Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Birthday to Birth Boot Camp!

Wow!  This time last year, we had no idea where Birth Boot Camp would be a year down the road.  Actually, we wrote a great post over at the Birth Boot Camp blog letting you know about our statistics for our first year out of the gate.  This hasn't been shared anywhere yet, so head on over and check it out.

We have over 30 instructors and 40 more in the wings, representing more than 20 states and 3 countries.

When you head over to the Birth Boot Camp blog, you'll get to check out our statistics for our LIVE CLASSES and also our ONLINE CLASSES.

On April 1st, we'll be announcing our 2014 schedule.  Check our blog and the Birth Boot Camp Facebook page for details.  The demand has been overwhelming to bring Birth Boot Camp to different cities, so we are traveling to 3 different cities next year.  We are also in Southern California THIS SEPTEMBER!

If you are interested in becoming an Instructor, apply today.  If you'd like to take a class, visit to find a live instructor.  If there is not an instructor in your area yet, take the 10-week class online.

I can't wait to see what the next year brings.  Happy 1st birthday Birth Boot Camp!

"You CAN Have an Amazing Birth!" or teach an amazing birth class!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"How Dare You Tell Me I Can Have a Natural Birth!"

Since when did the phrase "You can do it!" become offensive?  When someone cheers you on, you say thank you, right?  Except when it comes to natural childbirth.  Repeatedly over the years, I have told women things like "You could totally have a natural birth!" or "You are strong!  You can do it!" Rarely do I get a response of confidence and excitement.  In fact, often it seems that I've offended her by telling her that she could do it.  She usually begins listing all the reasons why she can't do it -- or why her doctor has told her she shouldn't even try.

Why do so many women want to believe they can't do it?  And why are they offended when someone else tells them they can?  When I say that to someone, it's not because I want them to do what I think they should do, but it's because I honestly believe they really can do it!  It's a compliment!

I think every blog post comes back to fear, doesn't it?  Fear of the unknown. Fear of the pain.  Fear of disappointing someone.  Fear of standing up to the OB and expressing your wishes.  Fear of not being heard.  Fear of becoming a mother.  Fear of being a weirdo.  Fear of not doing what everyone else is doing.  Fear of being called a hippie.

Even the strongest of women will turn over all control when it comes to childbirth.  Perhaps they are an expert in their own field, so they are willing to let the "expert" do their thing when it comes to their birth.  It's been said many times since The Business of Being Born came out that women spend more time researching their wedding, new car, new phone, etc. than they do their birth.  To the "birth junkies" this is mind boggling, right?  It's not because these women don't love their babies - they just don't think that birth is important.  Their ideas about birth have come from the media and baby showers.  Birth is scary and dangerous.  If you want a live baby, you do what your doctor tells you to do.

Telling someone they can have a natural birth puts responsibility on them. They would have to take back the control.  They would probably want to do a class besides the hospital class, which is likely more time consuming and costs more money.  It's true.  I assure you, the memory of how your child enters the world will be etched in your memory.  It will likely become more important to you than your wedding day or a silly cell phone.  And, honestly, it's a pretty awesome experience for dad too, as long as he's prepared!

I met someone at church a few weeks ago with several children.  He asked what David and I do for a living. He was much more interested in my career than David's - of course, he's a CPA so that's understandable!  He said he always wished his wife had given birth without the drugs.  Fortunately, she wasn't still standing there!  I have thought about that several times since he made that comment, however.  How many men want to tell their wives "You can do it!  I believe in you!  You are strong!" but are afraid?

I've been on the other side of fear, ladies.  It sucks.  I was scared to death to have my first baby.  I did the epidural.  I nearly had a c-section as a result of all the intervention.  I was one of the lucky ones who happen to be fully dilated when my baby started having signs of distress.  I was able to push my baby out in the nick of time.  I was lucky.

It's an awesome experience to push through that fear - literally - and come out on the other side and say "I did it!"  There is no feeling like it in the world. Next time someone tells you you can/should have a natural birth, thank them for their confidence.

I didn't want to hear the words "You can do it!"   I get it.  It was easier to believe I couldn't do it than to believe I could.  If you have someone in your life who tells you "You can do it!" ask them for details on how to make that happen.

"You CAN Have an Amazing Birth!"

Monday, March 4, 2013

BFBS Changes Priorities

This is personal post.  I've had moments over the last few weeks that have brought me to a new point.  I feel compelled to share them with you.

First and foremost, I am a wife (18 years) and mother of 4 children (16, 14, 11, 7).  I have taught natural childbirth classes for the last 10 years.  I love what I do.  It's the best job on the planet!

As you may or may not know, I founded the Tarrant County Birth Network with a couple of amazing ladies over 3 years ago.  Our leadership grew, as did membership.  In fact, we grew it to be the largest chapter of BirthNetwork National in the country.  We put together so many awesome events and meetings.  I am so proud of all that we accomplished.  It was a very busy, rewarding time for me personally.

Last January, I agreed to join the BirthNetwork National Board.  That entailed a lot of phone conversations and emails.  It took a considerable amount of time, but I had the opportunity to connect with so many women advocating for better birth around the country.

March 24, 2012 we launched Birth Boot Camp childbirth classes.  I wrote a workbook with the help of Sarah Clark and a few other Birth Boot Camp Board members. We've seen incerdible growth in less than a year.  We'll do a full report on our anniversary.  That is not the point of this post.

I cannot begin to tell you what my family has suffered over the last 3 years. Lots of take-out, and fast easy microwaveable meals.  They've learned to make a few dishes, as a result of me being so busy, like pasta and grilled cheese.  Even when I'm here, I'm extremely distracted with all that I have to do.  I'm not really present.  I'm on the phone or the computer almost non-stop.  How's this for full-disclosure?

Did I mention that I never talk to my family and close friends anymore - unless they are working on these projects with me, of course!  I literally haven't had time.  Those relationships have suffered.

It's like a train moving so fast, you can't get off.  I could see life going on for my kids and I have barely been a part of it - only the mechanics of getting through the day - just so you can get them to bed and keep working.  I really love my work.  Did I mention that?

But I also love my kids.  Oddly, my relationship with my husband has not suffered.  He's been extremely supportive and my best friend through it all.

A few weeks ago I was on the verge of starting a huge project for BirthNetwork National.  I had that moment when I stepped back and thought about whether my family could handle another big project, where mom is totally absorbed in something outside the home, even when she is at home? I've nearly got 3 teenagers in the house and they really need me to be more present.  One is homeschooled, but I haven't had time to take her to do anything extra.  In fact, my kids haven't been able to participate in extracurricular activities because I literally haven't had time to take them. Sad.

I love birth advocacy and working with these women to improve birth, not only locally, but nationally.   This weekend I've seen so many people I've worked with over the years posting about the CIMS conference and it's been hard to know that I'm not there.

And yet, I am so at peace with my decision.  I've stepped back from TCBN leadership as well as the BNN Board.  I've enjoyed my kids over the last few weeks.  I've made my family dinner!  I canned beans (I'll tell you how to do it if you really want to know).  I talked to my mom for over an hour and it was great!  I chatted with my niece over Facebook this week about a cowboy she's dating (!!!!) and it was so fun.  I'm totally stalking her page now (shhhh!), whereas I would never have had time for that in previous months.  It feels so good to reconnect with people I love.

So now I have one job.  Birth Boot Camp.  As Founder/President, I have an obligation to our instructors to make this the best company possible.  Like I mentioned, we are growing so fast because there's nothing else out there like what we're doing.  I am not pulled between 3 different jobs.  I have one job and will do it well. It's much easier to set business hours for one job than it is for three!
My family is happier.  I am happier. I am able to live in the moment, which is something I haven't done in a long time.  My church calling might actually get the attention it deserves.  (I'm in charge of SIXTEEN 14-15-year-old girls, which is a huge responsibility and we've got Girls Camp around the corner!) I'm grateful for all that I have and I'm grateful for the realization that it's OK to step away from birth activism for now.  Between all the kids activities we've recently signed up for, I might even do some long overdue home organization!  I can't wait!