McMoyler Method : Taking The Judgement Out Of Childbirth
Trying to decide which childbirth prep curriculum to bring under the Kinspace umbrella proved to be a daunting task. At the core of Kinspace is inclusivity. It is my goal for every parent to feel supported without judgement, provided with education and resources that will nurture their individual paths as new families. In other words, parenting education is not about teaching parents how I would do things, but rather presenting a wide array of common best practices and guiding each parent to feel confident in making the perfect fit choice for their family. No family is the same, just like each birth is unique. I often hear disempowering statements made about birth that result in mamas feeling shame or remorse around their birth story. I also believe….and hold on to something here….every birth is natural.
You had a baby? Awesome! You did it! It’s natural.
As a psychotherapist specializing in postpartum depression and anxiety, what I often see on the postpartum end of things is moms having experienced trauma from their births, shame at how things went down and an overwhelming feeling of having let their babies and themselves down.
I see mothers that have beautiful, healthy babies who are unable to enjoy their gorgeous little human because they fear that they caused irreparable damage to their children as a result of their c-section. I see moms with thriving babies who deeply fear they will never be able to have attached relationships with their child because they were unable to do skin-to-skin in that first hour after birth. I also see moms approaching birth with rigid expectations and plans rather than the sense of empowered flexibility necessary to be able to move through unexpected occurrences.
The real quandary is how do we teach and empower moms to trust in the magic of their bodies, while also allowing them the emotional freedom to accept guidance or make alternate choices?
This idea of educating without judgement always makes me remember one of my most favorite postpartum mamas. We will call her, Hannah. During the first session of my Mama + Baby groups, the moms share their birth stories. Hanna would probably describe herself as holistically-minded, but also quite Type-A. While bouncing her little one on the birthing ball, Hannah began her story by sharing her Birth Plan, which, being Type-A, was perhaps 12 pages long, and sounded glorious! She had a home birth planned, in a tub in her living room, surrounded by her doula, midwife and family. There was, of course, the perfect ambiance planned: music, candles, essential oils, the works. At some point it became apparent to the midwife that complications were beginning to arise, she made the call to move to a hospital to ensure mama and baby safety. Once at the hospital, and after many days of labor and hours of pushing, Hannah ended up having an Emergency C-Section. As I am listening to Hanna share her story, I am assuming we are headed towards a place of self-criticism about the birth of her beautiful son, and I am preparing myself to offer her validation and encouragement. But, I gotta tell you, what she said next not only surprised me, but gives me goosebumps each time I share this story.
She said, “ As I felt myself moving towards a road of disappointment I thought, you know, this is not just my birth story. This is also my son’s birth story, and he may just have a different plan than I did. He deserves to have his birth story too.”
Yep….I still have the goosebumps!
For the more seasoned mamas out there, you may already know, these tiny people come to this world with their own personalities and temperaments from the start. Figuring out how to parent in a way that suits your personal ideals and matches up with your baby’s temperament is the secret ingredient, right? For whatever magical reason, Hannah was able to tune into that wisdom in the moment, but can that be taught prenatally? I say, Yes!
Enter McMoyler Method. I had the good fortune to meet and train with Sarah McMoyler, RN, and to say it was life changing for me would be an understatement. The message of McMoyler Method “Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby….However we get there”, is the common thread that can be felt throughout the curriculum. That message speaks to me as releasing parents from judgement or pressure to “get it right”. I am one of those people who really does believe that knowledge is power. If you have an understanding of the anatomy and birth process, you will be able to lessen the feeling that things are happening to you and feel a part of the conversation. Approaching your birth as if your are training for a big athletic event is another core principal that really speaks to me. Every athlete needs a coach! Partners can and should have an integral role in supporting mom through the birth. The reality is that the research shows that the more support a mother has during birth, the faster it goes and with less need for interventions. By giving parents a solid foundation of knowledge, coupled with practical coping tools, we take some of the fear away and leave behind a sense of empowered flexibility to take on this wild superpower that we have to birth babies.
As a professional, as a mom, as a human, nothing makes my heart happier than to see a new mom embrace her inner Confident Badass, and that begins from the start.
By shifting the narrative around birth, by allowing space for ALL birth to be natural, what I see, are parents that are now able to more comfortably navigate the postpartum period and experience the wonder of childbirth and the pride in bringing their tiny human to this world….however that came to be.