My birthlight journey

Birthlight has been a leading force in my philosophy on birthing and parenting. I started off as a labour and delivery nurse in Canada soon after graduation from nursing school and assisted mothers in their birth experience in Canada, Nepal, Saudi Arabia and the USA. When I moved to London I was unable to nurse in the birth centers since I was not a midwife, so I shifted my focus to my growing yoga practice and trained to become a teacher.

In 2005 I found Birthlight and started on my Perinatal yoga diploma. I was deeply moved by Francoise's philosophy and way of working with mothers and babies and learned a great deal during the training. I also met another influential teacher, Uma Dinsmore-Tuli, during my perinatal diploma course that gave me the basis of my pranayama teaching. As I finished my Perinatal diploma I started on my Baby yoga diploma as well as taking the IAIM infant massage instructor training and a BWY Postnatal yoga course. While I was completing all of my training a funny thing happened with my yoga teaching schedule. It seemed I would lose a regular yoga class and a prenatal or baby yoga class would pop up in its place. The Universe seemed to agree this was the path for me. Soon I was teaching a full schedule of Birthlight classes all over London and loving it.

My first baby was born near the end of my 5 year stay in London. I was very fortunate to be able to attend Francoise' classes during my pregnancy and with my newborn daughter. Attending class really helped me deal with my disapointment when I found out my daughter was breech and ended up needing a cesarean section.  I had planned on a natural birth into the hands of midwives but that was not to be. I found great peace in the in the transition to motherhood and caring for my newborn daughter. The baby yoga I had learned from Birthlight brought great joy to our days.

When my daughter was only 4 months old we relocated to the USA. We took a 5 month cross country road trip with my daughter before arriving at our final destination in Boston. We used many a baby yoga song and moves to get us there. Soon after arriving I found Isis Parenting, a center that offered both prenatal and mom and baby yoga. It turned out they had just lost a yoga teacher and were looking for someone to take on a few classes. I have continued to teach for Isis as well as develop curriculum for their yoga series and conduct staff in-services to share ideas on teaching prenatal and mom and baby yoga. I also led my first residential yoga retreat for mothers this past fall. I love the opportunity that yoga classes provide to support new mothers and build community connections.

My second son arrived just over a year after we arrived in Boston. During my second pregnancy I was committed to finding someone who would support me in my wish for a VBAC (vaginal birth after c/section). Having seen many VBACs while working in birth centers in Canada and also having a deep trust in my own body's ability to birth naturally gave me the strength to pursue this birth for my son. Through a fellow yoga teacher and doula I found a doctor who supports women in their birth choices and gives her the time and space she needs for birth to take its course. My son was a vaginal delivery straight into my arms surrounded by loving family. I believe the philosophy I brought with me from Birthlight gave me faith in my body's ability to birth.

Carolyn Gillespie

 

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