Therefore there is no mention of pharmacological pain management, medical interventions, or special circumstances that can arise during the birth process. While maintaining happy thoughts is a good goal, I don´t think it can be accomplished by pushing against the thoughts of unwanted things or circumstances. In my studies of meditation and the Law of Attraction I learned that the harder we push against something the more attention we are actually giving to it, thereby attracting unwanted. In order to attract to yourself that which you want, you have to think about what you want, NOT what you don´t want. I believe the only way to avoid pushing against and inadvertently giving more of your attention to unwanted you have to actually make a plan for what to do if your worst fear should manifest. Facing your fears and making plans to deal with those situations ahead of time is what enables us to put those things fully out of our mind and focus on fantasizing about birth how we really want it.
To that end I have developed my own childbirth education series which I believes fills these important gaps while still maintaining a focus on the importance of a strong mind-body connection and a mastery of your thoughts. I studied with BACE-NMC, completing a 10 week course of intensive study which culminated in the writing a a 12 hour childbirth curriculum which I have title Birthing With Purpose: A mindful approach to childbirth education. In this class I cover the foundations of birth fully as well as common interventions and medications used in hospital birth and how to approach your care with a shared-decision making model. I believe that to improve outcomes for birthing-people in the united states, especially Latinx, Asian, Black and Brown people, and Queer and Trans folks, we have to change the power dynamic and the paradigm of ¨doctor knows best" and instead teach pregnant people that they actually know best about their own bodies and they have a right for their doctor or midwife to individualize their prenatal care to their specific social dynamic.
is a birth doula and childbirth educator with 14 years experience. She is also mother to two amazing daughters and is passionate about closing disparities in birth. She enjoys gardening and playing with her little chickens, human and literal, in her spare time.