Breastfeeding: Friend or Foe?

Breastfeeding Bond
Breastfeeding is so special. It can be a source of comfort, love and bonding. It is beautiful, good for baby, and good for momma.

But what about when it’s not?

For some women, myself included, there can be endless obstacles, problems, challenges, heartache and tears! This is my story, and includes a few major “obstacles” I experienced after the birth of my third child. We had a beautiful natural birth. It was only 4 hours long and he was delivered safely, all on his own. We chose to not find out the gender, so when he was born I swooped him up quickly and held him tightly to my chest as I cried tears of joy! I pulled him away and announced to my hunny that we had another son! It was a picture perfect birth.

Immediately following birth he latched on and began to nurse. I nursed my first two children exclusively for nearly a year. So I figured breastfeeding would be no problem for me! I was an expert. During this first feeding, it felt awkward, uncomfortable and painful. I asked my midwife to check his latch because it seemed different, she told me it looked great and to continue because “it’s always tender at first” (very true). I also asked the pediatrician to check the latch and she did as well.


Every time I nursed it still hurt. ‘Maybe I should call the lactation consultant,’ I thought. ‘But I’m a third time mom, this is like riding a bike! I’m fine.’ Wrong! I decided to be humble and ignore my embarrassment and eventually called for the Lactation consultant to come in. She checked the baby’s mouth and tongue for ties (what the heck is a tie??) and did not find any. She then evaluated the latch and said it was good. (okay, great! I’ll try again, thank you very much!)

Well guess what? Nothing improved. Even though I saw 4 doctors and 3 lactation consultants. None of them could help. I spent 3 long months trying figure out nursing. I would cry through every – single – feeding. My nipples had begun to crack and were very sore and painful to touch. When my son was 2 weeks old I was burping him and his spit up was completely red from the blood of my nipples. I never had baby blues with my others, but I had it now! I wanted to be happy and enjoy my baby, but I began to resent feedings. I was so weary of him that I went to great lengths to keep my older children quiet just so he would sleep longer and I wouldn’t have to nurse.

I was so mad at myself for feeling that way. I wanted to enjoy my baby. I wanted to love nursing like I did with my first two. I felt like a failure each time I saw a different professional and they told me nothing was wrong. I thought maybe I had post-partum depression and if I could just be happy it wouldn’t hurt to nurse. I was angry at my baby. I was angry at my breasts, but mostly I was angry at the professionals that couldn’t help me. I lost faith in their abilities.

My husband was so sweet and supportive, but he had a hard time understanding why I wouldn’t feed the baby formula. The problem was, I knew how to nurse and I knew I could do it! I had already successfully nursed two babies! I just didn’t know why this baby couldn’t do it! Together we prayed, fasted, and he gave me several blessings.

Seek Help

My sweet sister also had a nursing baby at the time, and one day offered to nurse my son. We spent the whole day together and she nursed him several times. At first she said it was good- felt normal- but by the end of the day she was in pain as well, and said she couldn’t do it anymore. Heaven to my ears! I knew it wasn’t my fault! Her confirming that it felt different gave me even more hope and a desire to seek answers. I decided to share my story on social media and got the response from several women that my son MUST be tongue-tied.
I thought they were crazy. How could seven different professionals say this was not the case, and ten moms who never even looked at my son be SO SURE that it was the case? I didn’t care! I listened to them and saw a specialist the next day.

At the initial appointment with the tongue-tie specialist, I watched a video describing tongue-tie, the effects in the baby and the mother, and the process of diagnosing it. I cried through the WHOLE video. My son had every – single – symptom. And I had EVERY – SINGLE – SYMPTOM. When the nurse came back to the room after the video she asked if I had any questions about the video. I immediately said, “YES! How long until the doctor can fix this!?” I felt so relieved. The doctor diagnosed my son with a 4th degree tie. I asked my doctor in tears why no one else could see it. I explained to him that I had seen SEVEN different professionals and none of them diagnosed my son properly. I had to endure pain for six long weeks! I was so angry at each one of them for being so neglectful. My doctor explained that 4th degree ties are very uncommon and hard to see unless you have been specifically trained in the area. He explained that many women who have breastfeeding problems switch to bottle feeding, so birth professionals no longer encounter problems like this, thus losing the opportunity to learn from it.

The days following the tongue-clipping were so much better! My nipples healed within days and nursing began to become lovely, just as I hoped it would be.

What is a tongue-tie?

“Tongue tie’, ‘Ankyloglossia’ or ‘short frenum’ are the terms used when the lingual frenum is short and restricts the mobility of the tongue.” ( In other words, a tongue-tie is when the tissue that connects the tongue to the floor of your mouth is too short for the tongue to extend out past the teeth. A tongue-tie can cause many problems in a developing child such as breastfeeding difficulty and speech and language development.


Sometimes it seems our bodies have to go through heaven and hell. It’s hard. Sometimes there are obstacles. Don’t give up! Don’t stop trying! You are beautiful.

Your body is a gift. A gift that can keep on giving! Trust in your body and your instincts.

You are strong, Momma

Your body gives and provides life.

Your body sustains life.

Your body is beautiful.



I am Clarissa Baxter, mother of four. This experience helped me substantially when my fourth child was born. As soon as my baby entered this earth and I pulled her up to my chest- I could see she had a tongue-tie. The very next day an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor) came to my hospital room and clipped her tongue right there. She was diagnosed with a 1st degree, meaning at the very front of her tongue.

It was such a relief to know that because of my hard work, learning and knowledge that I was able to take care of a problem the second time around before it even became a problem. In addition, my daughter was the first baby to ever have her tongue clipped in that hospital. The head nurse came to my room to thank me for insisting that a doctor come to my aid to help my nursing baby. She said that I was the first mother to ever do that and that it created a “buzz“ around the maternity ward. Throughout my stay in the hospital I had several nurses come to my room and thank me as well. I felt very proud to have helped the hospital in a small step to becoming a baby-friendly status hospital. Several of the nurses invited me to attend the breastfeeding support group to share my story and hopefully help other mothers.  I have always had a passion for labor; birth and breastfeeding, but feeling the reward of being helpful really lit a fire under me. This led me to enroll in an online doula course and become a certified labor and birth doula. I am now on my way to becoming a midwife and hope to help many more women in the future.



Written by Clarissa Baxter, CNA, CLD(CBI)

  • Birth Doula, Certified Nurse Assistant, Childbirth Instructor, Midwifery Student at Midwives College of Utah
  • 480-338-2851
  • Serving San Lorenzo, CA

Empowering the Next Generation of Birthing Women


Have you ever heard someone quip that showing a birth video to teens in health class is “a good method of birth control”? Like… to scare them away from ever wanting to experience something so terrible? I can see their logic, sort of.

Most of us don’t want our teens having babies at this stage in their lives. We hope they will use this time to learn, grow, get an education, and invest in their futures. (Futures that we do hope will include some grandchildren for us, am I wrong?)

But do the possible short-term benefits of this fearful outlook outweigh the long-term consequences of such conditioning? I’m sure, like me, you have heard girls and women express that they never want to give birth because it’s so scary and painful. The fear they experienced while watching that birth scene in the movie stuck with them.

So this begs the question…

How do we undo the negative conditioning?

How do we reverse the cycle? What does the next generation of birthers need from us to have more positive birthing experiences that they will look forward to, and not dread?

First, we need to point out to our daughters that media portrayals of birth are not the norm and are extra dramatic to add to the plot of the movie. 

I know my children have heard it a hundred times, but still I speak up and set the record straight whenever we see a media portrayal of birth that is sensationalized.

Second, we need to educate ourselves about the natural process of birth.

It is natural to fear things we don’t understand, so gaining a personal understanding of birth is key to helping the next generation understand it.

Yes, labor is work! But it doesn’t have to be torture. There are pains in this life that are healthy to fear, and that we should avoid: falling off a ladder, getting burned, or hitting your thumb with a hammer. We need to teach our daughters to differentiate between danger and discomfort. But childbirth is a healthy, natural function of the body. It is not something we need to fear and tense up about. The discomforts of childbirth are different than getting burned, or injured in some way. The pains and surges are the body’s way of working hard, aiding the baby’s descent, and telling you how to move to find and facilitate the easiest exit path for your baby.

Understanding the normalcy of birth, and learning ways to work with our bodies, can make a noticeable difference in how we regard the sensations we experience during the process of birth. This understanding also makes labor less frightening to the young woman who has never given birth before, and empowers her to view birth in a healthy, confident manner.

Next, we need to share positive stories with the younger generation so they know the wonderful possibilities of childbirth.

If all they hear is negative, they will assume that negative experiences are the only possibility for them.

My first four births were good experiences, but I believe could have been much better if I hadn’t been so tense and fearful of the pain. I hadn’t studied yet about different labor positions or healthy pain management techniques. I’m sure I told others how painful and difficult those births and recoveries were! ~Thus perpetuating the fear!

I remember going to a baby shower for a friend who had just had a peaceful water birth. While all the other women shared more of the horror type birth stories, she talked about how she labored privately, in the dark, on her hands and knees and the baby slipped out without too much pain. I wondered…

How could anyone experience childbirth, without fear and excruciating pain?

I continued to meet with this friend and absorb her trust in the birth process. She helped me so much! I wanted to have what she had! I studied every natural birth book I could get my hands on. I knew birth could be so different than what I’d previously experienced. I went on to have three natural births with trust and relaxation.

Wanting to empower my own family members with a healthy view of childbirth, I invited my children to attend the water birth of their little sister.


After this experience my oldest daughter has had many opportunities to tell her friends that she doesn’t fear birth, and that she looks forward to that special time in her future! Also, when relatives came to town to see my new baby, I let my niece watch my birth video, and afterward she exclaimed, “I’m so glad I saw that! Now I’m not so afraid to give birth.”


Lastly, we need to help young women appreciate and understand their divinely designed bodies and trust their innate capability to give birth.                                                            
In an age where our bodies are critiqued and objectified at every turn, we must fortify ourselves and our daughters with truth! We are wonderfully made! We must stop criticizing our reflections in the mirror, and learn to speak kindly about ourselves- and others. We need to tune-in to our bodies and understand how we function. When those around us complain about their periods or post-partum bodies, we can listen, and then add how grateful we are for the ability to conceive and carry a child and bring them into the world. We can talk openly about the rewards and marvelous blessings of giving birth, and not just focus on the challenges. We can breastfeed and nurture our babies confidently, knowing that young women around us are watching and learning. These fundamental changes will help the next generation to have a healthier view of their bodies and their capacity to give birth.

Questions to Ponder

* What do you think would have helped you to have more positive views of birth growing up?

* Who was most influential to you in your beliefs about birth?

Resources I Recommend

A great resource I recommend for helping you with the four items I discuss in my article is the book The Sacred Gift of Childbirth.


Written by Rhonda Cazier, birth doula and mother of 7

Serving women in the Boise, ID area.


4 Things that are Hard to Understand about Birth

As I wrote my book, I dreamt of giving women the birthing information they desire and deserve.  Information that empowers them to make the best choices for themselves and for their babies.  I dreamt of changing the world, one birth at a time!  But once people actually started reading it, I experienced a pretty big case of nerves!  As reviews started coming in, my nerves were eased with the glowing remarks of many readers and reviewers.  But there were a small handful of readers who did not like what they read.  I was prepared for that.  I knew it was unrealistic to expect everyone to sing my book’s praises.

As I contemplated the few negative reviews I received, I began to see similarities in all of them. Misinterpreting the message, not understanding the data, and attaching righteousness to scientific outcomes were common themes.

So today’s post is geared towards addressing these common concerns and hopefully adding some clarity to a very difficult and new concept regarding childbirth.  I worked tirelessly to find the perfect way to explain everything in my book, and overall, readers are understanding and appreciating it.  But I haven’t found the perfect way to explain it to everyone so I want to take the opportunity right now to try to fix that with my list of four things that are difficult to understand regarding birth.


1: There is a physiological aspect of childbirth. 

There is a physiological component to most, if not all, physical aspects and actions of our bodies.  This is not a hypothesis and is not up for debate as it has been scientifically proven time and time again.  The primary difference between my writing and other scientific writing is I am saying that God purposely created the physiological aspect of birth.  Other researchers believe that evolution created this physiology in order to promote survival.  You may believe whichever theory you choose, but they both have the same science behind them, and the same ultimate goal of a healthy birth with a thriving mother and a thriving infant.

When birth occurs naturally, there is a physiological chain reaction that promotes bonding, increases breastfeeding success, and strengthens the woman physically and emotionally.  While many of my critics have tried to discredit it, the physiologic component of childbirth is well-documented and as such is one of the strongest arguments in my book. Believing in the power of physiology does not discredit the power of the atonement or free agency, but gives a broader understanding of the mind-body connection, and helps us make choices that can lead to greater health.

The physiology of birth is another testament of God’s love for His daughters because it shows His love in every tiny detail of childbirth.  No, not everyone will experience birth the way God intended, but that doesn’t make the information less important or less true.  We wouldn’t dream of discontinuing teaching about the Word of Wisdom just because followers of the commandment will not have perfect health.  Healthy physiology is not guaranteed during birth, but is a goal women can reach for when planning for a safe and healthy birth.

Turning scaryintoSacred (2)

2: Mortality prevents physical and physiological perfection.

My book teaches that the design of childbirth is perfect, but our bodies are not.  We are able to apply this thinking to most aspects of our health, but for many it is difficult to apply to childbirth.  Surely God designed every aspect of our mortal bodies.  Every synapse and response is purposeful and perfect in theory.  Mortality takes a perfect design and allows it to be imperfect.  But the imperfections of mortality do not mean that God doesn’t have a plan for the human body and its many functions.

Physical injury, physical illness and mental illness, are all (to a certain extent) an expected part of mortality, as none of us are immune to them.  Since childbirth encompasses the physical and physiological aspects of a woman’s body, we can safely assume that mortality often interferes with the birthing process. God allows mortality to interfere with birth, just as He allows it to interfere with every other physical and physiological aspect of our bodies.  While God is capable of removing our earthly pain and illness, He often doesn’t, as experiencing these trials is part of His plan for us to experience mortality and opposition in all things.  God is also bound by natural laws, and mortality is a condition that we all agreed to – knowing we would be tested and tried.

Along with mortality, we can’t ignore how our personal choices have an effect on our overall health and on our births.  Just as proper rest, nutrition and exercise increase our chances of a long and healthy life, proper preparation and decision-making skills increase our chances of a healthy birth.


3: Our choices during birth often interfere with the physical and physiological aspects of birth, but that has nothing to do with righteousness.

Utilizing our free agency isn’t always a matter of right and wrong, and personal worthiness is not relevant to birthing outcomes. This is a difficult concept for the Christian who has always viewed choices as good or bad. There is no righteous or sinful options during birth, just safer options with no religious tandem.

People really struggle with this one because usually choices that lead to poor outcomes are also labeled as sins, and that makes it easier for us to know what God wants us to choose.  This is not the case in birth.  Receiving an epidural or needing a cesarean are not sins (a point I make several times in my book), but they can lead to poor outcomes.  Since we are always attaching labels of sin and righteousness to our choices, this makes childbirth choices difficult to process and understand.  If getting an epidural isn’t a sin, then why can it increase my chances of having postpartum depression?

Plainly because it interferes with physiology.

Physiological interference disrupts the birthing and bonding process for many women.  This information is crucial for women to understand, as Latter Day saints are encouraged (not commanded) to make decisions that support good health. Of course there are the big commandments like avoiding drugs and alcohol, but things like getting enough sleep and low sugar intake are healthy goals to strive for, but won’t keep you out of the temple.  Our food and sleep choices often lead to poor health.  Poor health, however, has never been deemed a sin.  But poor health does make life harder and prevents many of us from using our mortal bodies to their full potential.

The physical and physiological potential of birth is miraculous and life-changing.  When understood this way, we can’t help but see God’s influence and our own personal influence on the experience.  A natural birth without complications is not a badge of righteousness just as a difficult birth with many interventions is not a scarlet letter.  They are both the combination of mortality and personal choices. The purpose of my book is to give black and white information categorized into risks and benefits and empower women as they make choices for themselves and their babies.  There is absolutely no talk of worthy or righteous choices.

I want all women to (1)

4: Science doesn’t have to be politically correct.

Just like our LDS culture wants to assign sin or righteousness to everything, our modern-American culture wants to assign equality to everything.  Our politically correct world wants to give women the right to make any choice they want during childbirth, and present all choices as equally safe and rewarding.  While I agree that women should be given the right to make birthing choices for themselves, we should not ignore how those choices can affect a birth and the long-term physical and emotional health of the mother and child. 

As we strive for equality, we still must be able to admit that every choice will not lead to the same outcome.  Thankfully, data doesn’t have to be politically correct.  We can choose to honestly look at the data and admit that many of the choices we are given during childbirth interfere with the normal processes and functions of birth.  It may not be politically correct or popular to admit this, but the truth often isn’t.
For those who have misunderstood my work, I hope this has helped clear things up. For others, I hope you have enjoyed learning more about the incredible design of birth. Understanding the divine design of childbirth gives us more reasons to feel God’s love. This understanding also empowers women to make safe choices based in data and doctrine.  Choices that improve outcomes, build testimonies, and strengthen families.

A Necessity Disguised as a Luxury

“Therapeutic massage has been used for centuries to improve overall health, reduce stress, and relieve muscle tension”. *


As a licensed massage therapist, birth doula and postpartum doula, I have seen first-hand the benefits and effects of massage on pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period.  Today I want to tell you how I incorporate massage into all my areas of support and expertise, and teach you the many ways massage can support a mother from conception through postpartum.


During pregnancy I recommend at least one massage a month, but more if they are experiencing pain and tension. Some of my clients get massages every 2 weeks. I’ve had others who get far less. Whatever you decide, there is no doubt it will have a positive effect for you and your pregnancy. One of my clients decided to get massaged on the same schedule as her doctor’s appointments; once a month until 28 weeks, then every 2 weeks until 36 weeks when she started coming every week. I thought it was a brilliant plan.

Massage provides many benefits during pregnancy including: “*Reduced back pain, reduced joint pain, improved circulation, reduced edema, reduced headaches, better sleep and reduced stress.”  Plus, it feels amazing! Many women I know just do not take the time to take care of themselves. To me, massage is therapeutic, not a fancy “rich person” thing to do. My business slogan is; massage is a necessity disguised as a luxury. I get massaged every two weeks because I need it, and not just when I’m pregnant! My body goes through a lot and If I don’t take care of myself then I won’t be able to keep doing the work I love for long.

Some pregnancy symptoms that I have personally helped clients with include; SPD, carpal tunnel syndrome, TMJD, headaches, back aches, round ligament pain and edema. I cannot guarantee results but most of the time women see a lot of improvement.

Labor Induction:

Many women contact me during the end of their pregnancy for a kick-start labor massage. This is actually one of my favorite massages to do. Of course it doesn’t always work, but well over half the time it does. I have even had women go into labor on my table! (Which I never get tired of.) A kick-start labor massage includes relaxing the back, neck and hip area as well as focusing on the acupressure and reflexology points that are known to start labor. If it doesn’t work, at least the pregnant mama got some needed relaxation and tension relief.  I’ve learned special points to induce labor in classes and from mentors that have done this for years. I have practiced and honed my skills in the 6+ years since I’ve graduated from school.


There is a small percentage of women who don’t like touch during labor but most of them find that massage relaxes them and lessens their discomfort.  When my clients ask me if I can massage them during labor I always respond with “Yes!  And it will feel amazing!”

Almost all of my doula clients love foot rubs and back rubs during labor, as well as the counter-pressure techniques I do. There are certain acupressure points I use to make sure their labor progresses smoothly, especially if they have an epidural. I also use clary sage oil and some blends made by my doula agency, Beautiful Birth Doulas.

Since I specialize in massage I include one massage in every doula client’s birth package, with the option of adding on more massages if requested. I actually have a good reason to include this, besides the fact that everyone needs massage. First, women seem to go into labor when they are relaxed. so keeping them relaxed in the final weeks of pregnancy is very beneficial. Second, by giving my pregnant clients a massage before they are in labor, I can gage their pressure preferences, ticklish spots, and tense areas. This allows me to know exactly what each client prefers and automatically do it when I’m massaging during labor! (Sneaky, I know, but it really does make me seem like I have “magic hands”.)  Just as you want your doula to get to know you, it’s a good idea for her to get to know your massage preferences, too.


As a postpartum doula, I cannot neglect the “4th trimester.”  Though the first 6 weeks after birth are critical for recovery, this is a time most American women seem to skimp on. They feel the need to get up and go to church or go to the store mere days after giving birth. Here is my opinion, if you feel a surge of energy, save that energy for healing! And massage can be a great way to facilitate postpartum healing.

Massage is appropriate and useful any time after a woman has given birth. Massage done within the first few days postpartum is typically most comfortable for the woman inside her own home, and I am always happy to provide these (even when mom is wearing her postpartum underwear!).  Most moms who’ve had epidurals find that their back muscles around the injection site are sore and tender. Also many women give birth squatting or are bouncing on the birth ball during labor, which leads to sore legs and glutes.

Generally I tell women that 2-6 weeks postpartum is an ideal time to come in and get a massage. During postpartum massage I always include the stomach, which most women love. Don’t confuse this stomach massage with the often painful “uterine massage” nurses perform soon after a woman gives birth. This is a very gentle, soothing massage that can help your uterus shrink down to normal, organs return to place faster, helps with constipation and also with digestion.

If you have had a cesarean birth, I can’t do stomach massage until 6 weeks. If you are breastfeeding, postpartum massage can help with your strained back and neck from those awkward breastfeeding positions we sometimes find ourselves in.

Pregnancy changes the body drastically over 9 months. I believe massage can help facilitate these changes and make for an easier birth and recovery. I would encourage all pregnant women to make prenatal massages a part of their pregnancy journey.


Written Jennifer Anderson LMT, Beautiful birth doula and postpartum doula

Owner of Tachi Massage

898 S State St STE 310, Orem UT 84058

Mention this post and get $15 of a massage or $50 off a doula package.

Jennifer has been a licensed massage therapist for over 6 years. She graduated from UCMT. She’s loved every minute of it. The last few years especially, Jennifer has focused on prenatal massages, and is now a birth doula and postpartum doula. She usually incorporates massages into everything. Over the years she has worked at spas and chiropractor’s offices as well as private practice. She is always hungry to learn and grow her knowledge to share with clients and friends. Jennifer is married to an amazing guy Dennis and together they have 2 daughters, 6 and 4 as well as another on the way!


*I am not a doctor and you should discuss any lifestyle changes with your doctor or midwife

From Scary to Sacred: How One LDS Doula Utilizes the Holy Ghost.

Sometimes, birth can be terrifying, especially if you put it in the wrong light.  Today I would like to share with you some of my more intimidating birth experiences and share how I turned scary into sacred.

The Sacredness of Following a Prompting

With over 20 years of doula experience, I have learned to follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost when I am supporting a birthing woman.  I know that following these sacred promptings has made the difference for me and for those that I support. I can remember one specific birth I was supporting when the client had been pushing for over an hour.  She had been lying on her back in stirrups.  The OB said that if something did not change soon they would end up on a c-section.

I had the thought of taking a sheet and playing tug of war with the laboring mom during each contraction.  This helped mom to change her position, and gave her something to hold on to as she bore down.  This was the game changer, and in less than 30 min mom had given birth. (4)

The Sacredness of Mother’s Intuition

I am not the only one that can hear the promptings.  I have always believed in a “mother’s intuition”, and feel that a mother’s intuition is the prompting of the Holy Ghost.  I am reminded of a laboring client who was laboring at home over night.  Everything seemed to be going well, and on schedule.  We had talked about when we were going to head to the hospital, trying to take rush-hour traffic into account.  After taking into account how her labor as going, and timing we had decided to stay home until after rush hour.
While standing in the shower, mom looked at me and said, “I have to go in now.”  So we packed everything up and headed into the hospital.  It was before rush hour, but I believe in following a mom when she says something.  As we walked into labor and delivery her water broke, and there was meconium in the water.

Had we labored at home we would have been fighting rush hour traffic to get to the hospital. Because of the way her labor progressed she might have given birth in the car on the way to the hospital.  With the meconium in the water this would have been a risk to the baby.

Sacred Healing

I also believe that heavenly father can give us the gift of healing when things do not go the way we plan or want.

A couple of years ago I was excited to work with a young family that was planning to use a birthing center for their birth.  Not only was everything in the pregnancy going well, this baby was their surprise blessing, as she was told she was not able to bear children.  She planned on giving birth in a birth center, and there was nothing to indicate that a birth center birth would not happen.

After supporting this couple in their home for a few hours, we left for the birthing center.  Mom was amazing as she worked through each phase of labor. As the time passed, the labor progressed slowly.  At times it seemed like labor would stop progressing, and we would consider transferring to the hospital.  But every time we considered it, mom’s body seemed to know what it needed to do to move forward, and it did.

After laboring for three days at the birth center, mom was finally dilated to 10 cm!  When the urge to push came, the midwife checked and gave the go ahead.  Mom pushed like an amazing warrior woman for 3+ hours.  The law states that after the water is broken for over 24 hours and the mom has been pushing for over 3 hours that they must transport the patient to a hospital for care.  We had hit our times limits, so the midwife transferred mom to the hospital.  She just could not push the baby out, not for lack of trying, but because the baby was stuck.

I followed the client to the hospital, and was there when the family came out of the cesarean.   The mom felt like she had lost something.  I remember feeling the warmth of the Holy Ghost as it gave me the words to say to comfort this mother.   I told her “You are amazing and strong.  You did everything you could.  It was not your fault when your daughter- for whatever reason- needed to come into the world this way.   You did everything you could.  And you will be an amazing mother.”

After her birth, Haylie, the mom from the above story, posted this about me “My birth was a hard and long journey. I was happy to have Bev with me the whole time. She stuck by my side with all 3 days of my labor and even stayed when we transferred to the hospital. She helped me through the pain even better than my own mother could.  She made me feel powerful and like a real woman. She reassured me that even though the birth ended up in a c section, I tried my hardest and that I was doing the best thing for me and my baby. I would recommend her to anyone who is about to give birth. I will ask her back for another birth if I ever get pregnant again.”

Four years later, I was given the privilege of supporting Haylie in the VBAC of another daughter.  The labor started naturally.  Mom was scared that something would go wrong with this birth, such as this little one would also get stuck and mom would end up with another C-section.

The labor progressed quickly, and soon it was time to push.  As mom started to push we felt the Holy Ghost fill into the room with comfort.  Mom had a natural VBAC.  I knew that our Heavenly Father provided healing for both of us during this amazing birth.

Though birth can take turns that can fill us with fear, by utilizing the Holy Ghost we can replace those feelings with feelings of peace, and know that God is always aware of the birthing woman.


Written by Beverly Young-Reed



Phone: 360-292-5976

Beverly started her path into the birth world over 30 years ago when she was expecting her first child.  She took a couple of different childbirth classes because she really wanted to be prepared.  It was during one of those classes she knew she wanted to become a Childbirth Educator.  She took a training to become a “Birth Coach”.  In April 1, 1985, Bev coached her first birth

Bev decided to certify as a “Doula’ with a local organization that has since closed its doors.  Bev received her first international doula certification in 2003 with DONA, then in 2013 with Madriella.  She is currently working on cross certification with StillBirth Day as a bereavement doula, and ProDoula.  In 1996 Bev received her “Childbirth Educator for Doulas” certification and started teaching private and group childbirth classes.  She is currently working on the CBE certification with ProDoula. In 2008 Bev received her accreditation as a Level 2/3 provider for the Power of Positive Parenting. Bev has multiple certifications, collage classes, and various trainings that help her to be a great doula.  She is always seeking out new knowledge to stay current and to learn new things.
Bev has served with various organizations that focus on pregnancy, families, and parenting.  She was a founding board member for Bay Area Birth Information while living in the Bay Area.  She was asked to join the Tacoma Labor Companions board of directors, and served on the Advisory Board for Madriella helping to create the doula curriculum while mentoring new doulas.  Bev was one of the first two Madriella Hands on Doula workshop providers.  For local hospitals Bev created a volunteer, on-call Doula program at Capital Medical Center, and was one of the first volunteer doulas at St. Joseph’s hospital in Tacoma. Bev continues to be active in her local birthing community providing outreach and resources for families.

Bev joined the LDS church at the age of 15.  She was sealed in the Seattle Temple to her husband, and they parented 5 children together.  She loves to serve her Heavenly Father whenever she can.  Some of her favorite callings have been Primary 1st counselor, Ward music leader, and Relief Society teacher.

An Honest Approach to Natural Childbirth

It’s no secret that I love natural childbirth.  Not only do I love it, but research overwhelmingly shows that natural birth is the safest way for low-risk women to deliver.  That being said, I absolutely hate the natural vs. medical birth fight.  Why fight for a side when we should be fighting for safe birth?  For most women, natural birth is what is safest, but not always.  And just because something is safe, doesn’t mean it is easy!

I can’t fully support either side of the childbirth debate because both sides downplay certain aspects of birth, and both sides exaggerate.  The medical world downplays the risks associated with interventions, focusing solely on their benefits, giving women the false assumption that everything they offer is safe and prudent for every situation.  The natural world focuses on the physiological benefits and safety of giving birth, but downplays how physically difficult and painful natural childbirth can be for many women.  My writing typically focuses on giving women the omitted information regarding medical interventions, but today I’d like to focus on three areas that need improvement from the natural birth camp.

  1. Making natural birth out to be easier than it really is. Can natural birth be painless, even easy?  Yes, to some; but the overwhelming majority of women find labor to be painful.  Our epidural rate is all the proof we need to see that that general consensus is labor is painful.  It seems like natural birthers (educators in particular) are insistent on telling women that birth is not painful, as a way to almost manipulate them into wanting a natural birth.  But how does this serve the woman who will eventually go into labor and find out for herself that natural birth is not easy or painless?

Some women will have a 3 hour labor with a baby that was optimally positioned, but others will have a labor with a posterior baby that causes intense back pain that not only makes labor longer, but more painful, too.  Natural birth can be hard.  Incredibly hard!  And telling women otherwise is insulting and dishonest.  If a woman is strong enough to give birth she is strong enough to handle the truth.

Whether you call it a pressure wave, a surge, or a moment of intensity, it’s still a contraction.  You can change the name, but you can’t change what it is or what it does.  Yes, we can give women helpful tools to lower their perception of pain, but we can also give them realistic expectations of how difficult labor is to many women.  I like to tell my clients to expect labor to be difficult, but to also expect themselves to be strong enough to handle it.  This lets them know that perceiving their birth as painful is not them failing at birth, but merely experiencing birth.  It also lets them know that their body and pain threshold will rise to the occasion, and they will be able to cope.


If a woman is strong enough to give birth, she is strong enough to handle the truth regarding birth.


  1. Making their clients hostile towards medical professionals. Something happens when women learn the real risks associated with interventions.  They get mad, and they get afraid that a medical professional will take advantage of them.  However, taking these strong feelings of distrust and defensiveness into the birthing room can bring a lot of unneeded contention into a birth.

It is not only acceptable, but preferable for birth educators to teach their clients that although birthing interventions are grossly overused, that most medical professionals are merely just doing their job- providing the medical care they were trained and hired to provide.

It’s an interesting predicament for both parties.  The nurse is trained to give medical care, and the couple has chosen to birth in a medical setting, yet does not want anything the nurse is accustomed to providing.  Instead the nurse is met with contempt.  I see this frequently, and it serves no one and only makes what should be a peaceful environment one of tension and mistrust.

A truly educated and empowered couple can go into their birth without defensiveness because they trust themselves to discern what is happening during their birth and they have found a care provider they trust.  When they want to decline a procedure or option, they can do so without contention.  If they enter their birth feeling like they need to arm themselves against everyone who will walk into the room, they have chosen the wrong location to give birth in.  (Unless they live in an area where hospital birth is the only option.)

  1. Not preparing women for when they truly need interventions. I loved giving birth to all four of my children naturally. It made me feel strong and competent.  But when I wouldn’t stop bleeding after giving birth to my fourth child, I begged for Pitocin, feeling nothing could be more excrutiating than the uterine “massage” my midwife was giving me; and knowing my options were uterine massage, Pitocin, or hemorrhage.  Yet, I have seen women reject Pitocin after birth because they have been so engrained to decline interventions that they can’t even see that they need one!

We need to teach our clients that our goal isn’t to avoid intervention at all costs.  The appropriate use of interventions is our goal.  Our goal is not to routinely use interventions or routinely deny them.  Our goal is to understand them fully, and use them when they are needed and avoid them when they are not.

I remember supporting a woman over the course of several days who was planning a birth at a birthing center.  After days of intense contractions, very little sleep, and no progress with her labor, the midwife and my client jointly decided it was time to transfer to the hospital.  Yet when we arrived, my client was hostile towards the nurse (see example 2) and refused Pitocin for almost 6 hours. (ex. 3) She truly thought her job was to avoid medical interventions, even though she clearly needed Pitocin as her labor was not progressing and her body was showing signs of exhaustion. After “giving in” and accepting medical support she told me she felt like a failure, and didn’t understand why all of her friends could have an easy birth but she couldn’t. (ex. 1)

Sadly, I knew I had not prepared her for this moment.  I had prepared her for her beautiful, out of hospital birth.  Giving her little information on the possibility of having to transfer, assuming she would understand that transferring meant she needed an intervention the birthing center could not provide.

Childbirth education needs to be inclusive and extensive. In today’s world of options we can’t just focus on the safety of natural birth or the risks of interventions.  True childbirth education isn’t one-sided, but educates on the full spectrum of possibilities and options.  And that means not making your side of the debate seem infallible.

We need to educate honestly so women do not enter their births with unrealistic expectations, feelings of mistrust and hostility, or inability to determine if they need medical support.



Written by Marie Bigelow, MT, AdvCD(DONA).  Author of The Sacred Gift of Childbirth: Making Empowered Choices for You and Your Baby.   Marie lives in Boise, ID with her husband and four children.  She attends births as a doula and teaches childbirth education classes.

How God Makes a Mother

The qualities and attributes of mothers are an innate gift from a loving Heavenly Father.  Women who become mothers by giving birth, through adoption, and women who do not have the opportunity to mother in this life, are all blessed with feminine qualities that contribute to Christ-like love and mothering.

Strengthening and developing the desired characteristics and attributes of mothering takes time, even a lifetime. Qualities like kindness, empathy, love, and patience are given to women in a small, raw form with the expectation from Heavenly Father that we will live our lives in a way that will build up and strengthen our innate abilities.

Life experience, setting and reaching goals, following Christ’s example, and simply growing older and maturing, all contribute to the development of these desired characteristics. But there is also one other way that women change into mothers, and that is through the chemical and hormonal changes their brains undergo during pregnancy and childbirth.  Rarely spoken of and understood by few, Heavenly Father created a physiological chain reaction to ignite a woman’s ability to love, nurture, and protect her children, and help her develop into a loving, strong, patient, and compassionate parent.

I was pretty nervous to become a mother.  Growing up I didn’t have any younger siblings, and was so involved in school and extra-curricular activities that I didn’t babysit much either.  I remember quickly running out of patience during the times that I did babysit, and found myself easily annoyed by the tantrums and childhood antics of the children I was watching.  In my late teen years I discussed this with my mom, and she told me it would be different when I had my own children.  She claimed I would be more patient and enjoy them more.  I found it very hard to believe.


Selflessness and Strength

At just 23 years old, I prepared to give birth to my first child.  The pregnancy was difficult, as most are.  I was finishing up my degree and was always exhausted and sick to my stomach.  I would run out of class just in time to throw up into the nearest trash can.  My baby was literally making me sick day in and day out, and I was happy to bear that burden because it meant that I would have her in my arms someday.  After years of complete selfishness and personal growth, I was willfully putting aside my own comfort for my child.

I was becoming stronger, too, even though I didn’t know it.  The longer I was pregnant, the more estrogen and progesterone my body made, increasing my pain tolerance and preparing me for the upcoming discomforts of labor. (1) Once labor would hit, my body would undergo many more chemical reactions that would help me bond with my daughter, love her intensely, and nurture her with empathy and patience.

Love and Nurturance

During labor and birth, I experienced a closeness to my baby and to my husband that I did not expect.  Now I know those feelings were caused by the same hormone causing my contractions: oxytocin.  Outside of childbirth, oxytocin is the hormone of love and bonding.  Our brains create oxytocin when we have positive interactions with others.  The more positive and consistent those interactions are, the more oxytocin our brain makes.  This not only makes us happy in the moment, but assists in keeping long-term relationships strong.  High and frequent amounts of oxytocin tell our brains how important someone is to us. If our brains were computers, oxytocin would be the code.

During labor, oxytocin tells the uterus to have contractions and the brain to love, protect, and nurture the infant.  Once the child is born, the mother’s brain experiences an oxytocin high, and creates more oxytocin than her brain will create at any other time in her life.  This not only heightens initial bonding, but creates coding in the woman’s brain for a long-term relationship, even though the mother-child relationship is new.  It also teaches us of God’s love for His daughters, His plan for birth to be joyful, and His desire for mothers and children to be intrinsically bonded.

The heightened amounts estrogen from pregnancy also create oxytocin receptors in the mother’s brain, helping her maternal instincts go into overdrive directly after giving birth.  This helps the early days of motherhood feel natural, even for a first-time mom.  It helps a woman bond to her child, which will help her feel rewarded by taking care of her child, instead of resentful.  (2) It also brings out her protective nature, and keeps her alert to anger dangers that may threaten her child.

Brain Power

We often hear women claiming to have “pregnancy brain” or “mommy brain”.  While the fatigue of motherhood can definitely contribute to a woman feeling foggy, the physiological firework session that women experience after giving birth actually increases their brain power.  Neuroscientists have determined that the chemical components of pregnancy and childbirth increase a mother’s long-term memory, motivation, empathy, multitasking abilities and prioritizing skills!  (3)  They also decrease a woman’s fear, giving her the courage to do whatever it takes to keep her family safe.

When we consider the miracle of birth, we are typically only considering the birth of the child.  But the physiological aspect of birth is the birth of a mother.  It is how Heavenly Father helps turn our potential into practice.



  1. “Hormones Driving Labor and Birth,” Childbirth Connection, Apr. 2011.
  2. Linda Folden Palmer, “The Chemistry of Attachment,” Mothering Magazine.
  3. Craig H. Kinsley. “Motherhood and the Hormones of Pregnancy Modify Concentrations of Hippocampal Neuronal Dendritic Spines”.Hormones and Behavior. February 2006. 49,2 :131-142


Written by Marie Bigelow, author of “The Sacred Gift of Childbirth”. If you liked this article, you’ll love the book!

When it Comes to Cesareans, We Need More than Just Awareness

It’s April, meaning my daughter just turned 11, and it’s Cesarean Awareness Month!  As a childbirth educator and doula, my Facebook feed has been exploding with all the current improvements to cesarean births.  Like my colleagues, I applaud these changes as they not only humanize the surgical birth, but also make the birth healthier for both the infant and mother, and more fulfilling for the mother.  But unlike many of my colleagues, I find that these measures fall short of what should really be done to improve cesareans in America.

What’s currently being done?

A new technique called seeding introduces the infant to the healthy bacteria found in the mother’s birth canal.  Babies born vaginally are naturally exposed to this, and their immune systems are strengthened this way.  Cesarean born babies miss out on this natural exposure to healthy bacteria, so women now can ask for their vaginal fluid to be gathered and swabbed around the baby’s face shortly after birth. (1)

There’s also news of care providers now allowing skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant directly after the birth.  This is a great step in humanizing the experience, improving birth satisfaction for the mother, and eliminating unnecessary separation of mother and child.  The benefits of skin-to-skin have been well documented for quite some time, (2) and honestly, it’s ridiculous that it has taken this long to include mother-child interaction in 1/3 of American births.

Some hospitals now are giving women the option of clear drapes so they can view their cesarean.  Though not for the faint of heart, this measure helps include the woman in her own birth.  It can help her feel like she participated in her birth, instead of making her feel like her birth was something that was done to her.  There’s even a new drape with a flap for the doctor to pass the baby through so the mother can have contact with her child.  (3)

I think that women requiring cesareans absolutely should have access to all the improvements listed above, as well as any other reasonable request they may have.  (ie: her choice of music playing, her husband/doula/photographer present)  But these new measures are far from being routine, and parents shouldn’t assume they will be offered all or any of them.  As a country we need to get behind these improvements and encourage them to become routine practice.  But there’s also a lot more we need to do.

Why aren’t these improvements enough?

The measures mentioned above are good ideas to improve certain aspects of the cesarean.  But to the overwhelming majority of American women who receive cesareans, these improvements are a consolation prize.  Why?  Because over half of these women did not medically require a cesarean. (3)

The big issue here isn’t only “how can we make a cesarean a better and safer experience?”  We also need to address the fact that our cesarean rate is triple what it should be, that many doctors feel more comfortable performing a cesarean than they do supporting a difficult vaginal birth, and there are financial incentives that feed into our high cesarean rates.

Our rates are way too high.

The number one reform needed to the cesarean is a lower cesarean rate!  The World Health Organization believes that the cesarean rate should be between 5 and 10%, yet America’s rate is a whopping 33%.  (4) So no matter how family friendly a cesarean is, the truth of the matter is, 70% of women receiving a cesarean don’t even need one! Cesareans have a large list of potential risks, and improving one aspect of the birth will not remove the side effects of having a cesarean that you didn’t need.

Doctors need to feel more comfortable with vaginal births.

With a reasonable cesarean rate, women know they are only getting a cesarean if they truly need one.  In order to lower our rates, American obstetricians need to get more comfortable outside of the operating room.  New doctors to the field report feeling less confident in delivering a baby with forceps or a vacuum as opposed to doing a cesarean. (5) If doctors feel the most competent outside of vaginal birth, then vaginal birth has a very small chance of survival.

Get Rid of Financial Incentives for Doctors

If someone told you they would give you a hefty bonus if you could get the job done in a fraction of the time, would you be tempted?  Studies indicate that doctors sure are, as long labors are the number one reason for cesareans (5), and doctors make more money performing a cesarean than they do supporting a vaginal birth (6).  Hospitals can also pocket thousands of more dollars after the procedure.(6)  (Shouldn’t insurance companies just be outraged over this?!)

The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that labor dystocia (long labor) is not an evidence based reason for needing a cesarean, and that most women will be able to deliver vaginally when given more time to do so.  And since most women desire a vaginal birth, their care providers should be patiently encouraging them, not offering a quick fix with the potential of long-term side effects.

This research suggests that some doctors are performing cesareans out of convenience and financial payoff.  And that puts moms and babies last, when they should be first.  Imagine telling a women, “Hey, don’t feel bad about your unwarranted cesarean that cost twice as much as a vaginal birth and will take a lot longer to recover from, and may even prevent you from having more children.  At least you got the clear drape!”

Getting it Right

What women really want and deserve is the peace of mind in knowing that they are getting the best care available.  Reassured they will be supported through a vaginal birth – even if it’s long and inconvenient.  Confident they will receive a cesarean only when medically necessary,

For many women, cesareans are scary and their recovery can be long and burdensome.  It’s time for the medical world to make some accommodations that improve the experience for women.  All women who truly need a cesarean should be treated with respect and given as many family friendly options as possible.  We need to improve the cesarean without normalizing it, or using improvements as justification for the continued over-use of them.




  4. World Health Organization, The Global Numbers and Costs of Additionally Needed and Unnecessary Cesarean Sections Performed Per Year: Overuse as a Barrier to Universal Coverage, World Health Report (2010) Background Paper, No 30.
  5. ACOG, Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery, Obstetric Care Consensus, March 2014.
  7. Carol Sakala and Maureen P. Corry, Evidence-Based Maternity Care: What It Is and What It Can Achieve (Milbank Memorial Fund, 2008), 44–46.

Is Postpartum Your Sabbath or Your Monday?

Every Monday I put on my supermom cape and head to Costco, (and pray my  year old won’t have to pee until we get home!).  Then while the 3 year old naps in the afternoon, I spend at least an hour chopping and prepping my family’s fruits and veggies for the week.  I do laundry and try to put the house back together after everyone being home for the weekend.  I love “starting my week off right”, and know that the entire week will be better if I tackle Monday and get all my errands and housework done before the week starts to wear me out.

By the time Sunday rolls around, I’m so thankful to have a day where I don’t feel like I should be running around like the maniacal mother I am during the week!  There’s no pressure to run errands or clean the house, and I love that!  I love a day where I don’t have to feel mom-guilt for sitting on the couch and reading a book.  I’ve always wanted to do the “right” thing, and I love that the right thing to do on Sunday is rest.  Having a day of worship and rest is critical, and I find that the older I get, the more I need it.  But our society values work and accomplishment more than anything else, and even though rest is crucial, it is often not seen as a priority.

Several days ago a beautiful meme popped up in my Facebook feed.  It said “Postpartum is a mother’s Sabbath, a time to rest, be thankful, and revel in the glory of new life”.  Isn’t that beautiful?!  I love the powerful analogy it provides.  I have never considered the postpartum period to be Sabbath-like, but I think I will always consider it that way now.  I can’t help but wonder how different the postpartum period would be for mothers if this was how we all viewed it..   Would they give themselves permission to truly rest?  And would others enable them to do so?


For many women, there is pressure to return to daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, taking care of older children, and even returning to the workforce.  We know that many American women are not given paid maternity leave, and their families rely on their income.  Other women want to be “supermom”, and get back to pinterest as soon as possible.  But we also know that not taking time to slow down, recover from birth, and bond with baby leads to higher instances of postpartum depression.

It’s not just moms who need to view the postpartum period as a Sabbath, but spouses, extended family members, friends, employers, and church members need to as well. If outside forces can’t give women permission to rest, then women will never be able to.  We care too much about letting others down.

So what does a Sabbath-like postpartum period look like?  It will look different to everyone, just as the regular Sabbath does.  But there are some things that we can all agree on.

It should provide rest and respite from daily work.  Mothers should not be doing any chores or meal prep during the first couple weeks after giving birth (even longer for some women). Though some will want to, research shows that doing too much too soon leads to a longer recovery period.  It goes against our culture to slow down for more than a day or two, but it is needed and crucial for physical and emotional health.

It should inspire and spiritually uplift.  Since mom should be resting and spending much of her time in bed with her newborn, she can focus solely on bonding with her child and enjoying her special time to do so.  Bonding and resting without daily distractions is a gift that will only last for a short time, and should be treasured by the mother, and encouraged by her support team. But it won’t be treasured if mom is trying to do it all, and is only able to give a part of herself to her newborn.  This is a great time to sing primary songs to your baby, listen to an uplifting podcast, and fill your own spiritual and emotional cup.  Spending a few weeks snuggled up to someone fresh from heaven is bound to inspire and uplift if there are no outside pressures or distractions, and lots of support.

It should be different from other days.  Women should not expect themselves to return home from giving birth and immediately pick up where they left off.  (It’s the Sabbath, not Monday!) The postpartum period should be starkly different from everyday life.

Work should be done beforehand to ensure that the Sabbath can be peaceful and free from tasks.   Essential baby projects should be done before the baby is born.  The last thing a mom needs to be doing is painting the nursery at 5 days postpartum.  If tasks cannot be accomplished before the birth, then parents must agree to not finish them until several weeks or even months after the baby is born.  Dad can certainly take over painting and crib assembly after the birth, but that will take him away from being able to take care of his wife.  The Sabbath is always better when we are prepared for it.  When we are frantically preparing our lessons during sacrament meeting, we aren’t getting the blessings of truly being edified by the meeting.  If mom is stressed and anxious because her life is not in order for her baby to arrive, then she will feel restless during her postpartum period, and miss out on some of the joys of truly being at peace and living in the moment with her newborn.

I love this analogy, and hope that others see the beautiful comparison and incorporate it into their own postpartum experiences, or help the new moms around them experience a Sabbath-like recovery.


Written by Marie Bigelow, MT, AdvCD(DONA


Author of The Sacred Gift of Childbirth

The True Meaning of “Pro-Choice”

Wow, Turns Out I Am “Pro-Choice”!

Today I am outraged.  The kind of rage that builds up slowly over time, until one day you literally feel like your head will explode if you don’t get all your thoughts out of it.  Today I came across this story: Another of the thousands of stories of good women, trying to do what is best for their family, and being treated like criminals.  This particular woman wanted to try to have a vaginal birth after having previous cesareans.  She was not hell-bent on a vaginal birth, just wanted the opportunity to have the chance to try.  Well, the land of the free took that choice away from her, and also threatened to take away all of her children should she attempt a vaginal birth.  This woman was unfairly pushed into a corner, forced to give birth in a way she did not choose, and threatened.  And I can’t tolerate it.

In a country where we are free to choose if our unborn children live or die, why are we not given any governing over how we bring them into the world?!  And why are the safest methods of delivery the ones under attack?  (Well, I have a few guesses, but that’s a whole other blog post.  But my guesses certainly don’t involve anyone having the woman or child’s best interest at heart.)  What does it say about a country when we are fighting more for the right to abort than we are for the right to give birth?  What does that say about how little we value life, children, and women?

It says a lot.  And none of it’s good.

In the USA we sure are pro-choice.  You can choose to not only kill your baby before it’s born, but there’s a plethora of other heinous choices you can make, all of which you won’t be judged for, because hey, it’s your choice!  You are free to treat your spouse horribly.  You can cheat on them, judge them, control them, put them down, and ruin their life in all sorts of safely chosen ways. You can choose to let your kids eat junk food,  watch inappropriate movies all day, or play violent video games, and not have to worry about anyone threatening to take them away.  You really can choose to just be a down-right, rotten person, or parent.  Here in the land of pro-choice, it is just as acceptable to choose being a crappy person as it is to choose to be a good one.

Well, guess what I choose….

I choose Womanhood.  Family.  Safe Childbirth.  Natural Parenting.  (PS: Isn’t my family adorable?)

Chances are, none of these things are as protected as a woman’s right to choose none of them.  And to me, that’s a pile of garbage.  A failure of an entire country.  And certainly, a huge disappointment and heartache to God.

Well, if women in this country can choose to abort their babies, other women can choose to give birth to as many children as they want.  Even if that means they go on welfare, or do something really controversial like breastfeed.  If we protect one end of the spectrum, we have to protect the other.

If women can choose elective cesareans, then any woman should be able to choose a vaginal birth.  Especially since it is extremely well documented that cesarean birth is the most dangerous method of delivery.  (Oh right, we don’t actually care about health outcomes.)

It is also clearly documented that the US has a horrifically high cesarean rate with some of the WORST birth outcomes in the industrialized world.  Research also shows that VBACS are SAFER than repeat cesareans, yet women have to sign a waiver at a hospital to have a VBAC, and there is no waiver explaining that a repeat cesarean is much more dangerous than a VBAC.  I guess hospitals are also pro-choice, as in they get to choose if they share valuable information with you or not.

And since when is a vaginal birth a choice?  I’m pretty sure that’s how it was designed to work…  It really boggles my mind that woman have to fight for the right to choose to use their private parts for their intended purposes.

So along those lines, if women can choose to flaunt their breasts and sport cleavage anywhere and everywhere, then women can also choose to breastfeed anywhere and everywhere.  A culture that claims to be too conservative to handle breastfeeding should also be disgusted by the over-sexualization of women’s breasts that we are constantly bombarded with.

And if some women can choose to sexualize their breasts, then other women can choose to normalize their’s, and nourish and comfort with their breasts, without fear of judgement and cruelty. Same argument for parents who choose to feed their children nothing but junk food.  I’ve never heard of a woman being kicked out of a park for feeding her kids cheetos, but I’ve sure heard of it for breastfeeding.  RIDICULOUS!

There are two sides to every coin, and we have completely forgotten the other side of “pro-choice”.  Giving one person a choice means that everyone should be given choices.

As women, mothers, and daughters of God, we ALL have the right to CHOOSE.  And if one women is fighting for the right to a healthy and normal birth, we all should be fighting; or someday, our daughters may have NO choice when it comes to giving birth.

Choice with birth also implies that women are capable of making the best choice for themselves, and their babies.  And women definitely are capable of this. The medicalization of birth has made women feel like they don’t know how to make the safest choice, and many rely solely on others making their birth decisions for them.  Sadly, American birth outcomes clearly show that these decisions aren’t leading to good outcomes.  With proper education and a prayerful heart, I believe that all women can be inspired to make choices that will ensure safe delivery for their children, whether that be a completely natural birth or one filled with medical interventions.

If “pro-choice” is offered to birthing women, and women are given agency over their birthing experiences, they will be happy no matter what type of birth they have.  They won’t feel backed into a corner.  They won’t be manipulated, threatened, or intimidated.  At the very LEAST, birthing women should be given as much  respect as the women who chooses not to give birth at all.

If you want to learn more about your choices as a birthing woman, order my book today and empower your birth!