Birth Coach Method: Podcast Episode #128
August 6, 2021

Birth Coach Method: Podcast Episode #128

Kristin talks with Neri Life Choma, Author and Founder of Birth Coach Method.  They discuss the difference between a Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula, and a Birth Coach.  They also talk about transforming birthing person’s expectations from the “perfect natural birth” to a “positive birth experience.” You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes or SoundCloud.

Welcome.  You’re listening to Ask the Doulas, a podcast where we talk to experts from all over the country about topics related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting.  Let’s chat!


Kristin:  Hello, hello.  This is Kristin, co-owner of Gold Coast Doulas, and co-host of Ask the Doulas.  And I am so excited to be joined today by Neri Life Choma.  She is the author of The Art of Coaching for Childbirth and the creator of The Birth Coach Method.  Welcome, Neri!

Neri:  Thank you, thank you!  It’s a pleasure to be here with you.  I am so looking forward to our discussion here.

Kristin:  Yes!  I’d love for you to fill our listeners in a bit about your unique background as a doula and a certified childbirth educator, as well as a life coach to creating this new movement in the birth world.

Neri:  Yeah.  So, I am a seasoned doula and childbirth educator.  I’ve been doing this for 24 years.  My funny accent is Israeli.

Kristin:  It’s a beautiful accent.

Neri:  I actually established the birth support field in Israel.  There were no doulas when I began doing my work, and I am very happy to say that currently there are seven programs certifying doulas in Israel.

Kristin:  That’s amazing.

Neri:  It is amazing.  I have established a birth resource center in Israel and a doula support program in a major hospital in Tel Aviv.  And I’m a childbirth educator, as well.  I moved to the states in 2002.  January 2002, so it’s going to be 20 years soon.

Kristin:  That’s a while, yeah.

Neri:  Yeah.  And I’ve been blessed, Kristin, really blessed to be able to be a pioneer in Israel and then to come here and really smoothly starting to work here.  I think that we were here only about a few months when I was approached by the first expectant mom who asked me to be her doula.

Kristin:  Wow, that’s quick.

Neri:  Yes.  And it took about a year and a half until – of volunteering, actually.  So I started volunteering at a birth resource center located in Palo Alto.  A year and a half into our life here, I was actually offered to direct the center.  It’s called Blossom Birth, and it’s in Palo Alto.  I’ve been blessed to have two wonderful years directing the center.  And the funny – I don’t know if it’s funny.  The thing is, I was really experiencing myself as a very successful birth support practitioner, until I wasn’t.  Until I wasn’t experiencing myself as a successful and impactful one, and yes, it does relate to a birth trauma of supporting a wonderful individual, a beautiful woman, who knew exactly what she wanted and was so well prepared and so well informed for the birth.  And arriving for the hospital with everything changing in front of my eyes and the doctor being very abusive, and the nurses trying to create a ring, you know, a protective ring around my client and supporting me, really, and her.  But the whole experience was so traumatic because I couldn’t speak out my truth, and I couldn’t advocate in a way that I should have, just because I am the doula in the room.

Kristin:  Right.  We have a role, right.

Neri:  We have a role, and there are some limitations.  And the whole experience was traumatic, not only for my client, but to me, actually.  And at that time, I was doula already for about 15 or 16 years, Kristin.

Kristin:  That’s a long time.  Doulas burn out in three years, you know, is the average.

Neri:  Exactly.  And that was such a devastating experience that I actually spent the next two weeks in bed with pneumonia.  I was sure that it had to do with not being able to speak.  I felt the whole time that I was suffocating, that I’m losing my breath, that I need to practice my breathing, as if I was the birth-giver.  And I actually wanted to quit.  Can I admit that loudly?

Kristin:  Yes, of course!

Neri:  I wanted to quit.  I felt, that’s it.  I’m done.  I’m not going back to L&D.  So the question was, what’s next for me?  I enrolled in a year-long program to become a transformational life coach, thinking, well, I have the coaching part in me.  I’m really dedicated and committed to women empowerment.  But I don’t have to go back to L&D.  I can actually coach them and empower them in a variety of life areas: career-wise, relationship-wise, lifestyle.  So going over this yearlong program was revolutionary for me.  I kept thinking, oh, my God.  If only I had practice like this when I was a doula.  And, you know, sometimes when we have a wakeup call for things that we did, and we think, oh, my God; I was doing it all wrong – it comes with a profound sense of guilt, and I was lucky to have my teacher, Dr. Rosie, saying, well, how is it going to serve you, you know?  Everyone is trying to do their best with the resources available for them, and you know this because you’re a compassionate person.  Why don’t you stop beating yourself for this?  Why won’t you write your final paper for our yearlong program about, how would you do things different now with all the strategies that you have?  And so I did.  I actually sat down, and I started implementing all those amazing strategies of transformational coaching into my practice, my own doula practice first, of course.  You don’t start talking to other people before you know it’s actually working.

Kristin:  Right.  You need to test it, of course.

Neri:  Yes.  The first place was testing it.  And oh, my God, Kristin.  It was really such a revealing and freeing process, seeing my clients really claiming their own experience, getting to be accountable for their own experience, having the correct mindset that actually serves them in order to manifest their desired visions.  Also having a vision, you know, instead of a birth plan that looks like birth – like a shopping list, you know, I want this, this, this, this, this.  And so what if one thing doesn’t happen, you know?  Like, what if you went shopping and you came back home, and three of the things that were on your list are not there?  Is it a failure?  Can we say that the whole shopping experience was a failure, or can we go, oh, but you know what happened when I was shopping today, I actually met a friend that I didn’t see for 10 years, and we got to reconnect, and I heard about her daughter and about her life.  And on the way home, I saw an amazing rainbow.  That’s an amazing experience, even though I didn’t bring home three items on my list, right?

Kristin:  Exactly.  Yes.

Neri:  And so I started shifting the way that I think about birth, not as a project, not as an event, but as a process toward creating a vision, working with strategies for clarity, for alignment, helping my clients to align their belief system, their concept around birth, and other topics relating to pregnancy and birth and aligning their belief system first and perception with what they say they want, checking that there is a good alignment and connection and then looking at the steps that they’re taking, the actions toward achieving those goals or this vision, checking that there is a full alignment there.  Oh, my God.  It is such a different process.  And it is so valuable, and the outcomes are amazing.

Hey, Alyssa here.  I’m just popping in to tell you about our course called Becoming.  Becoming A Mother is your guide to a confident pregnancy and birth all in a convenient six-week online program, from birth plans to sleep training and everything in between.  You’ll gain the confidence and skills you need for a smooth transition to motherhood.  You’ll get live coaching calls with Kristin and myself, a bunch of expert videos, including chiropractic care, pelvic floor physical therapy, mental health experts, breastfeeding, and much more.  You’ll also get a private Facebook community with other mothers going through this at the same time as you to offer support and encouragement when you need it most.  And then of course you’ll also have direct email access to me and Kristin, in addition to the live coaching calls.  If you’d like to learn more about the course, you can email us at, or check it out at  We’d love to see you there.

Neri:  So I published it in a book.  And then the next step after publishing The Art of Coaching for Childbirth was, hmm, there can’t be only one that is doing things this way.  I want all my doula sisters to be able to do the same thing.  And so we need a course, right?  So another two years of just building the course.  And it is so fulfilling.  It’s an amazing process for me, a really growing process, a professional growing process for myself and for my students.  You’re one of them, so you know.

Kristin:  Yes!  And in a way, it was wonderful that you had this online format during the pandemic.  I don’t know that I would have had the time to invest seven weeks otherwise.

Neri:  Right.  Can I share a secret?

Kristin:  Sure.

Neri:  It’s becoming a four-month program.

Kristin:  Wow!  That’s neat.  I felt like we needed more time, especially with role plays, so…

Neri:  Exactly.  We got so much feedback from you, from others, we need more time.  We need more time.

Kristin:  Yes.

Neri:  And I have to admit that since I launched the course, I kept developing more and more strategies and more coaching exercises.  So we need time to implement and to practice, right?

Kristin:  Oh, I love that.

Neri:  So we’re going to have a lesson and then an implementation day after.  So the next week is going to be implementation.  So it’s double in length, in time.  I’m so excited about this.

Kristin:  Yes.  It is a wonderful program, and I learned so much through the certification process.  I’m glad that the new students have time to really connect with each other and grow the process of actually coaching and shifting the mindset for those that are already doulas or other health and wellness professionals.

Neri:  And let me just say, you know, I’m really honored because I find that those who really search and look for me and find me – you know, I don’t have a huge budget like Lamaze or DONA.  I’m a boutique business.  And those who find me, I see them, and they are aware and awake.  The doulas that enroll in my courses, they’re the ones who are actually aware and awake and understand that there is a missing link in their practice and that they are not as impactful and successful as they were hoping to be in leading their clients to healthy, empowering experiences.  And they start looking for this missing link, you know?

Kristin:  Yeah, and I know that when I was a doula in the early years, I felt very responsible for outcomes and almost felt like I failed my client if they didn’t achieve the things on the birth plan checklist.  And I later learned through other certifications that I went through that I wasn’t responsible for the outcomes, so some of that weight lifted, and I did really allow my clients to take some ownership and lead versus feeling like I needed to direct as a doula.  But there were still so many missing links that you talked about, and I didn’t have the coaching education that you do.  So this was brilliant for me and allowed me to get out of the typical process that we as doulas have with every client of when to call us in prenatal and the basics, reviewing the birth preferences and the type of support that they like.  But this is really, again, so directed by the client themselves and knowing that each individual is unique and they have different goals.  And then really encouraging them to seek out a plan that is best for them and then guiding them to the steps they need to achieve it.  And obviously as you said, things may veer off, and we can’t control how baby responds in many things in the delivery process, and even in the pregnancy.  So yeah, it’s been…

Neri:  I think, Kristin, if I may say, I think that the more I keep teaching and practicing transformational birth coaching myself, the more I understand how profound is the shift that we’re creating in the field.  So what we’ve been doing until now as birth support practitioners, whether it’s doulas or childbirth educators, even prenatal teachers, we’ve been doing a lot of informing.  And there was an assumption, you know, that when our clients are going to be informed, they’re going to make informed decisions, and this will change their experience and will help them have vaginal, healthy birth and an empowering experience in which they feel that they were on top of things, they were in control, because they were making informed decisions, right?  But the thing is, you look at the Listening to Mothers survey in California, and even the recent one, you can go on Google, and it will tell you that even though 75% of all birthing individuals in 2019 – I believe the last one that I read was 2019 – 75% of them agreed that they were well-informed.  However, only 5% of them gave birth with no major medical intervention, and I’m emphasizing major.  So that is what I say as the missing link, you know?  And I have this saying that I keep repeating, and I will keep repeating it until I’m blue in my face, until everybody will just see that informing is great if your client is about to deliver knowledge.

Kristin:  Yes.

Neri:  But it is not the best practice if she is going to deliver a baby.

Kristin:  Exactly.

Neri:  For delivering a baby, we better work on the mindset.  And the whole phrase of “informed decision,” I want to ask all of us to take a moment to think about this phrase: informed by what?  I’m saying an informed decision is when the information that you have within is taken under consideration, when you listen to your logic, when you listen to where your emotions are taking you, when you have this internal compass, you know, that is guiding you in the right direction.  This I call an informed decision, not when you are making a decision based on information that is totally external to you, and you’re now becoming your own authority.

Kristin: Right.  Yeah, it’s a huge shift in mindset, and some people don’t want to prepare by doing all the readings, and like you said, it’s as much of a mental preparation, and so it could be, for them, just focusing on reading positive stories and having a positive mindset versus taking every single class that we recommend as doulas.

Neri:  Yeah.  But they will still need to go through a process of clarifying for themselves, what is their preferred birth vision?  So let me give you the – I want your listeners to be able to bring it down to earth, you know, to understand how is it relating to their lives.  In the past when I didn’t have the transformational tools, and I was practicing, you know, with the resources that were available for me, which was informing prior to birth, making sure that my clients are informed, helping them be informed about their choices, write down their birth preference list or birth plan, as some call it, and then supporting them throughout labor with all the labor support techniques that doulas have and also help them make informed decisions when it comes to medical interventions.  So that was my practice before that.  So if a client was interviewing me as her doula, and I would ask her, so what are you hoping, and why are you hiring a doula?  She would say, oh, I really would like to have a natural childbirth.  And in the past, you know, as a doula, as a representative of the natural birth movement, I would cheer for her, and I would say, oh, that is so wonderful.  I’m so happy to hear that.  This is the cheapest way to go; this is the safest way for you and your baby.  This is the most empowering experience.  Our ancestors gave birth like this, and this is the most beautiful and natural rite of passage to becoming a mother, blah, blah, blah.  I would talk until – you know, and I would just cheer for her.  And there was a lot of information and perceptions that came from me.  I was delivering the perspectives and the information.  Nowadays, it sounds completely different.  She comes to me, and she says, I’m hiring you because I really would like to have a natural birth.  And then I go, tell me more about this.  What is natural birth for you?  How do you think it feels?  How do you see yourself behaving?  What do you see yourself doing?  What is your motivation to have a natural birth?  For example, as a transformational coach, you, Kristin, because you took the course, you already know that we have two types of motivations.  We have a motivation that is negative one, meaning I’m running away from.  I’m running away from –

Kristin:  An epidural.

Neri:  I’m running away from the needle; I’m running away from Cesarean; I’m running away from sickness.  Okay?  We have lots of negative motivations that motivate us in some directions.  You can even diet, you know, be motivated to go on a diet because you’re trying to not be sick.  Right?

Kristin:  Sure.

Neri:  But there is different type of motivation that is more on the positive aspect, and we call those aspirations.  What do you aspire for?  Those are a lot stronger because if your client is committing herself to go through birth naturally because she is afraid of the needle, let me tell you something: the moment that her fear of the increased sensation of childbirth, the increased sensation of contraction, the moment that this fear is going to be bigger than the fear from the epidural needle, then this is tilting, and she’s choosing epidural.

Kristin:  Right.

Neri:  But an aspiration can take her all the way to the end.  I aspire to – what is it that you aspire to have?  The vision?  A positive motivation?  We can tap on this in moments of crisis; remind her that she’s not a victim of this pain; she chose it.  The reason why she chose it; what is waiting for her at the other side that lead her to originally choose to give birth not taking an epidural, and this is so much stronger.  These are the materials that are going to take her all the way to the end.

Kristin:  Yes.  It is a different focus.  Some people may be motivated to birth the way their mother did, for example, versus avoiding and running from fear.  Yeah, I love it.  So how would one hire a birth coach versus a doula, or if you describe this for our listeners who are hearing this likely for the first time, and as they’re assembling their team, can you explain between the childbirth educator, the doula, and the birth coach, how they make informed decisions regarding care?

Neri:  So I think that childbirth educators are really helping clients be informed in a structured way.  And so I think that millennials, who are most of the birth-givers nowadays, they have three doctors called Dr. Google, Dr. Facebook, and Dr. YouTube.  And they have so much information at the tip of their fingers, right?

Kristin:  It’s not always the best information, but they have plenty of information.

Neri:  Exactly, exactly.  So what I see as the role of childbirth educators is to actually, first of all, sort out, you know, truth from myth, fears from reality, facts from mythology, and bring it to their students in the childbirth education class in a very structured way that helps them take all the information that they need in, in order to be able to have informed conversations with their practitioners, make informed decisions about their birth plan.  Maybe also advocate for themselves, but the advocacy, it’s really a different skill that doesn’t rely on information.  It relies, really, on your ability to speak up for yourself.  So someone can be well-informed and yet not have the ability to advocate for themselves, and we’re working on this with transformational coaching.  So this is the childbirth educator, and I love them, and I am one.

Kristin:  So am I, yes.

Neri:  And one more thing I may say is that, for me, a good childbirth education class will be one that focused on the coping techniques and really introduce a lot of techniques and allow the couples to practice those techniques, right?

Kristin:  Absolutely, yes.

Neri:  Because it’s really about – as I said, it’s not about knowing about birth.  It’s about being with the experience.  So how are you going to be with the experience, and what are you going to do?  What are you going to rely on, right?  So that’s the role of the childbirth educator, I would say.  Then the doulas – and I am a doula – most of them, if they don’t have the transformational birth coaching strategies, they will mostly meet with clients two times prior to the birth, help them finalize their birth plan, check in with them about what they want, what they want to avoid, how the partner would like to be involved, and then most of the work is then done throughout the birth experience: being hands-on, supporting, being verbal with encouragement, helping your clients maybe make informed decisions.  If you have a way of hearing the medical staff and then take a little bit of time to consult with you so that you can give them the tools.  But you’re not going to do the advocacy for them.

Kristin:  No, not at all.

Neri:  This is going to kick you out of the room, right?

Kristin:  Right.

Neri:  But what you can do is help them think, you know.  We’re using the brain model the doulas are working with, and we help them think, you know.  But the thing is, most doulas still remain within the decision-making process that relies on facts and information.  And what transformational birth support coaches do, is they send the client in.  They help the client reconnect with her own internal authority, her own internal compass and her belief system, and then we can actually make an informed decision that informs from within and is based on what’s right for me.  And I would say one thing about this, one additional thing that maybe your clients want to know, and maybe it will actually make them see how transformational birth coaches are a lot more aligned with the medical system, okay?  The medical system actually knows and embraces the idea of patient-centered care as safer and superior care.

Kristin:  Absolutely.

Neri:  So they are actually looking for ways to implement patient-centered care, patient engagement, and create partnerships between the medical staff and the patients.  And this is true to the general healthcare and in maternal care.  However, they don’t always have the tools because the medical teams are not trained with transformational coaching strategies.  When a doula walks in the room and she has those tools, and she knows that the medical systems seek this kind of care, she can lead everyone in the room.  She can actually facilitate this partnership.  She has the strategies to build the partnership between the client or the patient and the medical teams and to create a teamwork.  She has the strategies to engage the client.  She has the strategies to lead the nurse and allow the nurse to provide patient-centered care, and this is so embraced and welcomed by the medical staff that no doula that practices like this is ever going to be in conflict with the nurse.  So there are some doulas who come to the course and then they implement a series of – and you probably do that – they implement a series of prenatal coaching sessions with their clients, and so they will shift the focus off the work from supporting during birth to providing this series of prenatal coaching, creating the mindset, the confidence, the clarity, eliciting clients’ accountability, and then guess what happens?  A miracle happens, right, Kristin?  We know that.  Our clients actually spend very little hours in active phase and in transition, and they go through birth like bam, bam, bam, because the mindset allows what needs to happen.

Kristin:  Mindset is so important, yes.

Neri:  It’s everything.  And they have those shorter births that are progressing in a timely manner, and they don’t need you for 36 hours.  You get to be with them for five, six good hours, and bam.  And it’s like magic.  And there are doulas, I discovered lately – I think Naima was in the course with you, but I’m not sure –

Kristin:  Yes, she was.

Neri:  But there are more of them now that actually told me, well, you know what, I’m done being a doula.  Because the past few clients that actually hired me as a doula didn’t even call me for the birth because they were so well-prepared, and the birth went so fast.  And I actually decided that I’m not doing doula work anymore, and I’m becoming only a transformational birth support coach, which is something I didn’t even think of.  I didn’t even dream that it was going to happen, Kristin, really.  That’s like, oh, my God.  I wasn’t even ready to, you know, just stop doula-ing my clients and just provide that.  But now I am.  Now I’m saying to my clients, you know, you can hire me as a doula, and we will have those four to six sessions, prenatal sessions, because these are the sessions that are going to make your experience so much more empowering and go well and smooth and healthy.  Or you can just hire me as a transformational birth support coach, if you don’t even want to have a doula with you.

Kristin:  It’s all about options, so of course.  Yeah.

Neri:  Yeah.  Giving them the options, yeah.  How do you feel about that?

Kristin:  I, you know, am so new in the process, I haven’t gotten to that point.  I’m newly certified and really establishing that end of my practice, so I certainly, you know, early on in the course, started implementing techniques through prenatals.  Yeah.  But I love hearing what other coaches have been doing with their own businesses and what their clients are saying about it and what your own clients and how they’re responding.  Yeah, and for our listeners, since they’re located all over the US and the world, how would one find a certified transformational birth coach if they’re looking?

Neri:  Absolutely.  Great question, Kristin.  I didn’t even think about it.  So, and we have links on our website for a directory of all of our certified coaches.

Kristin:  And that will be growing!

Neri:  That is growing, and I’m so honored to say that we’ve had students from so many countries: South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Israel, the Netherlands, Cypress.  I can continue – Japan.  We just had the first one in Japan.  I feel – Qatar, Dubai, Egypt.  This is really growing.  It’s amazing.  No one can stop it now because this was the missing link, Kristin, really.

Kristin:  I agree, Neri, and certainly as far as – you know, we do have doula listeners as well, including our own team members, so how – if someone is a birth worker, childbirth educator, or doula, and they’re interested in this program, how do they find out more information?

Neri:  Okay.  I’m announcing it for the first time: we are having a free event for birth professionals that will take place September 20th, and it’s going to go for five days.  We’re going to be – yes, we’re going to be on Zoom for 90 minutes each day, and we are going to go through the five game-changing principles and strategies of providing impactful and successful birth support.  And right after the event, they can go – or even before, they can actually go online, find our course, Transformational Birth Support Coaching, and enroll in the program.  And we have yoga teachers, midwives, childbirth educators, doulas, that are joining the event and that will join the course.  And as I said, our next session is going to be the first time that we’re actually going to lead a four-month program with one day of studying and then the next week, implementation day, so that you really get to implement all those new strategies and make the shift.  It’s a huge shift, right, Kristin?

Kristin:  It is.  Yeah.

Neri:  It’s really a shift.

Kristin:  And I’m thankful for the group that you created and the fact that we can have collective calls together and the Facebook community.  So I know as you evolve, we’ll also be able to keep up with the information and grow our practice.

Neri:  Absolutely.  I look forward to this, and I am so committed to doulas’ success, because here is the thing, you know, Kristin: when doulas are successful, their clients are having amazing experiences, right?

Kristin:  Yes!

Neri:  So that’s all I care about.

Kristin:  And like you said, we can’t control medical emergencies and outcomes, but as you were explaining in the grocery store experience, it’s the other takeaways.  And, you know, and their perception of being responsible for their choices and feeling empowered versus birth happening to them and feeling like everything is out of control.  So just shifting that mindset.

Neri:  Absolutely.  And being informed from within, from their gut, having this compass, saying, this is who I am.  I am not going to commit to any birth experience because I perceive it as superior or ideal or the best.  This is who I am.  This is what I want.  I’m going to try and have it my way because it’s my baby, my body, and no birth practitioner can tell me that’s a better experience for you.  I know what’s right for me.  And that is a very new position for birth workers that, until now, all of us, including me, Kristin – I’m going to be the first to admit that – we were all associated with the natural birth movement, and we were having an agenda that says that natural, unmedicated birth is better for you.

Kristin:  That is the movement, certainly.  Yeah, my practice is – we focus on judgment-free support and work with a lot of planned surgical births and clients who want an epidural right away, but when I started out as a birth doula, my clients – I would say 80% of them wanted a natural birth, either out of fear or out of, you know, just more aspiration.

Neri:  Right, or they think that it’s superior.  Someone told them that it’s the ideal birth.

Kristin:  And I said great, and I’m with you on that.  It’s like, oh, wonderful, that’s the way to go.  And – yes.

Neri:  My recent thing is to totally ditch the term “natural birth” and start talking about “positive birth experience.”  That’s it.

Kristin:  That’s it.  Yeah, that’s the goal.  A positive birth experience.

Neri:  A positive birth experience.  I’m not – every time that someone just starts talking about natural birth, I say, there is nothing like that, just like there is no natural climbing on the Everest.  So let’s skip the whole concept and go with “positive birth experience.” That’s what we’re here for.

Kristin:  Love it.  I agree.  So before I let you go, I would love for – you know, we talked about your book, The Art of Coaching for Childbirth.  How does one purchase a copy of that?

Neri:  Well, it’s on Amazon, or it’s on my website.  This is more a book for the professionals.  I don’t want your clients to be confused.  The Art of Coaching for Childbirth is actually for the professionals, but I do have a wonderful product for your expecting individuals that are listening to the podcast, and it’s called Practicing for an Active Birth, and it can be bought on Amazon, either as a DVD or a USB.  And there’s also, on my website, there’s also a version for streaming.  And we can even create a coupon that you can send your listeners so that they can get it.  It’s really two and a half hours in episodes that will enrich them with a variety of labor support techniques that they can practice.  And you know what?  In birth, practice makes better.  Just like in everything else.

Kristin:  In life, yeah.

Neri:  I tell my clients, when I try to explain to them why it’s so important that they will have a regular practice of their labor support tools, I say, hey, did you have a wedding dance?  And they go, yeah.  And I said, well, how long did you practice the steps for your wedding dance in order to know that once you hear the first notes of the music, you’re going to just own it and you’re going to rock this dance, and they go, about three months.  And I say, okay.  I want you to get to your birth day just like this.  Contractions are going to begin, and you’re just going to know exactly how to respond to them because you already have the muscle memory and you practiced those techniques.  So it’s called Practicing for an Active Birth, and three options: streamed, from video, you can purchase it on the website or the two other options are a USB or DVD on Amazon.

Kristin: Wonderful, Neri.  And so do you have any final words for our listeners as we part?  Any advice?

Neri:  Yeah.  Maybe one tip that is another thing that is a major shift that I think I am trying to lead the community: I think that we’ve been focusing a long, long time on what can go wrong.  Generally speaking, I think that all the abundance of medical exams that women go through throughout their pregnancy is setting up for a mindset of, this can go wrong, and that can go wrong.  They keep getting these messages of what can go wrong throughout the whole pregnancy and also throughout birth, you know, being hooked to the monitor.  It’s creating the mindset that, oh, we think every moment something can go wrong.  So we’re putting you on the monitor to be sure everything – you know, if it does go wrong, we can catch it on time.  I think that it’s creating a level of fear and anxiety, and it is in our hand to reverse it.  So expecting individuals will do themselves a big favor and will set themselves for the most positive and empowering experience if they actually sit down and say, if a fairy was entering the room right now, and she would have grant me my wish, what will I ask for?  What is my optimal desired birth experience?  Start writing it down.  Fantasize.  Go to fantasy land.  Don’t think about what can go wrong.  Don’t think about that.  Just really allow yourself to talk to fairies.  Sometimes it’s different than a conversation with a human being.

Kristin:  Of course.  That makes sense.

Neri:  So talk to the fairy.  Just ask her for what you want.  Write it down, and start rehearsing this scenario instead of rehearsing what can go wrong.

Kristin: Yes.  It’s all about mindset.

Neri:  There we go!

Kristin:  Thank you for your time, Neri.  This was eye-opening, and I’m so excited about the movement that you’ve created.  I’m honored to do this work.

Neri:  I’m honored, and hopefully it will really, really facilitate positive birth experiences.  Thank you, Kristin.

Kristin:  Thank you!  Take care!

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