How did I get into all this birth stuff?

One of the most common questions I get is how and why did I get my start in the field of yoga, pregnancy, birth, etc? Seems like a good entry for the 1st blog post.

Entering the “way back machine”… When I was 19, and a precocious college student, a friend of mine discovered a copy of “Spiritual Midwifery” by Ina May Gaskin at a Walden Books in the mall. She and I both thought it was interesting, but she saw it first and she got the only copy they had. Luckily, when she was finished reading it, she let me borrow the book.

We both giggled a bit at the pictures of “hairy hippies” giving birth on school buses and in tents. However, once I started reading the beautifully, open and honest birth stories of the Farm women, I found a deeper meaning. I saw what birth could be, and should be. I knew, intrinsically, that the TV births, and the hospital policies of babies being taken away to the nursery were outdated, and flat out wrong. Finding this book, was a pivotal moment, in my short 19 year old life.

The next step on my path was when a friend of mine got pregnant and she told me she wasn’t going to birth at a hospital, but at a birth center – The Midwife Center for Birth and Women’s Health.  Although, this was at the time when they were in transition from Bloomfield to the Strip and were without a space. So, the birth of her son was at their supporting hospital because of the timing.

This strong Mama introduced me to the reality of natural birth in Pittsburgh. She talked to me about the wonderful midwives, and her long, comfortable prenatal appointments. She spoke of her birth plans and why she wanted a natural birth. I was enraptured with the idea of a natural birth and waited with baited breath for her birth story.

Her story was strong, powerful, emotional, and wonderful. Her curly-haired boy was born in the caul, and he is still a magical child. This Mama showed me how she breastfed. She taught me about breastfeeding on-demand, extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping and attachment parenting. It was another powerful point on my journey.

My next step on this journey was when my husband said “Yes” to trying to conceive our 1st child. I was then a Midwife Center client. His birth didn’t go as planned, and I ended up with a C-section.

I’m going to save my children’s birth stories for later posts 🙂

I became a vocal advocate for VBAC and natural birth after my c-section. I headed up the New Parents group at the Midwife Center for a while.

When my son was a preschooler, I began my 200-hr. Yoga teacher Training with 3rd Street Yoga. Midway through my training, I got a pleasant surprise of a positive pregnancy test. I realized I had to fast-forward my plans a bit if I was going to get all the training I needed before baby #2 came. So, I finished my 200-hr training in Dec 2008.

At the end of Jan. 2009, I flew to LA to do my prenatal teacher training with Gurmukh at Golden Bridge. It was a 60-hr immersion training. We had a midwife, an L&D nurse, a doula and other birth professionals come to talk to us during the training. It was a truly comprehensive training. It was also a transformational experience for me. During my training, I realized I was on *my* path, this was my Dharma.

The next step – Ina May Gaskin was speaking at a conference here in Pittsburgh… 6 days before my due date. I made it to the conference. I heard her words, took them to heart and birthed my daughter the next morning, a successful, un-medicated, minimal intervention VBAC (again, a birth story for another post). She is my yogi-baby.

While teaching my Yoga 1 and Prenatal Yoga classes, I realized I needed more. My students would ask me questions I didn’t feel I had the authority to answer. So, on to the Lamaze Childbirth Educator certification. In March of 2010, I took the seminar. I spent the Summer studying and took my exam in October 2010. Shining Light Prenatal Education, LLC was founded shortly thereafter.

So, a bit verbose and at the same time, lacking in some details. But that’s the answer in a nutshell. The next 2 posts will be my birth stories.