Ep23: Advocacy in the birthing room

In this episode we sit down and chat about birth advocacy, prenatal prep, postpartum healing and much more with experienced doula and BRM® Faculty, Denise Bolds!

Denise shares her family history and what brought her into birth work. We discuss what is important to know for your client and for you as a doula, before going into a birth where you are not sure the doctor and the client are on the same page. How do we strategize for an optimal birth outcome? What do we do when we see the provider is going against the client’s wishes?

We also discuss birth advocacy. How to actually support your clients to advocate for what they want for their birth. How can we truly shift the paradigm of birth? And, what it looks like to doula through a medically complex birth or in a less than supportive environment. How much is too much advocacy? Should we speak on the birthing person’s behalf? Do we just come in with guns blazing or is there a different approach that tends to work better?

We come together and also discuss the importance of prenatal prep, communication, education, and collaboration between the birthing person, their support team and their care providers. Denise shares about the importance of making hospitals more ‘family friendly.’ Ensuring that not only are they designed to support the baby and the birthing person but also the support team.

How do we address the racial disparity in postpartum healing? As a birthworker, what is our role in supporting postpartum people? Should we really leave new parents alone until the first check-up at 6 weeks postpartum? Denise also shares incredible wisdom and insight on what role, if any, the insurance companies have to play in shifting the paradigm and culture of pregnancy, birth, and postnatal recovery.

Join us for this powerful episode!

Ep22: Stress & trauma during pregnancy: the role of the birth worker

Stress and trauma. We hear that we shouldn’t stress during pregnancy. That stress is bad for our health. But how can we take an action-based approach to stress and trauma reduction and nervous system regulation? What are the options provided for someone struggling with Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) apart from medications? How can we, as birth professionals, identify and encourage a client to seek support? Is there a way that we can *actually* address the poor maternal health outcomes that are only getting worse in our society? And, how can we address our own stress and trauma so that we do not take it into our work.

In this episode Ja’Neen Jenkins Washington joins us to chat about all things stress and trauma during pregnancy. Touching also on how our society is set up in a way that disproportionately impacts black and brown families. How can we help? Racism is deeply rooted and can affect not only the physical outcomes of a birth but also the mental health outcomes of these populations.

Ja’Neen brings us some really important and helpful ideas. She’s someone we should all get to know. The amazing work she’s doing is combining mind and body to help the perinatal population to thrive. She takes an individualized, client-focused approach to stress and trauma. Bringing together mental health, somatic body awareness, and so much more to provide her clients with a holistic experience. Stacks the cards in their favor for a better experience.

We also discuss how critical it is that birth pros do more than just ask their clients to meditate or take deep breaths for dealing with stress. It’s important for birth workers to have their own inner resources and coping strategies. And, we discuss the importance of the post birth ritual in helping birth workers to find joy in their job and avoid the burnout that is so prevalent in our industry. Let’s shift the paradigm, together!

Ep21: The embodied approach to the body and movement

Today we chat with Lauren Ohayon, creator of Restore Your Core® and co-creator of Body Ready Method®! This is a candid conversation about the embodied approach.

How do we meet our clients where they’re at and empower them to experience new patterns in their body? And do that in a way that does not induce shame, blame and negative thought patterns. How do we shift the “right vs. wrong” narrative? Too often, we think we are suppose to rush in, take charge and “save” our clients. This puts them in the same place that the modern industrial medical complex puts them. They end up outsourcing their own inner knowing, wisdom and embodiment to a perceived expert.

Diastasis recti during pregnancy is expected, so why do we need core and pelvic floor prehab and rehab work? We talk about how society makes pregnant and postpartum people think that their body is not good enough. And the notion that there is always some ‘work’ to do.

With great knowledge comes great responsibility. Lauren and I discuss the importance, as professionals, of both understanding and being able to assess and work with clients through the deep scientific lens of movement patterns. And, doing so in an empowering way that firmly places the power back into the hands of the human in front of us. How do we educate and train our clients without inducing fear, hyper-vigilance and self blame? How do we educate and train our clients in the embodied approach? I invite you to listen in on this conversation.

This episode also shares more about the background story of how Lauren and I came to join forces. We truly feel we are here to bring this work to the world and we hope our work embodies our passion!

Ep20: Changing the perspective of physiological birth

If you’ve been around the birth world for any amount of time you have likely heard of Spinning Babies®. Today Gail Tully, founder and visionary behind Spinning Babies® joins me at my home to talk all things physiological birth and shifting the paradigm. Gail is truly a trail blazer who has and continues to inspire the next generation of birth professionals, and parents to continue to stay curious, to learn and deepen their awareness, and to heal birth on earth.

In this heart to heart episode, Gail goes nostalgic and shares what inspired her to get into this work. She shares the story of her first pregnancy and birth as a teen and how that got her interested in birth work. We get a glimpse of her relationship with her midwife. And, how beautiful a birther’s experience can be when we are all on the same side.

Gail and I also discuss how births have changed over the years. Including the possible reasons why births are not like how they used to be in the 70s and the 80s. We also discuss physiological births and what impacts it the most.

Creating a balance in the birth practice is important; knowing what to do when, when to use physiological techniques, when to use medical interventions and when to just wait and watch, letting nature do its work. Providing individualized care to each client according to their labor patterns and their physical needs is SO needed!

Listen in to catch SO many mic-drop quotables and stories from Gail. If you’re a complete birth nerd like me, you’ll truly enjoy this one.

It is an honor to have Gail Tully joining us again as faculty for the Body Ready Method® Professional Training. Her insights, wisdom, and stories are just the balm our birth pro souls need.

Ep19: Evolution of birthwork and the power of working together

What happens when two longtime birth and body workers get together and hit record? Magic, I tell you! Listen in on a very candid conversation on the evolution of birthwork, bodywork within different populations and breech baby.

Adrienne Caldwell is faculty for the Body Ready Method® our professional training for birth pros and an absolute genius bodyworker. Overall she has helped thousands of families prepare their bodies, find balance, and help breech babies find their best position for birth. We couldn’t be more excited to have her on the podcast for round two!

Adrienne and I have been in the same birth circles for over 15 years! Back in the day we would often share clients. They would come to me for doula support and exercise and Adrienne for bodywork. Adrienne was at the top of my list for BRM® faculty.

Listen in as we chat about the importance and relationship between exercise and bodywork and how the same conditions may be caused by different reasons in different bodies. Because, as we know it is not a one size fits all when it comes to pregnancy and birth. Each birth is so different. How we support the birthing person truly depends upon how they give birth! From unmedicated births to epidural birth and also cesarean births, every birthing person needs and deserves proactive prep during pregnancy and unconditional support during birth.

We then touch on how everything is ALL connected in the human body going into a deep discussion on breech birth and the efforts to normalize and support them by OBs around the world.

And, we don’t stop there! We also chat about the best approach to shifting the paradigm of childbirth, birthing in the modern world, athletic bodies preparing for birth, and the soft tissues of the body that give it its shape.

Birth nerds? This is truly a treasure trove of helpful information. From the evolution of birthwork to the niche topic of pregnancy within the athlete population. You won’t want to miss it!

Ep18: Our fourth birth: Trauma, personal triumphs and finding community

My husband, Matt McCoy, joins me again to share all about our 4th (surprise!) birth. Our final birth story unravels as a completely unplanned pregnancy. After our 3rd baby was born with a critical congenital heart defect that required a lot of medical care including open heart surgery at 2 months old, we were surprised to find out we were expecting again.

We had to work through the trauma of that 3rd birth experience going into our next experience. We talk through the depression that Matt was struggling with at the time. You’ll hear about some strategies we used to be able to come together and support one another during a stressful and challenging season of life. Matt sheds some light on how to support your partner when you are not your best self either. And, we discuss how a good birth team will not only support the birthing person but support the partners too.

Although this was an unplanned pregnancy, this time we had such a strong community supporting us. I truly had a hard time picking a doula and a midwife! Listen in to hear why we went with a different midwife this time and what was the deciding factor when choosing one.

You’ll also hear some never before shared tidbits about the beginning of Body Ready Method®. Including my best attempt at creating videos during that pregnancy. I also share about my experience breastfeeding through a pregnancy, going post dates (again), afterpains and more! Yes seasoned doulas struggle with afterpains too!

Matt also shares a golden nugget of advice for partners working 9-5 jobs. And, talks about the importance of showing up as much as possible in the postpartum period. We discuss how we were able to divide our responsibilities during this unplanned pregnancy according to what worked best for our family. You really get a good look behind the curtain in this one!

Ep17: Our third birth: 43+ weeks pregnant and on the news!

Yes! You read that right, 43+ weeks pregnant and, true story, a news crew capturing the whole experience for the local news!

In this episode I am joined by my husband, Matt McCoy to share the story of our 3rd birth. This was my first birth after having become a birth professional. It was my longest pregnancy and birth process, but also the birth I consider my easiest birth (although, postpartum was a completely different story. But, that’s a story for a different day!).

This story is really a journey into trust and intuition. Something I consider crucial throughout pregnancy and especially when due date arrives.

Listen in as Matt and I talk through making decisions that were right for us, especially as we went weeks past our guess date. How important the “bubble of peace” was in remaining calm and confident. And, what Matt as a birth partner did to help keep both of our nervous systems from going into fight or flight mode.

I discuss the ways I visualized this birth to go (I wanted it to be LONGER than the last ones! Yes you read that right.) and how it actually played out in reality. I touch on birth at +43 weeks pregnant after becoming a birth professional. I was now teaching exercises and childbirth classes. How did this impact my experience, birth choices, etc.? Can knowing more about the ins and outs of birth make us more confident or more nervous during the whole process? Where is the fine line? Tune in and find out our take on all things overdue!

Ep16: Partner Ready: Birth partners need to prep, too!

In this episode we talk all about birth partner support with my husband, Matt McCoy! We often forget about how overwhelming the journey to baby can be for the partners. Pregnancy, birth and recovery are huge physiological events and it’s really easy for birth partners to feel like a deer caught in headlights and freeze or sink into a corner when things get intense. Many partners want to be involved, but just don’t know how or what to do and just need a bit of extra support and encouragement.

But what if we empowered the birth partners?
Prepare partners so that they could show up in the way the birther needs them to. What if working together in this way could be a catalyst for even deeper connection. What if it could be a catalyst for your partner finding their flow as a parent (if your birth partner is also your parenting partner).

Yes, just like we can prepare during pregnancy for birth, partners can prepare to give the support needed! Birth support for each person looks different. There are birthers who’ll want someone near, someone holding their hand. There are birthers who’ll want their space. This is just one small example of how support can vary from person to person. Matt and I talk about our own birth experiences. We touch on ways to get the birther and the birth partner in tune to know what will be needed when the moment comes.

It is not about becoming an expert about birth. Practicing a few things together not only helps you to recall it at birth it also helps you to connect. Join us as we discuss what it means to be ‘partner ready’ and what you can do, together, to make this your reality. In this episode we talk through our stories and tips to make you feel more prepared, together. I encourage you to listen!

Ep15: Our second birth: How we achieved a profoundly different experience

On this episode Matt and I chat about our second birth. What a different experience it was! Have you ever had an experience that altered the course of your life so deeply? So profoundly that you knew your life would not be the same without it? Our first wasn’t the experience we’d hoped for. And after this birth, in our own ways, we became obsessed with figuring out why and what could be done differently.

Matt, as my birth partner, dived into research to learn more about partner support. I really got into reading and learning more about pregnancy and birth. And, how I could incorporate my background in exercise science into it.

This led us to make very different choices for our second birth experience two and a half years later.  And, it led to a profoundly different experience. An experience so deep and profound, an experience so autonomous and empowering, that it altered the entire course of our lives. This was the experience that led me to step fully into my power as a birth worker.

I thought I was leaving exercise science and my  job as an exercise physiologist behind… little did I know that I would someday combine the two to create what is now known as the Body Ready Method®.

Listen in on this episode to hear what the McCoy’s did differently and how these choices altered our lives forever! There are a few tips and tricks you can take into your next birth or your next client’s that may just make the best difference.

Ep14: Origin Story: Our first birth experience with Lindsay & Matt McCoy

Join me and my amazing husband, Matt McCoy, as we recount the story of our first pregnancy and birth, from 2006/2007. Picture two young adults who thought they had it all figured out. Who figured “people have been having babies forever, I’m sure we’ll figure it out.” Who wanted a natural first birth, but didn’t really have a plan as to how to get there.

At the time, I was finishing up my Exercise Science degree and was teaching almost every fitness class possible. From bootcamp to water aerobics to spinning. You name it, I was teaching it. I read all the right books and even googled “doula near me,” but found none nearby.

Needless to say, our first birth didn’t go the way we had hoped. We ended up at the hospital, tubes everywhere and I ended up getting an epidural. When this happened, being the research nerd that I am, I needed to know why. Really, this is the story of how an exercise physiologist, who said she’d never go into birth as the daughter of an L&D nurse and granddaughter of an OB/GYN, started the ball rolling to what would eventually become the realization of her life’s calling. It’s also the story of a partner learning what true support means during pregnancy, during birth, and during postpartum. Learning to become a parent.

As Matt and I discuss our first birth for the first time in almost 15 years, we interweave helpful tips and tricks that you can take into your own pregnancy and birth experiences. It is often difficult  to see how far we have grown until we look back at a former version of ourselves, with love and appreciation, yet here we take a look at a former version of us and the birth that started it all.