This post starts a new series on the amazing and valuable resources for young families found here in Baltimore. I'm starting with one of my favorite people, Heather Brown, co-owner of The Womb Room, a community space dedicated to childbirth and family support. The Womb Room is co-owned by Heather and her partner, Carmen Calvo of The Nurturing Root, both Baltimore based doulas who created this amazing space here in Baltimore to help moms and their families easily and enjoyably gather the information and resources they need. The Womb Room offers yoga classes, childbirth education, support groups, and parenting classes and is a must visit for pregnant and new mothers!
Heather is a true modern mom, a homeschooling mother of three fantastic daughters, doula, yoga instructor, teacher, and business-owner, who is truly dedicated to supporting the health and happiness of women and their families. Here, Heather share with us a little more about herself, her experiences as a mother and doula, and all about the services offered by The Womb Room.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and The Womb Room. What is your mission?
I am a mom of three daughters and have been teaching yoga for over 15 years. My experiences of pregnancy and birth were the most inspiring, transformative experiences of my life, and through that process I began to focus my work in the areas of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. I am fascinated by the way becoming a mother is simultaneously a vulnerable yet powerful experience - one of the most difficult yet rewarding things a person can do. A pivotal time of personal growth and development. And I love to support other women going through it.
I created a unique childbirth class called Yoga Birth, using the philosophies and practices of yoga as the foundation for understanding and preparing for birth and have been teaching that for over a decade. The Womb Room came about when I joined forces with another local mom and entrepreneur, Carmen Calvo of The Nurturing Root. Together, we pooled our complimentary knowledge, experience and services to create this space for families to benefit from community, support, education and wellness.
Our mission is to be a community of non-judgemental support for all moms and all families and to create connection where they could be isolation, empowerment where there could be fear and to hold space for the full experience of motherhood - the joyful and the challenging parts.
2. What types of classes and support does The Womb Room offer?
We offer a wide variety of classes with more being added to our roster all the time. Prenatal, Postpartum, Mommy/Me and Family Yoga and various types of childbirth education classes, breastfeeding classes, infant massage, sleep education, pregnancy yoga teacher trainings, etc. We offer birth and postpartum doula support and placenta encapsulation services. We also have support groups around various topics including breastfeeding, working moms, motherless moms, we have a dad’s group, etc. We are growing and expanding our offerings all the time.
3. Can you shatter any myths out there related to doulas and/or childbirth education and support?
I think there is a myth that doulas are only for those who want to have a natural birth, and that is absolutely not the case. Every woman and family can benefit from the type of holistic, personalized support that a doula provides. When it comes to childbirth education, most of the mainstream messages we receive about birth are that it is a horrible, scary, painful thing that should be dreaded and numbed as fast as possible. And while of course it is difficult and challenging, it can also be rewarding and empowering. They say knowledge is power and I love it when my students attitudes change from one one of existential dread to confident excitement that they have the strength and internal fortitude they need to rise to the challenge.
4. Share one of your most valuable experiences from your work.
I recently had a client who welcomed the first rainbow baby (baby born after a loss) I’ve experienced, so that was amazingly special - especially given she caught her own baby in a birth tub at home in the nursery. But truly my favorite part of every birth is that moment when the look on the mom’s face says “Wow - I did that!” and I know that the mother has been born into a new aspect of herself as the baby was born. There is this thing they didn’t think they could do, and they did it! I love that awakening to a new level of power within - a power and confidence we need to carry to us through the hardest parts of early motherhood.
5. What was the hardest part of early motherhood for you?
The hardest part of early motherhood for me as learning to trust myself. You have so many new, big decisions to make, so many things to figure out for the first time, so many friends and family and experts telling you the best way. Learning to tune out the noise and tune into my instincts and listen to my baby and trust myself was the hardest part. But learning to trust myself was the most important discovery I made and it continues to guide all my decisions.
6. What is your favorite thing about motherhood now?
I loved having babies and toddlers and the profound closeness that that stage brings, but now that my kids are a little older (12, 9, 6) I revel in being a witness to their process of becoming who they are - discovering their gifts, passions and truths. I love basking in their growth and development and evolution into who they are meant to be and I marvel at the fact that I grew them in my body and try each day to create the conditions at home where they can feel safe, unconditionally loved and free to be who they are.
7. What are your 3 favorite family activities in Baltimore?
We are definitely a nature family, so we like to get out into nature when we have time to play. We love Sherwood Gardens and all the various areas of Patapsco and the Gunpowder. We homeschool as well so my kids love trips to the science center and aquarium. We love live music too, so we try to get to as many concerts as we can. We recently enjoyed the Baltimore Bluegrass Festival, where The Womb Room had a tent for nursing/feeding and diaper changes. We can’t wait to do that again next year!
8. Do you have any words of wisdom for mothers to be or brand new mothers?
My wisdom would be two-fold: First, as I said earlier, trust yourself! You know your baby and family best. Take all the “expert opinions” with a grain of salt, but keep coming back to your inner compass to guide you! And second, find a community! They say it takes a village for a reason. We are not meant to parent in isolation, but our culture is set up in such a way that often becomes our experience. Seek out other new moms to trade babysitting, commiserate about challenges, share in joys and developmental milestones. A mom tribe is so crucial and that’s what we aim to provide at The Womb Room!
Thank to Heather for sharing her insight with us. If you're a new mom in search of pregnancy, childbirth, or family resources, please reach out to Heather at The Womb Room. She'd love to hear from you! Feel free to ask questions in the comments, and don't forget to check back soon for the next Resource Spotlight.