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Become a Kangaroula® 

Dive deeper into the Art of Nurturescience!  In this advanced training for doulas and other health professionals, understand the key role you can play to determine whether a baby experiences “nurture” or “protest and despair” at birth.  Learn about:

  • how nurture matters for brain wiring of all babies, but how also to apply this for small and sick babies (premature).
  • the powerful connection of mother and baby  — the two truths — Zero-Separation of mother-baby is our biology, and the mother-baby dyad should never be left alone.
  • the Innate Newborn Agenda – The mother’s body precisely controls every element of her infant’s physiology, from heart rate to release of hormones, appetite, temperature, and the intensity of activity. “This creates an invisible hot house in which the infants’ development can unfold.” (Hofer)
  • how brain wiring is place-dependent – the critical moments at birth and after are when baby brain cells are fired and wired by maternal sensory inputs. There are more synapses in the brain of a newborn baby than stars in the universe, so every baby is born with the full potential of the universe.
  • ways to help avoid Infant Brain Dysregulation and enhance social connection through life (to avoid the tendency for later social withdrawal)

What is a Kangaroula® ?

As well as supporting the mother’s needs, a Kangaroula understands and advocates primarily for the baby during labor, birth and the first 1000 minutes of life, the critical time that baby’s experiences are being wired into its brain. Nurture begins with being in the right place: skin-to-skin contact.

The Kangaroula ensures this is done safely, and supports:

  • Optimal stabilization at birth
  • Emotional connection with mother and family
  • Early suckling and breastfeeding
  • Sleep cycles and rhythms
  • Adaptation to the bright, noisy and cold world outside the womb

This innate agenda requires immediate and continuous skin-to-skin contact, hence the general aim of Zero Separation. A Kangaroula speaks for the baby’s needs, minimizes stress for a more peaceful transition, and empowers a mother to read the baby’s signals. 

Conversely, a very stressful birth can mean a baby is epigenetically wired in a way that can lead to early negative effects, even through to adulthood. This can be minimized by Zero Separation of mother and baby, protecting the familiar SAFE PLACE and caring for the dyad as ONE.

Be inspired to do a Kangaroula™ course!

Be empowered to help during this crucial time when skin-to-skin contact can help baby stabilize and breathe well.  Know how to:

    • help babies calm down and protect their baby’s brain development
    • read the sensory environment
    • empower parents to read their baby’s signals and practical things to do

Nurturescience is new Neuroscience. BirthWorks offers 2-day entry-level “Registered Kangaroula” workshop and certificate of attendance (may be available for CEUs). Go on to become a “Certified Kangaroula” (another 2-day training, experience summary, 5 case reports, review of journal articles, and exam).

Want to learn more? 

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Value of BirthWorks – Why I Chose to Cross-Certify as a Birth Doula & Postpartum Doula

My inspiration to be part of BirthWorks started with my childbirth educator workshop in 2005 and the amazing mentoring afterward to support my BirthWorks-certification.  At that time in my life, I was earning a Masters degree, but honestly felt I did more work for BirthWorks certification, and work that was more valuable!  The depth of evidence-based support for BirthWorks childbirth education approach, in addition to the deep personal work, which asked me to consider my knowledge, motivation and strengths and then taught me to humbly step back and trust — the power of birth, of my clients and of life — was so useful. I was exceptionally proud to finish my BirthWorks exam, after all the amazing knowledge and insight from the very large BirthWorks Childbirth Educator manual soaked in!

Given the option years later to cross-certify as both a BirthWorks Birth Doula and a BirthWorks Postpartum Doula felt like an obvious next step and felt right. I did not need another certification — I earned doula certification long ago through another organization [at that time BirthWorks doula programs were not yet launched]. I knew there was something valuable to gain for myself – professionally and personally, and thought it would be easy to cross-certify with BirthWorks.

I was also hoping for a bit of the magical BirthWorks inspiration that I experienced in the past, and seemed to be missing for me in my career and life at times since. Going through BirthWorks cross-certification programs, I have been happily surprised by the additional depth and breadth of knowledge and tools I gained. I understand more and more, going through step-by-step, the value of BirthWorks programs.  They empower me… to be myself, trust myself and serve in the best way possible…. by deeply listening to clients’ or others’ needs, encouraging women to birth where they feel safest, helping them to work through emotions, past grief at times, and hopes for their pregnancies, labor choices, birth outcomes, so they can easeful bond, breastfeed and embody being the most peaceful, aware parents as possible.  

BirthWorks training and mentoring is always is built on the “outer work” like other birth training organizations – evidence-based research that we read, write and reflect on, to understand the labor/birth process and how to best support the time after birth.  AND…the unique distinction of BirthWorks is the “inner work” needed to complete our programs…. As a BirthWorks student we go within to clarify our own views, emotions, belief systems and often find ourselves learning and growing deeply from what we find. BirthWorks connects you to your own inner knowing and inner strength, not just as a birth worker but as a person.

Today, in conversation with one of BirthWorks Birth Doula students, she said that all evidence/information parents and professionals want is available to them easily on the internet, any time they want it… but that what we learn in BirthWorks is invaluable! We discussed that the uniqueness of BirthWorks is empowering parents and mothers-to-be to listen deeply to their own needs.  As BirthWorks professionals, we learn to do this in a unique way… one that allows us a pause, an “opportunity to marvel at the power and beauty of a woman in labor” and gives us the humble awareness to mindfully tune in to our whole beings as we approach our lives and our work

When we, as birth workers, stand witness to mothers, to babies, to births, we often experience that being in the space of love, truth, peace, right action and non-violence leads to the best birth outcomes, happiest mothers and healthiest babies. In BirthWorks, we deeply understand that the universal truth is that women already know how to give birth, and as BirthWork professionals, we embody the qualities and values that allow parents to connect to this depth of knowing within themselves.  I am grateful to cross-certify as a Doula, because I feel I am better both as a person and as a professional having experienced again a deeper understanding of why BirthWorks.

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* If you are a birth professional, who is interested in cross-certifying in BirthWorks International programs, please reach us: info@birthworks.org. A lot of your prior training work and professional work since is likely to count toward your BirthWorks certification.

 

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BirthWorks Birth Prep!

This virtual experience is a fantastic way to prep for birth now from home!!
What a brilliant gift to give yourself or to give to new parents you know!

The BirthWorks Experience helps every woman find her own best way to birth. First-time parents (as well as parents having another child) will love our engaging, interactive format of evidence-based and emotional childbirth preparation which highlights:

…understanding ways to labor that can minimize interventions

…how human-values practice increases confidence and decreases fear in birth

…understanding Four Principles of Optimal Pelvic Positioning to shorten and ease labor and birth

energy, relaxation, affirmation, primal health and more!

What is unique about BirthWorks innovative and experiential approach? 

In two short virtual Zoom sessions, parents experience a balanced, non-judgemental approach to childbirth preparation including:

  • Experiential energy work to empower and transform
  • The most gentle, amazing relaxation exercise!
  • Chance to identify beliefs about birth
  • Creating powerful affirmations to overcome and release fears
  • Knowing how to position your pelvis for an easier birth
  • Birth anticipations and expectations
  • How hormones work to your advantage and “Adrenaline Language”
  • Non-pharmacological comfort measures and the HPA axis
  • Exercises to relax the pelvic floor before and during labor
  • Understanding Primal Health – the importance of mother/baby skin-to-skin contact on brain development
  • Mother-Daughter Relationships
  • Common Sense Nutrition

If this resonates with you, join our August Birth Prep or sign up for fall BirthWorks Birth Preps now offered monthly! Questions? Please reach info@birthworks.org

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Choosing to Cross Certify as a Doula With BirthWorks International

As I read “Doulas of Love” by Cathy Daub, I was reminded about why I am seeking dual certification as a doula with BirthWorks. As an experienced birth doula, I was familiar with many of the topics since I am a certified Childbirth Educator with BirthWorks. But there was an aspect of the guidebook that was refreshing, and it was admittedly the uniquely BirthWorks part. I think the best way for me to articulate what I learned through my reading would be to
explain what I found to be the most important.

Human Values through the Five Senses is a wonderful goal for my work not only as a doula but also in my life. And taking in the five human values through the five senses illustrates the importance of completely incorporating human values into our daily lives. And I feel I do that. I strive to speak honestly, to encourage and not tear down. I eat (mostly) healthy foods, and exercise my body regularly and support my clients in doing the same. During their births I am constantly helping them to see the positives and the benefits to the hardships that come their way. Labor is hard, but that’s part of the process. To be present with women and help them to see past the difficulty into the learning and transformation that labor brings, is an honor and essential for their positive memories of the birth. I am humble in their strength, and I am calm in their anxiety. I was encouraged to know I already use human values in my doula work.

The second thing that really spoke to me was the explanation of the Three H’s of “Head, Heart, Hands.” The hands should only carry out what is approved by the heart and considered in the mind. The subconscious actions do not consult the heart and manifest as reactions rather than responses. Again, I was encouraged to know that I follow what my heart feels is right and am privileged to work with many providers who do the same. I also found it interesting to consider how sometimes women in labor act from their subconscious, reacting with outbursts
in labor, instead of calm responses. This makes sense though, since a laboring woman, while also feeling with her heart, is less in her frontal cortex, the thinking brain, and far more in the limbic portion of her brain where the subconscious lies. So when a laboring woman acts in this way it can be considered a positive, for it is a sign that she is deep in her labor.

Doulas who practice serving from their hearts, exemplify the BirthWorks Human Values and character training. I have heard doulas and the work we do described as heart work. This is a very intimate job. Our role is very personal and we are present with our clients during vulnerable and intimate moments. It’s of utmost importance that we are respectful and serve unconditionally, meeting our clients where they are. In order to do this truly we must speak
with our hearts and serve that same way. It is not our birth but our clients’ birth. And as such, it’s also important that we respect their decisions even if they wouldn’t be our decisions.

That took me time to learn, but I wholeheartedly believe it now. There is book knowledge about stages of labor and comfort measures. But the true value we bring to a birth is our hearts. The rest will come but if we are not connecting with our clients through our hearts, then all of the techniques and knowledge will fall flat. Incorporating and practicing Human Values goes both ways—the way I serve my clients, and also the way my clients walk their journey of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Being reminded of the importance of processing my decisions
through not only my brain but also my heart can do so much to encourage my words and actions will help and not do harm.

I also love how the BirthWorks human values approach to doula certification doesn’t stop there. These values are also important to use in life. And these are the parts of my doula work that I find most challenging. Not for me. But when I see providers and nurses acting in ways that don’t respect human values it’s very difficult and it upsets me. As doulas we are caught in the middle. We cannot undermine or oppose providers, for that does not instill
confidence and safety in our clients. My role is to protect the emotions of my client and help her to feel calm and secure. My job is made more difficult when a provider is not using human values in their approach. Thankfully, I rarely encounter this. But I realize there are doulas who are constantly struggling with the cognitive dissonance felt when the providers’ actions don’t reflect human values.

The next thing I found notable in Doulas of Love was being reminded of the deep affect our relationships with our mothers can have on our pregnancy, birth, and mothering. I have a very good relationship with my mother, however I have worked with clients who are not as fortunate. I see how difficult it can be to incorporate their mothers in their birth in a healthy way, and some choose to disengage them for the sake of preserving their experience. We discuss the importance of being selective about one’s support team, but I also remind them it’s critical to communicate feelings even if difficult. It’s all very complicated, that’s for sure. And while it can be hard information to process, and even feel a bit too overblown to me, I don’t recall there being any mention of the mother/daughter relationship in my other trainings.

In helping a woman in labor to relax, I highlighted the line “It is important to remember that the most comfortable position may not be the most effective one.” I agree with this mostly. I see it happen often when a client lies down and finds the contractions ease a bit. Rest has its place in labor, but I know women often prefer it because it is less painful. This is the case in early labor. For we know in active labor it can be more difficult and uncomfortable to lie
down. However, I have served clients for whom when they feel pain, if it’s localized to one area, like on their left or right hip, it may signify a problem and not so much the progress of labor. It could indicate that the baby is in a less than optimal position and thus would require some intentional maternal positioning to encourage baby to move off the one hip. But I agree almost entirely that the less comfortable a position the more productive the position.

I appreciated the reminder of the importance of holistic nutrition as well. Nutrition is not just what we put in our mouths; it is also what comes through our eyes, ears, out of our mouths, and into our minds and hearts. That is profound and illustrates just how extremely influential the messages are that we take into our bodies, not just the food we eat. The messages are all nourishment to us or poison, depending on what it is saying. The section on birthing language really spoke to me. I had not previously given much thought to the significance and underlying meaning behind the word support, not until I heard Michel Odent, MD explaining why the word robs laboring women of their power. It changed my verbiage and now I consciously avoid that word. I have replaced support with serve and I do it now without thinking. It’s so important that we always remember that the woman is the one
birthing her baby, not the partner, not the doula, and not the nurse, nor the provider. As soon as we forget that she is the one birthing, we disengage her from the process and walk the dangerous line of doing things for her or to her, rather than having an open dialogue about what it is she desires and feels is the best course of action. Counsel and explanation of options from the provider is of course welcome and helpful, but the decision should be made by the
woman.

If we are to truly believe our clients have the knowledge and ability to birth the way they need to, then we need to avoid considering ourselves an expert. I never want to feel I’m the expert at a client’s birth, although sometimes they paint me out to be just that. The knowledge of comfort measures and labor stages and nuances can easily make us come across as one, as well as the sheer numbers of births attended. But I’m constantly checking myself to
make sure I am respecting the mother as the one who knows best and only offering insight and ideas when relevant or requested for I have never attended her in this particular birth. The only one who is an expert in her birth is her. Knowing and truly believing this, I use my heart to determine whether I should say or do things that are to “help”. I weigh it very carefully before proceeding. And I think BirthWorks’ approach articulates what I feel my doula approach has become.

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Food As Medicine (FAM) 2020 Event in New Jersey

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  Hippocrates

SOLD OUT!  120 people attend our very successful Food As Medicine event held in NJ on January 25, 2020.   People attended from all walks of life, wanting to know more about how to improve their health through the food they eat.  The message of the day was, “Take control of your health!”

Anthony Masiello gave an introduction on how to get started on a plant based diet which helped him go from 360 to 195 pounds. These changes had a dramatic impact on his life in that he could now use the seat belt on a plane and sit with his son in the train ride at the park.

Sarina Pasricha MD,  gastroenterologist described the importance of our brain-gut connection.  Getting “butterflies” in our gut is a good example.  She said we are 1% human and 99% bacteria, and 95% of our bacteria are in our GI Tract – mostly the large intestine.  The gut membrane connects diet with our immune system.  Most diagnoses are linked to unhealthy gut microbiome.

Robin Wilson-Smith DO, asked us “What is the most common nutritional defect in America?”  The answer is “Fiber.” We eat too much protein and not enough fiber. She went on to say that the most common cancer in the USA today is endometrial, the lining of the uterus and obesity is the number one cause for endometrial cancer.  She emphasized that non-processed soy based foods such as tofu and edamame are healthy and help to decrease cancers, especially of the breast.

Karen Gibson, registered dietician said that every breastfed baby knows that the milk tastes different in every nursing, depending on what their mothers’ eat.  She mentioned that plant based diets provide enough iron and that when eaten with foods high in Vitamin C, the iron absorption increases up to five times.

Laurie Marbas MD, MBA presented on the topic “Chronic Disease Is it a choice?” She said that we as a country are getting sicker. Our medical education teaches one to be reactive, not proactive.  This leads to a sick care system rather than a healthy one.  20% of our children are overweight or obese.  Life span is cut by ten years when one has type 2 diabetes in their 20’s.

All speakers acknowledged that transitioning to a whole foods plant based diet is the best way to stay healthy, so long as there is also  adequate exercise and good sleep.  She said we become the company we keep so choosing to be around like minded people realizing the health benefits of a whole foods plant based diet makes the transition easier.

Cathy Daub and Karen Burzichelli organized the event, their third one in New Jersey and there was tremendous enthusiasm from the audience to return next year.  The combination of healthy food, good company, incredible learning, and yoga stretches with Kayla all made this an event not to be missed.  Be on the lookout for our event in 2021!

 

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Journey Into the World of Nurturescience!

Journey Into the World of Nurturescience!

Become Registered As A Kangaroula!baby feeding on mom with 2nd woman watching

March 21-22, 2020 in Medford, NJ (12 miles from Philadelphia)

 “Behavior is Place Dependent.”  “What is an innate fetal agenda?”  “What are primal behaviors?”  “What does brain regulation and dysregulation look like?” “ What happens to a baby when there is an allostatic load?”  “How is ‘suckling’ different from ‘sucking?’ ” You may wonder, “How do these affect the brain of a newborn baby and his growth into adulthood and what can we do to help newborns get a better start in life?”  Journeying into the world of Nurturescience  provides answers to these questions.

When I think of a journey, I think of going deeper into what I already know.  When I was in my twenties, my husband and I, newly married, decided to travel around the world for one year.  That one year became three and a half years, visiting 55 countries on six continents of the world, and becoming transformed along the way.  We made this trip early in life and have had the benefit to this day.   We found out that there is always more when you decide to dive deep and the earlier it is learned, the better.

This has been my experience travelling with Nils Bergman and hearing him lecture about Nurturescience.  In fact, his Nurturescience is the NEW Neuroscience.  The impact of what a newborn baby experiences in the first days and weeks of life is more fascinating and has a deeper impact than we realize.  With this new learning in Nurturescience, my passion to help moms and babes have healthier experiences in birth has become more intense because I see how this impacts society and its leaders at large. The beginnings of this lie in birth.

This workshop will benefit all health professionals, including neonatal nurses, midwives, lactation consultants, birth and postpartum doulas and childbirth educators certified in their field through any organization.

Come and learn:

  • How nurture matters for brain wiring of all babies, but how also to apply this for small and sick babies (premature).
  • The powerful connection of mother and baby – the two truths – Zero Separation of mother-baby is our biology, and the mother-baby dyad should never be left alone.
  • The Innate Newborn Agenda – The mother’s body precisely controls every element of her infant’s physiology, from heart rate to release of hormones, appetite, temperature, and the intensity of activity. “This creates an invisible hot house in which the infants’ development can unfold.” (Hofer)
  • How brain wiring is place-dependent – the critical moments at birth and after are when baby brain cells are fired and wired by maternal sensory inputs. There are more synapses in the brain of a newborn baby than stars in the universe, so every baby is born with the full potential of the universe.
  • Ways to help avoid infant brain dysregulation and enhance social connection through life (to avoid the tendency for later social withdrawl).

 

I wish I had known more about nurturescience when I was a young mother and am grateful for the research surrounding this new neuroscience.   We are starting a new movement of Kangaroulas in the USA.  Be one of the pioneers in this movement.

 

www.birthworks.org     Click Events.  For more information click Trainings and scroll down to Kangaroula trainings.