Greetings and congratulations on the Love growing within you! I wish you "Mẹ Tròn Con Vuông"—a Vietnamese idiom that poetically means May Mother & Child be Harmonious as Heaven and Earth.
Since time immemorial, mothers and their families have relied on women's circles, sat at the kitchen table, for guidance, wisdom, insight, and knowledge from peers and elders. Relatively recently in human history, the Industrial Revolution, urbanization, and im/migration uprooted families and disrupted community bonds. My life's work has been focused on empowering women and community-building. My birth work honors and restores the integrity of feminine connection and support.
I am initiated as a BIRTHING FROM WITHIN® Childbirth Preparation Mentor & Doula; the BFW model encourages a personalized, wholistic approach that empowers parents to experience birth with Love and Awareness without attachment to the location or the outcome. Whether you are birthing at home, in the hospital, at a birth center or embarking on your "birth" journey by adopting/surrogacy, my purpose is to help prepare you for the journey with Love, Compassion, and Intention. I see my role as holding the space for Transformation to take place. I am called to my work, to Birth, to witness and to support the (re)emergence of the Divine Mother/Caretaker within every person and honor the parent(s) & family on their incredible journey.
MY BIRTH PHILOSOPHY
Ask any parent or birth worker and they will say, though the physiology may be innate, every birth is different and unfolds in its own manner and time. This is one of the few universal truths about the birth process. This is because we are all individuals with our own histories, ancestral legacies, personalities, emotions, experiences, psyche, will, spirit that we bring with us into birth, not to mention the little being(s) involved. Pregnancy & birth are a unique time in one's life with the immense capacity for healing, personal/spiritual growth, and transformation—including for those who are birthed into parenthood through surrogacy/adoption. At the same time, there is not "the perfect birth" to aspire to. Birth is not about perfection. Birth is unexpected and unpredictable. Birth is an arduous, grueling, and a Sacred Rite of Passage that compels you to your core and transforms you, so you can be reborn into a new identity, as a new Self—a mother, a father, an aunt, a grandparent—and as a family. Your Birth is about the story of You.
As a parent, you have to balance many personal, political, social, cultural, and financial factors to make the decision that is right for your family; I value and respect your choices. Whatever the setting, whatever the outcome, my wish is that your experience of birth is intimate, powerful, moving, and loving for your highest good. To Birth in Love & Awareness is the Highest Intention.
Your story doesn't end when the Baby has arrived; the newborn period is challenging even for the most experienced of parents. Matrescence/Patrescense—the process of becoming a mother/father (a term coined by anthropologist Dana Raphael)—is a rite of passage that is largely unsupported by society at large. In many traditional cultures, this vulnerable period is a sacred time where an experienced woman mothers the new mother—by freeing her of household responsibilities, by supporting her physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs, by providing respite, and advice/support/referrals as needed and by supporting father/partner and siblings, until they can emerge to their new role gradually. In my role as a Postpartum Doula, I nurture you as a family as you transition into a new life with your newest family member.
I come from a substantial extended maternal family built by female relations who immigrated to the US as refugees twice-over. Besides being a granddaughter, daughter, sister, niece, and cousine, I am an aunty to two nieces and one angel whose passing I witnessed and for whom I sat shiva for 21 days. Standing on the precipice of Life and Death with my sister deeply affected me, and along with my own experiences of pregnancy loss, graces me with compassion, insight, and empathy for bereaving parents.
I was initiated into motherhood through a lovely Blessingway ceremony guided by my mama friends. I am blessed to be mother to one beloved daughter; she reminds me that my future grandchildren are present in the universe and that I am an Ancestor-in-Training. In choosing to arduously birth at home after a relatively uncomplicated pregnancy, supported by my husband and my mother, attended by my midwife, doulas, and during transition, my chiropractor, I reconnected to my familial roots and the spirit & legacy of my grandmothers who birthed almost all their combined 26 children at home in Việt Nam attended by wise women|midwives. During the challenging postpartum/matrescence period, our family practiced nằm lữa (mother-roasting; see Resources for more)—traditionally a lunar month of laying-in and mothering the mother in rural North Việt Nam. This time was a sacred grace period allowing me to heal from a 2nd degree perineal tear (ouch!), recover from mastitis agony (breastfeeding is hard!), allergen-induced colic, and for us to bond as a new family. (Read more about my experience with post-birth traditions in this article here and in this essay reflecting on my personal experience.)
Hailing from Honolulu and San Diego, I've made my home in the diverse East Bay (NoCal) since 1998. I'm fluent in English, Vietnamese, and Spanish. Previously, I've been a community/labor researcher, a trainer & facilitator, a wedding celebrant, screenwriter & production designer, a young women's mentor, a women's self-defense instructor & martial artist, an anthropologist, an educator, a storyteller, and a community advocate. I am currently an active member of the Holistic Moms Network Tri-City chapter (Fremont, Union City, & Newark) and am well versed in herbal & homeopathic remedies for pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and children. I enjoy adapting time-honored traditions to a modern setting, holistic parenting, photography, poetry & prosery, art/creative projects, knitting, biking, yoga, reiki, urban homesteading, and writing. (Check out my real food blog.)
My work strives to restore Sacred Feminine Knowledge, Ancestral Wisdom, and Spiritual Connection to the Childbearing Year as sacred commons. I am currently nurturing mothers/mothers-to-be and their families through personalized childbirth preparation classes, pregnancy & birth art sessions, Blessingway design services, placenta encapsulation & tinctures, postpartum doula services, blessed event (pregnancy/birth/newborn) photography, and reiki healing sessions.
I look forward to serving you and your family in your journey.