Friday, June 8, 2018

"Laundry Boot Camp" - Laundry in ONE Day!

This is the post you've been waiting your whole life to read. Let me tell you a bit how it got started. A few months ago I saw a meme on a friend's Facebook page about laundry going all week long and never really being finished. Everybody seemed to identify with it. It was one of those cases where you assume everyone does things the same way you do - until you realize they don't! I had no idea so few people do their laundry in one day. I've always done it in one day, even when I had 4 small children.

Back to my friend's thread, I detailed how I do laundry in one day and someone else (Shannon Sands, Birth Boot Camp Instructor in Omaha, NE) commented and said it was amazing and called it Laundry Boot Camp. At our Birth Boot Camp Be Amazing Retreat in April, I promised to write a blog post about it, and here it is! 

First, I've always done laundry in a day since I first started doing laundry as a young teen. Washed, dried, folded, hung, put away. If I had laundry going all week long, I imagine all of those steps would never be completed. It's a commitment, no doubt. But your life will be simpler, tidier, and more organized. You'll have extra time and more sanity, I promise.

Step by step to have your laundry done in a day:

Step 1: 
Pick a day and stick with it. You cannot run errands on laundry day. This is a day to stay put. I love laundry day. I get so much done on this one day.

The day you choose might change during different times of the year (soccer season, school year, summer, etc). My schedule revolves, largely, around our electric co-op. We are charged for the highest 30 min (and then multiplied) over each month between the hours of 5AM-9AM and 5PM-9PM from Oct 1 - May 31. From June 1 - Sept 30, we don't run laundry between 2PM-8PM. Crazy, huh? Weekends are a free-for-all, so that's when my kids do their laundry.

My laundry day is Monday. 

Step 2: 
Be sure your laundry room has everything you need. 
*  A pole to hang laundry and hangers
*  Hangers 
*  An extra place to hang drip-dry clothes
*  Detergents, etc are probably already in your laundry room

Detergents, etc
Pole and Hangers! A must have!

Step 3:
Start first thing in the morning.
In the summer, I start laundry, often, before I even make my bed. I need to get it all washed and dried before 2:00 because of the co-op. In the winter months, I have the laundry all sorted by 8:30. I do usually throw a cold wash in at 8:30 so I'm ready to start the dryer by 9:00.

Step 4:
When you sort, put your piles in the same place every week. 
This step may sound silly, but I can sort laundry super fast because I don't have to think about it. These are my piles: whites, blues, gray/olive, dark, jeans, reds, towels, and delicates. Sometimes there are 2 piles of whites and darks. I always have at least 7 loads per week, sometimes close to 10.

Sorted laundry

Step 5:
Decide who you are doing laundry for. 
Of course, you'll decide what is right for your family. I've washed, dried, and hung laundry for my kids until the summer before high school. I know many families have their kids start doing their own laundry before this. Whatever works for you. I've only done laundry for 3 people for 3 years now. It's bliss! 

The night before laundry day, I have baskets and hangers brought to the laundry room or wherever I sort laundry. In this house, my bedroom and laundry room are side by side, so laundry gets sorted in my bedroom. If they don't bring their baskets and hangers before laundry gets under way, their laundry won't get done. I don't gather it for them. Trust me, it'll only happen once.

Step 6:
Stay nearby and aware of when your washer, and especially your dryer, stop. 
This doesn't mean you sit in front your washer all day, but you don't go do yard work either. I am upstairs most of the time anyway, but even in my other houses, I was just ... aware. When the dryer stops, DROP WHAT YOU ARE DOING and deal with laundry. You must keep it going.

Step 7:
Appropriately deal with the clothes from the dryer.
When taking clothes from the dryer, do not dump it all in the laundry basket. This is where the breakdown will occur if you let it. The clothes should still be warm and "fluffy." If you are removing something that would typically be ironed, hang it immediately, like the minute you pull it from the dryer. I do NOT iron, so this is crucial!

If it's not something that has to be hung right now, place it on top of the dryer. All folding laundry goes in the basket. 

Hang dress shirts, etc. immediately!

Folded laundry in basket; hanging laundry (t-shirts, etc) on the dryer

Step 8:
Start the washer for the next load.
I use Scentsy Washer Whiffs so I throw those in with my laundry detergent before adding clothes so they can dissolve. My washer fills for a few minutes so I make use of that time by hanging the clothes on top of the dryer. I always have enough time to do it, especially if I'm hanging clothes from just one load. Do not get behind on this! Resist the temptation to do something else while the washer fills. 

Some people put their clothes in first and then the detergent (my children included and they SUCK at getting their laundry done in a day!) so they don't have that "fill" time. If you do that, fine, but don't walk away until the clothes from the dryer are hung. Again, this is crucial is getting all the laundry done in one day. It won't be a big deal if you hang it now. If you wait to hang all your laundry at the end of the day, it really will be overwhelming.

Up next in the washer!

Step 9:
Be mindful of the time and what you are putting in next.
If I have to run to town to pick up a child (only one left without a drivers license!), I need to be sure that what sits in the dryer will be ok to sit and not need to be hung immediately. Perfect loads are jeans or towels. I am always calculating and looking at the time.

Step 10:
Delicates - two for one.
My delicates all wash together on a cold hand wash cycle and I hang everything to dry. I can easily get a load of delicates washed and hung and then another regular load washed in the time a load goes through the dryer. Again, watch your time and listen for the washer to stop if you have delicates in.

Step 11:
Folding laundry.
Once my kids were about 3 or 4, they started folding their own laundry. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I take that basket from the laundry room and dump it right in the middle of my bed. It actually sits there until most, if not all, of the laundry is through the washer and dryer. And then it's back to sorting. Each child had their spot on the bed. Well, my mental spot. I just sort and throw. I fold mine and David's laundry, as well as the towels AND THE SOCKS! The whole process takes about 15-20 min. All that is left on the bed are piles that others need to come get. I let them know when their "folded laundry" and "hanging laundry" is ready. Let's face it, they are terrible at folding laundry. I taught them. They know how, but they usually just pick it up, take it to their rooms, and stuff it in drawers. I don't care.

The pile of laundry to be sorted and folded

Step 12:
A few tips regarding hanging laundry.
If you are doing laundry for several people, have their "spot" on that laundry pole. I've had some laundry racks that had dividers, and I liked that a lot. It was easy to keep track for me and for them. I don't have that in this house, but since I'm only doing laundry for 3 people, it hasn't been a problem. I do find myself taking hanging laundry to the closet (mine and David's) a few times during laundry day so there continues to be enough room on the pole for items as they come out of the dryer. 

Step 13:
Put all the baskets away and enjoy your week! 
Congratulations on all that you got done today in addition to the laundry!

Empty baskets ready for the week!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

10-session class open till DEC 5!

My current 10-session class is underway, but you can make up the first 3 classes and still join us as late as Dec 5. We have a unique schedule due to the holidays. If this works for you, join us!

Class 2 - Wed, Nov 22
Class 3 - Thurs, Nov 30
Class 4 - Tues, Dec 5
Class 5 - Thurs, Dec 7
Class 6 - Thurs, Dec 14
Class 7 - Thurs, Dec 28
Class 8 - Tues, Jan 2
Class 9 - Tues, Jan 9
Class 10 - Tues, Jan 16

Class is $300 (plus tax) and we meet at The OWN, upstairs from Murphy's Pub.

To read more about Birth Boot Camp, check us out online. I am the founder and love to talk about the curriculum.

For local classes, visit Black Hills Birth Class.

I look forward to helping you on your journey towards an amazing birth!

Donna Ryan
donna @ or blackhillsbirthclass @

Monday, October 16, 2017

My Fall Schedule & NEW Birth Boot Camp Classes!

Hello, my loyal readers. I can't believe you all stick with me after all these years. I assure you that I haven't forgotten you, and I really do have more to say, but dangit, I need more hours in the day. Birth Boot Camp is growing by leaps and bounds, but I'll get to that in a minute.

First things first -

I have a couple of classes starting up in the next few weeks. The first is the Reboot Refresher. Problem is that the date is not firm. I'm headed to CO for a birth and the baby hasn't told me when to come. ;-) The date will be the earliest possible though - Oct 28, Nov 11, or Nov 18. It will run from 1-5 p.m. Cost is $95, plus tax, and comes with a workbook. More details can be found at my website for my classes, Might as well like my BHBC Facebook page, too. Thanks!

I have a 10-week comprehensive class starting Thursday Nov 16 at The OWN. It'll run from 6:30-9:00. Bring your calendar the first night and we'll map the days of class since this is right smack dab in the middle of the holidays. Cost is $300, plus tax, and also comes with a workbook. To sign up, you can call me, email me, or go to my class website, listed above.

I am always up for scheduling a Sibling Birth Class, too, but I do them on a case-by-case basis, and I only teach one family at a time. Let's get you scheduled!


Now, for all of our exciting things at Birth Boot Camp! Over Labor Day weekend we launched NEW CLASSES! These will be online before the year is out, but a live class is always an amazing option.

*  We now have an Out Of Hospital Class which runs 4 weeks. This is perfect if you are planning to have your baby at home or at a freestanding birth center.

*  Homecoming: Life With a New Recruit offers you a roadmap to parenting and enjoying your new baby. I would have LOVED to have had a class like this with my first baby. Truth is, I feel like I didn't really figure it out till my 4th baby! We've passed all that knowledge onto our students in this class, saving you time and headache.

*  Food & Fitness: A Program for the Childbearing Year will prepare you for a healthy pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond. Taught by Katie Dudley, this class is full of wonderful information. The 50-page workbook is a resource to refer back to again and again. While the workbook is available for purchase, the class will be available online later this Fall.

As you can imagine, having all these new classes to teach has made it even more awesome to be a Birth Boot Camp Instructor. We'd love to have you join us, and as always, I'm available to answer all your questions, whether they are about the Birth Boot Camp curriculum, doula program, or becoming a childbirth educator.

I look forward to talking with you!

Donna Ryan
Founder & CEO, Birth Boot Camp, Inc.
donna @ birth boot camp. com

Monday, June 5, 2017

Birth Boot Camp Series Begins July 27, 2017 - Registration Open Until Aug 24

Edited to add that you can still join until Aug 24, or Class 5, and make up the first 4 classes online.

Birth Boot Camp is a childbirth education course designed to help couples have amazing births! It runs 10 weeks. If you are wanting to have a natural birth, I offer a really great road map to get there. 

My next class begins Thursday, July 27 and runs through October 5. (I'll be in Texas the week of Sept 11 for an Instructor Training, so we'll skip class that week.) This class is perfect if you are due in October or November.

6:00 - 8:30 PM
Consider it a date night!

Downtown Rapid City at The OWN, above Murphy's Pub

I charge $300 plus tax ($19.50) per couple. (Price goes up to $350 next series.)
You'll get a 180-page Field Manual and a few other prizes along the way. 

To register, contact me at:

*Best time to start classes? Between 20-28 weeks.*

A little about me...  My husband and I moved to Rapid City the end of the summer in 2015. We always said we'd never live north of I-20, and here we are! I have my season pass to Terry Peak, and after living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area for 10 years, I am thrilled to have a hill to ski! We love it here!

We have 4 children, ranging in ages 11-20. I have experienced birth in a variety of ways. Epidural birth (narrowly escaping a cesarean section, thanks to a doula) with an OBGYN in a hospital, another hospital birth with a Certified Nurse-Midwife (my first unmedicated birth!), a water birth at home with a Licensed Midwife, and a "land birth" at home with a different Licensed Midwife. 

I am the Founder & CEO of Birth Boot Camp, Inc., and I'm so busy running the company (we are in 35 states!), I rarely get the chance to teach expecting couples. I'm so excited for this upcoming class. There is still room for one - maybe two - more couples.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you can't make my live class work, you can take Birth Boot Camp online. You still get me and the Field Manual. It's over 20 hours of streaming video! Contact me for a coupon code if you chose to go that route. Otherwise, see you in my LIVE class!

Still wanting more info? See what others have to say about Birth Boot Camp classes:

Monday, January 30, 2017

Postpartum Notes on the Door -- Helpful or Rude?

I've had this in my draft folder for a long time, debating as to whether I should share my view on this or not. In case you are unsure what the title is refering to, let me explain.

In the last few years it's become popular (especially with out-of-hospital birthers and care providers) to put a note on the door of the new parents saying, in a nutshell, if you want to hold the baby or stop by to bring a gift, you should be prepared to help out in some way. Examples include:
* dishes
* laundry
* mop or sweep the floor
* tend to other children
* take care of the baby so mom can nap or shower
* take out the garbage
* clean a bathroom

Now, I get that the family is adjusting and some things might get neglected for a time during this adjustment. I've been there. Mom is tired, especially if there are other children to care for. 

I'm sure midwives or doulas think they are being helpful by taping this to the door, demanding that friends and family help these new parents. But is it possible that it has the opposite effect? 

I was talking with a friend about this recently and she told me a story about her taking dinner to someone from her church after having a baby. When she showed up and saw the note on the door, she felt very unsure about what to do. She had spent all afternoon putting this dinner together and now they wanted her to do even more? She left the dinner on the doorstep and drove away. She had arrived feeling full of service and happy to help this new couple. She had donated the time and resources she had available, but it didn't seem enough.

If someone is thinking of you enough to stop by to say congratulations or to bring a gift, I believe that gesture should be appreciated for what it is. The sign on the door does not show appreciation, but that the new parents are owed something by you. The congratulations, dinner, or gift are not enough according to the note on the door. 

Had my midwife put a note on my door, I would have been mortified. I would have removed it without a second thought. That wouldn't have meant I wouldn't have wanted or have welcomed the help. I just would have felt so akward about it being there. If visitors did offer to help, I would have felt like they were doing it because of the note, not because they really wanted to. Visitors get caught off guard. They probably didn't come over realizing they were going to be put to work. 

Everyone is busy. Everyone. Sometimes I want to show someone I was thinking about them, so a treat or dinner, or a gift for the mom or baby seems appropriate, but I don't know that I want to go inside your house and pick through your dirty dishes or laundry. I'm so sorry. I have my own family's mess to deal with! But I can help out in other ways, my ways. If it's not really what you were hoping for, maybe I should just stay away. Let people help you how they want to help. Save the items found on the door for those closest to you who ask "What can I do to help?" or "Can I come get your children for a play date?" 

I don't think the note on the door really helps people know what you need. It's passive-aggressive, at best.

Is it hard for you to ask for help? Are people not offering? But you are losing your mind and need help. A postpartum doula can help. Do you have family nearby? Do you have a close friend you can confide in and recruit for help? Reach out to your doula or childbirth educator, or your midwife. They probably have resources to help you. 

If I had a friend that said "I need your help!" I would drop everything. People often just don't know unless asked. Again, most people are just busy and think others are fine. But rarely are people too busy to help a friend or family member who needs them. People like to be needed, and ultimately to help out. Don't be afraid to let them know. Having a postpartum plan will also help tremendously. Decide who is doing what job, including the relatives coming to help when the baby comes. Remember, Grandma's job is to help with everything except the baby!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Running from Mountain Lions

A few weeks ago, I found myself having a conversation with a woman who had had an unintentional natural birth. She was horrified by the experience. She couldn't understand why anyone would ever have a natural birth on purpose. I've spent some time pondering that conversation and I'd like to share my thoughts.

When I was pregnant with my first baby almost 21 years ago, I was terrified of birth. I took the "epidural class" and, fortuately, I gave birth not feeling a thing. What I hadn't planned for were those few hours of contractions before going to the hospital. I had ZERO coping tools. It was awful. I cried when I got to the hospital, not because I was in so much pain, but because I could finally have the drugs. I was dilated to a 3 and 90% effaced. I can't imagine doing the whole thing without drugs as ill-prepared as I was. 

With my second baby, I got educated. I prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally for the experience. I put a good birth team together and I was ready for the experience. I went in feeling confident, unlike my first birth where I would tense up with every contraction, scared of what was happening.

Let's use a little example. Stay with me. I've moved to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. The mountain lions are prevelant. A neighbor took this picture of prints she found in the morning near her house. We hear them at night. It sounds like a woman screaming in the forest. Really, it's terrifying.

Naturally, I've developed a fear of the mountain lions. What if I were hiking and one was lurking in the trees and pounced? What if I came upon a lion on the trail? What if I were chased by a mountain lion? I'm not sure I could run to my mailbox, let alone outrun a mountain lion! 

Education about these animals has helped ease my fear, but I still hope I never come upon one in the wild. 

What does this have to do with birth? Let's keep with this example of running. Running because you are afraid and are forced to run - if you stop you'll die - is a completely different experience than running because you trained for it. (Or so I've been told! In case you couldn't tell, I'm not a runner.)

Labor is still labor, birth is still birth, and running is still just running. It's the preparation that makes you feel differently about it. Fear versus confidence. It's the "why" you are doing it. Is it just to get through it, or are you enjoying the journey because you enjoyed the preparation? You know what to expect along the way. That alleviates so much of the fear. 

I've taken a year off of teaching childbirth classes (still busy training instructors though) as I've settled into my new home. If you are in the Black Hills region and want to prepare for your birth, let's talk! No one wants to have to outrun a mountain lion in their birth!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Retraumatization of Sexual Abuse Survivors

I invited Carol Meadows to write this post for me when she posted her opinion on one of our Birth Boot Camp Instructor Facebook groups regarding this subject. Let's start a discussion. The treatment of all pregnant and laboring women is important. Read on!

Pregnancy, labor, and delivery can be difficult and trying times for any pregnant individual. This time can have its ups and downs, it can be difficult to navigate. This is even more true for survivors of sexual violence and abuse. While maternity care, and the practices that it entails, are well intentioned, it can make this time in a survivor's life more difficult.

When Survivors Give Birth, written by Penny Simpkin and Phyllis Klaus, is required reading for Birth Boot Camp Instructors. Although I have been passionate about birth since 2009, preparing for my workshop in 2015 was the first time I had encountered this book. The book is written primarily for caregivers, doulas, childbirth educators etc., but mentions a few times that this book could be used as a reference for survivors as well.  For those who haven't read the book the three points below are important for the understanding of the rest of the blog post.

  • Survivors may have problems with things that are routine maternity care, that they might find it distressing and that these actions can bring back feelings related to their abuse. (Simpkin and Klaus, 31)
  • How an individual in labor is treated by those that love her, and the professionals present "can make the difference between confirmation of her self worth and retraumatization." (Simpkin and Klaus, 34)
  • Survivors may equate being abused with feelings of helplessness and loss of control, and therefore having control of a situation is a priority for many. (Simpkin and Klaus, 75)

Before I continue, I would like to say that I do not believe that When Survivors Give Birth is a bad book and should not be read. It absolutely needs to be read. Some people will really benefit from this book. There are birth workers who commit microaggressions towards survivors of sexual abuse every day, and they may not even be aware. A microaggression is an action that is directed at a minority, in this case survivors of sexual abuse, that is offensive in a subtle way, and is usually unintentional. When Survivors Give Birth has examples of that, which some birth workers need to be made aware of.

The problem with the book is it that it seems like many of the suggestions rely on the pregnant and laboring mother to disclose the fact that she has been sexually abused. I think this, in and of itself, is a problem. Is it fair to ask a person to tell strangers that they have been sexually abused?

Imagine yourself as a pregnant woman who has been abused. Imagine that you have thought long and hard about things that are routine maternity care. Because it is invasive and common, I am going to pick cervical checks. Many practitioners will do cervical checks routinely in the last weeks of pregnancy, and they are also done in labor to determine how dilated a woman is in labor. So here you are this pregnant woman you go in at 37-40 weeks and there is a sheet ready for you in the patient room. Your nurse tells you to remove everything off from the waist down for a cervical check to see how dilated you are. You have already decided to forgo cervical checks. This isn't a willy-nilly decision. This is a serious trigger. A trigger is something that reminds you of something from your past, in this case previous sexual abuse. It could be anything. It could be multiple things. It could be things you are not aware of.

Imagine you as a teenager were raped by your boyfriend. Someone you trusted, someone who you thought respected you. You are helpless and on your back, crying. You can fill in your own blanks of what happened. Imagine it is years later, that sometimes when you are intimate with your partner of 10 years that you are randomly triggered by the experience. Nothing out of the ordinary for you and your partner occurred. Suddenly you want to fight, you want to scream and lash out. You want to push your partner off you, run to the bathroom, bolt the door and cry. You are with a person you love, cherish, and have chosen to have a family with, and you are still triggered, taken back to an event that happened 15 years ago.

There is no way that you are comfortable with a stranger, even your care provider, reaching up inside you - not always very gently - as deep as they can go, feeling around for dilation and effacement, while you are on your back naked from the waist down, very exposed.

So, you keep your pants on. You have done your research, you know that your cervix is not a crystal ball. You know that how dilated you are today doesn't matter. It doesn't tell you when you are going to go into labor. So your doctor comes in, slightly surprised you still have your pants on. You tell them you have decided to forego cervical checks. Your provider tells you that is fine, but they will have to be done in the hospital. So you take a deep breath. You tell him or her nicely but firmly that you prefer not to have to cervical checks at all, during pregnancy and labor. You take a few more deep breaths. You open your mouth and very bravely tell them that you have been raped, and that the idea is abhorrent to you. You hope to make the doctor understand, even though it is hard to even talk about 15 years later, because every time you talk about it, you think about it. Even just mentioning it can take you back.

Why would we do that to a woman? Why should we have to? Why does a doctor need a reason to respect the wishes of their patient? Why should, as Simpkin and Klaus suggest, a survivor "be willing to remind the caregiver of her background of sexual abuse, and of what they previously discussed," assuming she could speak of the abuse at all? It is stated that "even within the context of short appointments and multiple caregivers, good communication is possible when both parties are willing to try." (Simpkin and Klaus, 150)

"Willing to try." Meaning, have a woman disclose over and over and over to each member of the practice that she is a survivor. What if it took that woman 8 years to tell her partner the details of that experience, because even just mentioning it was too much? Yet she should be expected to mention it to 3-6 individuals because they might be at the birth of her child? How is this fair to the survivor?

Another suggestion is that the survivor put the fact that she was abused in her birth plan so that she doesn't verbally have to tell the professionals involved in her care during labor and delivery. (Simpkin and Klaus, 151) On one hand this seems like a good idea. If her birth plan reads as demanding, the fact that she disclosed that she is a survivor would make the requests seem understandable. This might be more apparent in a survivor who feels the need to maintain control of a situation. Again though it begs the question of why does a survivor need to disclose this information to get compassionate care? You may be thinking that this is a worthy trade off, and for some survivors it might be.

However, what if the survivor lived in a small town? I had a baby when my youngest was in kindergarten. One of my attending nurses had a child in that same class. Of course HIPPA prevents the nurse from discussing it, but living in a small town you see people all the time. I would always see the senior nurse from my doctor’s office at the grocery store. That mom was at every class party. What if the survivor worked for the hospital? Should she have to disclose to her colleagues that she is a survivor? Again HIPPA would prevent them from talking about it, but put yourself in the survivor’s shoes. How would you feel if you felt like everyone knew something you didn't want them to know, but you disclosed the information so you could, hopefully, get compassionate care?

What if, despite telling people, it didn't matter? Put yourself back in the scenario in which the survivor was raped as a teenager. What if, after being so very brave, you were told that you would still need to have cervical checks. That you would need to have one at admission and then every hour or two to see how you were progressing in labor. You will have to be subjected to a triggering action multiple times during a time that is supposed to be joyful. The very thought of it makes you want to weep. It might not be cervical checks. The trigger might be having to be confined to the bed for electronic fetal monitoring. Your body tells you you need to be up and moving. The nurse comes in and admonishes you, telling you to lie down, that they can't get a good reading on the baby. You are fighting the contractions, you feel helpless, confined. It hurts to lay down during contractions. You are not allowed to listen to your body.

Why are we retraumatizing survivors? Why do we do it? Depending on the statistics, 1 out of every 5 or 1 out of every 6 women are victims of attempted rape or completed rape. That is a lot of women. As we have seen, in the case of being a survivor of sexual violence, labor and birth can become an obstacle for various reasons. I find it unacceptable that many of these women are further traumatized by their caregivers during their stay in L&D. It is enough of a systemic problem that there are birthing centers opening specifically for victims of sexual abuse. This whole blog post was inspired by this article. When I first read it my reaction was, "These need to be everywhere!" It was followed by, "Why do survivors need to go to a special clinic to get compassionate care? Maybe we need to fix how we treat pregnant and laboring mothers."

In 2011 Penny Simpkin wrote an article published on the blog Science and Sensibility. In it she talks about how childbirth can be traumatic for mothers and that it can lead to PTSD. Depending on the survey 18-33% of women report having traumatic birth experiences. Of the women surveyed, 3-9% of women developed PTSD after childbirth. An important note is made that the trauma may only be seen through the eyes of the individual giving birth.

What does PTSD after birth look like? "Key symptoms of PTSD include insomnia, irritability and angry outbursts, panic attacks, nightmares about the birth, a desire to avoid the baby or anything relating to the birth, feelings of detachment from loved ones, and a sense that some other disaster is imminent." How do you think that affects the postpartum period?

Imagine you are the survivor again. You just had an experience in which you were confined to a bed when you didn't wish to be. You were invaded over and over again by multiple doctors and nurses because you labored at the time of shift change. You had people in your room you had never previously met, never seen, and they didn't even introduce themselves. How do you feel about your birth? Do you feel like you were supported? Do you feel like your self worth was boosted or were you retraumatized?

We need to do better. We need to provide maternity care that doesn't retraumatize the survivor again and again and again. We need compassionate care for pregnant and laboring women, regardless of their circumstances, in which their autonomy is valued and respected. We should not require women to justify their choices.

Carol Meadows is a certified Birth Boot Camp Instructor. She lives on Colorado's beautiful front range, and teaches classes in the Colorado Springs/Pueblo area. Carol has been passionate about labor and birth since 2008, when she birthed her first daughter. Her knowledge and passion for birth has grown throughout the years. She penned this blog post as part of her ongoing effort to improve birth for everyone. She can be found at Meadow Mama Birth and on Facebook