**EDIT** Original post in 2012
I've gotta say, 2011 was pretty rockin' for me so it's not like I'm in a rush for anything new. Yet life moves along, and I quickly and with intention grab onto the kitestring, checking which direction the wind is blowing first, and enjoy the ride.
A weeklong retreat to Ojai, CA is teasing me from next week. I can kind of see it, but it's through a fog of to-do's, worries, uncertainties and excitement. The retreat is a celebration of completing my Level I Birthing From Within certification along with other birth professionals along similiar paths. Yet every ending is a new beginning...as I jump right into new self-awareness and opportunities to grow as a doula and birth mentor and begin my Level II certification as a Birthing From Within birth mentor. The intention of this retreat is a deeper understanding of birth, how our births deeply affect our psyches, and how to use this knowledge to help others understand and make sense of their own births and beliefs. What is Birthing From Within, anyway? I get that often. If you are currently pregnant, SIGN-UP for this class. They only come along a few times a year, and they're worth it. Birthing From Within is a way to FIRST understand your own belief about yourself, others, and birth. It's wonderful to read about birth, practice birth visualizations and prepare mentally, physically and nutritionally...and yet there's more. Class does teach about all of those things: the stages of labor, positions for comfort, when to go to your birthplace...also I encourage my couples to write and practice their own birth affirmations, and guide them through relaxation exercises to surrender to birth...and also how to deal with the intensity of labor and contractions through mindfulness and pain-coping strategies. Yet to truly birth in awareness, there's MORE. In Birthing From Within, it's not about the outcome, or "type" of birth you have (although many find their way to BFW seeking a natural birth). This preparation can prevent, or at least minimize, experiencing your birth as traumatic or emotionally challenging by honest, compassionate preparation. Ever hear someone say they are "terrified" of giving birth? They can really benefit from this class. In order to birth without fear, we have to "un-learn" misconceptions about birth in our culture and then integrate the truth and what you truly need to know in order to give birth. Many feel powerless in birth; Birthing From Within aims to change that. In class you'll find the courage to face your fears, even learning about Cesarean births and epidurals from a place of compassion and understanding, regardless of whether your birth journey takes that path or not. This is not to say that your fears will be erased; no, but rather, you will have some tools in place to learn from your fears and understand them from a place of empowerment. Power! Yes, birth is powerful. Even during completely natural births, there can be moments of doubt and fear, regret and un-knowing. Birthing From Within actually prepares you for these moments so when you're up against them, you have the option to stay centered and powerful, doing what you know to do.
As a BFW Mentor, I'm doing a lot of self work, in preparation for going "there" with my pregnant couples. Where? To that place of discovery, deep listening and understanding. I can't teach without judgement if I'm not aware of my own deepest self. So I listen, and journal, and learn, and think, and reflect. With my colleagues we talk about our life's deepest question, and how that relates to birth, our families, all aspects of our larger journey. And this helps me to understand, as a doula, all paths to birth. I aim to understand your birth fears, and help you to move beyond that fear. I aim to understand your birth hopes, and help you understand the importance behind the hope. I hear you. I'm not judging you. We can talk honestly, transcend naivety, and get to the root of birth. My deepest question? How can I risk vulnerability in this moment? Often we try to hide our vulnerabilities. What if we embaced them? How could that encourage self -growth? And to continue to grow as a doula and birth mentor, I continue to dig deep inside myself, risking vulnerability, bringing truth about birth into our community awareness. We make Birth Art in Birthing From Within class. What does Birth Art have to do with preparing to have a baby? It's connecting to that deeper self, deep within. It's *that* self that you need to awaken, your truest self deep within. If you've already had a baby, you know what I mean. If you don't know what I mean, all the more reason to seek your truth, and find your deepest question, and to consider how birth can affect us. Birth is transformational in many ways, full of risks and opportunities to connect with yourself and trust. It's one thing to talk about cervical dilation, yet another to make art about Opening for Labor, feeling that opening in your entire being, and connecting with it. Art connects us to the same parts of our awareness that we actually access during birth. Book knowledge goes out the window during labor. It's the things you've learned experientially about birth that help you in the moments of labor's intensity and (dare I say?) pain. What about parnters? I imagine the sit-coms where dad goes along to the hospital class and sits, either bored, shocked or disgusted about labor and delivery talk. Partners: Birthing From Within class is your opportunity to learn what your partner really needs during labor, how to really support and encourage her. This birth is just as much about you becoming a father as it is about her becoming a mother. Together you are birthing your family. It can be hard to be the support person at a birth and you're going to want to know what to do and how to help. Is there a better gift to give than starting off your parenting journey together, united, learning and listening? Check out the "What my clients are saying" tab above to see what local moms and dads alike have to say about my Birthing From Within classes. When I return from the Ojai retreat, I'm bringing new insights and awareness into my class. We'll start up on Febuary 12th for 5 weeks. It's juicy, insightful, tranformational stuff and I welcome your presence and truth. How are you preparing for your birth? How is this similar to how you live your life? What is YOUR deepest question? My goal is to inspire and teach. All that you need to know to give birth, you already hold deep within yourself. I aim to point you towards your own inner knowing. Join us at Joyful Yoga in Bonita on Sundays from 2:00-5:00 beginning February 12. I'm listening.