Postpartum Care

Connected. Validated. Healed.

With the emotional and physical support of the Sacred Birth Journey community, mothers can feel connected rather than isolated, validated rather than judged and healed rather than wounded after giving birth and becoming Mothers.

I offer a wide range of loving support and care for postpartum mothers. From full 40-day daily Ayurvedic post-birth care, to Birth Story Listening™ sessions and support groups, to mommy/baby yoga classes…..it my goal to provide a supportive and non-judgemental community where healing and integration for a woman on the return of one of her life’s greatest heroine journeys can happen.

Click on a service below to learn more:

Postpartum Doula : 40 Day Care

Every woman deserves to have a companion, guide, and caregiver dedicated to tending to HER needs as she births herself as a mother during the 40 days postpartum.

Shelley’s one-on-one postpartum 40 day care provides both the practical and nurturing care that a mother deserves. In hiring Shelley for this doula service, you will feel nurtured and loved physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

“Woman-to-woman help through the rites of passage that are important in every birth has significance not only for the individuals directly involved, but for the whole community. The task in which the women are engaged is political. It forms the warp and weft of society.” –Sheila Kitzinger (Rediscovering Birth)
Daily, holistic, woman-to-woman nurturing for the postpartum mom providing support through physical touch, emotional understanding, nutrition, energetic restoring, education and most importantly… life-sustaining love!

There is an Indian belief stating that the way a mother is cared for the first 40 days after birth will impact the next 40 years of her life. Because Mother is central to family, when she is healthy (emotionally, physically and spiritually) the whole family is too. It takes a mother approximately 1-2 days to birth her baby, but it takes about 6-weeks for her to fully birth herself as a mother. A new mother is psycho-physiologically as delicate as her new baby and requires love, nourishment, rest and care, in order to fully step into her new role as a mother.

This is the most dramatic time of rapid change in a woman’s life on every level of her existence. It is also the most demanding time, with the baby needing to be fed and cared for around the clock. This can make recovery and integration very challenging, often leading to postpartum depression. In the U.S., the postpartum depression rate hovers around 25% and varies in severity. In countries where the 40-Day Sacred Window is a standard practice, the postpartum depression rate is less than 2%. It is time that the U.S. starts taking up these ancient healing and nurturing practices if we want to be a healthy, violence-free society.

Ayurvedic Postpartum Care Package

Below is the general information for my Ayurvedic Postpartum care package and how it works. Please let me know if you have any questions.

What is included in my Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula services

I will come to your home for 6 weeks (unless other arrangements are made), excluding weekends, starting the day you birth, or when you get home from the hospital.

Here is a general breakdown of what I will be doing when I come Monday- Friday (just an overview) I ask for your flexibility with scheduling as I will also be honoring you and the baby’s rhythms:

  • Arrive at 9:00 am. Leave by 1:00 or  2:00 pm. The time spent cooking and caring for motherbaby averages five hours per day. Some days I will spend four, some six. The average time spent is 25-30 hours per week.
  • Preparing and cooking fresh breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks and dinner for the mother. All the foods are very specific to her body’s delicate digestive system, post-birth. The menu will start out with extremely simple foods and become more complex as her agni (digestion) gets stronger. Daily assessments will provide that information to me.
  • Preparing appropriate snacks, Ayurvedic herbal tonics and shakes for breastfeeding support and healing.
  • Making sure Mother’s area is clean, snacks and drinks are fresh and handy for mother throughout the day and prepared for her before I leave so she is set for the evening/night
  • Kitchen cleaning, dishes, help with laundry as needed
  • Full body massage, womb blessings, abdominal massage
  • Daily Belly Binding, if desired
  • Mother steaming (if she likes it)
  • After massage, I prepare the herbal sitz bath for Mother and help her bathe on days she plans to do that
  • Infant massage education and support
  • Help bathing the baby
  • Breastfeeding support (although I am not a lactation consultant)
  • Elimination Communication education and support
  • Birth story processing/emotional support daily
  • Vaginal Herbal steaming upon closure of sacred window
  • Support with vaginal scar tissue remediation
  • Support with postnatal yoga when strong and ready
  • General support with breastfeeding and baby care
  • Any other needs of the Mother that I can support, I do

**This is just a general list with the essentials that are included. Of course, I am there to support mother and baby for whatever arises and the structure can be modify as needed. If other services are requested beyond the daily tasks, then they will either replace some of the daily tasks, or I will charge my additional fee of $60/hour for my time spent.

**My preparation duties outside the client’s home will include: grocery shopping for foods related to what I am cooking, some food prepping (soaking almonds overnight, soaking lentils, making Ayurvedic snacks, etc). This is included in the fees.

Rates

Please contact me for specifications regarding my rates. I charge based on ability to pay, starting at $60/hour + $25-$45 per day commute fee. For families who cannot afford my services, I am starting a scholarship fund and asking for financial support for these families.

**I wholeheartedly believe every mother on the planet deserves this quality of care postpartum.  I offer military discounts, sliding scales and payment plans.

Bundle Package

There is a discount for clients who choose to hire me for all of my services. This includes Birthing From Within™ childbirth preparation classes, Birth Doula services, and the full 6-week Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula care. I am not able to include the prenatal yoga classes in this bundle because it goes through the studio and is a separate agreement with the studio owner. I will offer a 5% discount if the services are bundled.

**The fees are for my services and time (cooking, massage, etc) and does not include groceries. Client will pay for the groceries and all consumables (herbs, etc).  I will provide a pre-birth list of foods I would like you to have in the home for the birth and first few days postpartum, along with some staples. Additional grocery shopping for foods I am cooking after that can be done by me. Client can provide me with a visa gift card, or I can save receipts for reimbursement.

**I am open to payment plans and happy to work with your budget, if necessary.

**I offer ala cart services (just massage or just cooking for example). Please contact me for individual pricing.

40-Day-Care
“Shelley acted as our doula both during labor, as well as, with her services postpartum. She is an angel. I really don’t know what we would have done without her powerful nurturing support. The 40-day postpartum care should be something that every woman receives after giving birth. It is such a delicate time in a woman’s life, and having this type of focused care on the new mother is incredibly supportive and healing. As the husband, I found it much easier to give my business the attention it was needing during this time, knowing that my wife was being so excellently cared for.”
~ Destin Gerek,
CEO/Founder of The Evolved Masculine
“This testimonial could not do justice to express my heartfelt gratitude for what Shelley has done for me and my family. The experience I have received from her love and care could never be put into words. The 40-day care that I received from Shelley was nothing less than a blessing in disguise that God sent to me.
“The postpartum support, lactation help, parenting guidance and pure love Shelley provided could never be enunciated, it could only be felt through the heart, and I feel very blessed for that.”
~Neha,
40 day Postpartum Care Client

Postpartum Sealing and Belly Binding

Belly binding is a tradition that has been passed down in many cultures to promote healing and wellbeing for the postpartum mother and is typically started within the first few hours after giving birth, continuing daily for forty days.

A Postpartum Sealing Session is a hands-on, emotional, physical and energetic ritualistic healing practice that honors the new mother’s journey into motherhood. These rituals and healing practices allow the mother to feel loved, witnessed and cared for by other women, from plant medicine and her own higher power.

The benefits of belly binding include:

  • Helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size
  • Heals diastasis recti (abdominal separation)
  • Reduces back and shoulder pain associated with nursing
  • Improves posture
  • Helps regain bladder control
  • Allows mother to feel secure
  • Allows fascia and ligaments to rest
  • Encourages organs to relocate back to their proper place
  • Decreases postpartum bleeding
  • Improves circulation
  • Keeps warmth in the womb
  • Supports healthy digestion
  • Relieves pelvic joint and dysfunction pain
  • Stabilizes uterine and abdominal integrity

Please fill out the contact form to schedule a session.

The origins of the postpartum sealing practice I offer is in the traditional Mexican matrilineal care.  I am humbly honored to have learned these healing techniques from Tema Mercado, a Mexican midwife in my community.  

Binding the stomach offers support, stability and comfort to the womb, muscles and internal organs, healing and repairing the postpartum body. Binding is a terrific way to heal the muscle walls and also support spine and posture realignment. Binding is also considered very emotionally healing for postpartum mothers. Pregnancy physically and energetically opens and fills up the body with life, and binding “seals” and closes the bones, helping the new mother feel centered, grounded and stable in her body again. Binding can also be very healing after a miscarriage.

Postpartum Sealing & Belly Binding Packages:

Belly Binding Session (in-home)  (1 hour) $160

    • Abdominal massage and sacred womb blessing
    • Belly bind application
    • Instruction to teach you how to bind yourself daily at home. A friend or family member is welcome to learn so they can wrap you at home
  • Includes your own Bengkung Belly Wrap or Elastic Bandage Binding Wrap

Belly Binding + Postpartum Massage Session (in-home)   (2 hours) $220

    • 60 minute postpartum massage including abdominal massage and sacred womb blessing
    • Belly bind application
    • Instruction to teach you how to bind yourself daily at home. A friend or family member is welcome to learn so they can wrap you at home
  • Includes your own Bengkung Belly Wrap or Elastic Binding Wrap

Postpartum Sealing Session  (2-3 hours) $280

    • Phone or in-person consultation
    • Vaginal herbal steam bath
    • Warming herbal bathing ceremony
    • Closing the bones rebozo wrapping
    • 60 minute postpartum and full body massage including abdominal massage and sacred womb blessing
  • Belly bind application
  • Includes your own Bengkung Belly Wrap or Elastic Binding Wrap
“The best part about knowing Shelley is she inspired me to be the best person I can for both myself and others. I can live life more freely knowing that I have faced one of my greatest fears and have grown by leaps and bound emotionally and spiritually. I recommend Shelley to all my pregnant friends and we are truly lucky to have such a positive, empowering person in our San Diego birthing community.
“Shelley helped me find my inner voice and allowed me to cultivate my own strength through healing birth medicine story telling. Every week I looked forward to reconnecting with her and other women as I prepared for the unknown attempt at a VBAC. I am happy to say, with Shelley’s support and guidance, I had a successful VBAC at 42wks+4 days and I know I couldn’t have done it without her compassion, love and experience.”
~ Lara, Mother of three

Birth Story Listening Sessions

Birth is EMOTIONAL and PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL, as much as it is a PHYSICAL journey…

The birth of a baby is one of the most profound experiences in a person’s life; filled with challenges, pain, joy and mystery. It’s one of life’s great initiations. During this transition into parenthood the psyche undergoes a huge transformation, and in order for there to be emotional wholeness and well-being, integration of the birth story is vital. Each story, no matter how traumatic or smooth, is rich with wisdom and self-discovery waiting to be extracted.

“Turn your suffering into art. Turn your art into awareness. Turn your awareness into action.”
~ Gabrielle Roth

Interested in a birth story healing session?

Please fill out the contact form and I will respond within 48 hours with suggested times and dates for us to meet. I look forward to hearing from you!

In a Birth Story Listening ™ session, we review the story in ways that are creative, fresh and insightful. Through compassionate listening, genuine validation and thoughtful questions, I help the storyteller navigate their way out of old, unhealthy thought-patterns (such as self-blame) and into deeper realizations about themselves in relation to their birth experience. Together, we literally turn suffering into art by exploring the birth story through process art, mythological storytelling, archetypes or dance. This, in turn, awakens new awareness for the storyteller. This awareness is often in the form of a new positive self-belief, which becomes action when the storyteller brings a greater sense of self-love back to her family.

Birth Story Listening ™ sessions are highly therapeutic, and effective, but they are not therapy. It’s more akin to going to your wise elder, sister, or grandmother in your village and seeking counsel.

What does a Birth Story Healing session include?

Birth Story Healing sessions typically last 2 hours. Through dialog and other creative processes, I guide you into reconstruction of how you perceive yourself as a birthing mother or father (or partner).

A birth story session is for anyone who has given birth, miscarried or aborted a baby. Whether your baby is 6 weeks or 30 years old, it’s never too late for a session. Birth Story Listening is also helpful for doulas, nurses, midwives, OBs or anyone who has witnessed a traumatic birth.

It is important that you leave your child(ren) with another parent or caregiver so that you can take this time to fully focus on your healing. Sessions take place in San Diego at Yoga Jai Ma or my personal home art studio.

Cost: $100

Click here to read my blog post about birth trauma and birth story listening.

Podcasts Shelley is featured in on the topic of Healing from Birth Trauma

http://www.newmommymedia.com/episode/healing-from-birth-trauma/
http://www.newmommymedia.com/episode/healing-from-an-unwanted-cesarean/

Read an article Shelley wrote for Natural Baby Pros on Healing from Cesarean Birth

https://www.naturalbabypros.com/article/13/healingcesareanbirth/

“With Shelley’s guidance, I was able to process, learn, and heal more in two hours than I had in the previous two years. Her approach and style of communication is gentle and kind, but powerful and effective. I left our session feeling like an enormous emotional weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Thank you so much, Shelley.”
~ Valerie Sullivan Loss
“It was amazing the change in my perception from the time I walked in her door to the time I left two hours later. I now realize what a birth warrior I truly was and how every decision I made benefitted my son. I feel my baby and I have a much stronger bond now and I am able to enjoy him so much more and on a deeper level. Thank you Shelley for helping this mama heal! I highly recommend Shelley and a birth story medicine session to any mommy who is grieving the birth she didn’t get, but wanted.”
~ Marisa (and Jaxson)

Placenta Workshop

Please join me as we create a Holy Placenta Revolution together.

The Next Placenta Workshop:

May 6th from 4:30 – 6:00

Investment: $35

One day all mothers in the world will feel a sense of holiness for their baby’s placenta, as we reclaim the power of our bodies together. Loving, thanking and giving our placentas back to Mother Earth is our right…..in doing so, Earth will be fed, nourished and healed, there is no separation between Earth and Mother. We are ONE.

This workshop is offered four times every year and is great for expecting mothers AND all women who have ever grown a placenta.

In this workshop you will discover:

    • The placenta’s role in providing nutrients and protecting your baby from harm
    • The energetic qualities of your baby’s placenta
    • How to birth the placenta gently, safely…..with love and respect
    • Ancient cultural traditions and beliefs about the baby’s placenta (first mother)
    • A deeper understanding of your own cultural conceptions about the placenta
    • Meditations, dance and movement connecting you with your placenta and baby
    • Communication with your baby’s placenta through process-oriented art and journaling
    • Physical, emotional and energetic benefits of delayed cord clamping and lotus birth
  • Rituals and practices to honor the placenta after giving birth

Placenta Ceremonies

A placenta burial ceremony can be a beautiful way to honor the life, birth and death of your baby’s placenta.

When we reclaim the sacredness of the placenta, we are able to connect with deep ancestral healing of the mother wounds. I believe if we can become a culture that respects, honors and worships our holy placenta, we will have the power to heal the wounds of the Earth.

Placenta education and awareness is a vital and missing link in childbirth preparation. She is truly our FIRST MOTHER, an unseen mother, the mother of us all. We would not be alive without her. It is one of my missions to reclaim the holiness of the placenta for the next seven generations. It is through this organ in our body, that a woman learns to become mother.

To schedule your Placenta Ceremony consultation, please fill out the contact form.

Your AMAZING Placenta! There would be no human life without this incredible organ!

Your sacred body not only creates and births a baby, it also creates and birth’s your baby’s first mother and companion for 9+ months…..its PLACENTA.

Many cultures still revere the placenta as sacred, holy and a second soul to the child. People in many societies still believe that the placenta is the physical body of the child’s guardian angel. The placenta, baby and umbilical cord is considered the holy trinity. American culture has yet to discover the blessings of their baby’s placenta; mainstream thought is that it is merely “bio-hazard waste” and even considered “gross.” Cultivating an awareness and compassion for our placenta will gift us with many healing benefits. Through education, awareness and rituals for the placenta, mothers can connect to a very primal, instinctual mothering presence within her body, awakening to a feminine power that pervades all things sacred, including Mother Earth herself.

One way to honor the placenta is by requesting to bring it home from the birth and not allowing it to be discarded as bio-hazard waste. The placenta will stay fresh stored in a plastic container in your freezer for many years. Mine stayed in the bottom of my freezer for three years before I had time to plant it!

A Placenta burial ceremony can be simple or elaborate. We will meet to discuss ideas and assess your needs for creating the ritual. Some things to consider are:

  • Do I want to plant the placenta under a new tree or existing tree?
  • Where do I want the placenta to have its final rest?
  • Who will be present to bless the placenta to rest?
  • What, if any, art would I like to create with the placenta and umbilical cord?
  • Once we have established your needs and desires, we will set a date for the ceremony and burial.

Placental Burial Ceremony

This ritual service includes:

  • 45-minute phone or in-person planning meeting
  • Setting up an altar with symbolic objects honoring the life and death of the placenta
  • Creating art from the placenta and umbilical cord
  • Reading a letter you wrote to your baby’s placenta
  • Blessings and prayers for the placenta and baby
  • Burying the placenta

Cost for ceremony facilitation: $125

Click here to read my blog post about placenta treatment in birth

Additional recommended reading:
Placenta, The Forgotten Chakra by Robin Lim

“I believe that the placenta is truly alive, experiences emotions and has intelligence of its own.” ~ Robin Lim (Nurse-Midwife, CNN Hero of the year)