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Why Birth Education?

What is the value of this kind of class? Why sign up? Is it worth the cost? Is it really necessary, I thought instinct guides us on this one?

So here is my two cents and why I am passionate about education and the loving preparation around the birthing of new generations and preparing as new parents.

A birth education class is a space for you to celebrate your becoming a parent. A place to learn about the process of labor and the incredible workings of the body. Learn about the life and science of birth and how to support your labor in a harmonious and efficient way. There are many unknowns and a lot to learn. Learning which questions to ask can make all the difference for you and your baby. Knowing the workings of the birth world and business, the benefits and risks to all the different landscapes and scenarios available in today’s world will help you understand what’s the best fit for your family.
These classes are a place to create community, an essential part to having fun as a new parents, knowing you are not alone on this sometimes overwhelming journey.
And our children deserve their village.

Once a child is conceived and the choice is made that they will join your life, your family, they become a definite influence and will guide you to find what you need, so they can have the kind of birth they want to experience.

So if your mind is reeling with questions about the process, your body, your relationship and how it will be affected with this new persons arrival? How your spirit and work life will respond and how it will all mix and find their space in this new realm, then join a birth education class.
It’s about setting yourself up for success and filling your backpack with tools for when there is something in need of fixing or when a challenge becomes overwhelming.

How do you find the right class for you? Listen to your heart and follow what feels light and filled with love to guide you to the right class for you.
Listen in the same way to your heart and knowing to find the right care provider for you and your child, it matters where you give birth and who you allow in the room.

Saying yes to being a great, present, joyful parent and human being that can see the beauty of this adventure and life takes a conscious effort. To bring our children into this world with love and joy should be our prerogative. Should be our mission. It does not only give our children the opportunity to follow their path confidently with love but also allows us to really see ourselves, this is one of the big gifts of becoming a parent.
Are we afraid of it at times? Yes!
Do we want to look away and ignore the challenge? Yes.
Can we ignore and turn away? No.
So let’s start our journey by becoming conscious of our impact, our fears and our joys before they move into our lives permanently forever;)

Someone said it: “Allow fear to only stay present in the back seat, gagged and strapped in.”

Our children should be received with love, surrounded with joy and welcomed into the beauty of this world.

Be confident that you are not sick when you are pregnant, you have the opportunity to experience yourself in the healthiest state ever.  It’s exciting!

Knowledge is always power and a woman empowered is incredible and necessary!



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Waiting for the flowers to bloom

sussiesSharing a special moment with my baby girl and I find myself wishing someone was watching, capturing the moment to hold forever and be witnessed. She is quietly breastfeeding, looking at me with her big brown eyes, they suddenly squint and she is smiling at me, the corner of her mouth turning up, but mostly her eyes are smiling at me, she lets go, hugs me and rolls over to take her nap, …sigh…. Then I remember a truly tough and heart breaking horrible moment I hope no one ever see or witness, being the mother I never want to be. I felt so alone in the moment another part of me wishes someone did see the horror.

Frankly no job is all sunshine and roses, right? We all just envy each other’s roses when our own garden is going through a rough patch or our blooming season has yet to begin, and we have no flowers to show, yet.

Then I had an interesting conversation about jealousy with my eldest and it made me aware of my own feelings of envy and how easy it can be to let it overrun the beauty we can experience as the witness of someone else’s flowers. I related how my heart would start to beat really fast, my body gets hot, and I just want to lash out. As an adult I guess I have learnt how to, in that moment, turn it on myself rather than inflict pain on another, but as I am relating with my 4 year old I realize how bad this is too. We talk about how with finding our calm breath and just appreciating the coolness or beauty we are jealous of, we might learn something and even just enjoy it, relinquishing the need to lash out.

Ha… I was having more of a talk with myself, and who knows how much made sense to this honest, very sensitive girl of mine, probably a lot more than I give her credit for.

I re-evaluated my own process and this was good. Appreciating my own journey and enjoying being able to witness others, through pinterest and facebook and all that, not comparing or trying to catch up or even want others lives.

This garden of mine sometimes overcome with weeds and sometimes barren and dry, also harvest incredible flowers unlike any others, in its own time.

I am grateful and in awe of my two guides, my two girls, that show me my heart and capacity daily.

with love and light

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Cindy Silverlock one of my teachers in the wonderful practice of Metamorphosis, shares the words below. This simple yet profound practice has brought refreshing and unique perspective to my life when I most needed it.

A practice that has served me and my family and community. I am thankful and want to share.

“Metamorphosis offers a unique perspective on viewing the dynamic of life. What I find most beneficial is that it makes it all very simple.

We have been looking at the small picture (symptoms) and when we step back a little further – we can see the underlying bigger picture.

The dance of consciousness and matter are affected by the degree of tension that enters in with each of us at conception. Those with more tension have more distance between thought and action… meaning life doesn’t flow as easily. Tension is in the way.

This tension is unconscious and expresses itself compulsively – which explains why we all have ‘issues’ we can’t seem to make sense of – or can’t see to get past them.

The picture is simple – the greater the underlying tension the more symptoms one experiences. This includes physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – creating the drama, chaos and dis-ease we all experience in varying degrees.

Metamorphosis addresses the underlying tension – versus the symptomatic expression. Because the bigger picture isn’t something we can intellectualize – we simply use touch with intent to ease deep layers of tension. I like to call this allowing versus doing – we are so used to ‘doing’ too much! Letting go isn’t a doing activity!

As this tension eases, you find that life gets more enjoyable. Your relationships improve, your ‘issues’ ease and you are able to be the person you want to be…”

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Finding some clarity

I was reading stories to my two girls the other night, the first night they went to bed at the same time with the same stories!
Lara on the breast and Charlotte cuddling close and loving the top of her sisters head. My heart nearly exploded out of my chest. I was so taken by this moment and the closeness and the love.

I look at them and realize how much they magnify each other. They are so very different yet both strong and crazy, so very unique.

I also become aware in these moments how they highlight me to myself:) This sounds funny when I say it out loud, but its the truest way I can say it. The challenge of being a parent, the mother of two girls has made me excruciatingly self aware. I love being their mother and being the intimate witness of them. I have learnt in the past almost 5 years how to take better care of myself and I have learnt to be more authentically vulnerable, because they really are and the daily forgiveness of each other is incredible. Learning how to discipline and set boundaries as parents and as people who want careers but also be active participants as parents feels crazy and calls for a lot of clarity and organization. [my abstract and big picture mind has a very hard time with this.] Every day we take baby steps and celebrate the moments. Learning how to carve space for my own expression and recognizing that I might not always be understood and even be rejected a lot of the times is big for me. Learning in the past few months, or at least admitting to myself that one of my biggest fears are, rejection. Learning to sit with this and still practice to be me, authentically. Learning to practice this, means I recognize that I am worth it. A legacy I want to make sure to pass on to these two powerhouse girls now quietly sharing a room and playing in their magic garden like two fairies.

I feel blessed and challenged and its all good.


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And then there was lavender. I fell pregnant with my Lara and the strong essence of lavender surrounded me. Every time I became fearful or anxious, doubtful or just overwhelmed, I would close my eyes and only lavender and white light came to mind. I know this sounds a little out there, but it’s what happened intuitively when I took a breath and tried to calm myself.

I know some might wonder why I’m suddenly posting about essential oils? I am now a believer and have finally jumped on the band wagon as a manner of speaking, that’s all. I have been coaxed about essential oils for the past two years, being part of the doula community and being a mother of two little ones. I have always loved natural remedies and like to try many and all things homeopathic and herbal before I succumb to western medicine. Only because its how I grew up and it’s how my blood flows:)

I have loved the aroma of oils like lavender, eucalyptus and definitely have used and loved tea tree oil, without realizing it is an essential oil. umm duh!

After Lara’s birth I was told different remedies for her rashes and thrush and little colds her big sister brought home. But none of the “100%” pure oils from the store really had the desired affect, it helped a little but it wasn’t significant and I didn’t have a real education about how or why these would work.

I had some significant people talk to me about DoTerra and Young Living Essential oils and still I was not ready to be convinced about it all. Then after my mother in law also handed me a flier she received from someone, I really started reading and researching, feeling tickled and a little more excited each time I read or spoke to someone. I then experienced the diffuser first hand at a Birth Art client’s home and was more intrigued than ever after she shared some stories about how she uses the oils. So when my beloved neighbor Sarah came to me with her interest in the oils, I was ready to try it for real. No more beating around the bush. I joined her when she met with her friend who was distributing to learn more. When I entered her home I new I was ordering there and then, her home smelled amazing and even though there were more than 4 kids all over the house, it seemed calm and tranquil and my whole body relaxed. I did a zyto scan  with her and it was fascinating. I purchased my premier starter kit right there and couldn’t contain my excitement. There is so many wonderful oils and blends for so many little irritations and discomforts we deal with daily, and I love it for the kids.

Back to lavender. Since it’s the one oil I have used a lot other than tea tree, for Lara especially, I could really compare. I have been trying to get rid of some toenail fungus, my ‘barefoot-fairy-child’ Charlotte dealt with for more than a week, using “100%” pure lavender from the store, (now I’ve learned, it’s not for sure 100% pure and definitely not therapeutic). When I put a couple drops of lavender from the Young Living samples I was given on her toe, the fungus was all gone the next day. I was hooked and was very surprised at how different the two lavenders smelled from one another.

Then it was thanks giving and the holidays hit us hard and fast. Ryan got very ill and had no time to slow down and deal with it. My good friend brought over her diffuser and thieves, since mine was still on its way. Thieves is an amazing blend of oils that works as an immune booster and bacteria killer. I could not believe that Ryan could keep going and none of us got sick. When Charlotte came home with a little cough, Lara would normally get sick and a nightmare week would proceed, but touch-wood, with all this crazy weather and holiday fun, my now one year old is still healthy as a horse. I have been diffusing thieves daily and am so grateful to have it, I am only sorry that I didn’t give in to the oil craze sooner, could’ve probably saved Lara a lot of discomfort.


So there is the back ground about my new love affair with the flower essences and their healing powers. 

I look forward to sharing as I go along on the journey, since there is so much to learn. I also want to note that these therapeutic essential oils are no joke and there are seriously a lot to learn in order to not abuse it. It’s still medicine even though it smells so good.  Researching each oil and how to use it is essential, because they are very powerful, don’t use an oil without some good knowledge about its qualities and uses and affects.

I am a very happy with my Young Living oils and you would grin if you saw my selection of oils and smell my house. And don’t get me started on my kids and there cuteness.

ps: Lavender is also known as the swiss army knife of essential oils. If you have one oil in your home, I would make sure this is the one. (Make sure its truly “pure” though).

I wish you could see my one year old smell it and then look at me with the biggest smile.


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Babies in Bloom Birth and Wellness Center

bib_birthwellgrand_0223 Here is a good-news story, Babies in Bloom boutique moved and expanded. They moved just around the corner from their old location to 1948 Via Centre in Creekview Medical Park.

Now known as Babies in Bloom Birth and Wellness Center and boutique its located near nature walks and with its peaceful ambiance, this is a wondrous location for learning, labor and birthing.

It was so exciting to walk into the once smaller boutique and find a calm warm welcoming space where not only could I find great toys and unique clothing for my baby but also take a class to learn about cloth diapering, baby wearing and yoga for me and baby. And if I did not have my baby already I would have my baby, with the midwife of my choice by my side, in their beautiful birthing suites.

A big part of the community has been waiting in anticipation for another birthing place option to materialize in North County San Diego. This is a long time dream of Rochelle McLean and her family, one that she has graciously and with great determination made a reality to the delight of her community and many new mothers.bib_birthwellgrand_0038

Rochelle is also a renowned lactation specialist and support many mothers during the sometimes troublesome breastfeeding learning curve of motherhood.

What started as a request by a midwife friend became a real place of birth and business for new parents in North County San Diego. The very first birth center in North County and to quote Rochelle; ”Our hope is that one day there will be as many birth centers as needed for all of the women to have the choice to deliver where, how and with whom they desire.”.

The grand opening was July 12th and the community showed their excitement and support with crowds piling out the door. The line for the register was circling the store and gave all the new and seasoned mamas a chance to connect and share tips and support with each other.bib_birthwellgrand_0008

Some favorite local companies, like BabyHawk, Tula, Orbit Baby, Honest, Earth Mama Angel Baby, and JuJuBe were presenting and demoing their products. Clean Bee Baby were there all day to clean car seats and strollers. They were giving away a amazing free samples and prizes – including a complete Orbit travel system, stroller and car seat (worth over $1200!)

The store and center was filled with a buzz all day. Many tours of the new birth center was taken and even some tears of joy were shared by those that have already made memories there.bib_birthwellgrand_0034

Two beautiful births have happened in the luxurious rooms of Babies in Bloom Birth and Wellness center. With an amazing team both mothers and babies thrived.

I am so happy for all of us as parents and mothers to have a meeting place of this nature on our doorstep, filled with so many resources. Having community and a safe place to gather when the going gets tough on this parenting journey is essential in my point of view.

All photos taken by the very talented Birth photographer with a doula heart, Catie Stephens with VueFinder photography.

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knee deep in postpartum….

just loving how motherhood is kicking my ass.

I sit with both babies asleep. Its too hot for April but I’m enjoying the quiet, finding a moment to contemplate my fate and journey and choices. I am so grateful and in awe of my life, yet have never been so challenged or lost. Then I stumble across this amazing piece written by Alanis Morissette. She puts words in an order and phrases the experience in a way that makes my soul sing, its like hearing a song that just matches your mood and so makes you feel a little better.

A Postpartum thought by Alanis Morissette FOUND IT AT by Ana Paula

A beautiful take on postpartum by BINI client Alanis Morissette

No one told me about post partum

by Alanis Morissette

And when they’d attempted to, these forthcoming women shared semi-hazy and sweet greatest-hit-recollections of their experiences. they made the after-the-baby-is-born era sound somewhat idyllic, if they remembered it at all. So, as I was wont to do, I put their stories together, composite-style, into a fantasy that included gazing lovingly into my lil bird’s tiny face, bursting into tears at the sheer mystery and miracle of it all, buoyed by and cradled in clouds surrounded by cherub angels gushing about how ‘his lips were his father’s and his deep contemplative gaze, mine.’ Nice.

Not the first time there were other parts, beyond the fantasy, that I hadn’t considered.

I had used, as usual, the ‘I’ll-rise-to-that-occasion-when-I-get-there’ approach to the post-child-bearing journey, so all my DVD watching, orientation and juice went toward the birth experience itself, and how best to prepare myself for that (as though I really could prepare for a human. being. coming. out. of. my. body.).

Perhaps there was a method to my huge oversight. A necessary judiciousness exercised for the sake of not exploding in overwhelm during the big lead-up to this new role of mom-hood. (“if we give this to her piece-meal, she just might get there intact!” or…not. :)

So I found myself lying there, stunned, humbled, overcome, reduced…the final push serving as a portal that hurtled me, irrevocably into this new sacred, uncharted, role that I had yet to wrap my oxytocin-riddled brain around.

I quickly came to see that life, hormones and the stunning wrecking ball that is a new family member don’t really wait for mom to wrap her head around much before they serve the New Mind-boggling Circumstance up. Biological and spiritual imperatives have their way of bowling over first, and asking questions later, if they ever circle back to ask ‘em.

There were no kid gloves here, pardon the pun. I had to buck up. Something Greater Than Me had to take over. My go-to survival strategy of headiness combined with tomboyish physicality was not going to serve me in this new post partum terrain, because, well, these qualities had been kidnapped by my hormones. I was in the perineum-pain’d and hormonally swamp-y trenches with an instant family, a blank slate. No handbook. no helmet. have mercy.

Not the first time I was invited to get out of my head and into the direct experience of something. But oh man, I am a kicker and a screamer and my strategies do not go down without a fight, however futile that fight might be. Only took me 9 months to see that fighting for some semblance of familiarity I had come to find in my “old life” was indeed that: futile. (note: the fighting did not give credence to the idea that this new life was infinitely better! My single days had run its’ course! Here I was, being offered a life I had always dreamed of! A plan I could not have come up with without a divine partner and baby intervention! )

And so continued my ongoing journey of surrender, this time at warp speed, in the form of a tiny lil baby bird who required that I look alive, even if I didn’t feel it.

A most noble demand made of me. I had to abort this single-life-self-care plan that had only recently begun to take root. A demand that required my spiritual bootstraps to be pulled up even when I didn’t know my own name, let alone that I was wearing boots.

As the days went on, I could see that the less I fought what just WAS, the more I could breathe. This was no small task for my ego: This ruthless perfect storm of first-year-of-marriage, alpha career woman balancing attachment parenting approach, hormonal mayhem, friendship compatibilities waning and wavering, priorities fighting, workaholism recovering, schedule obliterating, sleep depriving, depression slippery-slope-off-staving, stranger in my body-ness (I could write for days on nursing alone!), boundary setting, and among many others, geographical and philosophical and lifestyle quandaries abounding. This was no small feat begged by these new small feet.

I remain baffled at how little I was prepared for what was to come, after birth. It was all I could do not to cry out for the kind of mothering that I was intending to offer my lil one. Someone who could swoop in and just DO THIS FOR ME, while I trembled in the corner. (I remember crying out on a walk up the street, startling a dog.)

But no, this was my call to rise to. My wave to surf. and There was no doula alive that could have reached in and taught me what I have learned through experience. There was no midwife who could show me how to grow up, warp-speed from complicated contemplative maiden to accountable and predictable matriarch. These things required months of growth and calibrating! And here I naively thought that I would arrive as a MOM at the same time as my lil boy arrived as a SON. The latter waaay preceded the former. But necessity precedes form sometimes.

My humility and reduction-to-knees found me wanting to kiss the feet of all mothers who had gone before me. I would never be so blithe and casual around the topic of motherhood again! (So sorry mom.) Since last december, I’ve borne holes through to the soul of any new mother that will indulge it, with a look that says: “wow. yes. omigod.uh-huh.yup.”

All this to say that I now look at mommas, whether their birth happened at home, hospital, field, tub, taxi cab…anywhere, with or without epidural, exactly or couldn’t-be-farther-from-their ideal picture of birth, and I bow.

Life, literally and figuratively moved through me that morning of December 25th. Yet another example of life’s unsentimental and ruthless way of shaking me awake to the direct experience of being human. My suffering commensurate to my desire to hold on and control something stunningly out of my control. See I thought post partum would be all about the birth of my baby. I had no idea the person I’d always dreamed of becoming was being born at the exact same time.


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