Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting about Birthing From Within with Deb Flashenberg of the Prenatal Yoga Center. (Deb had recently attended a Birthing from Within workshop for professionals.) We talked about seeking a balance between information and self-knowledge when we work with parents as they prepare for, move through, and recover from the intensity of the childbearing experience.
This week, Through the Labyrinth has a profile of…me! Click through to read a little about my love of books, clothes, oysters, kung fu…and of course, birth work!
My piece today on the Through the Labyrinth, the official Birthing from Within blog…
noun. the result or effect of an action or event.
— Oxford Dictionaries online
Birthing From Within mentors frequently emphasize the point that our work is not “outcome-focused.” While this might at first sound like a relatively straightforward idea, there’s a lot of complexity underneath it. So let’s take a closer look: What does it mean to be outcome-focused in a birthing context, what problems might such a focus create, and what are alternative approaches?
I will be co-leading Birthing from Within’s signature Crossing the Threshold retreat in Las Vegas, February 1-3, 2019. Crossing the Threshold is a paradigm-shifting, heart-opening, burnout-busting workshop for anyone who works with or is interested in working with individuals and families in the childbearing year. My co-leaders will be BFW co-owner Erika Primozich and seasoned BFW facilitator Deidre Coutsoumpos. Join us! Contact me for a discount code that is valid until 1/20/19.
Birthing from Within has a new official blog, Through the Labyrinth, and I’m honored to have been named editor! The blog is mostly intended for an audience of perinatal professionals; there will also be some pieces directed towards new and expecting parents. There are pieces on art and culture, childbirth education practices, BFW-specific concepts, events in the birth world, and even health and nutrition. Be sure to check in regularly for interesting and inspiring pieces that invite you to deepen your practice as a birth professional and really dig into how and why we do this work. If you’re so moved, you’re welcome to submit articles or proposals for articles, at email@example.com. I invite you to move Through the Labyrinth with me!
I am beyond thrilled to announce that I've been invited to present at the second Black Birth Matters conference! Black Birth Matters, which will take place in New Orleans on October 27, 2018, is the brainchild of the Birthmark Doula Collective, the New Orleans birth justice organization that was featured in the New York Times Magazine article about the crisis of maternal health disparities in the U.S. The conference theme is “Mind over Matter: Mental Health & Mothering,” with a focus on “holistic approaches to correct the poor maternal outcomes that plague Women of Color in the U.S.” My Birthing From Within colleague Deidre Coutsoumpos and I have designed a presentation that draws on a classic BFW process - the drawing and finger-tracing of labyrinths - and connects it specifically to the difficulties facing Women of Color in their childbearing years. Deidre and I are so excited to be participating in what we feel will be an historic event, and we hope to see you there!
I am now regularly teaching Babywearing 101 classes through NYU Langone! This is an intro class for expecting parents, covering safety, types of carriers, and tips and tricks. There will be plenty of time to ask questions, and to try on a variety of carriers with weighted dolls. If you have already purchased a carrier or received one as a gift, you’re welcome to bring that as well, and I can help you adjust it optimally. You do NOT have to be birthing at NYU Langone Medical Center in order to attend! The last 2018 date is October 24; the class will be scheduled every other month starting in January 2019.
After a short hiatus, we at Birthing From Within are relaunching certification-track professional training! The process begins with Crossing the Threshold, BFW’s signature introductory retreat.
Crossing the Threshold is an embodied workshop that encourages you to explore where you came from, where you are now, and where you are going in relation to birth in our culture.
It provides an opportunity to let go; inquire within; be guided in art, mindfulness, and ritual; hear a Great Story; and emerge refreshed, inspired, and nourished.
The very first Birthing From Within New York workshop for professionals in May 2018 was a hit! In that workshop, we explored the Great Story of the Mesopotamian goddess Inanna’s descent to the underworld, and how it can be a metaphor for any personal ordeal.
In my next workshop, Transition and Other Transitions: Challenging Moments in Perinatal Support, we will dig a little deeper with Birthing From Within New York’s signature blend of intellectual, creative, literary, and experiential approaches.
All birth professionals know that there are special challenges that come with this work. Often, difficult moments will haunt us - How might I have supported that parent better? Was a particular unwished-for outcome partially my fault, or could I have done something more to prevent it? Why couldn’t I influence this parent to make healthier choices? How could I have avoided a moment of conflict with the medical care team?
In Transition and Other Transitions, we will consider WHY birth work is so prone to these challenges that leave such lasting emotional echoes, and we will work to re-envision our personal challenging moments and heal our hearts.
In Part 1, on September 29, we will examine the classic hero’s journey as a map for the childbearing experience and as an explanation of the particular challenges that arise for all participants in a birth. In Part 2, on November 3, we will excavate our own personal difficult moments in birth support, and discover new, compassionate ways to understand them - and ourselves. You can register for either part independently, or both together.
This workshop is appropriate for those who work in a support capacity with people in their childbearing years - life coaches, therapists, fitness instructors, medical professionals, doulas, childbirth educators, lactation professionals, pastoral caregivers, etc. Both workshops will be held at the Birthing From Within New York studio in Central Harlem.