We’ve all heard that it takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to raise a new mama. This motherhood thing isn’t exactly the most intuitive or easiest thing in the world, believe it or not. It took me until my third trimester to even step foot into a prenatal yoga class. I wasn’t sure I needed a prenatal yoga class; I had a regular home practice and that was good enough for me. I wasn’t sure how much benefit an actual yoga class, held outside my living room, would be. I also had some reservations stepping into an environment with so many pregnant women after spending many years trying to get pregnant; I wasn’t sure I would be able to relate to my fertile counterparts. I thank my lucky stars I took the leap and stepped into Kari’s prenatal yoga class when I moved to Colorado Springs.
The women I met in prenatal yoga are some of my closest new mama friends now almost a year later. We graduated from prenatal yoga to postpartum yoga and our numbers doubled (in the form of our new babies). I’ve also been able to meet women I didn’t overlap with in prenatal yoga when they graduated into our Mom and Me Yoga class. We’ve been able to talk about everything. And I mean everything from BLW to breastfeeding to sex after birth to sore nipples to everything in between. These are the women who are supportive no matter what topic comes up. When I had trouble breastfeeding my son and used a finger feeder/supplemental nursing system Mom and Me Yoga was the first place in public I used the finger feeder when my son was 6 weeks old. It was my safe place. Now when my son isn’t sleeping (very often), and I’m about ready to rip my hair out and cry at the same time those ladies have my back. Some times all you need to hear is ‘keep on doing it, mama, you’re rocking motherhood.’
Internet support groups and forums are nice, and I believe they have a place in this world. But a hand on your shoulder and a friend with tears in her eyes who really gets it, who empathizes with you so perfectly is a thing of beauty. For me yoga was the place where I connected on so many levels with my wonderfully supportive, open minded, beautiful Mama Tribe. I don’t care how you build your mama tribe, where you find your mama friends, but it is important to go out there and find those women. They need you as much as you need them, even if you don’t know it now.
And to my Mama Tribe: Thank you so much for holding me up, giving me a shoulder to cry on, and a good laugh on this awesome, crazy journey called motherhood. You have no idea how deeply and profoundly you have affected my son and me.
Michelle is mama to a sweet nearly one-year-old boy. She also teaches Baby Led Weaning at Enso.
Why did you start teaching childbirth classes?
Prior to having children, I worked as a Clinical Social Worker. I worked with pregnant women and teenagers, and on the job, I got trained to be a Birth Doula. It was at this training that I learned about the benefits of natural birth, and fell in love with the idea of being with women during pregnancy and birth. After my daughter was born, I resigned from my job so I could be home with her, but I couldn’t stay away from the community of pregnancy, birth, women, and mothers. I became an accredited La Leche League Leader facilitating local support groups on breastfeeding and volunteering on the local phone line. Shortly after this a friend took me to lunch and tried to recruit me on to her Arbonne team. Afterwards I knew I was not going to join her Arbonne team—I just didn’t have the passion for beauty products that she had, but I did have a passion for birth and empowering women. And then it was like a light bulb went off above my head: I could teach childbirth classes! I became a certified childbirth educator in 2007 and have enjoyed every minute of this amazing journey.
What is your favorite part about teaching?
I love everything about teaching because the subject matter is near and dear to my heart. But if I had to pick one thing, I would say that I love watching my students transform into strong, empowered, confident parents. I love hearing their amazing birth stories, seeing the joy and priceless love enter their every cell as they introduce their new baby to me, I love meeting these precious little humans, and I love being able to witness the birth of a new family.
Tell us about your classes.
I teach a six week series of natural birth classes. I pack in A LOT of information in six weeks, but I promise you will learn everything you need to know to have a successful natural birth. I throw in some holistic practices as well, such as herbs for Pregnancy and Lactation, essential oils, and homeopathy. We watch videos, play interactive games, do relaxation exercises, and practice a Labor Rehearsal. I have put together a comprehensive and evidence based curriculum that covers every topic discussed in the class that students get to keep when the class is over. I have students emailing me years later telling me that they used “the binder” to prepare for the birth of their second (or third) baby and that they were so glad they had it.
Tell us a little bit about you.
I married my “college sweetheart” Ryan. He is my biggest supporter and best friend. I am a mom to two lovely little people: my daughter Delilah is 10 and my son Quinn is 8. They are pure joy, love, and happiness, and being their mom is my most favorite job. I have a Masters in Social Work but haven’t worked as a “social worker” since Delilah was born, but from that change came the birth of my new career and the beginning of Birth’s Journey. In addition to teaching childbirth classes, I am a La Leche League Leader providing information, support, and counseling to breastfeeding women. I am also a Certified Lactation Educator and a Certified Postpartum Doula. I love to spend time outdoors with my family hiking , going on bike rides, playing four square, and walking our dog Katie. I love to read, learn new things, and practice yoga.
Laura teaches her six-week natural childbirth education classes on Thursdays at Enso. She also offers a Newborn Care workshop for parents and caregivers interested in learning the basics of caring for a new baby. Learn more about her company Birth's Journey on her website.
This blog is not intended to be a source of medical information or advice. Please discuss all of your concerns with your care provider.