Why did you pursue Midwifery?
When I was pregnant with my first over 10 years ago, I had no idea that home birth was even a thing. I stumbled across it through an acquaintance and saw pictures of her birth that were the opposite of everything I had ever been exposed to about birth. It was peaceful, beautiful, and calm. Not sterile, surrounded by machines, and terrifying. I have always avoided hospitals and hadn’t been looking forward to that part of things with giving birth. So, I took HypnoBirthing, switched to home birth, and had the most amazing, empowering, 4 hour labor with my son. After that, I just knew birth work was gonna be my jam. I wanted everyone to know that this option was out there and that birth could be beautiful. I wanted people to feel empowered by their births and their ability to choose. I was a doula for awhile, but struggled with how little control I had to influence the situation and was spending a lot of time trying to undo what was being said and done by providers that weren’t in tune with what their patients really wanted. I decided my biggest impact on these families would be to actually be their provider, so I went for it and have never looked back. Empowering families is the biggest driving force behind why I continue with this work.
How long have you been practicing?
What is the most important postpartum care advice you would offer?
We spend so much time preparing for birth and for baby, and we forget all about postpartum! When you hit that last trimester, start planning for the support you will need. Line up at least two weeks of meals (meal train, freezer meals, etc.) and set up a list of people who are available to come sit with you or hold your baby so you can shower and nap when you need a minute or are exhausted. Make plans for how you will get enough sleep, because it won’t just happen. Aim to get at least 6 hours in 24 hours, less than 6 consistently is where I really start to see mood issues kick in hard. Think about all of that and line it up BEFORE you’re in the trenches. It’s hard to reach out for help when you’re in the thick of it and most moms just forge ahead on their own. We were never meant to do this in isolation and that is why it is so hard! I have never once had someone tell me they had too much support postpartum, so get your ducks in a row before baby comes. You will absolutely need help and you deserve to have it.
How do you help moms overcome their birthing fears?
Education, birth videos, and creating affirmations that directly combat what they fear. I find that moms who take a class on coping during unmedicated labor have much smoother labors and higher confidence in their bodies’ ability to birth. There is so much basic knowledge lacking in our country about birth and how our bodies work in labor. Once we know how the body functions and that it is fully capable of birthing if we can just stay out of the way, we see confidence in our clients soar.
What breastfeeding advice would you offer to new moms?
Oh mamas. It can be hard! If it’s hurting or if you’re getting damaged, see a lactation consultant right away. Don’t wait and try to muscle through it. Know going in that it will be a full time, round the clock job for the first few weeks and that is why you absolutely need support around you. Know that if it’s rocky, it almost always improves with time and lactation support. Give it six weeks if you’re really wanting to breastfeed long term, because sometimes it takes that long to work through the bumps and get things running more smoothly.
You can find Alyssa on Instagram at @auroramidwife where she shares real talk about real birth and offers online birthing classes. You can also purchase her herbal products or read her blog on her website www.auroramidwife.com.