When Laura Irmis had her first son, he was born in a hospital with a midwife from an OB-GYN practice. The birth was a positive experience, but it taught her that she wanted even more freedom.
Her process of learning more about natural childbirth set her off on a path toward becoming a childbirth instructor and natural birth advocate.
Many moms are able to experience the birth they want at the hospital. By working with a midwife, Irmis was able to follow her birth plan. “Although it was a wonderful birth I knew the next time I wanted to be in a more serene, calming environment,” she says. “I wanted to have more freedom to move about during labor with the choice of using water for pain management and birth.” Few hospitals allow for water births, though some have tubs available for pain management during labor.
Having a baby gave Irmis a new perspective on birth and preparing for birth. “My husband and I took a Bradley Method class during our first pregnancy but it wasn’t until after my first birth that I decided to pursue a career in birth education,” she says. “After my first birth I felt so empowered, I wanted to give that same power to other women. Birth changed me, I consumed myself in learning more about natural birth and the impact it can have.” Her second birth was a natural childbirth.
Because she’d had a Bradley Method birth, Irmis was able to pursue training to become a Bradley Method instructor. She completed a workshop course, as well as readings and report requirements. “When teaching, I always feel honored that couples choose me to be part of their special time in life,” Irmis says. “I strive to inspire mothers to give birth naturally and unmedicated, allowing them the chance to experience an amazing journey on their terms.”
Laura is part of two birth networks in her area. She also helps coordinate a worldwide rally to raise awareness of unnecessarily high C-section rates. “I believe women aren't being informed of the effects of inductions and the terrible intervention cycle that can happen. Women who don't educate themselves may not be aware of the time table they are on once they are admitted into the hospitals. Education is key.” Her own birth experiences give her hope that the moms and birth partners who come to her for childbirth education can experience the safe, intervention-free birth they’re hoping for. “After all, it all begins with birth,” she says, “and how we birth affects the rest of our lives.”
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