Sonoma County's Birth Center
I am a mother of daughter who was born in 2013 underwater at home using The Mongan Method of HypnoBirthing here in Sonoma County.
I have been passionate about womans reproductive health and birth since 1999. I have a background in Psychology, Ayurvedic medicine, sex education and midwifery which all weave together to create my teaching practice based out of Sebastopol.
In 2010 I had the good fortune of apprenticing under a homebirth midwife who gave me the opportunity to attend live homebirths. Every birth was unique and every birth had the same outcome, a baby was born! The practical hands on experience of birth gave me the complete faith that natural birth works and our bodies are perfectly designed. I infuse my HypnoBirthing classes with that energy of focus, confidence, and joy, which my students pick up on and can carry forward into their own birthing experiences.
While studying psychology I became fascinated with “transition moments” in a womans life, those clear forks in the road where she becomes reborn. To me, pregnancy and birth are the crowning glory of transition moments, if folks have had a challenging time making positive changes in their life, they will often make them for their child. The ripeness of this time can positively impact the health and joy of the future family unit and I am honored to be offering birth classes that give women ideas to run with.
In 2003 I witnessed a lot of my friends go on chemical birth control because it was readily available in college and they did not know of any other way to avoid pregnancy. I saw the subtle and odd effects the pills were having on my friends and actively made the decision to find another way to regulate my cycle. I began a long journey of researching natural birth control methods and in 2008 found the Billings Institute based out of Australia which was reaching out to women all over the world, educating them on how to properly track their cycles to avoid or achieve pregnancy. I contacted the institute and in 2009 I was formally trained to be able to offer classes to our community. What struck me about the training was how EASY and straight forward the information was. I found myself wishing that there was another sex education class offered in college, the one most of us got in elementary school was just not enough!
I have been raising awareness about the method since 2009 and love creating a safe space for women and couples to ask questions about their bodies and sex. I often have couples come to me with uncertain looks on their faces and after class they leave laughing and talking about cervical mucus. I have helped women avoid pregnancy, as well achieve pregnancy who were about to turn to IVF.
My teaching style is lively, fun and easy to understand. I have the ability to distill information in a positive and empowering way so that every woman and couple feel equipped and confident in the methods they are learning.
As a birth worker, I bring this connection to our past and future. I believe that the experiences we have lived as women and the stories we hear from other women deeply affect our births, and as an educator and doula I work to help create birth stories that are empowered, strong and self aware. Whether I am attending a birth, or teaching women about the hormones that our bodies create to allow us to birth our children, I believe in a women’s inherent right and ability to birth her child her way.
Prior to 2009, I spent a decade as a community and union organizer for healthcare professionals. My days were spent asking people to challenge authority and to create a new vision for their work environment that was based on collaboration, advocacy, and personal power. Becoming a certified doula and a childbirth educator was an easy and natural next step.
Since 2009, I’ve had the honor of helping hundreds of women and their families connect with their bodies, their personal narratives, and their babies. As a full spectrum doula, I have supported women not only through pregnancy, birth and new parenthood, but through pregnancy loss and termination as well. As an educator, my focus is to simply remind women how to birth, to bring a bright light to the birthing body’s tremendous ability, and to help families explore intimacy and initiation. I’ve been lucky enough to volunteer with amazing organizations that serve teen mothers, incarcerated women, homeless and under-served families. At the same time, my work as a professional doula and educator has allowed me to support many families through their home births and hospital births, and all the ways they choose to birth and create families- from queer moms to hypnobirthing to solo parenting. I sit on the Board of Advisors for SQUAT magazine, and write an on-going column about full spectrum reproductive work and birth activism. In addition to supporting pregnant and birthing families throughout the Bay Area, I am also exploring the study of death midwifery. I see this work as another side of the same coin as my birth work, in that this is another step in helping families lay claim to all of our most transformative biological, emotional, spiritual (and often heavily logistical) experiences, which we will all have: birth and death, and everything in between.
Always having had a deep interest in health and wellness, I discovered yoga in 2000, when I was earning my BA in psychology at San Francisco State University. When I felt the transformative and therapeutic nature of a regular practice, I fell in love with yoga. My focus shifted from a long held dream of becoming a therapist, to that of becoming a yoga teacher. For years I enjoyed my role as a student, drawn to Iyengar and gentle restorative practices. The practice of yoga offers an opportunity to sharpen awareness within the body and mind, connect to the power of the breath, and to be present on the mat and ultimately, in our lives. I earned my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification in 2009, from Yoga Tree in San Francisco. Soon after, I met the man that would become my husband. We knew almost instantly that we were going to be committed for the long haul, and both of us wanted a family. I’ve studied with many talented and wise teachers while on this path. However, my most influential teacher is Britt Fohrman. I love her for her gentle hatha classes and restorative workshops. She also specializes in Prenatal Yoga, is a birth doula, and the lead teacher for the yoga teacher training, Yoga for The Childbearing Year. I could see motherhood in my future and wanted to enter the chapter mindfully. So, in 2010 I took her 100 hour teacher training through The Mindful Body in San Francisco. Three months later I became pregnant with my first child. I practiced yoga throughout my entire pregnancy. I worked with a midwife, took hypnobirthing classes, and gave birth to my son Miles at home in 2011. From 2012 to 2013 I taught Pre/Post Natal Yoga at Yoga One in Petaluma. And in 2014, I gave birth to my second son Maxwell, also at home. Each pregnancy and birth experience was uniquely different from the other. With both, it was my yoga practice, a deep connection to breath, and the trust I had in my body, which aided me as I navigated the childbearing years, and now as I navigate motherhood. It’s now almost fifteen years later, and my yoga practice has remained the one constant in an ever changing life and body. I especially love working with women throughout pregnancy and in early motherhood. It is such a sacred and potent time.
My mission as a teacher is to inspire others to:
• Find deeper connection to body and breath
• Remain curious about the sensations which arise during the poses
• Hold space for tuning in to one’s self
• Practice nurturing the self in the midst of nurturing children.
I am called to serve women and their families during the childbearing years as a mother, optimist, doula and Yoga teacher. I offer excellent, individualized, easeful, peaceful prenatal Yoga instruction. I am passionate about Yoga as a vital preparation for birth and would love to reach as many pregnant women as I can. I have been studying and practicing Yoga since 1999 and attending births since 2005. My Prenatal Yoga teaching is imbued with the lessons of my own practice, the birth of my daughter in 2011 and my experience supporting women through labor and birth. I am grateful for the benefit of Yoga practices in my own life and am blessed to guide pregnant women into the sweetness of deep relaxation, to encourage spaciousness in their changing bodies and to witness in them the transformative potential of pregnancy. A self-described birth nerd, I am fascinated by all parts of pregnancy and childbirth. I am especially interested in the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy and the newborn and how specific Yoga poses, breathing practices and relaxation can help integrate the changes of pregnancy and prepare a woman for birth and mothering.
Growing up on the slopes of Haleakala Maui, I developed a deep passion for biology. My love and respect for mother earth and her resources originated out of experience with Hawaiian cultural practices ranging from traditional horticulture practices to the hula and Hawaiian chant. I moved to Sonoma County to attend Sonoma State University and continued to explore my passion in the sciences. Majoring in Biology, with an emphasis in Botany, I decided to continue my exploration of plants at the California School of Herbal Studies where I investigated every aspect of working with plants, exploring their therapeutic properties, ways to extract them, and ways to make them readily available through food and body care products. After 3 years of intensive studies, I then continued my education at Bauman College where I became a certified holistic nutrition consultant & educator. Blending this education with my work done at the California School of Herbal Studies, I provide a holistic approach with well rounded support through diet analysis, cooking instruction, healthy recipes & meal planning, supplement & herbal education, lab test analysis, and individual dietary guidance and education. In 2011 I began to work with COTS (Committee on the Shelterless). I worked one-on-one with the underserved population of Sonoma County, providing nutrition consultation to the homeless community. Dealing with issues ranging from autoimmune disorders, pre & postnatal nutrition, diabetes, drug/substance abuse, and chronic degenerative diseases, I was able to see first-hand how greatly food impacts our health, and how little is understood by the majority of people dealing with these chronic health issues. I was motivated to be apart of the change that is so greatly needed, and began teaching. My focuses are in Pre & Postnatal Nutrition, Nutrition for Autoimmune Disorders, Foods and Herbs for Detoxification, and Eating for Health. In addition to teaching and consulting, I also offer customized therapeutic meals for individuals wanting to eat healthier, but for whatever reason, need a little support in this area, and customized therapeutic body care products. Aloha.