When I first took my HypnoBirthing class I enjoyed it but I wasn’t convinced. Average birth is only 5 hours long- isn’t that nice. No need to push, the body will do it all on its own, just “breath your baby down and you will see your baby in 20 minutes.” Isn’t that sweet?!? Then it happened for me with twins and I became that mom that stopped every pregnant woman on the street raving about HypnoBirthing. I did that for a few years and then finally became certified to teach and doubt started creeping in again, what if I was just a fluke- maybe I had such and easy birth because the boys were premmies. What if I am selling snake oil? Then I continued to teach, then I continue to attend births and my practice became more confident. I began to believe in birth! I began to believe completely in the strength of a woman and her beautiful love for her child that she has nurtured and cared for, for so many months. I began having birth after birth that were happening exactly as I knew they would happen. Each birth reminded me of why I raved about the power of HypnBirthing- because HypnoBirthing is only a key that unlocks a woman’s amazing potential to be exactly who she always dreamed she could be and was too scared to admit it. That is why women rave about HypnoBirthing because it allowed them to fall in love with themselves.
I had the great privilege to present my collection of poetry at the MassPoetry Fest 2017 and the First Annual Graduate Student Research and Creative Activity Conference.
I will be developing a healing writing workshop for parents of all ages. For those of you who wish to write, share and explore your experience as parents in an open and supportive environment.
The workshops will lead to developing an anthology of creative and non-fiction dedicated to the authentic experiences of motherhood. How we discuss the role of motherhood in our everyday life needs to change, we need to first value our own stories in order to value the role of motherhood on our society. From that we will develop change in our community, our work place, our homes, in our government and in ourselves. When you learn to value and respect yourself, in turn you learn to lift up those around you.
If you have struggled with your place in this world?
If you have suffered from feeling inadequate as a mother?
If you feel that you have abandoned a part of yourself after becoming a mother?
If you love your children but value the quiet moments alone in the car?
If you wonder if you matter in this world?
Then lets gather together, share our stories of motherhood, release our fears and lift each other up.
I had the great privilege of sharing my poem “I Loved” at the Nasty Women CT Performance on March 24th at the Institute Library in New Haven. I was inspired by Pia Barros’ presentation on gender violence. It is so important to respect and love one another.
I hope you enjoy my presentation and if you would like for me to perform my poetry, please contact me.
My poetry centers on changing the characteristics of motherhood through poetry and literature. When we change our story we change our lives. Empowering men and women in all ways to end generational violence.
I teach HypnoBirthing to change the story that birth is not scary, and painful but can be an act of empowerment.
If you would like for me to talk to your class about gender and birth empowerment, feel free to contact me. firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like for me to be apart of a writing workshop teaching students on how to develop stories, or poetry based on pregnancy, birth, parenting please contact me: email@example.com
Please checkout my beautiful friend’s new poem.
As I work towards developing a collection of poetry representing women as mothers for my MFA in Poetry at Southern CT Graduate School I am so fortunate to have my poem regarding postpartum depression / anxiety published in the Winter Issue of Matador Review.
This poem hopes to show how women can struggle with the thoughts and emotions of motherhood. This is not to diminish ourselves as mothers because we love our children so much, it is the expectations and lack of support which lead the thoughts and feelings that can be overwhelming. We must recognize the level of expectations, stress, anxiety that women face on a daily basis. We must learn how to support one other socially (be a good neighbor to new families stop being strangers) and as a society we should fully support mothers and partners with guaranteed Family Leave. Insurance companies should cover independent childbirth education, doula care and postpartum support of all forms. The United States is far behind in fully supporting our mothers and as a result families suffer. This poem is in hopes of showing how women’s physical and mental health are at risk when they have no support.
Please feel free to leave a comment.
“MARRIED WITH CHILDREN”
Something told me that if they had survived
my angers, my self-reproaches, and still trusted
my love and others’, they were strong.
— Adrienne Rich, Of Woman Born.
My mother would casually say,
I wish I could just die. This was usually
a prompt for me to clean my room,
do my homework or simply give her a hug.
But I understand now, as I promise
until death do us part or I will love
my children until my very last breath.
It is the promise of death I can
understand, on the very bad days.
Maybe a glass will break against my wrist
as I scrub remnants of chocolate milk
forgotten again in my son’s room. The blood
will drain out of me. Offering me
time off from this everlasting love.
I doubt my mother ever wanted
the permanence of death, just the bliss
of a day or two in a coma. To pause the constant
press of claustrophobia while listening
to bickering or laughing of children,
watching piles of laundry gather around
me on a daily basis. No matter what
this love til death do us part plays
with the enticing edge of a curb on a busy street.
After waiting a week’s long hesitation
for the joyful stain of blood on my panties
knowing I couldn’t comprehend another
who will love me until the very end.
Katherine Sullivan is a childbirth educator and doula who aims to develop a work of poetry showing motherhood as it truly is- magnificently beautiful even with all the harsh jagged edges. Katherine’s poetry confronts the social taboos of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. She challenges poets and writers to write about the honest physicality of birth as an empowering, beautiful and, at times, a heartbreaking moment. Katherine is a student at Southern CT Graduate School’s Full Residency MFA Program developing a thesis dedicated to Maternal Poetry. She is thankful for the loving support of her mentor, Vivian Shipley, her husband, Joe Selvaggio and her twin boys, Ezra and Jacob.
We are Parents
It is when a uterus becomes a womb,
a room once an office now holds a crib,
or in the silence between each and every
heartbeat a child listens too before bed.
When brothers and sisters become
sons and daughters with pen and paper.
When a house becomes a home,
when an embrace becomes a place
to rest and listen to a mother’s heartbeat
and to the sound of a child’s breath
slowing to the steady hush of sleep.
It is the link between a parent and a child
who we watch grow into adulthood and as this child
watches parents grow old, as smile lines are drawn
in the creases of our cheeks and tears of joys
carve out the riverbanks of our everlasting love
we are parents and they will always be our children.
In my many years of teaching HypnoBirthing and supporting men and women during their birth process I had the privilege of being Kim and James’ doula a few years ago. With recent debates about adoption and the role of parents during the 2016 Rio Olympics regarding the comments made by NBC newscaster Al Trautwig about US Gymnast Simone Biles’ parents, sparred a wonderful debate- I say wonderful because I believe debate creates commentary and opinions to be open and honest regarding subjects in which many may not have even realized tugged at our own heart-strings.
When I met James and Kim they were embarking on the amazing task of becoming parents to a newborn, they had already mastered the task of parenting toddlers, adolescents and even the joys of being parents to a young teenager (As a mother to two teenage boys I applaud them for this very daunting task). Kim stated she wanted to experience birth completely because she knew it may be her only chance to do so because of her already large family, two boys and two girls. So she decided on the calming techniques of HypnoBirthing, and at times their sons and daughters would come home early and they all would snuggle on the couch and listen to my guided relaxations. I was always in awe at how beautifully Kim and James parented together.
Soon after their birth, I had the opposite privilege of teaching a young woman, Kayla who was preparing to give birth to her daughter with HypnoBirthing and also an open adoption to a couple who she trusted and loved. I remember the look in her eyes after she gave birth to her daughter and the eyes of the “adoptive” parents- they were all flushed with the same love and devotion. See we all take a single moment to choose what is right for ourselves and our children
If we have space in our hearts to give love to a child, to raise them, protect them, teach them, and stand in a crowded room whether a courtroom or birthing room and swear before all that we have chosen to provide for that child then we are PARENTS.
To be a parent is to be a partner- linked together to care and love for a child to the best of our abilities. The moment I placed that child in the arms of her parents, the young woman who chose adoption was and is still a wonderful parent because each and every day she grows into a fine young adult who will finish college and pursue her goals and dreams just as her child will do with her loving and beautiful parents.
I am mother of twin boys, I am divorced, I am remarried, and my husband is a parent to my boys- my boys naturally will state- “Ok we are the kids and you guys (regarding myself and their stepdad) are the PARENTS.” This statement does not disregard their biological father’s role as a parent they simply understand the role of a is parent plays is to love, protect, and to nurture the upbringing of a child and that has nothing to do with biology.
Kim and James filled their arms with beautiful loving children well before Kim filled her womb with a child. I thank them both for remind me everyday what our roles are as parents.
With Loving admiration for all parents,
When a woman’s body is preparing for birth she will have a rise in energy- and then a drop in energy. They have found the baby produces a hormone which sends a message to the mom to start the dominoe effect of 20-25 different hormones which moves a woman through birth.
The father also has a hormonal connection to birth, he will have an increase of over 10 hormones- these hormones are protection hormones he will experience an increase of energy and desire to keep the mother safe- this is why dad’s must practice relaxation techniques as well because the fight or flight scenario will kick in.
Now a woman who is close to the pregnant mama will also have close to 20 hormones release- the doula, friend, or mother will feel intuitively connected to the birthing mother. When a client hires me after completing my HypnoBirthing class I set my intention that I love with all my heart this family. By doing that I feel spiritually connected and will notice myself nesting or feeling those hormones shift and change in my body.
This week I have been frantically painting room after room while quietly sending prays of peace and calm to my client who is now preparing to meet her baby today.