So, you wanna have a painless childbirth?

It IS possible. I did it, I’ve met other women who have done it, and you can do it too! What makes a painless birth possible? Total lack of fear & deep trust in your body & self is the basic premise, getting to that state is the part that takes some deep work.

The essential elements of a painless birth (for me, anyway):

  1. Following the process outlined in the book Painless Childbirth
  2. Practicing self-hypnosis (I used Hypnobabies, but there are several programs out there)
  3. Being loved & supported, especially by my women friends
  4. A cooperative & well positioned baby

Today I had the opportunity to interview Giuditta Tournetta, author of Painless Childbirth (you can listen to that interview here) for an entire hour and we scratched the surface on the teachings that she will be bringing to Central Florida in September when she does a three day workshop for expectant parents & birth professionals. (For details on the workshop, please click here & tell your friends about it!) I’m stoked to be able to attend this with my gal Amber, who is due in early October.

The wisdom Giuditta has gathered through her years of doula work (and her own painless birth years ago) is of tremendous value to bringing the sacred back into birthing.  She correlates each stage of development in the womb with a chakra & basic human right. Her insights are illuminating, healing, unique and very accessible to those who desire a more conscious birth experience.

I hope to see lots of you at the workshop so we can bring this wisdom into our birthing practices in Central Florida. If you register before 9/20, you will get $50 off.

Birth as a Heroine’s Journey | Joy in Birthing

It was Joseph Campbell who, in the 1940’s, first brought to the public’s attention the Mythic and Archetypal principles embedded in the structure of stories. In his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces,” Campbell identified the underlying patterns in myths, stories, and spiritual traditions. In so doing, Campbell created a standardized language that made it possible to uncover and communicate the underlying archetypal structure of these narrative traditions.

This journey has crucial links to Cosmic Law – the Laws that govern all of creation — natural, human, and divine. The same keys that govern the Universe and are present in all things including myth, and the structure of birth.

Read the Journey here:  Birth as a Heroine’s Journey | Joy in Birthing.

So it begins…

Last Tuesday I got my first confirmation that my birth journey has officially begun. My midwife declared me 1-2 cm dilated and noted the baby was riding low, good indications I would deliver sooner rather than later. I could walk around for a couple of weeks like this, or bust into active labor at any moment.

Instead of nervous, I feel excitement welling within, and I’ve been hustling between naps to finish all the things on my to-do list. Which has happily dwindled down to the bonus section of “would-be-nice” but “not required.”

Now that I’ve arrived at the last bit of pregnancy, I’ve officially declared it a huge success & have been reflecting on what a complaint free condition this has been. I deeply believe this has everything to do with the modest but monumental practices of care that I have assimilated into my pregnancy routine.

Here are the key aspects to my pregnancy routine that have contributed to a smooth pregnancy:

Practices That Made It Easy

Midwifery Care – Each appointment is a full hour, where I can build a trusting relationship with my midwife, Kelli Johnson. She answers my questions & allows me to share my feelings without judgment while performing all the necessary medical tests & procedures. I can call her anytime of the day or night & she’s part of a large network of families that recycle their baby gear, so I’ve come home with several boxes of baby clothing from her.

Reiki – Reiki is a technique for stress reduction & relaxation that also promotes healing. I made sure to get this energy treatment weekly to help clear my body of imbalances physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually which enabled me to handle my fluctuating hormones, connect with my baby, sit more comfortably in my body and work through life’s everyday stress with ease & grace. Private sessions with Amber Melendy at Shine On Yoga

Network Spinal Analysis – Gentle spinal adjustments combined with unique breathing techniques to reconnect me with parts of my body that shift throughout pregnancy. My pelvis and lower back loved me after each session. As Dr. D’Anna always says, you have to “Find it to fix it!” This weekly treatment prevented the aches and pains that most pregnant ladies complain about.

Hypno Birthing Meditations – When my older sister had her last child, I was blessed to be her birthing partner and took a series of classes with her on Hypno-Birthing. Then I witnessed her painless “labor” where she went within and focused so intently, it looked like she was sleeping while her cervix dilated to 10cm. It was impressive & empowering. My friend Sune handed down her Hypnobabies Home Course, which I have been listening to practically every night before bed. There are classes you can take in town – check the Central Florida Birth Network for info.

In these sessions, I am taught to surround myself with only positive people and messages, to create a positive view of childbirth and the expectation that my birthing with be a beautiful, peaceful experience. There are sessions dedicated to eliminating fear, labor’s worst enemy. Fear and anxiety can create adrenaline production in the body, causing labor to become dysfunctional, a common reason for Cesarean Section surgery.

Essentials I Couldn’t Go Without

Organic Healthy Food – Thank goddess I own Dandelion Communitea Cafe. I am able to eat delicious organic food, homemade with love by people who care for me anytime of the day or night. Since I run the place, I know the ingredients all meet my high standards and are SO good for me & my baby.

Community – An expectant mother needs additional support to lift things up around the house and listen when you start to feel a little blue. As a single mom, I had to patiently navigate some of the heavy lifting aspects, but my community of sisters & brothers really pulled through for me, helping me move, mow my lawn, cook me food, keep me company & support me endlessly, all while telling me how beautiful I am the whole time. Good people!

Coconut – Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil for my body (no stretch marks!), coconut water to keep me hydrated & energized (no leg cramps!) and organic coconut milk to keep me in healthy fats.

Painless ChildbirthThis book & accompanying workbook guided me through my pregnancy, and helped me work through issues that needed healing from childhood and personal relationships. My number one recommended reading!

Pregnancy Vitamin Tea – grown, harvested & prepared by my midwife Kelli Johnson, along with a variety of homemade and amazing herbal remedies.

Audubon Park Community Market – My weekly ritual for the week’s essentials: a fresh batch of local eggs from happy hens, a locally grown vegan meal from the ROOTS booth, fresh squeezed juice, some of Ginger’s salsa and garden veggies. It’s also a time to catch up with friends while a local musician croons in the background and people monitor the progress of my growing belly.

By learning and practicing hypnosis, you are able to enter into self-hypnosis instantly, and create your own natural anesthesia whenever and wherever you need it. This is important as any drugs taken by a laboring woman can be dangerous for her, and especially her baby. Using Hypnobabies, you are in control over your body and emotions, and are an active participant in your birth process. You are always aware of everything around you, and as labor progresses, you’ll go deeper inside yourself, trusting in your body’s natural ability to give birth with ease and comfort. Your mind is trained and programmed to give you exactly what you need as you give birth to your baby.

Too good to be true?

Can women give birth without experiencing pain? They can, and there are many variables in labor and birth that can affect the outcome! Couples need to have a positive but realistic view of hypnosis for childbirth. Each pregnant woman and her partner must take responsibility for the choices they make while in labor and how they can affect the dynamics and outcome. Many a wonderful birth has been thwarted by not realizing how to make positive, informed choices and yet these issues are easily addressed and learned in a good consumer oriented childbirth hypnosis class such as Hypnobabies.

Without a doubt, all of our Hypno-Moms are much calmer and more relaxed during labor, which automatically creates more comfort, as well as having *powerful* post-hypnotic suggestions to actually eliminate pain and fear. How effective is this? Statistics vary depending on the goals of each Hypnobabies mother, as well as the dedication and compliance to the program. Our Hypnobabies Instructors all have backgrounds in both hypnotherapy and childbirth education and are able to address each woman’s personal needs to help her achieve her goals for childbirth.

Statistics: The following are statistics for Hypnobabies only: (our very successful 6 week course, 18 total hours of instruction)

1) Pain-free births – 70-75%.

Women who report that they felt mostly pressure, tightening or mild cramping sensations.

2) Pain-free until transition – 15%.

Pressure only, until the 10-60 minute transitional period, with mild to intense degrees of sensation thereafter. “Very manageable.”

3) Pain-free until active labor – 10%,

with mild to intense degrees of sensation thereafter This group can have any number of things that affect their birth experiences; prodromal labor, posterior or asynclitic presentations that do not resolve, other labor complications, emotional issues, lack of support, or they simply did not do their homework! (45 minutes a day) Hypnosis for childbirth won’t help a mother or a couple that is not willing to do the work involved in preparing for their baby’s birth.

All women reported that the Relaxation and Fear Clearing in Hypnobabies were invaluable to them during their labors.

Benefits of using hypnosis for childbirth:

* Fewer drugs or no drugs at all – less risk of side effects on mother and baby.

* Shorter labors – resistance of the birthing muscles as a response to pain is minimized or eliminated.

* An awake, energized mother, due to total relaxation throughout the birthing process.

* A calm, peaceful birthing environment. A comfortable natural birthing also allows for a joyful, rested mother and a calm baby post-partum.

* Breech and posterior babies can be turned using hypnosis.

* Fewer interventions and complications during labor.

* Babies who are better sleepers and nursers due to fewer drugs in their systems.

It is well worth the time to look into hypnosis for childbirth as an option, both for yourself and for your baby. Natural Childbirth without intense discomfort has many benefits to mom and baby, and the deep relaxation has even helped many a nervous dad to enjoy pregnancy and childbirth, since they experience hypnosis in Hypnobabies class as well! In addition, the skills you will learn for relaxation and hypnosis will benefit you for the rest of your life.

Kerry Tuschhoff, HCHI, CHt, CI is a Certified Hypnotherapist, Hypnosis Instructor, Childbirth Educator, Hypno-Doula and Founder/Director of Hypnobabies Network in Cypress, CA.

She teaches Hypnobabies Childbirth classes, Hypnobabies Instructor Training Courses, Hypno-Doula Workshops, Pregnancy Nutrition and Breastfeeding workshops, Birth Hypnosis Specialty Courses and gives seminars in her community on natural pregnancy and childbirth options.

Kerry also created the Hypnobabies Home Study Course for women who need self-study options for hypnotic childbirth, and is the author of Hypnobabies, Eyes Open Childbirth Hypnosis, The Introduction to Childbirth Hypnosis Workbook for Professionals, and The Hypno-Doula Training Workbook.

The foremost expert in Hypnosis for Childbirth, she is also the “Ask the Doula” Expert on www.Pregnancy.Org and an international conference speaker and lecturer.

Kerry can be reached at: (714) 952-BABY (2229).



Blessing Way

I bet you wish you were me!

I bet you wish you were me!

It’s official: I’m blessed. This weekend I was the honored receipient of  preparatory ritual for motherhood surrounded by ten powerful and beautiful women in a gathering called a Blessing Way. What the heck is that, you ask? It’s the precursor of today’s modern baby shower, a ceremonial event to mark the passage to motherhood with spiritual gifts and insights shared with mama-to-be (lucky me!) in an intentional and concious way.

Mine was held at Shine On Yoga, the beautiful studio my birth partner Amber Melendy owns, and was nothing short of the best evening of my life. Each blessing way is tailored to the individual, and as this is the first one I’ve ever attended, I can only describe it as an enchanted, magical and empowering event. View all the photos here.

Blessings by Jordana Meade

Blessings by Jordana Meade

It started with a whisper walk – eyes closed, I was guided down a rose petal path as sweet somethings were whispered into my ear by each woman which took me back to my childhood of girlish giggling. Then, the ladies guided and followed me down a spiral labyrinth where they performed an Angel Wash, cleansing my aura and sending me love. It was the perfect beginning to a powerful evening!

Supported by My Sisters

Supported by My Sisters

Next, I sat in the place of honor where I was showered with spiritual gifts for my birth alter and words of humor, encouragement and love.  Then, I was the elated recipient of a foot bath, massage & belly henna by everyone at once – I had no problem receiving this gift from such beautiful women! We then tied a red string around each of our wrists to be worn until I begin breastfeeding to signify the support our sisterhood would bring me during this transition into motherhood. We finally feasted on some of the most delicious food I’ve had in awhile!

Birth Alter

Birth Alter

It was a most awe-some experience and I am still resonating from the empowering energy we all created. Leading up to this event, I noticed that my chatter about the impending arrival of my little sprout had veered into a somewhat nervous energy. Afterwards, I’ve shifted that energy. I was holding off on certain things to trick the universe to delay the onset of labor, but tonight I put the bottle of celebratory champagne in the fridge, made some mama tea ice cubes, and created my birth alter, with all sacred gifts bestowed on me and sat in gratitude, preparing for the most transformative event in my life.

Artemis, Goddess of Fertility & Childbirth

So another interesting sign/symbol. I had someone on my show yesterday who communicates with angels, and while I did not get any deep messages directly through her, she did mention that angels communicate through number sequences. When I got into my car, the time was 2:22 and I kinda laughed and rolled my eyes like, “ok angels, I hear you!”  Later in the day, I unexpectedly stopped into Spiral Circle Bookstore (sometimes when I am in need of good karma I go in there and buy something) and upon checkout Beverely exclaimed the angels had a message for me since I had 22 in my total. Hmmm. So I pull an angel card which basically said Artemis was watching over me and my family and not to worry. I just looked up Artemis and lo and behold…

The daughter of Leto and Zeus, and the twin of Apollo. Artemis is the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals, and fertility (she became a goddess of fertility and childbirth mainly in cities). She was often depicted with the crescent of the moon above her forehead and was sometimes identified with Selene (goddess of the moon). Artemis was one of the Olympians and a virgin goddess. Her main vocation was to roam mountain forests and uncultivated land with her nymphs in attendance hunting for lions, panthers, hinds and stags. Contradictory to the later, she helped in protecting and seeing to their well-being, also their safety and reproduction. She was armed with a bow and arrows which were made by Hephaestus and the Cyclopes.

In one legend, Artemis was born one day before her brother Apollo. Her mother gave birth to her on the island of Ortygia, then, almost immediately after her birth, she helped her mother to cross the straits over to Delos, where she then delivered Apollo. This was the beginning of her role as guardian of young children and patron of women in childbirth. Being a goddess of contradictions, she was the protectress of women in labor, but it was said that the arrows of Artemis brought them sudden death while giving birth. As was her brother, Apollo, Artemis was a divinity of healing, but also brought and spread diseases such as leprosy, rabies and even gout.

via Artemis.

A concidence? An angelic message direct from the heavens? A bit of tom-foolery? Oh yes, the world is a funny funny place!

Happy Mother’s Day

It’s interesting how this holiday took on signifcance so unassumingly. Normally, I don’t really buy into the whole idea of Hallmark Holiday’s, but as the day hung hot in the air, I realized that my normal Sunday spent alone was not going to be just-fine with my hormones raging. I wasn’t looking for attention, but more like a distraction.The afternoon watching a friend fix his septic tank was more appealing than just-me time, as worries about being a single-mom began to rise to the surface. Ug.

Aside from the thoughtful and numerous HMD texts I received today, I did get one particular email from a friend who is expecting any second now. He sent me a link to a description of Lotus Birthing, the practice of leaving the placenta attached until it naturally separates. I have never heard of this, but apparently it is common practice amongst primates, Australians and the Balinese. I am interested to see what this couple experiences using this technique & will report back after we find out. All things unusual brought to you via this blog-a-ma-thingy.