I’m a big time planner and one of my specialties is over-preparing for any and everything I do… including having a baby. In fact, one of my closest mom friends (who I met at an 8-week birth class) often remarks in impressed disbelief about the fact that I booked my doula before I was even 4 months pregnant. Yep – I don’t mess around!
Luck in My Journey to Motherhood
Despite my hyper-organized approach to life, I’m acutely aware of how much luck was involved in my journey to motherhood. I lucked out that a best friend encouraged me to watch Ricky Lake’s documentary, “The Business of Being Born,” many years before I even knew whether I’d ever have children. My personal takeaways from this film were: “Natural birth is right for me. To achieve this, get a midwife and a doula. If home birth isn’t an option, find a birthing center.” Luck was also on my side when my incredible midwives (pictured above) took my insurance – my main requirement at the time. I later discovered that they, along with my equally incredible doula, had some of the best birth outcomes in the city. Fortune smiled on me once again when I essentially had a perfect pregnancy. This helped me to beat the odds and make it into the only hospital-based birthing center in New York City while its doors were still open (The Mount Sinai West Birthing Center sadly closes in January 2019).
But where I was luckiest of all, is that – quite by accident – throughout my entire pregnancy and insane labor, I was surrounded by the most supportive, nurturing, and attentive caregivers I could have ever asked for. This meant that even when I failed to dilate beyond 8 centimeters after 12 hours of active labor, got an epidural, and ended up with an emergency c-section – essentially the exact opposite of my detailed birth plan – I felt no remorse, no shame, and – most importantly – no disempowerment.
Empowerment, Trust & Presence
This last part – no disempowerment – was key. As I saw each of my carefully laid out birth plan wishes fall away, I was able to confidently trust the incredible team of women who ushered me through this wild journey. Never once did I doubt that they did everything possible to honor my birth wishes. Due to the high level of personalized care I received, I never experienced “c-section guilt” – something I didn’t even know was a thing until I started talking to other new mothers. It meant that once the birth was over, I was able to wholly focus on my newborn son and be fully present for him – with pure love, awe, and wonder – without the negative emotions that cloud many a new mom’s experience. I’m absolutely certain that starting my journey into motherhood in such a supported, positive way made all the difference in the type of mother I have become.
Being able to experience such presence during the sacred postpartum period is also what allowed me to give birth to my passion project – The Baby Mini Doc Project. I was able to do this during a time that is often fraught with insecurity and overwhelm for new mothers. I’m by no means perfect – I’ve had my fair share of new mom anxiety – but the empowerment that started with my phenomenal birth experience remains with me almost three years later. When I start to doubt myself, it reminds me of my strength. When I start to feel overwhelmed, it reminds me that I am not alone. And it makes me feel oh… so… incredibly… lucky.
Healthy Mamas Help Grow Healthy Societies
I am raising funds for midwifery care in New York City because all expectant women – no matter how, where, or with whom they decide to birth – deserve the option of a birth experience that honors their wholeness as individuals. Midwifery care gave this option to me personally. I am a more confident, fulfilled woman and mother for having had this experience. It is my hope that one day all women will have this option – not by chance, but because society recognizes the invaluable contribution that midwifery care makes to growing healthy mothers, healthy families, and ultimately, healthy societies.
With so much love,
Founder / Director, The Baby Mini Doc Project
If my story resonates with you, I urge you to consider making a donation to help me and The Baby Mini Doc Project reach our goal of raising $500 for NYC Midwives – a membership organization of midwives which promotes universal access to midwifery care in NYC. I (along with all NYC families and the babies they will birth) will thank you for any amount you are able to contribute – even if it’s just $5!