CH-CH-CH Changes . . .

Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

Hello Friends!

Today I updated my website to reflect that I will no longer be teaching private childbirth preparation classes. However, you can still catch me for limited group childbirth classes or a virtual consultation!

I am making this change to focus on some other business pursuits as well as to free up some time to spend with family. I couldn’t totally let go of teaching in a private format though, because I truly LOVE it so much! So, I have made virtual consultations available. These consultations will be ultra-customized to my clients needs. We won’t need to spend any of our consultation time catching up on basic info like due date, prior birth experiences, etc. because you and your partner will fill out a pre-call questionnaire that I will review in advance of our consultation and then plan out our call based on your answers.

NEW Virtual Consultations

My virtual consultations will be right up your alley if you are:

  • Pre-pregnant and want hands on help with planning your ultimate birth experience (which involves healthful choices during early pregnancy)
  • Newly pregnant and exploring your birth options (OB or midwife? Hospital or Home?)
  • Pregnant again and want a better experience than last time (VBAC, unnecessary interventions, etc.)
  • Coming up quickly on your due date and don’t have time for a full childbirth class (you had every intention but time just got away from you!)
  • Need a thorough discussion about your options as you are working on your birth plan (What is necessary to include, what’s not. How to get staff to take it seriously, Which things can be decided on later, etc.)
  • Want to have a solid toolbox of comfort measures/coping techniques as you are heading into your birth experience (tried and true techniques used by birth pros)
  • Have a partner who needs instruction on how to advocate for you (building bridges with hospital staff)
  • Would like a better understanding of any aspect of labor, birth and postpartum (from basic birth fundamentals to “things they don’t tell you”)

On the other hand, my virtual consultations are NOT for you if you and/or your partner:

  • Need in-person instruction of comfort measures
  • Need to touch/feel educational tools for optimal learning
  • Do not have a reliable internet or cellular connection
  • do not plan to utilize the information provided in the call
  • are not willing to make changes to your current plan (if needed) in order to increase chances of a better birth experience

How do I make an appointment?

Good question! You will need to purchase the consultation through my store (linked below – choose the 90+30 virtual consultation) and then I will follow up with you via email to have you complete the pre-call questionnaire. Within the questionnaire I will ask you for your ideal days/times for our call and then we will firm up our appointment via email.

That’s it! Please do not hesitate to message me if you have any questions about my consultations. I’m happy to answer them!

#MeToo and How Kesha Woke Me Up

Kesha._MMVA
By Jeff Denberg (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I am writing this as my child interrupts me for snacks, potty breaks, passwords, and snuggles. Kid TV shows are playing in the background while I flesh out these words to convey my thoughts. This is my life, and it is good. It’s a far cry from where I was 20 years ago, trying to make it in the music industry as a singer/songwriter. I was happy then, too … but in the background of my songwriting season was a different kind of noise: the sexual harassment kind. The majority of men I encountered during my music career were trying to “make it,” just like me. All but a handful were incredibly kind and respectful of me as a human being. I don’t want to paint all men in the music industry with the broad brush of “sexual harassment perpetrator,” because that is not at all true. But there were some who were overly kind or generous—and I knew they were the ones who expected something more.

Last night I sat down to watch Kesha’s performance of “Praying” on the Grammys. It was late for our family, and my 3 year old was begging me to put her to bed, exhausted from having spent the day playing outside. But, knowing how that song affected me—always bringing a tear to my eye—I told baby girl, “Just a few more minutes. I really want to see Kesha perform.” She curled up on my lap, asking to nurse, and I obliged. I nurtured and fed my daughter as I watched someone else’s grown daughter rise up with fire in her eyes and thunder in her voice to confront her abuser. Again. She did it with her sisters around her this time. She spent her voice as they sang with her, lifting her up with their voices any time she fell back a little. I don’t know how she felt when she was done, but to me, she looked relieved and exhausted. The performance ended with her sisters shrouding her with their arms and catching her in hugs as if to say, “Me, too, sister. Me, too.” Then my feelings about my past life as an aspiring songwriter came bubbling up, and the tears flowed freely down my cheeks.

Back in the ’90s, things were different. I doubt that any amount of #metoo would have mattered. In fact, after seeing how the victims of a sports doctor were repeatedly ignored when they complained about his sexual abuse, I know it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d said something back then. The problem was cultural, systemic, and widespread. It was like a chronic disease that our world had learned to live with. Women were habitually not heard.

Now that I have this girl-child to raise, along with her older sister who is much more aware, my soul is assuaged with the hope that they might be protected from the harsh reality that I endured. Sexual harassment was a normal part of life. It was a fact not just in my efforts to get my music recognized and published, but in my non-musician life as a food service worker, as a marketing director, and as a woman walking to and from work in downtown Chicago. Knowing that there is a movement—in every realm of life—to bring equality to women, to protect my daughters, OUR daughters, from this type of abuse—buoys my heart. I want to keep them safe from the Dr. Lukes, the Larry Nassars, and the Donald Trumps of the world. The ones who make us think that we owe them access to our bodies; the ones who make us think that because they take care of us, we should believe them when they say that they aren’t doing anything wrong; the ones who will take what they want from us, whenever and wherever they want.

The culmination of Kesha’s performance, Nassar’s conviction, the #metoo and #timesup movements … it’s all so overwhelming. Couple that with the abuse I know still happens in the maternity care system, and I am almost frozen with shock at times. But I can’t be shocked anymore. We have these girls to raise until they spread their wings and fly. It’s heart-wrenching to think they could possibly venture into a world like the one I experienced, or worse. Seeing how pervasive the abuse is angers me, but it also emboldens me. Abuse survivors deserve change, and we all deserve to NEVER BE HARASSED OR ABUSED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Last night, seeing Kesha supported by her sisters while I felt her pain as I simultaneously held and nursed my girl was a significant moment for me, and I woke with fresh eyes today. My work for mothers and children continues with a new and wider lens. I see more clearly the interconnections between human rights activism and my work in maternity care. My new lens now sees allies in places where I previously thought there were very few. It sees into the future, when my children might never know what it’s like to feel obligated to please anyone out of fear or intimidation. May it be so.