Aligned Birth

Ep 144: Birthing From Within (CBE) and Postpartum Support with Amanda Gorman

February 28, 2024 Dr. Shannon and Doula Rachael Episode 144
Ep 144: Birthing From Within (CBE) and Postpartum Support with Amanda Gorman
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Aligned Birth
Ep 144: Birthing From Within (CBE) and Postpartum Support with Amanda Gorman
Feb 28, 2024 Episode 144
Dr. Shannon and Doula Rachael

 Amanda Gorman joins the show today, and through her own two birth and postpartum experiences, she made a career change to share her perinatal knowledge with other moms and families.  She is a Birthing From Within childbirth education instructor, a doula, and is the Program and Policy Manager with Postpartum Support International Georgia Chapter.  We go in-depth with how her births led her to become a childbirth educator, how her own postpartum struggle with mood disorders led her to create a podcast to spread awareness and knowledge, and how all of that ultimately led to her doula work and her work with PSI Georgia.

Connect with Amanda:

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Find us online:
Sunrise Chiropractic and Wellness
North Atlanta Birth Services

Editing: Godfrey Sound
Music: "Freedom” by Roa

Disclaimer: The information shared, obtained, and discussed in this podcast is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional consultation with a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your individual medical needs. By listening to this podcast you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having. This disclaimer includes all guests or contributors to the podcast.

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Show Notes Transcript

 Amanda Gorman joins the show today, and through her own two birth and postpartum experiences, she made a career change to share her perinatal knowledge with other moms and families.  She is a Birthing From Within childbirth education instructor, a doula, and is the Program and Policy Manager with Postpartum Support International Georgia Chapter.  We go in-depth with how her births led her to become a childbirth educator, how her own postpartum struggle with mood disorders led her to create a podcast to spread awareness and knowledge, and how all of that ultimately led to her doula work and her work with PSI Georgia.

Connect with Amanda:

Support the Show.

Want to show your support? Want to help us continue doing this important and impactful work: Support the Show (we greatly appreciate it!)

Don't miss new episodes: Join the Aligned Birth Community

Instagram: Aligned Birth


Find us online:
Sunrise Chiropractic and Wellness
North Atlanta Birth Services

Editing: Godfrey Sound
Music: "Freedom” by Roa

Disclaimer: The information shared, obtained, and discussed in this podcast is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional consultation with a qualified healthcare provider familiar with your individual medical needs. By listening to this podcast you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be having. This disclaimer includes all guests or contributors to the podcast.

Dr. Shannon (00:01.794)
Hello, hello, this is the Aligned Birth Podcast. I am Dr. Shannon, one of the hosts of the show, and today is an interview day. This is fun because I, a lot of these interviews, I've not met the people in real life, but I finally met this guest in real life. So I'm always excited about that to have our local birth community on the show, but.

We're talking about, I'm having a hard time coming up with what I wanna title this episode because we're gonna talk about so many things. It's almost like a perinatal aspect, which is like preconception, pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. I feel like that's one way to look at it, but we're talking about childbirth education, birthing from within, specifically. We're talking about dual work. We're talking about postpartum support, specifically postpartum support international as well too and what that organization can do and where you can find support. So we're talking about...

all the things with birth. And so we have our guest, Amanda Gorman on today. She's a mother of two whose personal experiences have fueled her dedication to serving those affected by postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. As a survivor of postpartum depression and anxiety, Amanda transformed her own challenges into a mission to help other families. She's a childbirth educator, doula, and also serves as the program and policy manager for postpartum support international Georgia chapter.

where she champions the cause of maternal mental health at the policy level, striving to create a more supportive and understanding environment for mothers and families. Ah, she's amazing. I'm so excited to have you on the show today, Amanda.

Amanda (01:34.142)
Thank you so much for having me. It's so great to be here.

Dr. Shannon (01:37.034)
Yes! Okay, I was gonna say this has been in the works in my mind for a while. This happens sometimes with the show. I'll be like, okay, I know this person and I really want to have them on because you haven't had a podcast. Is it Finding Your Tribe? Is that... Finding Your Village, sorry. Finding Your Village. And I found out about that because you had Dr. Pamela Stone McCoy on there who was like my mentor. She's amazing.

Amanda (01:54.634)
Finding your village, close. Yeah.

Dr. Shannon (02:06.638)
I was just texting her this morning. She's amazing. And you had her on and I was like, what is this? I need to know what this podcast is and what she does and who is Amanda. And then we got to meet in real life this past Christmas and I was like, I kind of freaked out. I was like, oh my gosh, it's you. It's you in real life. So we got to chat a bit and then we got to meet up again in real life when you came to the office. So.

I, yeah, this has been a long time coming for me because, and you've had new things come into your life since I first met you or since I first learned about you. So where do we want to start with this? I wanna go into where this started for you in this journey into birth worker world.

Amanda (02:48.474)
Yeah, no, that sounds great. And also, I just wanted to say I really enjoyed this podcast. I started listening to it probably like close to six months ago, and I have just really appreciated the work that you and Rachel have done. So I also just wanted to give a shout out that this has been a long time coming for me as well. So, yeah, I'm glad that we could make this work. Yeah. So...

Dr. Shannon (03:05.358)
Thank you so much. Yes, ah, that's wonderful. Me too, me too.

Amanda (03:15.794)
Where I got started really was in my own pregnancies with my own children. So I have a five-year-old and a seven-year-old. And so didn't really think anything about birth at all until I was considering becoming pregnant with my first child. And then that was its own journey of me thinking that I would just simply go with whatever doctors told me and then just kind of...

not give it a whole lot of thought or preparation and that most of the preparation would be about buying baby gear and what am I going to do with work with my child. I did not anticipate getting so interested in pregnancy, birth options, but I did. And so had a great experience with my daughter. I did end up changing OB practices. I went to three different OB practices.

I was telling you before when we met at your office that I kind of felt like that scene and knocked up where Kath and Haigo goes to like all the different openings. Yeah. I mean, I had this maternal instinct that my daughter was going to go past her due date and that...

Dr. Shannon (04:20.698)
I love it. I reference that movie a lot, I love that. But that's so true, yeah. She's like, nope, not that one, nope, not that one. And that's, yeah, no, that's important skills to learn, though, I'm glad you did that.

Amanda (04:41.43)
most of the OBs that I met with said that they had an induction policy where they would have their clients, their patients get induced at 41 weeks. And I just had this thing in my mind that was like, you're gonna be stressed out about that because this child is gonna still be in your uterus at 41 weeks. I just had this thought that was gonna be the case.

Dr. Shannon (05:08.532)

Amanda (05:09.594)
And yeah, this knowing, this internal knowing, and I couldn't describe it at the time of what that was, but now it's, yeah, that internal knowing, that maternal instinct. And so I switched to a provider that has shared decision-making model in his work, Dr. Boots Taylor. And so I, thank goodness, listened to that maternal instinct and I switched to his, under his care, and my daughter was born at 42 weeks exactly. So I went into labor spontaneously, like.

Dr. Shannon (05:35.618)

Amanda (05:39.926)
I don't know, 11 days past my due date. So I, yeah, my instinct was right on. Yeah. Yes. It was, it was funny. It was like the, like three or four days after my due date, I thought I was going to be pregnant forever. But then I just kind of gave in. And I was just like, I don't know, like something just switched. It was just funny. I was like, whatever. Like, I'll just, you know, she's coming when she's coming. So like those first three days. Yeah.

Dr. Shannon (05:45.236)
like 11 probably longest days of your life as well too.

Dr. Shannon (06:04.393)
I mean, I know I'm not going to forever.

Amanda (06:08.666)
Yeah, but in the moment, those first three or four days, I was like, I think I'm gonna be pregnant forever. So yeah, I had a good birth experience with her, but I did take a birth preparation class. So I took a childbirth education class and was considering thinking about going without any type of pain medication for her birth. I did end up choosing to have an epidural. It was a really long labor. I'm so glad I made that decision. But...

Dr. Shannon (06:13.783)

Amanda (06:38.138)
After the fact, I kind of just thought like, you know, that childbirth education class is wonderful And really helpful for some people for me. It really wasn't very helpful And I didn't have the tools I did not gain or learn tools that I needed to cope with the physical and emotional aspects and Mental aspects of labor and so then when I was pregnant with my second child my son two years later

I sought out a different childbirth education class. I asked my doula, which I had a doula with, the same doula, with both of my births. And so I asked her opinion, like, what's your favorite? Or what would you recommend for me? And she said, her answer to both questions was birthing from within. So I read the book, Birthing From Within, by Pam England. And what's funny is that I resonated with everything written in the book. I signed up for a birthing from within class.

And I resonated with everything in the book except for the, there was a whole chapter in the original version of Birthing From Within that was all about birth art and like making art and Pam England is an artist. And I was just like, oh, that's so lovely for like creative people that like making art. And I'm, that's not me. So I'm just gonna skip that whole chapter. I was like, so not all about that. And then now, you know, five years later, I teach it. I teach birth art as part of my childbirth class.

So it was just funny how things evolved.

Dr. Shannon (08:06.505)
I love how that works out where you're like, no, that's not going to be me. And then it's like, oh, wait, just wait.

Amanda (08:10.842)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I'm glad that I have that experience because I am very analytical-minded. And so when I have, particularly dads in the childbirth education class, and I can tell they're a little skeptical about why are we getting out chalk pastels, or why am I doodling right now? I just wanna learn about how to help my wife get through labor pains. I can kind of speak to that and be like, I see you.

Dr. Shannon (08:16.043)

Amanda (08:41.19)
I was you. I get it. Let me kind of invite you in a little bit. So, right, yeah. Like let me explain about the crayon first and then pick up your crayon. So, yeah. So I took a birthing from a thin class and I had my son at the Atlanta Birth Center and it was just such an amazing experience. My first birth with my daughter was wonderful and my birth experience with my son was even better. It was much faster, so that helped a lot.

Dr. Shannon (08:45.718)
There's your crayon.

Dr. Shannon (09:08.706)
We're good.

Amanda (09:09.522)
And I just had a, I don't have enough good things to say about the Atlanta Birth Center. Like I can't say enough that would do justice. The wonderful experience that I had with the Atlanta Birth Center, with my midwife. So it was just lovely. And the tools that I learned, the physical, mental, and emotional tools that I learned and the processes.

that I went through after taking the birthing from within class, you know, reading the supplemental material, the book, um, it gave me everything I needed to get through labor. And so like that is when I truly fell in love with birthing from within. And then, um, when I was pregnant with my son and I was like seven months pregnant, remember I was in the bath and I was just like relaxing and just, it was almost like I got this like downloaded thought that was like not from me.

And I loved podcasts. I had been listening to podcasts since 2010. And that was kind of like the early days of podcasts. I was, I was like old school, yeah. Like that's way before podcasts were mainstream. And so I always loved podcasts, and I was listening to podcasts a lot during my pregnancies. But I just had this thought in the bathtub one day of like, what if you started your own podcast? And it was just so weird because that was not me at all.

Dr. Shannon (10:10.378)
You're original to like listening to... Yeah!

Amanda (10:31.462)
Like I was a very private, shy person, pretty quiet, kind of kept to myself. So for me to think about like, you know, putting out something for other people, strangers, that I don't know that I would never know to like listen to was just very outside my comfort zone. So I had the thought, I acknowledged it, the thought wouldn't go away. And then like, I don't even know, 18 months later, 20 months later.

I actually recorded my first podcast. Like it was a very long, like slow burn of a process for me to actually like say yes to this idea.

Dr. Shannon (11:08.192)
No, but that's I love I love hearing all of that though because it's like it does it's not immediate, you know, like it doesn't it's not always immediate, but it's those little yeah the little things you have to get ready for that. And so your podcast was born as well.

Amanda (11:22.147)

Yes, so my podcast was born. I, and then I'm kind of like that personality type where I really have to understand and be ready before I do something. I'm not super like spontaneous when it comes to stuff like that or impulsive. So I had to learn all about like audio setup and equipment and recording and how to edit. Like I needed to learn all that first. So like.

my son's first year of life, I was learning all of these things. And then in February of 2020, I published my first podcast episode and officially launched the Finding Your Village podcast. And then the pandemic happened, you know, right after that, which

Dr. Shannon (12:09.162)
And you could continue, you could continue, because that's all we had was fuck.

Amanda (12:12.954)
Yeah, true. I had a moment though, but I was like, do I even want to do this because life is so weird and uncertain right now? And I even paused for like a couple of weeks because I was like, I don't know. And then I again, listened to that kind of internal voice, not knowing of like, yeah, no, you need this. Like, this is for you. This is like I didn't know it at the time, but it was another step in the journey, you know, for me. And so I kept going.

Dr. Shannon (12:21.622)

Dr. Shannon (12:38.994)

Amanda (12:41.278)
And so I started the podcast in February of 2020, and I ended the podcast or recorded my last episode, I should say, in April of 2023. So I did it for three years. And then I just also listened to that inner knowing, that voice that started to tell me, I think you're done with this. I think it's time to move on. And of course, as we've talked about, all the episodes are still out there, you know, available for anyone.

Dr. Shannon (13:02.9)

Dr. Shannon (13:09.502)
It's amazing. I know I'm excited. We're gonna link to it here. Yeah, I love it I love how it will also to we need to acknowledge the fact that you did that podcast solo And I don't know how many times Rachel and I have talked about would be like this was our podcast would not be Going if it was solely up to me and she's and she said the same thing slowly up to her So that's like that is a massive Endeavor that I think needs to be acknowledged, you know, cuz you were also a new mom

Amanda (13:10.654)
I listened to. Thank you.

Amanda (13:19.699)

Amanda (13:32.489)
It is.

Thank you. True, yeah. Yeah, little ones, yeah.

Dr. Shannon (13:37.062)
Well, not a new mom, but yeah, new mom, second time around. Yeah, you had two little ones in doing that, but you knew the information that you had that you wanted to share was so important.

Amanda (13:49.266)
Yes, and it was definitely like a, you know, an outlet and a processing outlet for me. But it was also kind of like, come along with me on the journey. I'm thinking about all these things. I'm researching all these things. Like, I like to look the stuff up. I'm a little nerdy, you know, like if you want to benefit from what I've learned, come along with me. And then it evolved to like, okay, actually, I've decided to step into birth work. And so I decided midway through the podcast that I wanted to actually get certified with

Dr. Shannon (13:54.366)

Amanda (14:18.23)
to be a childbirth educator and a doula. However, I will say that my intention at the time was I'm gonna do this dual certification training pathway, but I knew that I could not and did not have the bandwidth to actually go into doula work at the time because I still had my babies. And I just knew that I wouldn't have enough gas in the tank to do that work to the level that it

Dr. Shannon (14:42.485)

Amanda (14:47.226)
requires and that would be helpful.

Dr. Shannon (14:48.372)
Right. Be authentic. Yeah, exactly. No.

Amanda (14:52.402)
Yes, because I'm like, I don't want to do anything halfway, and especially not do the work, because that deserves 100% effort. Yeah.

Dr. Shannon (14:57.314)

Dr. Shannon (15:04.835)
Mm-hmm. Okay, so then you started with the childbirth education, like being an instructor. So what did you do with that?

Amanda (15:10.29)
Yes, yep, so started. Say that again.

Dr. Shannon (15:14.898)
What did you do with that? What does that look like as an instructor?

Amanda (15:18.814)
Sure. So, and one thing I'll say is birthing from within is very intentional and is a little bit slower paced, I'd say, than maybe some other, either doula or childbirth education certification organizations. And so the process, like, it took me about a year and a half to get certified. So it wasn't like a weekend intensive.

Dr. Shannon (15:46.418)

Amanda (15:46.562)
or you know kind of a quick pathway it was definitely a very slow methodical which I really appreciated and it kind of let the information sink in and allowed me to start you know practicing little by little as I grew my skills. So it took me a year and a half to actually get certified then I started teaching childbirth education classes online and it really was something that worked for me.

me and my schedule with little kids and then during the pandemic, of course, as well, going virtual. And so that was wonderful for the time that I taught it because I started teaching classes in 2021. And then at the same time, I found out that Postpartum Support International Georgia Chapter was recruiting for their board of directors. So they were looking for new board

and PSI Georgia and all of the state chapters are volunteer based. So some chapters are larger than others. Some chapters do have full-time employees or part-time employees or staff members. And at the time when I joined, PSI Georgia was an all volunteer board. So I applied, I was selected, and I started volunteering with them. And so it was like, you know, my birth work journey took another

step in another direction. So I was teaching online childbirth classes, recording the podcast, and then started volunteering for PSI Georgia, which PSI is all about providing education, information, awareness, as well as advocacy for perinatal mental health conditions. So not just postpartum depression, absolutely postpartum depression.

but also all perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. So like postpartum anxiety, prenatal anxiety, postpartum OCD. So there's an entire like spectrum and range that not everybody is aware that it's more than just postpartum depression, but really that's what the organization is all about. And then in Georgia, the Georgia State chapter is focused on supporting families in Georgia.

Dr. Shannon (18:10.658)
Mm-hmm, and they each have their, each state has their own chapter. So with, I don't know if we've talked about this, but so how did you, did you use postpartum support international like during your own postpartum journey? Because I know you talked about your own postpartum struggle. So how did, how did that connection come about?

Amanda (18:33.094)
Yeah, so I wish that I had known about PSI when I was going through my own struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety, but I didn't. And so that's another reason why I'm so passionate about, you know, shouting about this organization from the rooftops. So thankfully, I did have support outside of PSI.

that I was definitely struggling with anxiety, was just very overly protective of him, like in a way that I wasn't with my daughter. And it just seemed a little strange and it really started to interfere with like everyday life. And then had a lot of like depression type symptoms, one of which that I'll say is surprising to a lot of people, but is very common is rage, like a lot of anger.

And so that was very alarming to me. And so I sought out therapy, eventually sought out medication to help with my mood and the anxiety as well. And so that was part of my journey of recovery, thank goodness. And then I didn't find out about PSI until he was almost three. So I was definitely like out of that kind of period.

Dr. Shannon (19:59.09)
You were already doing the childbirth education instructor and everything then, right? Yeah, okay

Amanda (20:03.302)
Yes, and that's another reason why the podcast also took a long time to actually come to fruition because I, you know, had to put on my oxygen mask first. I had all of these desires to like move into this space and quite frankly changed my career completely. I worked in like health care technology and like supply chain before that changed my career completely, but did so very, very slowly.

Dr. Shannon (20:10.051)


Amanda (20:31.634)
Because for me, transitioning to a mom of one to two and then also dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety was very challenging, like very, very challenging.

Dr. Shannon (20:45.234)
Oh, that makes sense. And I feel like a lot of moms or a lot of birth workers who made the career shift, like I'm very similar to you in that, in that like I didn't get adjusted during my first pregnancy, I did with my second and then it was kind of like, oh, I must shout this from the rooftops. Everyone must know about this. And then I'm gonna change my career and get back to school. Like it's, I love when that happens though. So I know it's unfortunate that you didn't know about PSI but like now.

Amanda (21:04.248)

Dr. Shannon (21:13.102)
You're like, let me shout it from the rooftops. So that's always, I don't know, that's always exciting there. So with PSI, so you started there as a volunteer, and then you've continued your work there. What do you, how has that ebbed and flowed?

Amanda (21:15.954)
Yeah, exactly.

Dr. Shannon (21:37.834)
with you personally with PSI, and then I want to get into some more of like the specifics of what they do. So yeah, so how did you ebb and flow with it?

Amanda (21:46.866)
Yeah, to me, it was just kind of like, again, slow growth. I think that's the theme for me today. A little baby steps, slow growth. So yeah, I volunteered as their treasurer and board development and recruitment lead. And then during the time that I was on the board, like soon after I joined, we were in the stage of growth where we had enough work and enough resources

Dr. Shannon (21:53.893)
I love it! Yes!

Amanda (22:15.954)
that we could actually hire one full-time staff member. So we hired this amazing woman named Kim as our program coordinator. And so she did that as like full-time actual staff member for PSI Georgia. And so she did that until the fall of 2022. And then she went on maternity leave to have her first child. And so when we were considering like,

what are we gonna do to backfill and considering maternity leave and how we were going to handle that as a very, very small organization and it being a first for us. The opportunity came up, and I'll spare everyone all the details, but the opportunity came up for me to say, you know what, actually where I am right now with bandwidth with my kids having recently both going into like full time either school or preschool at the time.

everything else with all of the Finding Your Village stuff I had going on. I said, you know, I can take this on part time. And so I put my hat in the ring. I applied and of course stepped down from the board, of course, first. And then they decided to hire me part time as a backfill while Kim was on maternity leave. And then my decision also, and well, our co-decision together was for me to stay on part time.

So it wasn't just going to be a temporary thing. And so that's when I then shifted into being a staff member for PSI Georgia as opposed to a volunteer board member. And then fast forward to summer of 2023, then the opportunity came about for me to actually come on full-time. And so now I am the full-time staff member for PSI Georgia and the opportunity came about for me to also step into some.

policy work as well and so to do some advocacy at our state capital and to advocate at a legislative level for parents to be supported perinatally during pregnancy, after pregnancy, and for providers who support parents to be supportive from a legislative perspective, from a policy perspective, from a, you know, all of the kind of like

Amanda (24:40.558)
admin, backend things that people aren't usually aware of, of like how providers get paid, how they get reimbursed, things having to do with Medicaid. So for me, it's very, very cool. And I feel very honored to be able to support not only parents, but support the providers who also support parents as well.

Dr. Shannon (25:02.318)
Ah, does it give you chills like kind of telling your like full circle story and then like where you are now to like When you first gave birth like I hope it does because it gives me chills. I'm like, ah, that's so cool How one thing leads to the other and the support that you can provide I will say everybody needs to check out the psi website Um, and then I love the georgia chapter one because I love it's a very I think diverse group of individuals who serve I can't remember if it's on the board or just

Amanda (25:05.79)
Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, absolutely, I know.

Dr. Shannon (25:29.206)
whatever one of the little tabs is at the top. Cause I was like, man, there's all kinds of people here with it's like medical professionals all the way to, yeah. I'm like, I'm a mom who suffered from this. Like it's, I think that's really, really cool. And you've got a lot of different eyes looking at the program. And I think that helps just keep it diverse but keep it relevant. You know what I mean? Like this is what we're struggling with now. This is where we need the support now. Like this is...

this is what the community needs. So I will say it's really cool. Mm-hmm.

Amanda (26:00.602)
Yeah, and we are very, very intentional about that. And that's something that I've always loved about the organization that I've been drawn to, is the diverse group of board members, and not just from a socioeconomic background or a racial or ethnic background, but from a professional background, from a geographic background. Yes, yes, because...

Dr. Shannon (26:22.759)
Like it's all the way diverse. Yeah.

Amanda (26:27.258)
Yeah, I mean, when we go outside of, we're both in like Metro Atlanta, but the state of Georgia is huge. And there's a lot of other areas other than Metro Atlanta that have provider gaps, whether it be there's no OBGYNs, there's no prenatal care, there's no maternal mental health care options. And so that's like a big focus of us. And so we want to make sure that we have folks who can speak to.

Dr. Shannon (26:39.102)

Amanda (26:53.018)
that lived experience in every single regard. So I'm glad that you've noticed that and you've picked up on that because that's very intentional with this organization.

Dr. Shannon (26:59.102)
Mm-hmm. I know I was like this is awesome in my head. I was like I want to talk to every single one of these people I know I was like I want to this is amazing now Okay, so give me a rundown because I feel like PSI offers not only support for or information trainings educational things for birth workers and providers, but it also does that for people giving birth so

Amanda (27:06.351)
If you could, you should. Yeah.

Amanda (27:27.464)

Dr. Shannon (27:28.934)
Let's talk about what are some of the other things with PSI that they offer like expecting families because I know there's a couple of like and each state is specific. I remember we've talked about like climb out of darkness and all of these different things. So what can people expect to find when they're going and looking for that support as they're pregnant?

Amanda (27:51.654)
Yeah, so we really focus on three areas, education, awareness, and advocacy. And so this applies to both parents as well as providers who support parents. And so for education, we offer not only like educational information about postpartum depression, other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, signs and symptoms to look out for, screening, either screening tools, maybe what your doctor...

Dr. Shannon (28:18.007)

Amanda (28:19.562)
should be doing ideally. That's a whole other topic that I could have a whole podcast episode about. Yeah.

Dr. Shannon (28:25.166)
I'm writing my notes down now because I was like screaming. I remember when you talked about that. So I want to go back into screen. Yes.

Amanda (28:29.446)
Yeah. But so not only just information about like, what's going on with me or what might be going on with me and then what I can do about it, but also information about where you could actually find resources. So we have a directory with a list of mental health providers that, you know, it's like a, it's a wonderful, wonderful tool. So if that could be linked in the show notes as well, I think that would be super helpful.

Dr. Shannon (28:57.742)
Thank you.

Amanda (28:58.886)
because it allows parents to look by like where they live, what their insurance is, if someone's accepting new patients. So the directory as well as awareness opportunities too. So Climb Out of Darkness, you had mentioned, that is basically a giant awareness building campaign and fundraiser where either in June or October, there are climbs around the state.

It's not really climbing anything necessarily, it can be, but it usually is like a rally and a walk to bring awareness to postpartum depression, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, for women and other parents to share their stories, their personal stories. There can be a lot of healing and growth in just in processing and sharing your story. And it's very much like a community gathering experience as well.

because there can be strength in understanding that I'm not the only one. And, oh, you went through this too. I see you. So, awareness, building, education, and then advocacy as well. And so then that goes up to like building policy, speaking to, you know, local and state legislators, which for parents can be very empowering for them to know like, hey, actually I could share what happened to me in my story and that could potentially help.

Dr. Shannon (29:58.672)

Amanda (30:24.618)
to impact or better an opportunity for other parents down the road.

Dr. Shannon (30:30.598)
Yes, and then there's the there's a hotline to correct the postpartum. Yes, support international hotline.

Amanda (30:35.57)
Yeah. Yep, so there's a helpline. We call it a helpline or a warm line because technically a hotline is usually available 24-7. So it's a helpline, it's available practically 24-7. It's pretty much all day long, like 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., something like that. And it's where parents or friends of parents, spouses,

Dr. Shannon (30:48.009)

Dr. Shannon (31:04.053)

Amanda (31:05.29)
providers can reach out and say, hey, this is what's going on. Where can I get help or where can my friend get help? And so that is available. There's also, there is a hotline too, that Postpartum Support International does not host. It's actually through HRSA. So it's like a state agency, but we promote it. So there's both a hotline that's 24 seven that you can call for resources. And then there's the PSI specific.

warm line. We also have, yes, we have state coordinators as well. And so that is someone who in conjunction with that warm line will help a parent or a friend or a spouse, help a parent to actually find those resources and connect with someone locally.

Dr. Shannon (31:35.825)

Dr. Shannon (31:57.833)
Awesome. Those are great. And I know they're probably always looking for parent volunteers or people that want to like, come hang out, help. Yeah.

Amanda (32:04.462)
Oh yeah, absolutely. That's a great volunteer opportunity too for anybody that's interested. And thankfully, we get a lot of people who are interested in volunteering. And it's usually those that have experienced something, just like me, have a personal eye to it.

Dr. Shannon (32:08.46)

Dr. Shannon (32:14.795)

Dr. Shannon (32:19.663)
Yeah, you have that personal and then you just, I don't know, you get that purpose, that drive to spread awareness. Now, what does PSI offer professionals, those that are in the birth worker field?

Amanda (32:36.646)
Yeah, so one thing that I forgot to mention is for parents, we offer online support groups. So that can either be hosted by a mental health professional or by a peer as well. And so that's just a really great opportunity for people to like once a week come together and hear people that are going through the same thing or are in the same season of life and just a place to kind of like vent, get it off your chest and to find that like camaraderie.

But for professionals, we offer a lot of training. So one thing that PSI Georgia has done, thank goodness, in partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health is we have offered scholarships for birth workers and anybody that works in the perinatal period to support parents. So not only OBGYNs and pediatricians and doulas,

lactation consultants, pelvic floor physical therapists, even like people that work in early childhood education. We offer scholarships for anybody that works in that field that we consider to be a provider to take a training through PSI. And so the training is all about, you know, high level, what are PMADS, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders? What are the signs and symptoms? How can you screen for it? How can you prevent it?

How can you treat it? What are all of the options? You know, referrals. What can you do next? So the goal for that is really just to get anybody and everybody that supports parents during this period to be informed about the prevalence of this and then what they can do to support a parent.

Dr. Shannon (34:26.242)
Mm-hmm. It's really like even if they can't offer the direct support, it's more of Who do you send this person to and what resources do you give this person and that yeah, I mean that training can be Crucial and it's important that I think a lot of the like in my field I'm seeing my mom's typically before their OB follow-up appointment if they've had a traditional hospital birth I mean that's six weeks and then it's like, you know at that there's just so much more that we can do You know that

Amanda (34:34.738)

Amanda (34:47.614)
Right. Exactly.

Amanda (34:53.254)
Yes, and that's the exact point. Yeah, what you just said, like, you know, you have your baby and then oftentimes you don't go see your OB until six weeks later. Well, symptoms can come up before six weeks. And so that is why, yeah, we wanna inform as many people that are in touch with and supporting that parent about what to look out for and then what they can do to kind of point them in the right direction.

Dr. Shannon (34:54.242)
There's so much more that we can do. So it's nice. Mm-hmm.

Dr. Shannon (35:09.866)
Oh, yeah.

Amanda (35:23.05)
to do next.

Dr. Shannon (35:23.486)
Yes. And then I think I saw recently that Postpartum Support International had started a podcast as well, too. So I have that on my list of things to look at as well, because I thought that was exciting, just more avenues of sharing information there. So I'm excited to check that out. I want to go back to a little bit of OK, so that's that is your work in realm with Postpartum Support International.

Amanda (35:30.194)
Yes. Yeah.

Amanda (35:40.146)

Dr. Shannon (35:53.602)
but you also have this, the doula work that you are doing and the childbirth education that you're doing. And you mentioned something. So I think you and I are similar in aspects. I'm a type A organized person. Well, organized in some areas of my life, not so much in others, right? But so what, because the class sounds very,

Amanda (36:07.622)
Yeah. Sure. Ha ha ha.

Dr. Shannon (36:20.354)
Different than what a type a like the coloring and type of thing because in my mind I'm like, okay is this organized? How is this? What is it? So maybe give some insight because I think that's intriguing that this class It spoke to you so much for childbirth education And I just want people to remember to like seek out all these other classes So I want you to go into to what the classes look like

Amanda (36:24.117)

Amanda (36:43.462)
Yeah, so for birthing from within, one thing that kind of sets us apart is that we are not outcome focused. And I say that because some private childbirth classes that are done outside of hospital systems, that hospital kind of like one day, couple hours, like quick, this is what to expect, this is what you can do when you go into labor, you have classes outside of that. And those private classes...

oftentimes are focused on how to give birth without pain medication. Sometimes they'll be called natural childbirth, which I don't love that term natural because I've never heard of a baby that was born artificially. All babies were born from a uterus. So that's just my personal little pet peeve. Not all, of course, but many private childbirth education classes are.

Dr. Shannon (37:29.92)

Amanda (37:41.182)
focused on having an outcome of either like avoiding cesarean births or giving avoiding epidurals or avoiding pain medication. And birthing from within is not necessarily about any type of outcome. It's just more about like being an acceptance of like, what is it going to take for your baby to be born? And just like kind of a journey of figuring that out. It's very like,

Poetic is a word that comes to mind. It's also very whole person focused. And so it takes into account like, how can you physically prepare and what are you aware of physically during the labor and birth process? Mentally, like how can you prepare mentally? What's going on mentally during the labor and birth process? Emotionally.

How can you prepare emotionally? What's going on emotionally during the labor and birth process? And then even spiritually as well, if that's something that speaks to you. So it's very whole person focused. And we really try to live in this place of acceptance where it's not, where there's no judgment about, you know, any type of, however your baby needs to be born. Did you have an epidural? Did you have multiple types of, you know, pain medication?

What kind, you know, there's a lot of times in the birth world we talk about interventions or a cascade of interventions or how to avoid interventions. And so we try not to use language like that because there can be an aspect of judgment. So like if a mother wanted to have wanted to give birth without any pain medication and things happened during her birth that required medication.

Dr. Shannon (39:16.194)

Amanda (39:33.642)
pain medication, interventions, maybe she had a cesarean birth and that was not what she was hoping for or intending to have, but that is what occurred. We don't want to contribute to any type of judgment that she might put on herself. I definitely know that after I had my daughter, the first birth class that I took, it was very focused on giving birth without any pain medication.

And when after I did give birth to her and had the epidural, I went through a little bit of judgment, some self judgment of like, man, I really didn't want to do that. Like, was it me? Was I being weak or whatever? I just had a lot of stuff that I had to unpack. And thankfully I did unpack it. And so I'm in a complete place of like not only acceptance, but like gratitude and appreciation.

Dr. Shannon (40:10.498)

Dr. Shannon (40:15.306)

Amanda (40:27.934)
for and knowing that was the right choice for me. And that is the right choice for a lot of parents. So like no judgment, right? That's kind of the goal. And also just being in, again, acceptance of like, what does it take for your baby to be born? There's a lot of focus on like the next right step. So I know that was very long-winded kind of intro into your answering your question. Yeah, I just wanted to give some,

Dr. Shannon (40:31.264)

Dr. Shannon (40:37.07)
Thanks for joining us.

Dr. Shannon (40:52.642)
No. Yeah, no, that's perfect. Mm-hmm.

Amanda (40:57.622)
background about like kind of the difference. And so then that sets up really the answer to your question of what's included in the class. So we absolutely talk about kind of the modern ways of knowing of understanding what's going to happen when you have a baby. And so what you would modern ways of knowing being like what you'd read in a textbook, you know, like stages of labor, phases of the first stage of labor, what a placenta is, what it does, what happens in what order.

kind of what to expect, you know, physically, how your partner can support labor positions. We talk about all of those things. In addition to that, we also touch on what might be going on internally. So like, kind of an inner knowing, like my maternal instinct about switching providers, like saying that is valid. If you have that going on, wonderful, listen to it, pay attention.

Dr. Shannon (41:46.1)

Amanda (41:55.302)
Even during your birth, you have opportunities to tap into that. So, you know, making decisions in conjunction with what your provider is recommending, what you know, like, in the forefront of your mind about birth, but then also listening to, like, your instincts and your maternal instincts as well. And so one reason why we do birth art, and that's another thing that

probably sets us apart, is because it's very metaphorical. I just love the birth art metaphor. Another thing that we do is we draw labyrinths. So a labyrinth is like our big symbol. And so we do those things as a metaphor to help someone kind of get into that mindset and then also into their body about what's gonna happen during birth. And so with birth art,

when we ask someone to get out a crayon or a chalk pastel and we have them look at this blank sheet of paper, it brings up this concept of the unknown. Of like, I don't know, what am I going to draw? I can't draw, I'm not creative, that's what I said to myself. And so then it offers someone an opportunity to

Dr. Shannon (43:12.607)
Uh huh.

Amanda (43:19.294)
face that, to face the unknown, right? And in birth, there's a lot of unknown. So it's practice, right? Put you out of your comfort zone if you're someone like me that... yeah. Yeah, a lot of people feel that way. I mean, even people who are artists, they still can confront that, like absolutely. And then I'm going to, you know, do the next right thing. Okay, I've, I'm trying to convey whatever it is on the paper.

Dr. Shannon (43:23.582)
It's unknown. Yeah.

Dr. Shannon (43:29.534)
Yeah, because that sounds out of my comfort zone. You give me a blank piece of paper, and I'm like, ah.

Dr. Shannon (43:36.398)

Amanda (43:48.934)
I'm gonna do the best I can to do that. And the outcome might not be what you wanted it to be. It might, you might have wanted to draw a beautiful like landscape and it looks like your two-year-old scribbles. And so then you face that, right? So there's, I mean, I could go on again for a whole other podcast about the metaphors. Yeah, yes.

Dr. Shannon (44:00.398)
I'm going to go ahead and turn it off.

Dr. Shannon (44:10.079)
I have skills. I love metaphors. But you know, there's so much in what I've learned in learning about all of these different types of childbirth education classes, because you have Lamaze and you have Hypno babies. You have birthing from within. You have Bradley method. You have all of these types of classes. And whenever I hear them, I'm like, this is not just about birth. It's like there is, it goes beyond it.

And that's why I think that's, to me, that strikes more so than just taking the hospital-based birth classes for the birth knowledge. It's more of taking these classes outside, these independent childbirth education classes outside of the hospital one, not just for birth knowledge, but I feel like it gives you tools to use into parenthood, into motherhood, into everything else.

Amanda (44:36.71)
It does.

Amanda (45:02.374)

Dr. Shannon (45:05.526)
I don't know, I think, so that's the big metaphor for me with all these childbirth education classes, but I love the labyrinth. I love that and facing the unknown and it's not outcomes based. I think that can speak to a lot of people.

Amanda (45:05.608)

Amanda (45:09.583)

Amanda (45:13.914)

Amanda (45:20.322)
Yeah, and I 1000% agree with you that it's like, yes, you're preparing for birth, like this thing that's going to happen like one week of your life, you know, the leading up to the actual event and then coming out of that event and recovering. That's a very like, specific and static time, but it's going to keep going in your transformation into being a parent or a second time parent or a third time parent, etc.

And it does, and we even speak to our pain coping tools. We talk about specific pain coping tools that can help you get through a uncomfortable moment where you're having physical pain in your body or uncomfortability in your body. But we also absolutely link it to, it can be uncomfortable when your baby's been crying for the last hour. It can be physically uncomfortable. It can be to your core, to the marrow of your bones uncomfortable.

Dr. Shannon (45:48.435)

Dr. Shannon (46:11.07)
Mm. Mm-hmm.


Amanda (46:16.122)
when you're in that situation. And you can, you can absolutely pull on this breathing technique or this like mindfulness exercise. This does not just have to be set for this one period of time. One other thing that I'll say about like the labyrinth or doing birth art is that you engage a different part of your brain than you typically do when you like show up for work or do your admin tasks throughout the day. So you're using like the right side of your brain, the more like reptilian

Dr. Shannon (46:27.438)

Amanda (46:45.738)
And that's what you're using during birth. That's what's all what also might come up in the middle of the night when you're exhausted, you're getting up with your baby for the third time. So there is a reason to all of it. Um, but I just love it because it's just a little bit different. Um, and it's, it really is about the entire person and like your whole self, not just, you know, what you need to know.

Dr. Shannon (46:48.354)
Thank you.

Dr. Shannon (46:53.708)

Dr. Shannon (47:03.662)

Dr. Shannon (47:12.281)
Excuse me.

Amanda (47:14.782)
to get through labor and birth. And that is important. I don't want to belittle that. And also I want to acknowledge the fact that not everybody has the opportunity to take a birthing from within class. And some people feel like they're lucky if they can even get into like a hospital class. So I don't want to belittle that at all. I think that whatever you can do to prepare for the birth of your child is wonderful. Yeah, so.

Dr. Shannon (47:19.827)

Dr. Shannon (47:33.726)
Mm-hmm. Whatever. Knowledge. Mm-hmm. Well, and that's like the knowledge. Yeah, I go back and look at Kali. I didn't have a doula. I didn't take independent childbirth education classes. I didn't have a childbirth. I didn't have any of that in the first pregnancy. And I did a lot of unpacking because that can, I mean, the mom shame and judgment, I don't need anybody else. I'm perfectly capable of handling all the judgment and shame. I am very, very good at that.

of putting all of that on myself. So when you, but when you can reframe it a little bit and they're like, okay, that's where I was at that time. What can I do now, right? What can be different with where I'm at now, where you're at now? Because it's gonna be different than where you're at, you know, five years from now. So it's, again, it's just unpacking each of those, you know, little layers or whatnot. So yeah, not to put little any of this.

Amanda (48:21.225)

Amanda (48:27.466)

Dr. Shannon (48:32.287)
So tell me about the doula work that you're doing now. So now it's kind of like a full circle thing. Yeah.

Amanda (48:36.678)
Yeah, so that's, yeah, and that's kind of like my next small step, you know, in the direction of growth, the slow and low kind of journey I've had. Yeah. And so I acknowledged, you know, years ago, when I went through the certification process that I was not ready to go into that work, because I was not physically, emotionally, mentally ready for that. Now, I've been hearing the call in the last like year, year and a half.

Dr. Shannon (48:46.838)
Low growth, I love it.

Amanda (49:04.11)
And so I have now stepped into dual work. And it's something that I am gonna continue with my slow growth trajectory. So I had my first client in December and it was very, very challenging and fulfilling work. And so that's the newest thing for me. This is brand new. So you're like seeing it in the moment. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Dr. Shannon (49:27.85)
We're watching it grow, yay. I love it. So where can people find you and connect with you?

Amanda (49:38.95)
Yeah, thank you so much for asking. So my website, find it also links to the podcast, which again, I am not putting out any new episodes, but all of the 130 plus episodes that I recorded during that three year period are all there. And then on social media, the social media platform that I'm on the most is TikTok. So I know that's not everyone's cup of tea, but.

I'm at Finding Your Village on TikTok. I am on Instagram very sparingly. I'll be completely transparent, but I'm also at Finding Your Village there. And on my website, if you wanna get in touch with me, there's like a contact us information page as well. So I would love to connect with anybody if this resonates with anyone or if anyone has any questions or wants to go into a particular topic more in depth, I am so totally game for that.

Dr. Shannon (50:34.45)
Yay, I know, that's why I'm so glad you were on the show. But like I said, you have, it's like this whole perinatal bubble that you have created. So I'm like, oh my gosh, you got it all covered. I love that. Was there anything else that you wanted to chat about that I didn't maybe ask or something that we didn't mention? I feel like we touched on a lot of good things. I think I hit my outline. I think we hit the outline. No.

Amanda (50:43.025)

Amanda (50:57.562)
I think that you have covered it all. No, you did fantastic. Yeah, I feel whole, yeah.

Dr. Shannon (51:02.938)
Great. Yes. Okay, good. Well, again, thank you so, so much. It's always an honor to have birth workers on who give of their time and talent and want to come on the show here. But I just especially love when life and this securitas route and our slow growth route leads us.

into this birth world. So I think it's remarkable. I am so very grateful to have you in the Metro Atlanta birthing community and I'm excited to see how all of this unfolds. So again, thank you so much for being on the show today and perfect.

Amanda (51:42.73)
Absolutely. And thank you so much again for having me. And thank you to the work that you and Rachel do with this podcast and in the general area. Thank you.

Dr. Shannon (51:51.802)
It's always a labor of love. And that's what I love to think about and how all of these things I love to talk about like, oh, remember when we conceived our podcast? I always talk about that with Rachel. And then the gestation period, and then when it was birthed, and now we have, you know, I'm three-year-old. Like, I just love looking at her like that. So again, thank you, thank you. And then tune in. Every Wednesday, we have a new episode that goes live. Thanks so much, friends.

Amanda (51:59.748)

Amanda (52:04.666)
Yeah. Me too.