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Today, we introduce Julia, a hardworking and beautiful wife, mother and childbirth educator in Grapevine, TX. We love our natural birth instructors and appreciate all the work they are doing as they promote childbirth education and Birth Boot Camp in their own communities. It gives us great pleasure to introduce them to you and let them tell you a little bit about themselves and their passion. Find a Birth Boot Camp childbirth educator in your area!  

First, could you introduce yourself? Tell us a little bit about your own birth experiences and how they influenced your desire to teach birth classes.

I am a stay-at-home mom of one and one on the way. My husband and I have lived all over Texas and recently moved back to the DFW area. Our first son was born at the Katy Birth Center with a wonderful midwife. She encouraged me to get really health-conscious during pregnancy, prompted us to take a birth class, she loaned me books about birth and introduced me to Ina May’s writing and she really encouraged me spiritually and emotionally.

When labor started, my husband and I were excited and confident. Labor progressed steadily and we worked together through each contraction, both happy to be putting our newfound knowledge into practice. The environment at the birth center was peaceful, quiet and calming.

I remember vividly thinking everyone seemed so calm! Our son was born after 10 hours of labor, 1 hour of pushing and weighed 9 lbs 4 oz. It was the most incredible day- even though it was the hardest work my body has ever done, I would relive it all if I could! We are now anticipating the arrival of baby #2 in just a few weeks!

What first got you interested in the realm of birth?

I was always a sort of squeamish person. I did not like talking about blood, bodily fluids, anything private or personal and especially not childbirth! I did not want to think about pregnancy or labor until I had to. About a year after I got married, my sister had a medicated birth that really opened my eyes.

I started researching more about natural birth, reading birth stories and looking up midwives in my area. During my first pregnancy, my passion was sparked and I became a fiend for all birth and pregnancy literature I could find! After my son’s birth, I knew I wanted to help other mothers to gain confidence in the natural process of birth and to eliminate the need to go through unnecessary interventions.

What are your particular passions concerning birth?

I believe birth can be a beautiful, empowering, bonding experience for a couple and that it was designed to give mothers confidence to carry them through motherhood. I know too many mothers who feel like the experience was stolen from them or that birth was just something to “get through” to get a baby. Many women feel confused about the things done to them during labor and delivery, when she should be involved in every decision made about her body and her baby.

No matter the birth women choose, I don’t think any woman should be made to feel unimportant, uninvolved or in the way of the delivery of her baby. I truly believe that if women don’t know their options, they have none. My passion is to provide women with evidence based information, encouragement and support.

There are lots of different birth educator training programs out there. Why did you choose Birth Boot Camp?

I was originally drawn to Birth Boot Camp because I felt like the materials and the themes would appeal to dads. My husband’s knowledge and confidence had a huge impact on my confidence. He knew that birth was normal and he knew I had worked hard to accomplish my goals. Not only did he offer labor support, but he supported my nutrition and fitness goals and he never doubted my ability.

I know every woman needs a partner that is prepared and supportive, in pregnancy and birth. As I learned more about the curriculum, I was so excited to know that it did not just focus on the process of birth, but on staying low-risk in pregnancy, preparing emotionally and mentally and having good communication with the entire birth team.

Many women do not realize the impact their care provider will have on their birth and I love that Birth Boot Camp provides important questions for women to ask and gain confidence that they are in the right hands! This class also provides information what to expect when pregnancy or birth do not go as planned and the options women have even in those circumstances. It is such a well-rounded curriculum and I am proud to teach it.

Tell us a little about your Birth Boot Camp training experience. Where did you train? What did you like about it?

I attended the training in Grapevine, TX in April 2013. I loved the discussion in the room and was so thankful to hear input from nurses, doulas, educators and other moms who all had the same passions. I was in a room full of women with incredible knowledge and experience!!

How is teaching your own classes going for you? What do you enjoy most about it?

Teaching class is so fulfilling and fun! I love meeting new couples and hearing their thoughts and hopes about birth. My favorite moments are the ones where I see a “lightbulb” go on and I can tell a couple is learning something new. Where else are they going to hear the real statistics about maternity care in our country and around the world? Or get a real understanding of how the placenta functions?

How many women don’t really understand many of the prenatal tests and how the results can impact their births? We are able to have open discussions and I am happy to give them the information they need to make their own decisions! You’d never know I was squeamish before to talk about bodily functions! 😉

To close, tell us how you see natural childbirth education having a positive impact? Why does this work matter to you?

Julia-West-webI have seen first hand that a positive birth experience can impact a family for years to come. I know the birth process can have long term effects on the mother’s health, physically and emotionally. And I am fascinated by the science that shows the birth process can have lifelong health effects on generations.

But mostly, I believe that God designed and created birth to “work,” and when we try to fix something that is not broken, often the experience is not as safe or fulfilling as it could have been. Common thinking in our country is that birth should be left up to the experts, birth is dangerous for all women, and the more controlled the birth, the safer it is. I hope to give every woman I know confidence, comfort and encouragement to have a voice in pregnancy and birth.

Where can we find you?

I teach at the lovely Grapevine Birthing Center. You can find out more about my class at www.inspiredbybirths.com.

Want to learn more about Julia? Check out her video on youtube where she talks about why she loves natural birth.

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