“Truly, we cannot yell loudly enough from the rooftops
how happy we were to be students in Ashley’s childbirth class. At a time in our pregnancy when information was being thrown at us from all directions, her class gave us perspective, context, and a framework we loved. It’s no exaggeration to say that Ashley gave us the gift of an incredible, personalized, relaxed, fun, and thoughtful class.” R+R
is a Certified Cooperative Childbirth Educator through CEA/MNY, a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), and a birth and postpartum doula. Ashley is a pelvic health and body-alignment enthusiast. She is trained in Comforting Touch for Labor, Infant / Child CPR, Rebozo Techniques for Childbirth, Dream Birth Imagery, and Spinning Babies.
After graduating from Haverford College with a passion for politics, progressive education, and a certification to teach middle school social studies, I was faced with hiring freezes across the country for new teachers. I took the opportunity to travel cross country and wound up on the island of St. John, USVI, working at an eco-resort. When my partner began a Ph.D. program, I begrudignly returned home to New York City. Undecided about pursuing a career in education, I juggled catering with working as a nanny and as a personal chef. One day, when I was describing my work to a family friend, she asked me if I was a postpartum doula. After a little bit of research, I quickly certified through DONA International and immediately pursued certification as a lactation counselor and birth doula.
As I began my career as a doula, I attended a workshop run by the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York and learned about their two-year program to become a childbirth educator. The lightbulb went off when I realized I could teach all of the things I was practicing with clients one-on-one. Also, being on-call as a doula is hard, and I was pregnant with my first baby, so I liked the idea of being able to have a set schedule.
After a complicated first birth, I was driven to understand why, I, who was so well prepared would have a life threatening complication. I could not accept “healthy mom / healthy baby” as the end of my story. I’ve come to accept that there is no way to know why things happen, but my investigation led me to a deeper understanding of birth physiology. I have come to know a lot more than your typical childbirth educator about fetal alignment (the baby’s positions in utero), pelvic alignment (the bones that determine the baby’s descent), and the importance of a person’s instinct and intuition. My first labor taught me one of the most important lessons there is to learn about birth: the birthing person is not in control. My recovery taught me another: the “shape” of one’s body prenatally is equally important to one’s mental fortitude.
Fortunately, I found my way to a postnatal restorative exercise class that focused on the pelvic floor. Complications in the pelvic floor are incredibly common postnatally, but like miscarriage and Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders, not something people openly discuss (even in many childbirth classes). My learning about pelvic health has opened a whole world of opportunities. I found Katy Bowman (read her book Movement Matters now) and have altered much of my life to find true balance in my body through alignment, breath, and nutrition. Professionally, I see Childbirth Education as one piece of the prenatal puzzle. I have partnered with Physical Therapists and Fitness Professionals throughout NYC to combine my classes with mindful movement and plan to expand my own knowledge in the restorative exercise space.
“Ashley's class was chock filled with information…
but presented in a way that felt like a warm, caring friend was giving it to you, so you never felt overwhelmed. She allowed me and my husband to see birth as a natural process and not something to fear. And she talked about taking the time to heal afterbirth which I thought was wonderful for all the expectant mothers in the class to hear. I am in confident in my upcoming birth, with much thanks to Ashley” - (Amanda)
Four years into teaching, I have taught over 400 couples and I keep increasing the length of my course to share more of what I am learning. While having a baby may seem like something that will “just happen” the birthing process can teach us so much about ourselves with implications far beyond the hours we’re experiencing contractions.
If it matters…
I married my high school sweetheart (after six challening years of dating long-distance) and because of incredibly hard work, we have the two best children on the planet.