First of all, dear readers, I must thank you for your generous response to my “restructuring” post and for all of your wonderful support for your favorite products!
One of the reason for making more room in the Lilith landscape is so that I can move forward with my herbal study, a path that has been certainly aided but also hindered by an ever-expanding herbal bath & body business. I spend so much time processing orders and preparing products that I can’t properly focus on my true love: herbal medicine.
Earlier this year, I decided that I wanted to reach out to some local services supporting natural childbirth and mothering–to let them know that Lilith’s Apothecary products for pregnancy, post-partum, and new baby exist, but also just to perhaps engage more with a community of services very much in line with my own interests in herbal medicine. I was incredibly fortunate to have made contact with an amazing woman, Brittany Sharpe McCollum CCE(BWI), CD(DONA), the trained and experienced doula behind Blossoming Bellies birth services.
Far beyond a mere introductory exchange, Brittany and I enjoyed an enthusiastic conversation that progressed into plans to create curricula around the use of herbs during pregnancy, labor, delivery, post-partum, and childcare, with intended audiences of doulas, midwives, and possibly new women. Just in the same way that Brittany advocates the empowering of women to take control of their own bodies in the natural birthing process, I am an advocate of empowering women to use herbal allies at these critical times. Along similar lines, I believe, the hegemonic medical ‘establishment’ has created fear about and certainly a medicalization of birth that takes women away from the control of this very natural process, and certainly has created fear around the use of even the safest of herbs during pregnancy and childbirth. It is important that, through education, we advocate the use of safe, empowering, and natural approaches toward natural pregnancy, child birth, and mothering. In this, Brittany and I are brilliantly in alignment.
As for Brittany and Blossoming Bellies, her story is a wonderful one. After the birth of her son in 2006, Brittany discovered a passion for women’s health, informed decision making through the process of labor and birth, and the need for support in the postpartum period. Moving away from her roots in journalism and creative writing, Brittany began devoting much of her energy to the study of natural pregnancy and childbirth. Her fascination with the body’s amazing abilities and her desire to aid women in rediscovering these abilities inspired her to enter the world of the birth professional.
Brittany completed childbirth educator certification with Birth Works International and completed birth doula certification with DONA. She now teaches several different formats of the Birth Works childbirth education preparation class series and supports women and their partners in labor through emotional, physical, and informational support. Brittany is also trained by Birth Arts International, a program based on the midwifery model of care, which includes basic information about the ancient wisdom of herbs. As a breastfeeding advocate, she has also completed breastfeeding counselor certification with Nursing Mothers Alliance. Her services also include postpartum doula support, in which she fills the traditional role of assisting the new mother transition into parenthood through breastfeeding support, discussion of infant care, and help with household necessities such as laundry and pet care.
Through regular attendance at workshops and conferences and through hands-on support, Brittany continues to embrace her passion for informed decision making and the power of the female body in birth. In supporting families through pregnancy, labor, and postpartum, Brittany helps ease the transition into parenting and build confidence in childrearing in both the mother and her partner. Information about all of the services Brittany offers can be found on her website at http://www.blossomingbelliesbirth.com. Her services and workshops are supportive of the Philadelphia region, but if you are trying to find a doula in another region of the country, Brittany would no doubt be of assistance in directing you to a good resource.