It all began when I was 4. I remember it vividly. My brother was born in our basement apartment, in the soft glow of the June moon, as I stood alongside midwives who awaited his arrival. His birth was treated like a normal life occurrence that was embraced by everyone in attendance. I remember feeling the joy in the room. I can still feel the scissors in my little hands as I was asked to cut the cord. I believe this experience was a gift that ushered me into this amazing life work.
I weave my training as a marriage and family therapist together with my experience as a doula, childbirth educator, meditator and mother, creating a unique and holistic approach to childbirth and parenthood preparation.
I hold an undergraduate degree in Contemplative Psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, CO. This degree is based in the philosophy of finding a healthy blend between psychology and spirituality. I also hold a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. I have completed over 3,000 clinical counseling hours working with children, teens, and adults in transforming their lives.
I began training with Birthing From Within after my son was born. I completed the advanced training in BFW and began running my own prenatal classes and workshops to prepare for birth and parenthood. Also having completed training as a birth doula, I am honored to assist women and their partners throughout labor and birth.
Working in our town’s beautiful free standing birth center, Sunrise Birthing Center, has been a wonderful opportunity for me to learn about birth from wise midwife, Karni Seymour-Brown. I have been able to witness and learn more about what parents need from being surrounded by expectant couples on the brink of this extraordinary transformation into a family.
In 2009, I envisioned and created our community’s first and only Pregnancy Circle. I had a vision of a circle of women that were encouraged to listen within. Instead of a class, where the message is to access outside information, this circle was about retrieving inner knowing. It is a time to have meaningful dialogue around pregnancy with other expectant women while also carving out time to be mindful, quiet and still and connect with oneself and one’s baby. It is based on the foundation that we nurture the emotional lives of women embarking on this journey.
I have extensive education and training in meditation and mindfulness, as well as incorporating my own mindfulness practice into my daily life. I believe in developing myself personally, intellectually and spiritually to enhance my work and my life.
And, last but certainly not least, I am a very full time mother. The presence I am able to hold with my clients throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum has been cultivated by being present in the lives of my children.
“Laurel is a smart, spiritual, sweet and all-around good human being! She offers such a tender and down to earth voice, as well as empathy and creative solutions to all of those peaks & valleys that define the pregnancy experience. She helps facilitate in a non-judgmental way and creates a nurturing, relaxed and meditative environment.” ~K.R.
Why? All throughout both of my pregnancies, I felt as though there was something missing. I was preparing my body by eating well, exercising, and yoga. I was preparing my mind through my birthing class and reading the many books. I was even preparing my external world by buying the baby gear and preparing space in our home for having a new baby. But where did my heart fit into it all? I really felt as though I needed and wanted time to prepare my heart for what was about to occur.
As I experienced the great physical, emotional and cognitive changes within myself as I had my two children, I began to shape my work into a more holistic perspective. I saw that a birth class wasn’t enough. I began to notice that many different types of women were looking for heart centered preparation.
I have worked with…women who were experiencing easy, textbook pregnancies but needed a space to process and integrate the many changes. Women who were fearful of giving birth. Women who were excited about giving birth. Women who had experienced a difficult or traumatic birth. Women who wanted space to be heard. Women who lived far from family and needed support. Women who were challenged with family dynamics and expectations. Women who struggled with the physical changes. Women who struggled with the emotional ups and downs. Women and their partners wanting time to talk about their evolving relationship. Women preparing for a VBAC. Women preparing for a cesarean. Women who experienced a loss. Women who needed to grieve. Women who wanted to celebrate. Women who want to enjoy who they are and who they are becoming. Women who want to deeply connect with themselves and their growing baby.
I have found this work by listening to the voices of many women. I help you come home to yourself, in finding and sustaining calm in the midst of a time of great change. It is about finding what is true for you and living from that place.