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  • NBP Mama
  • Bruce Larsen

Jo Kilburn, a labor doula and Hypnobirthing childbirth educator in Encinitas, CA, istruly one of the most gentle, kind, and caring spirits we have ever met. We are honored to have her as our spotlighted practitioner,and hope that you too will discover Jo and what she has to offer to this community. We had the opportunity to ask Jo some questions about her work and inspiration; please take a moment to soak in what she had to say.

1. What is your relationship to fertility, pregnancy, birth, and/or mommy/baby care, and how does your work relate to it?

My relationship is as a certified labor doula with DONA and a certified HypnoBirthing childbirth educator. I have taught many new parents the techniques of natural labor and delivery and attended wonderful undisturbed births over the past 9 years.

2. What inspired you to do the work you do?

I had my two daughters at home and this was the true inspiration to working in the birthing community for the past 30 years. I had beautiful births in the sacred space of my home surrounded with love and support. Their births reflected on the children they were, to the adult women they have become. I feel my calling into this work is to educate and guide woman who come in contact with me to experience this bond and empowerment that is theirs to have through their birthing.

3. What is the most important thing a pregnant woman or a woman trying to conceive should know about her body, giving birth, and caring for herself and her baby, based on your personal and professional experience?

The first thing that comes to mind, for all of the above is, “TRUST in your body and your own instinctual ability.” We are not taught to trust our bodies in our society. We are taught to doubt and question if our bodies are healthy or capable, through media and competitive social structures. If we could “re-teach” ourselves how to breathe and relax through our adult life’s traumas and exertions I believe we would all be in better health for ourselves and our families.

4. What is your biggest obstacle in supporting pregnant or trying-to-conceive women and/or babies?

My biggest obstacle is when women do not believe the advice and suggestions offered tothem. Our advice, as birth advocates, is to show them freedom of choice based on knowledge of alternatives both in maternity and newborn care. Birthing professionals are mostly speaking from their own experience which consists of education, attendance to births and postpartum support, birth related conferences and conclaves, extensive reading and studying with mentors throughout the birthing community. We all truly want woman to have the most fulfilling and empowering experience for themselves and their families.

5. Tell me your best success story.

There have been so many!! Experiencing with a couple, the individual love and support that comes natural with each other, during the whole process of birthing their child together, is absolutely phenomenal. A birth I recently attended was in Scripps Mercy hospital, where the young mother asked the OBGYN if her husband could “receive” their daughter. The Doctor said, “of course!” She had the husband put on the “paper suit and gloves” and then showed him how to do perineal support while his baby was crowning. Then with her hands under his and speaking instructions softly to him, he received his daughter into his hands and after giving her a kiss on her vernix covered forehead, placed her on his wife’s chest and waiting arms. Sigh, that was incredible.