Throughout history, black women have suffered from medical exploitation, neglect, and mistreatment during childbirth. This has left a long-lasting impact on contemporary healthcare disparities, resulting in higher rates of maternal and newborn mortality and complications among black birthing individuals. Educational initiatives have been taken to address this situation within birth support. These initiatives rely on two primary strategies – acknowledgment and education. With this article, you’ll discover the power of transformational prenatal coaching in empowering black birthgivers and tackling the root cause of the situation – authoritative relationships.
Preventing birth trauma is a much-desired goal, no less than preventing maternal death and reducing cesarean rates. As we have known for many years, birth trauma doesn’t necessarily tie to the unfolding of childbirth but instead relates to how birth givers were treated and how they feel they performed during their birth. Prenatal coaching can increase individuals’ performance levels and empower them to expect patient-centered and respectful care, reducing exposure to birth trauma.
My FREE virtual workshop, Rock Your Virtual Birth and Postpartum Coaching, will take place in just a week, on April 11, at 11:00 am Pacific. I plan to go LIVE for an hour and 15 minutes daily and lay down the pathway for birth support professionals to achieve great results with virtual or in-person coaching conversations while gaining impact and income.
If you’ve ever been in a push-pull relationship with your doula practice, this training is not to be missed. It took me years to realize that doula support can be expansive, easy, aligned with my values and wish for work-life balance, and lucrative! And I can show you virtual birth and postpartum coaching strategies with which you gain impact and income, especially during times of broad change on the planet.
Pregnancy and childbirth are incredibly transformative experiences. Unfortunately, our culture has reduced the conversation about this utmost transformation to one topic: labor pain. Whether on social media, in moms’ groups, or on the playground, individuals undergoing their childbearing years’ discussions focus solely on fear and coping with labor pain. This narrow focus can make them preoccupied with deciding whether to take an epidural. It doesn’t help much that their guides, birth support professionals, also tend to distinguish between “Natural/Unmedicated Birth” and “Medicated Birth.” The first option is often idealized, whereas the latter is viewed less favorably. This can result in birth givers feeling negative emotions such as disappointment or failure if they choose to take an epidural.Since the decision to use pain relief during labor is a personal choice that has emotional and social implications, I suggest helping expectant individuals to navigate this “Epidural Dilemma” with transformational prenatal coaching,
Finding and enrolling clients so I can have a stable monthly income” was voted the #1 source of exhaustion. In a poll I recently posted in The Aspiring and Thriving Doula FB group, 80% of the voters indicated client enrollment as their professional struggle. I could have guessed that since It has been my struggle in every capacity I have served, including a director of two birth resource centers. Birth support has evolved as a field that consists of various short-term services provided by many different hands-on providers: Childbirth educators, birth doulas, postpartum doulas, breastfeeding consultants, and many others. From the point in which each of these professionals recruits a client, we serve them for a very short time – from 2 meetings to 3-4 months.
The current situation has two main disadvantages:
Client disadvantage: The abundance of short-term practitioners interferes with the continuity of care – one of the marks of high-quality care.
Professional disadvantage: Having to constantly enroll clients, birth support pros are exposed to professional fatigue and face a potential income gap.
Since long-term client relationships are the most crucial factor to growing any business, including your solo birth support practice, I’d like to suggest a business model to help cultivate them.
Does an ‘Expert Position’ benefit professionals in the field of birth support?
Do you consider yourself an expert in ‘How to have a healthy birth’? Whether you are a childbirth educator, a birth doula, a midwife, or an L&D team member, I’m almost certain that you believe your practice cracked the formula of the right way or even the best way to a healthy childbirth. But do we all agree on what the phrase healthy birth stands for? And how would you feel if I threw in just one more word – experience. How confident are you now that you have mastered the best way, or the right way, to achieving a healthy birth experience? Perhaps it’s time to rethink our position. Can we give up the expert position and hand it over to our birth clients?
I have shifted the focus of my birth support toward prenatal coaching and led many birth practitioners to implement this transformational coaching approach into their birth support practice. I’ve noticed five common negative mindsets that expectant individuals may hold throughout my teaching and as I coached my own birth clients. These repeating themes can sabotage birth givers’ birth experiences, even when there is no physiological or anatomical problem. In coaching, we call these negative mindsets limiting beliefs or success blockers. Regardless of individuals’ awareness of their thought processes or beliefs, those run subconsciously like a program you downloaded and installed on your computer unintentionally. And just like a computer program, these negative mindsets may change clients’ attitudes, behavior, and the decisions they make.
Ever wondered why you’re super stressed when you commit to a birth client?
When I ask the community of Birth Coach Method’s doula students to elaborate on their stress level and its source, they usually begin talking about being on-call. I wholeheartedly agree that being on-call 24/7 when you are a career doula is super stressful. It’s been alsoreported by midwives that the unpredictability of childbirth – when will it begin and how will the process unfold, is one of the biggest hardships of the role. It keeps us on our toes – always having to arrange support for our families, always ready to cancel plans or miss family events. It’s messing up our vacations, and more.
Another source of stress that often emerges in our community meetings, or personal mentorship sessions, is our accountability for clients’ birth experiences. While medical caregivers are held accountable for the outcomes, we are held accountable for the quality of the birth process.
Becoming a birth support figure is more than an exciting career choice – it’s a calling. We feel called to empower, support, and lead people during their journeys of pregnancy, birth, and beyond, toward achieving their satisfying and empowering experiences. We are called to take part in their journeys of growing into parents. This is true for childbirth educators, doulas, prenatal yoga teachers, and most medically trained professionals such as midwives and L&D nurses. Sociologist and maternal care researcher Christin Morton states in her book “Birth Ambassadors” that when trained birth professionals begin to practice, they notice that “the impact shown in the early trials has not been realized for most practitioners today” (p. 75). This gap between our desired impact and the reality of our practice can be closed by a series of prenatal coaching sessions. Integrating strategies and models of transformational coaching into birth support is the key to achieving our goals and fulfilling our calling. Here are the five main reasons to conduct a series of transformational prenatal coaching sessions:
The psychological birth of a mother, similar to adolescence, involves hormonal and identity shifting.
Listen to my interview with Maureen McGrath where we discuss Matrescence January 24, 2021
Throughout this profound identity transition, an expectant individual undergoes an average of about 13 doctors’ appointments during pregnancy, 3 urine tests, 4-5 blood tests, 4 ultrasound tests, 2-3 vaginal exams/swabs, and 2 monitor exams. That is if they are healthy, give birth before or on their EDD, and do not need further diagnostic or screening exams. Then, they will go through the childbirth experience. An experience in which the transparent fabric of one’s routine is disturbed by pain, fear of death, and temporary loss of control. Their body expels a new human being while they are under the care of medical caregivers – most of them practice from an “expert” position. This abundance of encounters with medical maternal healthcare providers amplifies the neglect of expectant individuals’ emotional state and mindset during this profound transformation. Not even one behavioral assessment is routinely recommended for this individual. Instead of focusing on individuals’ well-being and mental health as they transition to parenthood and prepare for the profound transformation of childbirth, maternal caregivers and researchers tend to focus on how the baby is doing.