Return to Franklin & 2016 Class Dates Posted!

Goodbirths has returned to it’s Franklin/Cool Springs area location for childbirth education classes and has announced class dates for the first half of 2016! While we loved teaching classes at Blooma Yoga, we felt that it was best for our family life and business to move classes back to our former location. By doing this, we can spend less time away from our family, and we are better able to serve expectant families in the areas south of Nashville.

We have also put up our class dates for the first half of 2016. We’ll be offering several six-week class series beginning January 5 with one- or two-week breaks between each. We’ll also be offering our Weekend Intensives again this year. These crash courses allow those who are unable to commit to six weeks of evening classes to get the same information in a slightly condensed format. The classes meet two consecutive Saturdays for 4 1/2 hours each. But don’t worry, we’ll take breaks! The first Weekend Intensive is scheduled for January 16 & 23 – perfect for those February and March babies!

If you need more information on the classes, check the website at

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Hee Hee Hee – That’s Not Lamaze Today!

Okay, let’s see a show of hands – how many of you have heard of Lamaze? And how many of you think of a woman in labor breathing “hee, hee, hee, hoo” when you think of Lamaze? I’ll bet a bunch of you raised your hands, didn’t you? Because Lamaze has been around for decades, it’s what people think of when they think of birth, and when they think of Lamaze, they think of that breathing thing. We’ve all seen it, right? On television, in the movies? The fact is, Hollywood loves Lamaze breathing because it’s funny. But did you know that all that “hee, hee, hee” breathing doesn’t have anything to do with the Lamaze of the 21st Century? It’s true – Lamaze hasn’t done patterned breathing for, oh, about 20 years. So, what, you ask, does Lamaze do? Well, Lamaze does a lot of things – they teach about pregnancy and birth, they teach about medical procedures, they teach about breastfeeding, they teach about newborns and they teach a ton of ways to cope with labor – but their primary goal is to help women get the information they need to have safe and healthy births. Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators assist women (and their partners) in doing this by structuring their childbirth education classes around the Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices. These Practices are based on the best scientific research available and have been shown to promote the best outcomes for mothers and babies. In other words, science says if you follow these guidelines, you’re more likely to have a healthy baby, a healthy mother and a better birth – and isn’t that what we all want? So if you’re in the Nashville area and want to learn how to have a healthy baby, a healthy mother and a better birth, check out the Lamaze classes offered by Tracy at Blooma Nashville Yoga.

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Mother Love and 5 Tips for Bonding – Brilliant Mama Blog Tour

I’m so excited to be a part of the Brilliant Mama Blog Tour sponsored by Jenni from

Did you read Susan Peck’s piece yesterday about “Leaving a Visual Legacy of Love for Your Children.”  I loved when she encouraged moms to get into their own photos with their children so that when they are older their children “will have a tangible, visual reminder of the beautiful face that looked at them with so much love.”

Also, make sure you don’t miss Larken Lech’s post tomorrow where she’ll be sharing about “The inner thoughts and struggles of a first time mom during the night and how to take it one day at a time.” I can’t wait!

So when my friend Jenni Derryberry Mann, yoga guru extraordinaire, asked me to write a post, we talked about mother love, and I had a lot of thoughts rolling around in my brain. Mother love is vast and seems like it can cover a great deal of territory – whether you’re talking about the brand new love a mother has for her newborn, the thrill she experiences when her toddler takes her first steps, the mix of emotions when Mom sends her off to kindergarten that first day, or the pride she feels when that child walks across the stage to receive a high school diploma. They grow up fast!

But, as a doula, what I witness most often and care deeply about is that first experience a mother has of falling madly in love with the new little person she holds in her arms for the very first time. And it is part of my job to help make sure those early moments are protected.

I recently acted as doula for a mother who had a very long early labor, and it seemed that her body just did not want to make that move into active labor. We tried many things to help her labor progress, when I finally decided we needed to talk – perhaps something emotional was holding her back. Very quickly, she revealed to me that she feared she would not bond with her baby boy when he arrived. She explained that she had a friend who had trouble bonding with her own baby, and although we don’t know the circumstance or what might have affected her friend, this situation had caused my client a great deal of anxiety. We proceed to have a discussion about her ability to bond and how her birth plans would facilitate the process. Although it still took awhile, her labor did finally progress and she had a beautiful natural birth. After the birth, I worked to protect her bonding experience with her baby by ensuring that several things happened, and she did fall deeply in love with her son.

Many of the things that we did are things that you, too, can do to aid the bonding process with your own baby.

  1. First and foremost, spend as much time as possible skin-to-skin with your baby, especially during the first hours after birth, but even during the following days. Skin-to-skin helps keep baby warm and regulates baby’s heart rate, blood sugar, and breathing.
  1. Breastfeed during the first hour after birth. Babies are most alert and ready to eat during this first hour, after that they may become a bit more sleepy and want to doze off when they get snuggled up next to mom.
  1. Delay administration of prophylactic eye ointment until the end of the first hour, if you choose to have it used at all. Tennessee state law says that the eye ointment is to be administered within the first hour, but you can ask to have it at the end of that hour because it will affect baby’s eyesight, and babies use their eyesight for bonding.
  1. Sing to your baby or at least read a book. Begin singing a favorite song to your baby while s/he is still in the womb, and don’t worry that you don’t have a great singing voice – babies don’t care, they just want to hear your voice. After birth, continue to sing the same song – there have been some small studies that have shown that parents’ singing will calm a fussy baby. And if you really are afraid to sing, pick out a short book to read instead.
  1. Last, but certainly not least, honor the first hour as family time – and I don’t mean extended family! The first hour after birth is time for mom, dad/partner, and baby to become a family. Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Sally will all have plenty of time later to cuddle, kiss, and get to know the new little one, but the first hour is not for passing her or him from person to person. If they just have to see the baby, take a great picture and text it – they’ll just have to wait to get their hands on that bundle of joy!

Remembering these five tips will help get bonding off to a great start, and I promise, that mother love will only grow and grow!

Now don’t forget to check out tomorrow’s dose of brilliance from Larken Lech.

In case you missed yesterday, no worries. Click here to view Susan Peck’s post.

Thanks for stopping by the Brilliant Mama Blog Tour!


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Girls In Danger

“Advocacy includes action taken in support of a cause or an idea. It may include, for example, providing education, distributing information, or holding events to dramatize an issue or the effect of a problem on people or a community.” (Worth, 2009)

Even though we are more than three decades past the women’s rights movement of the 1970’s, it is amazing to realize how much gender inequality still exist in our U.S. society. One of the groups who are perhaps suffering the most from this prejudice are our girls. While some of the stereotypes of girls being bad in subjects like math and science are slowly dissolving, girls instead are now facing expectations being put forth by the media and society to be some sort of “supergirls” – girls who have to meet everyone’s high expectations, be thin, be pretty, be smart, and the list goes on. (“The Supergirl Dilemma,” 2006) These girls are expected to be everything to everyone and are suffering a great deal of stress in response.

In addition to dealing with these expectations, there is another side that many people don’t see. Our girls are also being faced with violence – physical, sexual, and emotional. According to some experts, one in six women will be sexually assaulted within their lifetime, and most of these assaults go unreported. (data from, accessed 11/27/10) One study also showed that many victims end up finding their way into the juvenile justice system, with as many as 92% of female offenders reporting having been abused, either physically, emotionally, or sexually. (“Congress Passes Legislation on Violence Against Girls,” 2006) How can a girl grow into a confident, successful woman when faced with these kinds of challenges?

Fortunately, there is an organization that is working on their behalf. Meet Girls, Inc., a national nonprofit which “responds to the changing needs of girls and their communities through research-based programs and advocacy that empower girls to reach their full potential and to understand, value, and assert their rights.” (Girls, Inc. website, accessed 11/27/10) In his book Nonprofit Management: Principles and Practice, Michael Worth tells us that “nonprofits have been in the forefront of every important social change from the beginning of the nation. They have been the principal advocate for people who are disadvantage or disenfranchised . . .” (Worth, 2009) This is exactly what Girls, Inc., is doing – advocating for young women by establishing programs to educate and build self-esteem. Some of their programs include education in economic literacy, leadership, self-defense, enthusiasm for the sciences, and pregnancy prevention, to name a few.

But Girls, Inc., doesn’t stop there. “Lobbying goes beyond advocacy – it is action taken to support or oppose specific legislation at the national, state, or local level.” (Worth, 2009) Girls, Inc., leaders have testified before Congressional hearings on key matters concerning girls and young women. And, in 2006, Girls, Inc., was influential in lobbying Congress to unanimously pass the Violence Against Women Act with provision to promote girls’ safety. (“Congress Passes Legislation on Violence Against Girls,” 2006))

I have a five-year-old daughter and am already beginning to see the effects of the media and society on her at such a young age. She is already concerned with her appearance and is starting to place expectations on herself about her schoolwork in Kindergarten!!! I am trying to find a way to balance her need for healthy self-esteem with an understanding that perfection is not attainable and, therefore, not an expectation that we, her parents, have for her. I’m pleased to have learned about Girls, Inc., and the work they are doing on behalf of girls to help them become self-confident and successful.  I think this is an organization I will be getting to know better in the near future!

If you would like to learn more about Girls, Inc., and how you can support the young women in your community (or even in your own home?), check them out!


“Congress Passes Legislation on Violence Against Girls.” (March 5, 2006). Accessed from, accessed 11/27/10 Accessed 11/27/10).

“The Supergirls Dilemma: Girls Feel the Pressure to be Perfect, Accomplished, Thin, andAccommodating.” (October 12, 2006).
Accessed from

Worth, M. J. (2009). Nonprofit Management: Principles and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, Inc.


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Volunteer Experience

One of the requirements for the “Introduction for Nonprofit Organizations” course that I am currently taking is that we all have to perform at least two hours of volunteer service for a nonprofit organization and write a blog post about our time of service. In his book Nonprofit Management: Principles and Practice, Michael J. Worth says that some people consider this type of “mandatory voluntarism” an oxymoron, in other words, if a person is being pressured or forced to perform a service, say in order to receive a grade, then it is not “volunteering” at all. (Worth, 2009, p. 198) However, I would disagree. Sometimes this type of required voluntarism may, like in my own case, simply be an opportunity to “kill two birds with one stone” as the old saying goes.

Although I am primarily a stay-at-home mom, I am also by profession a birth doula and a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, and I am very passionate in my desire to ensure that mothers know how to make safe and healthy choices for themselves and their babies, before, during, and after birth. One of the ways I have found to increase awareness of these choices for women is by working with the Nashville Birth Network, which is a local chapter of the national nonprofit organization Birth Network National. Both of these organizations seek to increase awareness of safe, healthy choices by advocating Mother-Friendly care as defined by the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative. Nashville Birth Network (NBN) also participates in local baby fairs and conferences and holds monthly informational meetings with speakers discussing various topics of interest to expectant and new parents. I have been volunteering with NBN in various capacities and at various events for the past 2-3 years. I chose to use another NBN event as my class volunteer requirement, as well. So, even though I am expected to do this for a grade, it is something I have chosen to do because I care about the organization and the cause, whether I get the grade or not.  In her Powerpoint presentation for this class, Dr. Kathy Maxwell lists a number of reasons why a person might volunteer, including mission meets personal values, desire to give back to community, improve the lives of others, advance a cause, meet personal needs and desires, and because they were asked. (Maxwell, 2010, p. 13)  These are just a few, but they do well in describing my reasons for volunteering for NBN.

Two weeks ago, October 15-17, the Midwives Alliance of North American (MANA) was holding its annual conference in the Nashville area, and NBN had reserved a booth in the exhibit hall for the weekend. Set-up for the exhibit hall would begin on Thursday, the 15th, then the booth would need to be manned at various times throughout the day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Megan Morton, the NBN Chapter Leader, had already sent out a call for volunteers. Since my children would be in school on Friday, and I had already volunteered to help with some of the preliminary organizational set-up work for MANA and the conference itself on Thursday, I figured my best time to be at the NBN booth would be Friday morning.

I arrived Friday morning at approximately 8:30 to make sure everything was set up and the booth/table was ready for the exhibit hall to be open from 9:00 a.m. – Noon. We had three other people scheduled to be there; however, one would only be with us for about an hour and the other two were very new to the group, so I was given the role of “manager” for this shift. Our goals were threefold, first, since we knew that having the Vanderbilt Nurse Midwifery program locally in Nashville meant there might be a higher number of local attendees than normal at a national conference, we wanted to promote the benefits of membership in NBN. Secondly, we also knew that there would be many out-of-town attendees who would not be interested in membership, so we distributed brochures detailing aspects of the Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative and told them about Birth Network National. Thirdly, we wished to raise much-needed funds to support our local programs, so we had three different bumper stickers and a logo t-shirt that we were selling.

I am a naturally friendly, out-going person, so I found this to be a fun and productive morning. We actually ended up being there until 1:00 p.m. instead of Noon, because the organizers simply couldn’t seem to get the attendees to leave the exhibit hall! I was able to take an application and fee for one new membership and gave out two other applications. We distributed lots of brochures, and we sold 60-65 bumper stickers and several t-shirts. I was also able to talk with a number of midwives, aspiring midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, and other birth professionals about the Birth Network, what we do, our goals for our community, and how they can do the same in their areas.

When the organizers finally started threatening to lock the doors with people still inside the room, we finally put our things away, covered our table, and put the money in the lock box for the next shift.  After talking with the NBN Chapter Leader at the end of the weekend, it turns out that we did end up receiving two new member applications and made over $300 on the items we were selling, so it was a successful event for the organization and the additional funds will enable NBN to continue with some of the other educational/informational events we have planned for the future.

As I said before, although this was a volunteer project that I was required to do for a grade in my class, it is also a volunteer project that I would have participated in anyway, with an organization to which I have already made a commitment. So, rather than being a coerced volunteer, perhaps I am somewhere in between what Worth calls a “spot volunteer, whose participation is casual and episodic” and a “regular volunteer” whose “assignments may have the formality of regular paying jobs.” (Worth, 2009, p. 198) No, I don’t do this with any true regularity, but my commitment to the Nashville Birth Network, and birthing women and their babies, is definitely more than casual! And, if you are interested in how women can have safer, better births and healthier babies, check out the Nashville Birth Network!


Maxwell, K.  (2010) Introduction to Nonprofit Organizations — Week 7:  Staff & Volunteers.  [Powerpoint Slides].  Retrieved from

Worth, M. J. (2009). Nonprofit Management: Principles and Practice. Los Angeles:
Sage Publications, Inc.

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