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Why on earth would you choose a natural birth?

February 9, 2012

Are you nuts?

I’m sure you’ve heard this question, or at least gotten the barely-veiled look that means the same thing, if you’ve chosen the path of going for a natural birth.

Actual quotes from people I’ve talked to:

“Would you hit yourself in the head with a hammer if you didn’t need to?”

“I’m not even going to have kids because I don’t want to go through that.”

“Why do you need to be a hero? Just make it easy.”

“I don’t even want to be in the room.”

I’m sure you have heard some doozies, too.

Why, oh why, would you choose this path?

Cue the banjo.

As I reflect on the state of birth, and just about every other thing we humans do in this society, I keep coming up with a line from a song that has nothing to do with birth… but it’s profound in its simplicity, and I think it sums up the state of affairs.

Kermit the Frog (tm) sings about life. Tell it, Kermie.

“Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it
Look what it’s done so far…”

Yeah, I just geeked out on “The Rainbow Connection.”

Kermit was singing about wishing on a star, dreaming, and magic. Believing something so much that it changes things. Because that is what belief does. It changes things.

The truth is, somewhere along the way, people began believing that birth is broken. It goes right along with our idea of human bodies generally being broken. The cure? Well, handily enough for the parties involved, we need medications of all sorts to right what is wrong. We need to buy lots of things. Guess who thought of that? Guess who believed it? And yes, just look what it’s done so far.

Believe me when I say to you, my dear wise friends, that we have been lied to. The gossip is wrong. The cure is the disease. And our friend birth, she has been sickened, but she’s still strong.

It’s time to think of birth in a different way.

Birth is the beginning of a journey, a journey that will call on your last reserves of strength and determination. This journey will make you cry. It will also bring you joy, more joy than you ever thought possible.

I have seen birth like this:


A mother so dedicated to creating peaceful birth that she works harder and digs deeper than anyone thought possible. A mother who says, “This will be my strongest day.” And it is.


A father and partner so dedicated to his family that he focuses and guides his partner with power and grace, protects her fiercely, and connects profoundly with the energy of his child entering this world. Even though his past didn’t necessarily give him the tools to deal with the intimacy and vulnerability and the raw power of pain, he finds his way and emerges more ready to be tender in his strength. More ready to be the kind of father he wants to be.


Hour after hour, they work together in a primal dance, through exhaustion, through struggle, through elation and hope and the realization of dreams. This is not an easy path. But what is gained is worth the struggle.


They are both confident in her body and each other. They can face any challenge. They remember why they made this choice. They guard their peaceful birth. They choose their thoughts. They choose peace.


In the absence of experience, faith is what guides them. Very often they get their peaceful birth in spite of, not because of their surroundings. This is a continuation of the act of creation. It is based in faith — faith in a body’s design and a mother’s abilities. It exists because it has been created, because it has been cultivated and believed in.


They create a powerful space and amaze everyone around them. They embrace the journey as a path to change, and they turn and face the challenge, ready and willing to take each step in power, holding on to each other and feeling more human, more alive than ever before. This is their marathon, their mountain, the culmination of years and moments. There are few moments this powerful in life. Clarity and purpose and the very essence of life are shown to us here, in this place of raw emotion, and life is begun again.

The birth I know is powerful and primal. The birth I know is safe and calm and peaceful. It is also challenging and it is hard, and it will rock your world. It will change you. It is profound. And it is supposed to be all those things.

What did you think you were signing up for with this life business anyway? This whole parenting thing is not for wimps. But you have what it takes. You were built for this.

I once heard someone say that only birthing mothers and soldiers in war know the depths of their strength. Knowing your strength is something worth fighting for. Parents arrive at their destination knowing more about each other and themselves, and what they are willing to do for their child. And that is a wonderful way to become a parent. In this world, miracles happen in plain sight and heroes walk among us with no medals except the golden titles of Mommy and Daddy.

So why natural birth? Because we’re up for it. We’re ready to show up and we’re ready to put everything we have into what we believe. In a world that tells us we’re broken, we must trust that small voice inside that says we’re not. We must give her a chance to prove what she can do.

We can grow a whole person in our bodies. We can nourish that person and protect that person and we can sure as hell bring that person out of our bodies and into our loving, waiting, and strong arms.

Believe in this. Believe in yourself. Beliefs change things. Beliefs change people. Beliefs create a space for miracles. Do what you know you can do.

– Laura

… read more about courage vs. conformity on Blissborn’s website


When your birth doesn’t go as planned

February 2, 2012

This blog is for those who didn’t get what they wanted.  It’s here for those who crave acknowledgement of their suffering in a way our culture is often unprepared to provide.  As a therapist and a woman, I am writing to tell you that your needs and wants are important.  At the soul level you need and deserve nurturing support.  Sometimes you may need permission to feel what you feel too.

Most of Blissborn’s stories are about personal empowerment and happy experiences with birth.  But sometimes we also hear from a mom who feels regret or loss about some part of her birth experience, and then we have the opportunity to support her in a special way.

I’m going to post some really large ideas and also some really subtle ones here, because we’re very passionate about this and want every new mom to ultimately feel so proud of herself and so strong.

First, know that you are greater than your thoughts.  You are not your thoughts about what happened.  What happened doesn’t mean anything about you personally.  You are still you.

If you are starting from a dark place, moving into the light is a process.  It is part natural healing and part intentional perspective shift. Honor both parts and simply allow them to happen.

Sometimes we lose control of our births because of hospital protocol, emergency situations or sheer overwhelm.  It’s disappointing to work and prepare and then find that your direction has been reset for you.

Give yourself credit for all that you did to try for your natural experience. In the time and space you had, you did everything you could to have your natural birth, and you truly did enough. Know and accept that you made the best choices you could at the time, with the resources and information that you had.

Even in the difficulty there is beauty to be found and wisdom to be gained, and things to be grateful for. For example, perhaps you were well taken care of at the hospital, or you got to see the tender side of your partner, or you had moments of pure clarity.

Finding those bright spots doesn’t take away the disappointment completely, and it’s important for your partner, friends and family to fully respect the grief (which is truly what it is) over the birth you had hoped for. It’s OK to ask them to respect it and hold you in a compassionate place as you grieve. It’s absolutely healthy to allow yourself to feel it.  There is nothing inherently wrong with that grief, even though our culture teaches us there’s something wrong when someone is sad. With good intentions we to try to “make” each other feel better.  Remember that if people seem unable or unwilling to see and hear your grief, it’s not about you, it’s about them.  They are following their subconscious programming, which tells them it’s not OK. You can just know that it is OK and let yourself feel it.

Think about emotions like a waves washing up on shore.  They rise, crest, and dissipate.  Try to identify which phase of emotion you are in, and you might find yourself relieved to recognize that no matter how strong an emotion is, it will dissipate. You will not get stuck in it. This can be a huge relief when you find unpleasant emotions washing through you.  You can breathe through them and imagine them washing through with no resistance, dissipating peacefully as you simply observe and accept. This is incredibly liberating.

So often we stuff disappointment down, because after all, how can you feel bad when you and your baby are safe? And that is nonsense from an emotional perspective. Don’t question or judge your emotions. They are just right.

What you wanted matters. You are allowed to grieve whatever you choose to grieve.

Your loved ones will support you best if they just hold you with compassion and trust that you are healing in your own perfect way.  Ask them to do this for you. They won’t know you need it unless you ask.

The best possible solution is to allow those feelings, and voice them. And then to focus on what you are proud of in that experience. For example, “That was still one of my strongest days. I used my strength to prepare, to sustain, and to follow my body, my mind and my heart in this pregnancy and birth.”

Also, if you used Blissborn to prepare, know that the time you spent relaxing with your Blissborn hypnosis CDs gave your baby lots and lots of happy hormones, and you can take time to appreciate the results in your calm and happy baby because of that gift. You did the best you could under the circumstances, and you deserve admiration and acknowledgement (from yourself and others — though you may have to ask for it).

You are strong. And you’ll use the lessons you learned to be a better mom — you know to your core that you’re fierce and wise. You’ll be your child’s advocate, protector, and guide. There is so much in birth to be thankful for, even if it’s not what you hoped. And if you have another baby, you’ll take that wisdom and fierceness into your next birth, too.

Imagine where you might have been if you hadn’t looked for alternatives and support for your attempt at natural birth!  More than one-third of women in the US have babies through the major abdominal surgery that is cesarean section (though the World Health Organization, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Medical Association agree more than half were unnecessary).  If you had a c-section, you certainly had good counsel to do so. If you managed a vaginal birth with the assistance of medications and/or procedures, it is a huge accomplishment and a gift — better for your baby’s lungs, gut bacteria, spine, and brain, and your body, your recovery, and your future births. Be proud of that! It will continue to be an advantage in your lives.

We at Blissborn used to be all about natural birth, all the time, period. The truth is, though, that we’ve seen beautiful epidural births, beautiful C-sections, beautiful interventions. Sometimes it’s just what has to happen.  Part of the “letting go” that the program teaches is the ability to let go of our attachment to a certain outcome.  Your peace of mind is more important than “getting it right,” so you can choose to release those attachments in favor of peace. That is a soul-level experience of empowerment if ever there was one.

As for our own experiences, Laura was devastated about her cesarean with her first child, exhausted and elated by her 73-hour natural hospital birth, and set free by her 5-hour Blissborn homebirth. The truth is, if she hadn’t had the experiences she had, we wouldn’t have found our calling.  We are glad for what happened now, because it led us on this path to make birth better for all families, and we love every minute of what we do now.  Your experience will bear fruit for you in surprising and wonderful ways.

Keep a healthy perspective and know that you are just fine. Trust that through the natural process of healing, you will find a peaceful place around your labor and birth and come out feeling proud of yourself. Take the time you need to get there, and get help with counseling or hypnotherapy if you feel stuck.

The truth is, it takes an incredible set of circumstances (tied up in the environment, the past, researching, working, thinking, letting go and LUCK) to achieve a natural birth in our society. You did the best you could in the circumstances, and that is always good enough. There’s this idea of the pinnacle of perfect, and really, almost everything just below it is just fine too.

Getting in the mindset of “good enough is good enough” will be beneficial to your children too.  Parenting is the best kind of training for grown-ups to learn to let go of perfectionism.  I like to say that the only way to fail is to expect perfection. There is no failure, just feedback. When you have learned and grown from a seemingly negative experience, you’ve gotten the full value of it and can let the past go to make room for the present. Children are wonderful at this, always starting fresh. They are lucky to have you, and you are lucky to have them.  They will learn from you to walk and talk, and you will learn from them to live in this moment, love fully, and let go of limiting ideas about perfection.

We wish you peace in your healing journey.  Feel free to contact us or your Blissborn Hypnosis Educator for one-on-one support, knowing that you are held in highest esteem as a person who deserves love and respect, whose experiences and decisions are just right.

– Shelley


To whom would you give a moment of your time?

January 25, 2012

To whom would you give just a moment of your time?

I saw something that bothered me yesterday.

A mom was wrestling her screaming toddler into the car seat, and the intensity of this little girl’s wailing was pretty high.

Now, I’ve been there, believe me, and I know sometimes we just have to wrestle these little guys into what is good for them. Heaven forbid I become that mom who judges another mom in that hard situation. And baby, do I have plenty of those situations.

But I wonder what would have happened if that very tired and frustrated mama had given her daughter a moment?

How much time does it really take?

Sometimes the rush and hustle of everyday life just doesn’t suit kids. And when they freak out, sometimes they have a good reason. It might not seem so important to us but it can be the whole world to them.

In the name of a more peaceful existence and honoring our children’s voices, I think sometimes it is right and appropriate to give them that moment. Maybe that little girl really wanted to look at something or pick something up. Maybe there was something that seemed little and stupid to her mom, but it was a very important something to her.

I wonder if she’d been heard if that could have been a more peaceful exchange? Just consider this–if you can and it’s within your power, take a breath and give your toddler their moment. Choose your battles, and when you can, choose peace.

If you have thoughts on this, let’s hear them! See how good it feels to get your moment.

– Laura


Mindy’s natural birth story

November 18, 2011

If you want to see more, go to and sign up for the newsletter.  You’ll get a link to the longer version.

Love it!



November 16, 2011

I have a bold suggestion for your life…

It struck me the other day. It’s the question,

What would a hunter-gatherer do?

You can shorten this by making a funny guttural noise that sounds like, “WWAHGD?” And I suggest you apply it to just about every aspect of your life.

A cure for what ails us?

We are in trouble. Obesity, chronic disease, mental illness, autism, depression … sometimes it seems everywhere we look in our society, there is something going terribly wrong. The sad thing is that very often this state of angst and removal feels normal to us, if a little sad. It’s no wonder we’re the most medicated society in history.

I suggest that there’s a better way. Genetically, our bodies have barely changed in 20,000 years. Yet we have changed the way we do just about everything we do.

Cavemen meet laptopSo, whether it’s a choice for your diet, your parenting, your transportation, your exercise regimen, or your birth (come on, you knew that was coming), again and again new studies prove the wisdom of simply following our biology.

The “Caveman” diet — which we will be calling the “Cave person” diet in my household — is a perfect example of this idea. Studies show that following this simple plan for a couple of weeks lowers cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure better than months of medication. If you exercise like cave people, your health improves, too.

Most importantly, I believe that if we birthed and raised our children a little more like cave people they would be happier and more secure. This is simple but powerful stuff like changing the way you think about things like sleeping and breastfeeding.

And what I really, really love about the idea is that it’s all about SIMPLIFYING. Simple is good. Simple is easy. Simple makes sense. I like simple a lot.

Look right here for our Six Big Ideas for implementing more simplicity in your life — all in a very easy and empowering way.

Warning: this is not a plan supported by reality TV, corporate America, big Pharma or McDonald’s. How cool is that?

If you have more “cave person” tips, let’s hear them!

– Laura

Download: Nest your way to a better birth!

If you or someone you love is pregnant, we have a download for you!

Check out the downloads page for this short list of ways to create a “nest” of safety around the birthing mom — it can make a BIG difference in the progress of labor.

Find the list of helpful hints here. And make sure you shake your head and go, “WWAHGD!” as you do it.


No prunes this Halloween!

October 27, 2011

Don’t try this at home …

Several years ago, on a health-food kick with very bad timing, I decided I would not hand out candy to the neighborhood spooks on my doorstep Halloween night.  No, I had such grand visions of healthy alternatives.  I thought everyone – kids and parents alike – would really appreciate something that wouldn’t give them the typical candy hangover.

I set out in search of small, individually wrapped, non-perishable, non-allergenic and low-sugar foods: fruits, jerky and even vegetables.

All I found were … prunes.Yummy Halloween prunes?

Little individually wrapped prunes.  At first I balked, but as I stood in the grocery store aisle scratching my head, the idea slowly grew on me.  Prunes would help the candy move through faster, right?  And they are naturally sweet, rich in some kind of vitamins and maybe even antioxidants.

Fast-forward to Halloween night.  Needless to say, the prunes were not a hit with anyone except Laura’s mother-in-law.  Dejected and embarrassed, I turned to her for my only comfort as she reassured me that as a kid she would have been thrilled to get prunes in her trick-or-treat bag.  Thanks, Sally!

Fortunately, I now know where to go for non-candy handout ideas, and I’ve collected a few of them here for you:

  • Vampire teeth
  • Spider rings
  • Bouncy balls
  • Halloween party-themed party favors
  • Stickers
  • Temporary tattoos
  • Bubbles
  • Rubber bugs and snakes
  • Fake jewels from a craft store
  • Quarters (yes, money!)
  • Dollar theater gift certificates
  • Granola bars or cereal bars
  • Fruit roll-ups
  • Pre-packaged Goldfish crackers or pretzels
  • Factory-sealed single serving baby carrots or apple slices
  • Cheese sticks
  • Popcorn balls
  • Single-serving trail mix (try Trader Joe’s “Just a bite”)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste travel packs or dental floss ($1 at Target)

That last one may be a little too far down on the “downer” scale like prunes.

But there you have it! You can get the toys at a party store or perhaps even the local dollar store. Make sure any foods are factory-sealed or the parents will surely toss them. Keep any perishable foods in the fridge right up until the first ghoul rings the doorbell.

And if you’re looking for Halloween treats for the babies and toddlers in your life, you’ll love this list at

I hope you have lots of smiles from your treat ideas, and that nobody thinks you’re playing tricks on them! And if you have a favorite treat that’s a Halloween home-run, we’d love to hear it!

Happy haunting,


10 Great Ways to Have a Better Birth

October 12, 2011

1. Comfort and relief can come from sources other than medication. Relaxation techniques such as self-hypnosis, a bath, shower or massage can make it much more comfortable.  Ritual behavior such as swaying, moaning and chanting opens women to their birthing instincts, making it easier and faster. And having a supportive, knowledgeable partner, doula and/or midwife cuts the perception of pain by up to 50%!

2. Pain medications impact labor, the mother, and the baby. Sometimes an epidural is exactly what’s needed, but all medications carry risks. Potential side effects include: slowing or stopping contractions; hypotension; respiratory distress for mom and baby; maternal fever; uneven, incomplete or nonexistent pain relief; relief that wears off just before pushing; and residual headaches. The side effects for baby can include drowsiness at birth that can last up to three days, poor sucking reflex, difficulty focusing on mom’s face, and a weak cry.  Any of these side effects can interfere with bonding and breastfeeding.,

3. Being chemically induced to start labor may double the chance of a Cesarean section by 50% in first-time mothers (www.ican‐  Wait for the natural onset of labor if you and the baby are doing OK.  If you need to start your labor, try nipple stimulation, acupuncture, acupressure, long walks, and definitely see a hypnotherapist!

4. Only 11% of women have their bag of waters break before labor begins.  Most of these women will begin labor naturally within 48 hours. It can be hard to wait, and many care providers like to see labor start within 24 hours of the rupture.  For those who accept medications to start or speed labor, the cesarean rate is 30‐50%.  It is wise to be patient and wait if possible; labor will usually start on its own.; http://www.ican‐

5. Having a doula during labor dramatically increases the satisfaction couples report with their birth experiences. It shortens labor by 25%, reduces requests for epidurals by 60%, and reduces the chance of Cesarean by 50%.,

6. 85% of women using the Blissborn birth hypnosis method give birth naturally, with no medications or procedures.  Their labors are usually around  5 hours long (  Various other studies have found that about 75% of women using any form of self-hypnosis training give birth with no medication, compared to only about 22% of those without hypnosis training.

7. Self-hypnosis shortens labor.  One study found a reduction of 3 hours for first-time mothers for active labor, taking the average length of labor down to about 6 hours.  Pushing was shortened significantly as well.

8. Hypnosis has been shown in numerous studies to reduce complications and the need for interventions.

9. Practicing yoga during pregnancy can increase flexibility, decrease swelling, decrease anxiety, reduce pain, end insomnia and relieve other complaints of pregnancy.  It’s good preparation for the work involved in birth too.  Learning to be present with the sensations of stretching or of holding a pose, and to breathe into the sensations, teaches a kind of softening and letting go that also works for labor. Women discover that it’s the resistance to sensations that causes suffering, not the sensations themselves.,

10. There are overall health benefits from daily relaxation during pregnancy: it decreases post-partum depression, speeds healing, tends to produce calmer babies who sleep better.

Hypnosis is a natural, alert and focused state of mind that facilitates deep physical relaxation, visualization and positive suggestions to assist the birthing process. Birth hypnosis programs teach women to let their bodies do the work of natural childbirth without interference from pain, tension and fear.  Most women already understand the deep wisdom of the mind to manage the processes and sensations of the body.  In fact, hypnosis has been used in birth since ancient times, but has only been forgotten during the past century with the medicalization of birth.  With proper training in self-hypnosis, and daily practice in the various hypnotic skills such as instant relaxation and pain erasure, most women can give birth naturally, comfortably and easily. We believe that birth is a natural process that can actually be enjoyable.  To learn more and get your Bliss on, check out Find a Class.