Birthing women are always a remarkable sight to see. Every. Single. Time. What an honor to witness a woman in her most powerful form, bringing a spirit earth side! Although there is much beauty to be observed, it is important to mind your eyes.
Women are not theater acts. They are not ones who should be stared down. Believe it or not, it is a known fact that being watched while laboring can stop/stall labor. This is often why women’s labors stall when they arrive at a captive birthing facility. They are being watched, in a foreign environment. By multiple strangers, mind you. Labor staling is a physiological hormonal reaction.
The stress hormone catecholamines recognize the lack of privacy and relates this to being ‘unsafe’. Her labor stops in order to give mom time to retreat to a ‘safe’ place, where she is relaxed in private, for labor to begin again. This is a natural body response! She didn’t need pitocin – she needed PRIVACY.
Know this when you attend a birth. Limit the eyes, encourage others to mind their eyeballs as well. It will usually only elongate her labor, why put her through more than she has to experience? Having only your closest intimate persons in your space, if anyone at all, is also crucial. A topic for another day, I suppose!
I like to suggest more ears, less eyes. You will usually learn more from her voice than you will by watching her. More effective and helpful for everyone involved!
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A common misperception of the reason that immunizations must be administered at certain ages, is that preventable diseases are not treatable and are fatal to your child. It may be scary, if you don’t know better, when you hear that there is an outbreak of MEASLES in your town. The news discussing how devastating this is, makes you think that measles will kill your child, if they fall victim to the disease, right?
Wrong. Let’s dive into the treatment of these preventable diseases to soothe your soul and shed some light.
Measles is a VIRUS, so like most viruses, there is not much medication to give, other than letting the virus run its course. Vitamin A, as well as dense foods and supplements may allow the virus to pass more quickly. Cod liver oil [found here] and beef bone broth [found here] are high in Vitamin A. Antibiotics are ineffective against Measles.
Symptoms of measles may include a full body rash, a cough, fever, and red eyes. The virus typically dissipates from the body a week or two after contraction, and then provides most children with lifelong immunity and protection from certain types of cancers.
Rubella, a nearly identical virus to measles, can also be treated with high-dose Vitamin A, and is simply less severe, lasting only about 3 days. The CDC advertises that Rubella is most threatening to pregnant women, but does not recommend administering the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella vaccine) to pregnant women, so if you are pregnant and your provider recommends the MMR, RUN, it is NOT SAFE for pregnant women, PERIOD. In fact, no vaccines have been tested for safety in pregnant women actually, but that’s a conversation for another day.
Big yikes, Polio is a really bad one, and we should definitely get vaccinated for that, right? Hmm, maybe not. Polio spreads through contact with fecal matter of someone that has polio, so those in countries with unsanitary conditions and poor hygiene are way more likely to get polio than developed countries, even without immunization. Most people who become infected with polio never experience symptoms, and if they do, it presents as a common cold. In fact, that group of individuals accounts for 95-99% of those diagnosed with polio. Paralytic polio accounts for 1% of those that contract the virus and 5-10% of that ONE PERCENT population will result in death. That definitely makes polio look a lot less scary, indeed. Palliative care for those with polio looks like lots of rest, hydration, antibiotics, antispasmodics, portable ventilators (welcome to modern day iron lungs, friends!), physical therapy, thermal therapy, and pulmonary rehab.
Even with these statistics at hand, doctors are still fear mongering and making polio out to be something that it is not, and honestly, polio used to be “so common” because doctors would slap a label of polio onto anything that mimicked the symptoms of paralytic polio. Now, luckily, we have more in-depth ways of testing and diagnosing, and know that what they may have thought was polio back then, could have actually been, Cerebral Palsy, Bell’s Palsy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Transverse Myelitis, Acute Flaccid Paralysis, Spinal Apolexy, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Cholera, Multiple Sclerosis, Inhibitory Palsy and more. In 1956 the AMA (The American Medical Association) instructed each licensed medical doctor that they could no longer classify polio as polio, or their license to practice would be terminated.
Many use President Roosevelt as a primary example about why the polio vaccine is critical, but it was not accounted for that just days before he awoke paralyzed, he had been in a pesticide-laden apple orchard and swimming in a contaminated lake. Pesticides work by destroying the nervous system of bugs, so what do you think it could do to us humans when absorbed into our bodies via our food and water sources?
Infants are expected to get 4-5 doses of the polio vaccine (IPV) within their first year of life. The polio vaccines contain trace amounts of antibiotics, so those with allergies to antibiotics should not receive these vaccines whatsoever. The polio vaccine effectiveness is entirely unknown, and says so directly on the CDC website, but they assume it gives immunity for many years. It does not require adults to get boosters or follow up doses on their schedule. On another note, cancers are being linked to products in the IPV vaccine. Please also look into the Cutter incident of the creation of the polio vaccine, it’s terrifying.
Mumps is fairly easy to recognize, as it impacts the salivary glands (specifically the parotid glands), causing swelling in the upper neck/jaw/cheek area. Mumps may also result in fever, loss of appetite, nausea, stiff neck and fatigue. It may last anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks.
Anti-inflammatory and soft, alkaline foods are essential for helping a child through the mumps, as their mouths are often sore and acidic foods irritate the body, while anti-inflammatory foods and herbs will help bring down the swelling. Turmeric [found here], black pepper, rosemary, ginger, clove, and cinnamon are all fantastic anti-inflammatory herbs that can be easily made into a soup or tea.
Mumps is thought to also be due to Vitamin B deficiency so obtaining a METHYLATED Vitamin B Complex supplement can be extremely helpful to your child while their body is processing mumps!
Again, once you have had Mumps organically, you are almost always immune for the rest of your life. In studies, mumps has actually been found to potentially protect against future ovarian cancer.
Chickenpox displays as an itchy, all over blister-like body rash, accompanied by fever, fatigue, and irritability. It usually subsides after 5-10 days. Hydration, oatmeal baths, high-dose Vitamin A [found here], Vitamin D [found here], garlic, echinacea [found here] and astragalus are excellent at home therapies for chickenpox.
People “back in the day” used to hold Pox Parties to help their kids get the virus when it was most convenient for the parents to take time off work or school, and in turn, the kids would have lifelong immunity for good. Shingles can develop later in life from chickenpox exposure, but this is not limited to wild chickenpox. Those that have immunity derived from vaccinations can, and do, also obtain shingles later in life, sometimes more severely than those that had wild chickenpox. Shingles can also be treated with high-dosing Vitamin A, C and D, so do not fear chickenpox because of shingles.
Chickenpox has been found to reduce the occurrence of gliomas (brain/spinal cord tumors) even though the cancer in itself is rare, as is, it is also a severely difficult cancer to deal with, so any protection that one can obtain from that, they should take advantage of.
Hepatitis A is a contagious virus that leads to liver infection and inflammation. Hepatitis A is spread through contact with a sick person or fecal-contaminated water sources/food. It is very common, and very unlikely to cause any harm to the person that catches it other than discomfort until the infection subsides, other than for those that already are experiencing liver failure due to another unrelated medical complication. After Hepatitis A has run its course through the body, the person is immune to the virus for the rest of their life. Symptoms may include clay-colored stool indicating a bile imbalance in the liver, fever, jaundice, itching and vomiting. Peppermint and ginger may ease a child’s symptoms, but the CDC says most children under 5 that have contracted the virus, never show symptoms at all, and they are not sure why.
Hepatitis B is also an infection of the liver caused by a virus, but this infection can be quite a bit more serious and even lead to chronic infection or cancer if left completely untreated.
However, how Hep B is transmitted may give you a lot more re-assurance on the fact that your small child is highly unlikely to come into contact with it. Hepatitis B transmission requires bodily fluids to be exchanged, and this does not include nasal fluids, but would include blood, semen, vaginal secretions, breastmilk, etc. So your child would need to be sharing needles, or having sex to even potentially be exposed to this virus. If your child has been sexually abused or exposed to addicts that use needles around the child, Hepatitis B testing may be a true concern for you and that is completely valid! But for your freshly born baby, you may want to think twice, unless you personally have Hep B yourself that you could give to your child during birth or while breastfeeding!
Grapefruit seed extract [found here], black seed oil [found here], garlic, organic green tea [found here], Java Grass/Cypriol combination (Ayurvedic herbs), red algae and oxygen therapy can treat both acute Hep B and chronic Hep B, if Hep B is transmitted to your child by a dirty needle or sexual transmission.
Influenza, also known as the “flu”, is a very generic term, considering that there are a multitude of different varieties of the flu, and it is not JUST ONE virus. The flu vaccine is also constantly changing, to fit the most current, seasonal flu that year, so it is surely not a perfect science by any means, and those that have a history of allergic reaction to eggs in their family should never obtain a flu vaccine as it contains egg-derivatives. The flu vaccine may or may not be live, be sure to ask, if you are getting one! Most flu vaccines will not cover all the strains of flu, and the most are trivalent vaccines, containing inactive versions of two types of Influenza A and one type of Influenza B. After receiving a flu shot, one is certainly not protected from the flu in general.
The flu may only ever present itself as a common cold, and you may not even realize that you or your child have obtained the flu! Depending on the strain, one might present with symptoms such as vomiting, chills, fever, fatigue, sore throat, coughing, and typically lasts 2-4 days.
Tamiflu is a common medical treatment for the flu, but it is highly controversial, so be sure to not follow recommendations blindly, as this medication has been known to cause suicidal, hallucinogenic, and violent tendencies in those that take it. It is better to just receive fluids and monitoring if one is experiencing complications from the flu.
Oscillococcinum [found here] is a homeopathic remedy that appears to knock out the flu, or at least reduce the symptoms! Bone broth soup with parsley, rest, hydration, manuka honey [found here], fire cider, high dose Vitamin C and D, elderberry syrup [found here], oregano oil [found here], zinc [found here], brewers yeast, clove, ginger, probiotics [found here] and chiropractic care are all recognized natural remedies for the flu.
Like the flu, Rotavirus has several different strains; currently 7 known strains. There are two different vaccination options available, and some pediatricians attempt to use them in combination. Rotarix contains one strain of the virus, while RotaTeq contains 5. 95% of children are infected with this by the age of 5, even after the vaccine was introduced and put on the CDC schedule, so it does not seem to be very effective. If you or your child have a latex allergy, avoid any Rotavirus vaccines, as they contain latex.
Rotavirus presents as prolonged bouts of diarrhea, lasting about a week. Some people contract rotavirus and never present any symptoms at all. Once Rotavirus has been contracted, the person will have immunity from the specific Rotavirus strain that they were in contact with, but not all of the strains.
Rotavirus can only be treated with hydration whether that is at home or intravenous fluids in the hospital, and high dosing Vitamin D and A may help.
Diphtheria is an infection that gets into the respiratory system and can cause weakness, sore throat, fever and swollen glands in the neck, as well as a thick coating similar to mucus in the throat. 10% of those that contract Diphtheria will die, even with treatment.
Luckily, unlike other diseases that we have discussed so far, Diphtheria can be treated with antibiotics, as it is an infection derived from a BACTERIA, not a virus. Specifically the bacteria is known as Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Doctors also treat Diphtheria with an anti-toxin to prevent the bacteria from spreading.
Balto, the dog, is commonly but falsely, referred to as the hero that delivered Diphtheria vaccines to sick children, but he actually was delivering the anti-toxin, not the vaccine, in case you hear this myth floating around or have someone criticizing you for not giving your child the DTAP.
The prevalence of Diphtheria in countries that have sanitary water conditions and proper hygiene practices, sits at an average of 5 cases a year.
Unfortunately, since it is a bacteria, you can get Diphtheria more than once, and lifelong immunity is not obtained after having it. Most adults are not up to date on their Diphtheria immunizations whatsoever, yet we in the United States have yet to see a resurfacing of Diphtheria other than the rare quantity of cases each year, and I can assure you that much more than 5 people are not vaccinated against Diphtheria and the side effects of the DTAP vaccine can be devastating and are much more prevalent than Diphtheria is.
Castor leaves inhaled, garlic, pineapple juice, passionflower [found here] and gargling salt water are all home remedies thought to alleviate some of Diphtheria’s symptoms, but if you or your child are showing signs of struggling to breath due to the film that is created by the bacteria, do not attempt to treat at home and seek medical assistance.
Tetanus is also spread through bacteria known as Clostridium tetani, except this bacteria is not contagious, at all. It must be obtained through an active source of the bacteria and the bacteria must release its toxins, tetanospasmin and tetano-lycin into the host, and the host’s immunity must be unable to fight it by itself. This can lead to lockjaw, other neuromuscular issues, and potentially, death. It is very serious once the bacteria’s toxins have released in the body, but does the vaccine actually prevent this from occurring? Is it safe to obtain the vaccine with the high-risk of side effects and low occurrence of infection? Be sure to conduct research on the efficacy and side effects of the Tdap.
There are FIVE types of Tetanus; Subacute, Local, Cephalic, Generalized, and Neonatal. What is the most common you may ask? Neonatal, derived from unsanitary birthing conditions, and this was on the decline prior to introduction of the vaccine.
Fun fact: At least 5-25% of us carry Tetanus in our gut, have no idea, and are not dead.
These excerpts from historical books show the reality of tetanus bacterium presence and occurrence of actual infection…
In the Official History of the War, Pathology 1923, it is stated “Tetanus bacilli have been found in 20% of war wounds although no symptoms of tetanus were present, ” and “in 50% of undoubted tetanus cases the bacilli have been undiscoverable.” In the same volume also appears clostridium tetani has been “cultivated from the wound of a man showing no evidence of tetanus, 882 days after it had been inflicted,” and “it has been realised during the war that the tetanus bacillus or its spores may be present in vast numbers of wounds without producing tetanus.”
To prevent a wound from developing into Tetanus, first make sure the wound bleeds, as this ensures that oxygen is reaching the wound and the bacterium cannot thrive in wounds exposed to oxygen. Cleaning out the wound with warm water and an anti-septic such as hydrogen peroxide is the next step! If the bacterium has already created a film protecting the bacteria from being impacted by outer sources, antibiotics and a TIG (Tetanus immunoglobin) may be necessary. The human body literally cannot build up immunity against toxins, which is the source of the scary symptoms of Tetanus, therefore the DTAP would be of absolutely no use to the human body to prevent Tetanus. Also, a DTAP vaccine will not work on active Tetanus in the body, either, so it IS NOT an effective treatment for Tetanus.
Tetanus has an incidence rate of .16 per million people, that is .0000016% for those that prefer percentage rates.
Some adults that have experienced a form of Tetanus and chose to treat it naturally, report healing from combinations of Collodial silver [found here], Beta-Glucan, Aconite, high dose Vitamin A and C, Olive Leaf extract [found here], Bromelain [found here], Fish oil [found here], milk thistle [found here], magnesium [found here], Glucosamine sulfate with MSM, Colostrum, Oregano, and Echinacea. If you or your loved one are displaying serious symptoms of Tetanus, please seek assistance.
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
This cough is unmistakable, literally making a WHOOP sound with the inhalation after cough. It may present with a runny nose, and/or fever, as well, and linger for a couple weeks to a couple months, decreasing in severity over time. Unlike many of the other diseases discussed in this article, once you have whooping cough, you can get it again. This means that the vaccine does not protect anyone from whooping cough because immunity is not constantly sustained once the body is exposed and even the CDC will admit that the vaccine is considered effective by their own terms, for only about 1-5 years after being immunized. Though, it was found in this study that those that had naturally derived immunity may be protected for up to 70 years.
Whooping Cough is easily treated at home in most cases, even though it sounds scary! Whooping cough is also a bacteria, therefore it responds to antibiotic treatment well, when needed. In very serious cases, antibiotics, oxygen supplementation and fluids may be necessary at a medical facility. 1% of those that are diagnosed and receive treatment for pertussis, die. Eucalyptus [found here] diffused in an Essential Oil diffuser, steam treatment or by hanging it in the bathroom and turning the shower on hot and sitting with your child in the bathroom until the steam clears, is a great way to open the lungs, decrease inflammation and break up mucus. Other remedies may include ginger, manuka honey, turmeric, bone broth, probiotics, licorice root [found here], N-Acetylecystine, elderberry, pure grape juice, saffron, chamomile [found here], fenugreek [found here], marshmallow root [found here], and slippery elm [found here].
Did you know the Meningoccocal vaccine does not prevent against all forms of meningitis, either? The vaccine with the most strains covered would be the Menveo vaccine, covering 4 types, but there are actually 12 types of meningitis, that we know of. Fungal meningitis is not contagious. Parasitic meningitis is not contagious. Non-infectious meningitis is not contagious. The Hib vaccine and the Gardasil vaccine can cause meningitis, by themselves, by inducing inflammation in the muscles, brain and spinal cord in an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
Not all of the versions of the vaccines are created equal either. For example, Sanofi Pasteur’s Menactra, contains toxoids from diphtheria, Pfizer’s Trumenba contains polysorbate 80 while only vaccinating against one form of Meningitis, and GlaxoSmithKline’s Menveo vaccinates against 4 types of meningitis, contains Diphtheria, and is known to cause Guillain-Barre syndrome. Unlike other vaccines on the CDC schedule, meningitis is a fairly new one, and meningitis was definitely on the decline WAY before the vaccine was introduced.
Meningitis can be very scary sounding, especially considering the tales from our grandparents of how kids would go blind or deaf after being ill from meningitis! But, literally one in a million people actually die from meningitis annually and the primary cause of death or severe side effects from meningitis is the induced scurvy that the bacterial meningitis can cause. What is the solution to scurvy? High-dose vitamin C, boom. Inflammation of the spinal cord and brain is also an important concern, which can typically be reduced by anti-inflammatory herbs and foods, and if not, prescription anti-inflammatories should be sought out. If the meningitis is bacterial, it can be easily treated with antibiotics.
Also, according to the CDC, “Persons who have deficiencies in the terminal common complement pathway (C3, C5-9) and those with anatomic or functional asplenia are at increased risk for acquiring meningococcal disease. Antecedent viral infection, household crowding, chronic underlying illness, and both active and passive smoking also are associated with increased risk for meningococcal disease.” (CDC, MMWR, vol. 54, No. RR-7, p. 2).” C3 deficiencies are prevalent in Lupus, C5 deficiencies are prevalent in Leiner’s Disease, and C5-C8 deficiencies are related to Toxoplasmosis, and we have no vaccine for any of these diseases, though they leave the patients so much more prone to meningitis.
What does meningitis look like in a modern day person? It may look similar to the flu, but 1 in 10 of us walking around are literally carrying the meningitis bacteria in our throats, yet never present symptoms. Other symptoms may be headaches, fever, stiff neck, sleepiness, and bulging fontanelle (soft spot) in babies.
Meningitis can be a symptom of another disease, as well, such as pneumonia, listeria, E Coli, parasites, malaria, and herpes. (Fun fact: we do not have vaccines against listeria, E Coli, parasites, or herpes, and a malaria vaccine is available, but only recommended for those that will be traveling outside of the US, but WHY do we not have vaccines against these meningitis causing diseases and bacteria, if we could prevent deaths this way? Something to make you think!).
We do not vaccinate against things like Small Pox, Scarlett Fever, Leprosy, AIDS, Black Plague, Enterovirus, and more, and yet, we do not walk around fearing those on a daily basis! Before you become terrified by a doctor that gets paid to push a product, make sure you read up on the disease, what the root cause is, what the natural therapies are for it, https://vaccine.guide/ the efficacy, ingredients and inserts of the vaccinations for it, and weigh the risk-benefit ratio on the vaccine VS the disease itself. Above all, at HERBAL we believe everyone should have the freedom of choice. If you choose vaccines, you should have the right to access, but if you do not choose them, you should NEVER be forced or coerced into doing so. Medical freedom is a human right.
What is the difference between a Doula and a Birthkeeper?
Really, there should be no difference but it seems society has made it a huge difference. By definition, a Doula is a woman, typically without formal obstetric training, who is employed to provide guidance and support to a pregnant woman during labor. This is also what Birthkeeper is! To be honest, there is no documented definition of a birthkeeper. A Birthkeeper is what she chooses to be.
Why the Separation?
Doulas often come with a scope they must obey. Most Doula certification organizations will limit women in what they can and cannot do, instilling them with false fear that they are looking legal complications in the eye if they ‘disobey’ as well as the stripping of their certification. For example, carrying/suggesting essential oils, homeopathy, offering suggestion on what you would do, or attending birth without medical providers present. Something that limits what they can and cannot do for a woman in her childbearing years. If we are being quite frank, a doula’s provided ‘scope’ is “a means by which contributes to the violations birthing persons experience and validates the very exact system that oppresses the one birthing”. It limits her ability to serve. (Those are wise words from Allison Tate @BacktoBirth)
There are Doulas who see what society/organizations deem a ‘scope of practice’ for their profession, and they smash that scope. They discard its limiting bounds and serve women to the fullest extent of the law- just like a birthkeeper! Doulas are not one size fits all. Many choose to limit themselves, but there are gems out there, claiming the title Doula, serving at her fullest potential. I call them Diamond Doulas! They are my people!
So, What is a Birthkeeper?
A Birthkeeper holds the sacred wisdom surrounding physiological birth and walks with women in their childbearing years. They are the keepers of sacred space. They are able to serve the woman to her desire and fullest extent of the law. Supplying genuine care and concern with no limit. Birth does not have limitations, neither should a support person (outside of refraining from offering medical assistance). A woman being supported by a Birthkeeper would likely be supported to the fullest extent of the law -where as most Doulas aren’t able to or their certification will be stripped.
A Birthkeeper is not limited by a scope. She serves to the fullest extent of the law (varies by state) and bases her service offerings/limitations on her own personal training. Some may carry more knowledge on the physiological birth process, with different supplies in her birth bag than a mainstream Doula might. Some may be comparable to that of a Monitrice. What she will or will not do is up to the Birthkeeper themselves, they are not limited by definition or scope, they set their own boundaries.
Birthkeepers often support (not supply medical care) those who are dropped by birth professionals. The birth professional may be legally unable to show up and support, but a Birthkeeeper is, there is no license to lose when simply supporting a choice. Sometimes, this is better than the mother attending a facility. This choice is and always should be the mothers, herself. The Birthkeeper can bridge the gap of support. But guess what! Doulas can, and some do this, as well!
If you ask me, titles are trash. I do not like titles, any of them. If I had to pick one, Id choose Birth Attendant or Birthkeeper. Why? Because there is no definition, I make my own. Is there a true difference between a Doula and Birthkeeper? It depends on each individual worker!
Regardless of which you choose to hire, make sure she isn’t limited in serving you! Make sure your views align. Know that no two are alike!
What do you feel the difference is between a Doula or Birthkeeper? Is there a difference? Is it all the same?
We asked the HERBAL students! Here are a few of their responses:
“Doulas are a scope. Birthkeepers are free. Doula is a title, Birthkeeper is an honor. Doulas have to follow rules, Birthkeeper only limits themselves to what they are comfortable with. Doulas are working…. Birthkeepers are the sacred keepers of birth and we are answering our calling.” – Veronica Hart
“There is no simple and succinct answer for me to find but I do have some thoughts. I believe that the definition of each “title” is different depending on the belief system of birth held by the person who uses it. This accounts for the huge variation in definitions. I also think that the definition of each title is forever changing and reflects the complex birth culture (socially and medically) we find ourselves in today. The title “Doula” I believe has seen the most change and now finds itself in a place far removed from where it inherently began. It has fallen prey to a new identity that conforms to social expectations of birth and over medicalisation. A drastic shift from lay role to professional role with scope, constraint and narrowly defined parameters. I see “birthkeeper” as a means by which to reclaim the ownership of birth back from the very constraints its sister title “doula” has fallen to. For me “birthkeeper” is an uprising, a statement to remind us who birth truly belongs to and that ownership has landed in the wrong place. It brings with it, the authentic generational power that the title “doula” has always held but unlike the term “doula” the term “birthkeeper” has yet to experience the same fate. For me the significance does not lie in each term, it lies in the belief system that underpins it. We find ourselves today in a place where “Doula” has been shaped to fit social and medical expectations of birth. It has lost its authenticity, wisdom and person centered power. Step fourth “birthkeeper” ready to reclaim the wisdom and hand the power back to those giving birth” – Allison Tate
“A doula supports birthing people within reason. A Birthkeeper supports birthing people. Period.” – Kristyn M Gerchalk
“Doula uses the word scope. But seriously. A birth keeper serves women to the fullest extent of her ability, comfort level and legalities. A doula stops at some invisible line drawn in the sand. I use them interchangeably on public posts because people are more familiar with the word doula, but it does not resonate with me. Obviously a birth keeper won’t risk arrest… and honors her own biases and what she is comfortable with for her own mental health… but that is the ONLY boundaries for a birth keeper.” – Sierra Jean
“I believe this can differ with each person.. Some doulas are absolutely amazing and will go above and beyond for their client.. some use the word “scope” and act as if their job isn’t to protect their client, when in all actuality that is one of the main things a doula is supposed to do (in my opinion). A birthkeeper is the holy grail. They always go above and beyond, they don’t believe in “scopes”. They know their purpose and don’t question it. Some doulas are just like birthkeepers, the only difference is the label.” Char Sondrol
“A birthkeeper sets their own limitations. A doula has them set for them.” – Amanda Jones
“To me I feel that doula is the perfect word to describe someone who provides more full spectrum services including pre conception, pregnancy and postpartum. Birthkeeper is the perfect term for someone attending a birth who intends to keep birth in its most wild and natural state. I think there are doulas our there who have made ‘doula’ a dirty word but I don’t believe they are doulas at all. Real doulas are mother servants and I think the essence of a doula is someone who respects pregnancy, birth and women in the way they are supposed to. I am a doula and I am proud to be one in the most traditional sense of the word. ‘Scope doulas’ are not doulas at all. They don’t embody the true meaning of the word. I am taking it back.” – Casey Hone
“A doula is a profession, a birthkeeper is a calling; the former pursued with a desire to help people, the latter is part of who they are.” – Kristi Whitten
“There isn’t one significant difference. Both serve women to the fullest extent of the law. I think the differences would be social differences. The word “doula” has gained terrible traction lately. It’s been “defined” on the internet as someone who follows scope mainly due to certifying organizations like pro doula and DONA. But just the same, the word “birthkeeper” has also gained terrible traction all the same. It’s been “defined” by the other side of the internet as those who don’t follow the laws of their state at all (not necessarily true at all) and that are argumentative and rude.” – Hope Lauren
“i don’t know that there is a difference basically. i think it all comes back to who is using the words and how they are using them. i use both terms interchangeably, mainly because i feel like doula is a term more widely recognized. but i do think there is a difference in the mainstream doula, and what/who i am.” – Tamara Niedermann
“I don’t see a difference in the two. I feel like they both serve women to their extent and to what they are comfortable with. There are wonderful doulas and there are horrible ones. There are horrible birth keepers and there are horrible ones.” – Cheyenne Richards
“A doula has one single role. A Birthkeeper is like water, taking whatever role is needed.” – Tara Alexandra Ortiz
am 100% for autonomy. Mama should have choice in outcome. All of her
choices should be educated and be – HERS.
I had a client that decided to drop me and chose an elective
cesarean. Huge gap, ain’t? Unassisted birth to elective cesarean.
taught me a great deal and God, am I blessed to have crossed paths
with her. Obviously, I am very pro unassisted birth. I do not agree
with surgical removal of a human unless absolutely necessary. I
recently had a mama who originally desired an unassisted, VBAC birth.
She later chose to have an elective cesarean. Successful,
nonetheless! It just left me to reflect.
do not understand how one could elect this choice. I do not
understand why one would agree to the risks – but this was her
choice. She had her baby, elective cesarean yesterday – This is
is what I preach.
feel she deserved autonomy, regardless of what her choice was. This
has never happened to me, before. I never once had a mama go from
Unassisted birth to elective cesarean – but it happened. It taught
me a great deal.
cannot empower women who do not desire empowerment.
educate women on the risks of a consecutive cesarean if they do not
care to know.
I cannot force a woman to know her capability, if
she does not care.
I cannot force her to see her ability and
power. If she does not see it and chooses otherwise, I must accept
and move forward.
was hard for me. Accepting chosen autonomy was hard for me. I
question why she felt doubt? Were there fears she never mentioned?
Did I do something wrong? Did I not cover a base that should have
She simply made a choice. She was not ready to embark on a VBAC
birth. Although hard for me to accept, this is reality. This is what
she chose in autonomy.
grew a GREAT deal in this experience, I am so thankful to have
crossed paths, and thought I’d share.
support autonomy, in full, even if I do not agree with your choice. I
Birth space is such a sacred area to be in. If someone invites you into this space, you should feel honored. There are a few things to keep in mind when being courteous of this space.
One of the first things to keep in mind is that birth is a physiological event (in the case it is left unhindered). There is no emergency, no need for fear, concern, or anxiety. Birth is a naturally occurring bodily function that more often than not, needs zero help. Women have been doing this for centuries!
Second, the energy you hold in her space. If you start to become
anxious or frightened, it may be best for you to step out and move
away from her. Your energy effects those around you. In the time a
mother is laboring, she is very spiritually/energetically open, and
receptive to the energy you give off. It is key to have positive
energy in the birth space.
Thirdly, time. Just because your birth was 6 hours start to finish does not mean another woman’s will be. Each birth has its own time frame and no two are identical. Do not make her feel rushed or become fearful due to the length of labor. Labor can be only minutes long or it could be days long. Go in with no expectation, and enjoy the unknown journey with her.
Next, is staring. Mind your eyeballs at her labor and birth. Women are not circus acts. A laboring mother is absolutely beautiful and admirable every. single. time. but, staring and watching her will likely only delay things. Women, more often than not, will labor more efficiently not being watched. I personally do not like to stare a laboring mother down. It is not respectful and I know it is not doing her any good. I also believe I will learn much more from her voice/sounds than looking at her face, more often than not. More ears, less eyes.
Lastly, remember that this is HER birth. It doesn’t matter if you
laid on your back to birth your children, if she wants to hang off of
the door frame and birth her baby, she should. She should not be
encouraged to meet someone else’s desires for her birth. The
navigation map of labor and birth is generic, no two identical. Let
her navigate her own way through, know that she does not need your
suggestions. Her body will relay necessary information. Let her make
her own choices in her birth, and respect them, even if you might not
agree. Her autonomy is important and something to respect.
What are a few things you wished others would have minded at your
birth? What advice would you give someone who will be holding sacred
space at a birth?
Not only does majority of the beauty industry promote toxicity by preying on women’s insecurities, but did you know many of the products themselves are full of toxic dyes, fragrances, emulsifiers and more?
Wait, what exactly do we mean by “the beauty industry”? Specifically, we are referring to makeup, perfume, body gels, lotions, hair products, tanning methods, and related items.
Here is a basic guide of what may be creeping in your most-loved beauty products (this is not all, please research any and all ingredients that you are unsure of!):
Why Are These Ingredients Harmful?
These toxic ingredients consist of known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, which impact our health, fertility and overall well-being. One of the worst offenders is FRAGRANCE. Fragrance can be anything including extracts of hormone glands of other animals, synthetically made smells that alter genetics, chemicals derived from unknown sources, and fragrance is never properly regulated by any governing body.
These are not rare ingredients either. You can find these ingredients in products from:
This article is not to say that you should never wear makeup, that people who wear makeup or use soap are not “crunchy,” or that all beauty brands and products are toxic. This article is simply to bring awareness to the fact that companies are not necessarily looking out for your best interest, rather, they are looking after their own profit and how to make things as cheaply as possible, while selling them for as much as possible, and that is just the reality of most of the beauty business.
It can be really frustrating for those of us that really want to end the path of motherhood revolving pregnancy, whether that be due to being overwhelmed, financial restrictions, health concerns, or something else. Your doctor may tell you it is such a simple procedure, with minimal scarring, and a small recovery window, but are they really providing you with full informed consent? Is it really that easy to cease having babies, with no consequence? Not at all, and it is really important that you are aware of all risks, before proceeding with any life-altering medical decision.
What is Tubal Ligation?
The constriction and manipulation of the fallopian tubes in order to prevent eggs from being fertilized. It can be done by cutting, tying, burning, clipping or removing sections of the tubes, or a combination of multiple approaches.
The possible reactions following a litigation include:
Frequent Abnormal Hot flashes
Irregular or heavier periods
Loss/Decrease of libido
Increased depression and/or anxiety
Achy, sore joints and/or muscles
Pain at site of incision
Bleeding from incision site or abdomen
Damage to surrounding tissue
Increase in headaches
Imbalances of hormones or hormone shock
Dysfunctional uterine bleeding
Increased risk of heart disease
Severe pelvic adhesions
Misplacement of female organs
Damage to other organs inside the abdomen
Side effects from anesthesia
Ectopic pregnancy (an egg fertilized outside the uterus)
Incomplete closing of a fallopian tube resulting in pregnancy
Around40% of women experience these symptoms/medical issues after their tubal ligation.
So, what if you have already had one done?
Rest assured, a tubal ligation reversal IS possible! This is an excellent choice if you have decided your family is not complete, or you are having symptoms as a result of your ligation.
A reversal is considered an outpatient surgery, lasts about an hour, and does not typically require overnight stay unless there are complications as a result of the reversal. Reversals are successful in un-blocking the fallopian tubes 98% of the time. This does NOT mean that they are 98% successful in restoring fertility, however about 67% of patients that choose a reversal are able to conceive and maintain a pregnancy post-reversal. Success depends on the type of ligation that was performed, mostly. Reversal is less expensive than IVF with typically a higher conception success rate, as well.
The risks of a reversal surgery include:
Hemorrhaging (always ask to get your blood counts checked prior to consenting to surgery, every good doctor should do this anyways)
We get it, you REALLY, REALLY do not want to get pregnant again. What are the alternatives?
Natural Family Planning! When you dedicate yourself and commit to checking BBTs, cervical mucus, and being aware of your cycle, you can absolutely be successful in preventing pregnancy long-term! Stay tuned for HERBAL’s Womb Reading Fertility Course coming out soon!!
Neem Oil and Wild Carrot Oil are both excellent sources, from the Earth, to kill sperm and prevent conception when used properly.
**We do not recommend hormonal forms of birth control at HERBAL, at all! They are extremely toxic, have long term effects, and are not even very effective, honestly. Please research hormonal forms of birth control before putting them in your body**
I recently attended a really special birth! (Honestly, they are all pretty special – but this one is a little different!) This mama went a route I didn’t even know was possible! I seriously meet and serve the COOLEST women! With this woman’s permission, I will be sharing about her route to motherhood.
Choosing Single Parenthood
She is my age- 26, healthy, single, and a mom to a 3 year old. Her 3 year old was conceived the same way as her recently born child (same donor as well)! She is what is referred to as a “Single Mom By Choice”. Also known as SMBC, “Solo Mum by Choice”, “Choice Moms”, and TBM “Turkey Baster Moms”. These are single women who choose to be a mother without a partner. I’ve heard of people getting sperm donated from a friend, or going to a lab, getting tests, being inseminated, etc. But I have never heard of one going the route this mama did!
This mom bought her sperm online through an online sperm bank. They mailed the sperm she chose to her house, along with a nitrogen tank! How neat?! You are able to look at the donor’s profile, hear their voice, read their medical history, and see their infant photos. Many of the sites require a doctor’s permission, I am told, though this site requires no such thing! Why would one need a doctor’s permission to have a baby when Jane, Mary, and Susan are able to get pregnant with their partner with no permission?! Here is the site she ordered from, Cryos International, if you might be interested: https://usa.cryosinternational.com/
The Journey into Single Motherhood
You would track your menstrual cycle using basal body temperature, charted cervical mucus, and ovulation tests to pin point ovulation– TOTALLY my jam, huge fertility nerd here! Once LH surge/ovulation is pin pointed, you would use the syringe to inseminate your own self! Rebecca, the mama who went this route, said she is willing to help anyone who reaches out to her learn more about tracking to pin point ovulation. I also created a videoon ‘Fertility Tracking’ on my Facebook page.
I think it is INSANELY empowering that she chose to be a mother and was like “I got this, I can do this myself, I don’t need a man! & while I’m at it, I’ll have an unassisted birth because I am THAT competent”. And competent she was as she brought her baby earth side all on her own. No coaching, no instruction, no rules, no equipment. She navigated her birth on her own, the same way she conceived her child. How STRONG and EMPOWERED of her?
WHEW! *shakes head in humbleness* These women are incredible, guys. I am kept humble.
The partner’s role in labor and childbirth has changed drastically over the course of time. It used to be that men would not be around for labor or birth, they would go off and do their own thing while the woman birthed their child. But now, it has become the norm for the partner to be with the birthing woman. Not only this, but his involvement is proving to be highly valuable.
In fact, it is even suggested that having the partner absent from pregnancy, labor, and birth could lead to adverse health outcomes for both mom and baby. Here is a portion from this study, which briefly discusses the harms of not having the father present. “..fathers who are absent at birth, having already largely withdrawn from the child’s life beforehand, are more likely to have children with health problems at 3 months old.”
This study divulges how the father’s involvement with cord cutting has impact on their bond going forward. Those who did cut their child’s cord showed continuous improvement in emotional involvement with the infant. These partners found empowerment in being able to participate in this life changing event, which encouraged their continuous connection with their child. This connection, love, and affection from the father/partner benefits the child’s emotional development and overall health.
This study reveals that fathers are beneficial in comforting and calming baby in the first 2 hours postpartum from elective cesarean birth. Birth where mom might not have been able to experience skin to skin, so the father filled this role. These babies found comfort and security being skin to skin with their father. As in, they stopped fussing and became calm within 15 minutes of being placed on the father.
This is beneficial to the infant’s crucial emotional development. This experience also leaves the father feeling empowered in his role, and more emotionally connected to the child. This supplies a great start for a lifetime of healthy bonding.
I mean, there are hundreds of studies and articles produced discussing the impact of the father’s participation and attendance of birth. It has a positive impact for everyone! – Mom, Baby, and the Father/Partner themselves.
In the births I attend, I like to encourage partner/paternal involvement as much as possible. I see with my own two eyes how this empowers them. I see how this makes the partner confident in their role. I also see the child who is soothed simply by their fathers voice and touch.
Ways that the father can be incorporated in labor and birth are endless, they will also vary depending on the birthing woman’s desires. A few ways I would suggest a father’s participation and involvement would be:
Being a physical and emotional support for mom during labor. Applying counter pressure, holding her, reminding her how well she is doing; offering her water/snacks, and giving her intimate affection (whatever that means to the individual couple).
Catching baby as they emerge. I personally feel this plays a huge impact on the father’s empowerment. This is such a special moment and it often leaves them feeling overwhelmingly competent in their ability to fill the parental role.
Cord cutting! This is something I also encourage the partner to participate in. The tying of the umbilical tie as well as the severing of the cord itself.
Weighing of baby! Nothing is quite as special as seeing the father read and reveal the stats of their newest little love! They almost always smile, just permeated with pride!
The ways a partner can positively impact a labor, birth, and postpartum experience are endless, as are the benefits. Did your partner play an active role in labor and birth? How did you, as the birthing mother, feel about your partner’s involvement?
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…..or more appropriately referred to as round-the-clock, spontaneous pregnancy sickness, which can include indigestion, heartburn, nausea and/or vomiting.
We know, we know, you are tired of hearing about Ginger tea and Peppermint Essential Oils. Maybe they work for you, but it’s certainly frustrating to hear the suggestion over and over again when they don’t, especially when you are just feeling puke-y and not the vibrant, glowing pregnant that you expected.
WHY does this happen to so many women? (Over 80%, in fact).
Well, there are many, many theories. Some say that this sickness and discomfort in the beginning of, or throughout pregnancy, has a protective benefit to give, while others say it is a product of nutritional deficiencies, poor gut health, or toxins.
Can it Actually Be Beneficial?
First, let’s address the protective benefits theory. You might be thinking, how could something that makes me feel SO BAD be good for my baby and myself at all? Well, based on a 2016 study, women that experienced morning sickness by eight weeks gestation were 75% less likely to miscarry, than those that did not experience it. This may bring you comfort.
Now, if you are 10 weeks gestation, reading this and realizing you have not had any morning sickness, DO NOT panic! This was not at all a cause and effect study, and not having morning sickness does not indicate that you will not carry a healthy baby to term. While a lack of morning sickness can be an indicator of a low amount of hormones, it can also indicate that your body is just amazing at handling a perfect normal balance of hormones and you have a higher tolerance for not experiencing symptoms, which is definitely something amazing!
Surprisingly enough, morning sickness does not occur for all mammals, and mostly exclusively in humans, especially those of us in Western culture (Things that make you go hmmm…). There is suggestion that it is simply because we are more toxic beings in regards to our air quality, foods, and lifestyle, and that our body specifically rejects toxins through vomiting during pregnancy to protect the growing fetus in it’s most sensitive and developmentally critical stage.
Our consistently sick episodes may also be related to gut health. You may have instantly defended yourself in your mind such as, well, I take probiotics, that must not be true for me. But wait, just because you have been working on your gut health does NOT mean that your gut health still does not need improvement, and that you do not have H Pylori in your system. H Pylori is a bacteria that lives and thrives in your gut. It exists in water sources, can spread through families very easily by sharing foods, drinks, bathrooms, and you would never know you have it, unless you got tested for it, and shockingly, 90% of the Western population HAVE IT. H Pylori is associated with increase risk of anemia, pre-eclampsia and neural tube defects. It very easily leads into Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which goes well beyond morning sickness, and is actually very serious and often requires many trips to the hospital for fluids, intravenous medications and heavy monitoring to make sure mom and baby are okay. Treatment with antibiotics has a very low success rate, as low as 30% effectiveness, and antibiotics certainly come with risks while pregnant, so be weary.
Some natural, and more effective, ways to approach H. Pylori would be:
Mixing baking soda with water, and doing regular enemas can also be effective against H. Pylori, but be mindful that even herbs can come with risk while pregnant, so assess them properly for yourself. Also, just a side note, if your nausea couples with pain in your back, or under your right side ribcage, you may actually be experiencing gallbladder problems, rather than common pregnancy sickness. To read more about what to do about that, start here.
Can You Avoid Morning Sickness?
The theories on what to eat to prevent or alleviate the sickness are extremely conflicting, but high sugar, high acidic foods – such as citrus, coffee, pastas and certain vegetables, being avoided, seemed to show a positive relationship in decreasing the prevalence of nausea and vomiting, for some. Some organizations will claim that high-protein is better, while others lean towards a plant-based diet, then others toward very high-fat. We take the stance that you should intuitively eat!! Intuitive eating is simply just listening to your body. Avoid the aversions, meet the cravings, find out what certain cravings mean if your body is obsessing over them, especially if they are non-food based cravings like dirt, or ice, and meet those deficiencies. Even if you are not having odd cravings to indicate deficiencies, it does not hurt to go get a nutritional panel to see if you still have underlying deficiencies, either!
Naturally Approaches to Morning Sickness
You may benefit from acupressure, if you have not tried it already. A commonly known acupressure point is on the wrist, but one that is lesser known is found near the sternum! Applying pressure to your sternum also relieves your adrenals. See the photos below to get an idea.
Cannabis is another natural remedy that some choose. As a disclaimer we do not encourage breaking the law, selling, nor purchasing illicit drugs, so there’s that. Check your state laws and proceed with caution! There are no current studies completed and published in the USA, so if that bothers you, cannabis may not be up your alley, but there have been studies done in other countries and they all point to no harm, no risk. Smoking ANYTHING in general, is not ideal, but edibles, tinctures, topicals, and suppositories are all options. Vaping THC oil IS an option, as well, but be mindful that many vape cartridge packs contain preservatives, flavors, fragrances, and other chemicals that should definitely not be in anyone’s body, let alone a pregnant body. If THC is illegal in your state, but you still want to take advantage of hemp as legally as possible, give CBD oil a try. Full-spectrum is excellent, but for some, it does make them test positive for THC on a drug test even though the amount is legal in every single state, so if your work would have issue with that, be mindful. There is absolutely COMPLETELY THC FREE CBD oil. WILL it definitely help nausea and vomiting? Not entirely. Most people see THC as a psychoactive component of cannabis and think that by removing it, you solve the whole issue of “getting high,” yet still reaping the FULL benefits of cannabis, but this is a myth. THC has medicinal properties in itself, and when you remove THC from the picture, you unfortunately lose some of the benefits, and that is just a reality, so weigh your options!
Otherwise, in come the Doctors Orders! A solution that some have to resort to in order to function, is pharmaceuticals to treat consistent nausea and vomiting. While we completely validate that, we also cannot claim that HERBAL as an organization stands for informed consent, without expressing the risks of the drugs, as well. Zofran can lead to arrythmia, dizziness, headaches and loss of memory, as some of the more common effects. We will not scare you with the rare effects. Phenergan/Promethazine can lead to disorientation, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, edema (swelling), jaundice, anemia and seizures. Diclegis can make you sleepy, enhance nausea, induce vomiting, and cause itching. All of these also deplete nutrients in their own unique way, so be sure to test your nutrient levels before and about every couple weeks after utilizing these prescription medications, to see what you also need to be fulfilling as far as nutritional gaps.
If you want to read and learn more about nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, check out this study that evaluates all the risk factors, associations and more.
To close, I would like to discuss what exactly I mean by embracing this horrific feeling for the first months, or the entire span, of your pregnancy. I have found that welcoming the nausea, the vomiting, accepting its presence, navigating how to work through it even when nothing is helping, and see it as another piece of the puzzle (even if it’s a really yucky piece) to your amazing body and the creation of life within you. Now, if you have HG, do not embrace that, please get help, because HG is beyond awful. There are meditations available on Youtube and Insight Timer for relieving and embracing morning sickness and making peace with the beast that have been found to be incredibly soothing and helpful! You certainly have the right to complain, and even roll your eyes, especially if you are going through morning sickness right now, but hopefully this article can bring you some sort of relief, even if that relief is simply knowing that you are not alone.
Here is to a happy pregnancy, with or without puking involved! Tell us what helped you through, if anything.