Creative Childbirth Concepts

Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth. Doula Services. It's Your Birth. Be Creative


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I have been SO inspired over the last few days!  music art growth love

All of these amazing birth workers and doulas from around the world are celebrating the work of birth support.  More and more individuals and institutions are starting to recognize the value of continuous labor support and it’s incredible to see.

 

In fact, I was asked by the nursing honors society of DePaul University to speak to their nursing students and professional RN’s next month about my work as a music therapist in childbirth.  Today they asked me for a short biography and some speaking points.  Well for someone like me who wants to passionately share every detail about my work and experience, the term “short biography” is an oxymoron.

So today, as a challenge to myself, I’m sharing my short biography for World Doula Week.

To be fair, I have written some that are 50 words or less for many conference brochures, but this one feels really good to me and is inspiring some major copy changes across my current website and my new projects too.  I had to really stop critiquing myself and write this from a place of celebrating my unique business and all of the amazing experiences I’ve been privileged to have as a professional doula and board certified music therapist.  I also had to let go of the idea of putting every little detail in it and instead just paint an overall picture of well-rounded and authentic experience.    Either way, it’s done and here it is:

Kate Taylor, MA, MT-BC is the owner of Creative Childbirth ConceptsⓇ which provides full spectrum pre and perinatal music therapy and birth services to all Chicago area families.   Through this unique music therapy practice Kate also assists women in labor and delivery as a birth doula.  Kate has advanced clinical training in providing Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) support, as well as applications of guided imagery, neurologic music therapy and end of life care.  Kate draws upon her experience of the creative arts to deliver innovative childbirth education classes, music therapy assisted childbirth and unmatched personalized support for all families.  Kate enjoys using creative writing, movement, music and art in birth preparation to help families be ready for birth and beyond.  Kate also uses these creative tools to train and supervise other music therapists and birth workers including fellow birth, postpartum and bereavement doulas.   Kate has presented her research at regional and national conferences of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), the Online Music Therapy Conference (OCMT) and the prestigious Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health.  Kate Taylor has also had the honor of speaking at the World Congress of Breastfeeding through La Leche League International and on behalf of organizations like the Holistic Moms Network.  More information about Kate can be found at www.birthmusic.net.   Find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CreativeChildbirthConcepts, on twitter:  @musictherapy4me or on instagram @birthmusictherapy.


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What puts the “YOU” in DOULA? A few unique things about me as a doula.

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For today’s blog in honor of #worlddoulaweek I’d like to share a list of things about me that I feel make me unique as a doula. You know why I became a doula but now it’s time to see how I use my special gifts and talents to provide the highest standard of support for you (my clients) and for all my fellow birth workers reading this who trust me as your mentor.

  • I am an excellent listener.
  • I am patient.
  • I am intuitive.
  • I accept your feelings, physical and emotional.
  • I support all of your feelings.
  • I want the best possible outcome for you and your family.
  • I can help you understand your choices.
  • I will present you with all the facts and options.
  • I can help you weigh the risks and benefits.
  • I will not make a choice for you or attempt to sway you with my beliefs.
  • I know when to let you be alone so you can do it on your own.
  • I can help you understand yourself so you’re more aware.
  • I bring out your creative side.
  • I love music but know when to enjoy the silence.
  • I see you not as mother, father, colleague, or friend but as human.
  • I have the highest regard for your life and dignity.
  • My continuous support can improve your outcomes.
  • I will make every attempt to help you achieve your goals.
  • My knowledge as a music therapist can greatly enhance your relationship with music and help you more fully embrace your experience.
  • I am professional and trustworthy.
  • I am authentic and kind.
  • I am here for you.
  • I am Kate Taylor. 2015 Headshot

Happy #WorldDoulaWeek!

Let me know how I can serve you! Email today mymusictherapist@gmail.com or visit www.birthmusic.net

 

 


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Professional doula seeking supervision: serious inquires only.

I’d love to see a series of “want ads” like this. Personal ads placed by professional doulas who are serious about their business of being a doula, aware of the depth of their work, seeking structured and professional supervision.   Why would a doula need supervision?

Just this week, a question came across a very popular doula forum about “debriefing” or “venting” with other doulas about traumatic or difficult birth scenarios.  Let’s be honest, as doulas we are creating a market revolution of supportive, continuous, compassionate care in very savvy and innovative ways. And this is great because it means more and more families will experience what professional doulas have to offer. More and more care providers will start to see the benefits.  More and more demand for us. Which means more births to attend, more systems to navigate, more paper work, more placentas to encapsulate…

Anyone’s palms sweating yet?!

Deep focused Breathing. Feel your breath flow in and out. You’ve prepared for this surge in business. You’ve been trained, perhaps certified to handle the stages of labor and provide support throughout. You’ve honed your skills in touch and talk, bearing witness and reflective listening. You’ve advanced your business skills, done your market analysis and now you can warm chat the hell out of anyone. You know your ideal client. You’re booking 4 births a month and earning a living as a doula, doing your own taxes…Wait, my palms are sweating again.

Breathe.

Some doulas may head into this level of “busi-ness” with eager anticipation only to get knocked back a bit when suddenly the births they’ve been so well trained to attend start to wear us down.  Perhaps start to take over emotions a bit.  It may start as a reflection of how beautiful a birth was, or how strong that mother was.  Perhaps something happened that was different than what was “expected” and as a doula you witness something that hits hard.  Maybe you witness a mother experience an unwanted intervention or a difficult transition and suddenly, you find yourself remembering it all.the.time.   Feelings surface.  Lots of BIG FEELINGS SURFACE.

Now, I’m not saying all your feelings are negative or even as deep as a trigger for your own trauma.  No, not all. But some maybe.  Even just one emotion that still lingers as you read this.   What if just that one feeling  impacts you at your next birth?  What if you have a hard time staying “present” because that one feeling is still part of your thoughts?
The simple act of being present, especially in birth, impacts us, in that moment in time and in our future way of living.  I experienced these impacts early in my career.  First, I experienced it as a heart aching compassion for the parents of the children living with autistic spectrum diagnosis.   Next, by the penetrating grief of working with hospice families facing the deaths of their loved ones.  Currently, what I experience is a mix of oxytocin rush,  the dynamics of my own relationships and the ever present push to grow my birth business for world doula domination!   (Ok, maybe just big enough to pay all my bills and give back a little.)  Really, I’m a whole mess of emotions most of the time, so in some ways WE may not be that different from one another.  One difference I do see is that I can attest, from personal and professional experience, my doula friends, is that you should consider that you need more than just a “place to vent about a birth” or “someone to decompress with.”  You should consider for the sake of sustainablity as a professional doula that you too may need some skilled support.   I did.  After years of trying to bear it all myself, and process it all myself, hanging out with other doulas venting over Venti Mochas I realized,

I needed ongoing, structured and creative supervision in order to best fulfill my role as a birth worker. 

For me, the answer to my unspoken “want ad” for serious support came in the form of a colleague asking me to participate in peer supervision.  After my first two hour online peer supervision session everything felt lighter.  I felt more connected, creative and aware.  My movement felt fluid, my work more manageable.  My motivation had returned.  My work had more purpose.  

We recently published some of the results in the New Jersey Association of Music Therapy’s first ever online journal Music Therapy Clinician.  Since then, I have not looked back, never been busier or felt more balanced.    The road to maintaining that balance and achieving wellness as a birth worker feels less bumpy now and I see a few more “fueling” stations along horizon then before.  I know I can always turn to supervision for a hospitable respite, re-framing or a recharge before heading back down “Doula Road.”

This is why I offer structured, supportive supervision for doulas and other birth workers, music therapists and even consultations for parents seeking balance and mental wellness.  I believe there is a need for confidential and competent supervision in the childbirth profession.  I can relate to what you’re experiencing.  I can offer you an assessment to help you determine what you may be experiencing.  I can listen.  I can reflect.  I can try to understand and I can try to help you understand.  I can offer you unique and creative ways of processing what you witness as a birth worker, what you need as a professional and where you’re headed in life as a doula.  As a MT-BC, I adhere to a scope of practice and function under a code of ethics both of which consider the confidentiality of anyone I’m working with with the utmost importance and respect.  Therefore, what you process with me, stays with me.  What I offer is supervision, not socialization.  So while I may be sipping a venti mocha while we engage in your supervision and the caring I offer feels like a trusted friend, I am not a friend.  I’m a professional supervisor and you will be safe to share any and all reactions you have, judgements you make or feelings that surface from all aspects of your birthing business.

Please contact me, Kate Taylor, MA, MTBC at mymusictherapist@gmail.com  or visit www.birthmusic.net for more information.   Online group services for pre and perinatal music therapists are now available through the exclusive PPMT Supervision Group co-sponsored with Interlude Perinatal Support Services.

Email ppmtsupervision@gmail.com for more information about joining our next online series.


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Add some MUSIC to your birth bag.

If I had to name just one thing that made my daily life as a music therapist easier it would have to be music, of course.  Music is a resource that can enhance most experiences, particularly childbirth.    As leaders in health care, music therapists have demonstrated how accessible and enriching music can be for improving quality of life, rehabilitation and healing.  As a doula  and music therapist, I’m entrusted to bring the music to the birth environment.   So every time my phone beeps or buzzes in the middle of the night, I make sure my bluetooth wireless speaker is charged, packed and ready to help deliver the most precious cargo in my birth bag….the music.  

First let me say, music for birth can come in many forms.  I use my voice, my body, and at times various instruments through live musical interactions whenever appropriate, which can be often.  Yet, most times during the labor and delivery stage, music enters the space as pre-recorded playlists.  To deliver this experience I rely on a few important pieces of equipment.  As a music therapist, the days of lugging around a giant case book of CDs, and a boombox bungee corded to my instrument cart are over.  Music is more portable and higher quality than ever before.   I use my mobile phone/ipod or tablet and streaming or downloaded music to organize and execute the applications of music.  But without a speaker, much quality and application may be lost.   So for the birth worker, music therapists and parents out there who may be seriously considering adding music to your birth plan, I’ll share a few specifics about the speaker I’ve had the most success with and a few reasons why it may be a useful tool for you to shape your birthing experience.

Currently I’m digging the portability and look of my SoundFreq Sound Kick speaker.

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It has just the right balance between size and sound and is an excellent travel speaker with charging capabilities, aux and USB ports.  The website boasts 7 hours of charge time but honestly I’ve used it for nearly 10 without having to recharge.  I do notice the bass sound to diminish a bit as the battery life is low.  Usually I carry a USB led charge pack with me and as soon as that is connected, the sound quality seems to return to normal until I can fully charge again.

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The Sound Kick is designed with two 2.3 inch custom drivers and a XKICK™ chamber that pulls out of the back and supports the speaker.  The expansion of this rear compartment at first glance appears to be a kickstand yet it serves a more important function to enhance the lower-frequency sound giving it a much fuller range than other portable speakers.

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I recently saw the Bose Sound Link Mini in action at a outdoor party and was impressed with it’s ability to cut through the party volume.  However it seemed to almost challenge conversation at times.  I think I might explore it due to it’s extremely compact size.  Yet, I hesitate that speakers of notable brand and portable mini size “disappear” more easily from the unit or birth place if left unattended.  I tried for years to love the Sony SRSBTX300/BLK Bluetooth Wireless Speaker.  But alas, I had to leave the relationship. The kickstand kept falling when on the hospital tray would wheel and it would turn off the speaker.  The Sony bluetooth reception was spotty resulting in interruptions like a skipped CD and the weight is rather heavy for a birth bag.  Doulas, as you know, every ounce counts when packing a bag to use while hauling a birth ball in tow.  The size of the SoundFreaq Soundkick really is convenient and it’s weight is ideal.

Music Therapists, you’ll also love how light and compact the Soundfreaq speaker is.  IMAG2798_20150515101039483

I’ve always been able to discreetly set it up on the window ledge or bedside table at birthing centers.  I have even slipped the speaker and ipod into the pocket of a dad’s scrub attire as they headed into an emergency c section birth (with his permission of course).  I love the variety of reactions I get when I pull out the speaker in prenatal visits too.  In fact, one time during a prenatal education class, I pulled out the speaker, popped up the sound chamber a husband reacted with wide eyes and nervously asked, “what is that?!”  He admitted he was scared it was a contraction stimulator and that I was planning to hook him up to it for childbirth education class.   (Apparently, he’d watched too many youtube videos).  Needless to say, he was relieved when the speaker started playing his wife’s favorite Latin tunes, instead of stimulating contractions on his abdomen.

Often when I set up the speaker, I get some oohs and ahhhs as well.  Not just because of the speaker’s quality of sound, but it’s unique in aesthetics.  You see, I have branded my business with two colors: a bright fresh green grass color and a soothing teal/aqua.  Conveniently for me, the speaker comes in these amazing chromatic colors called Ocean (seen here), Sunset and Twilight.  Nurses have come to recognize my speaker in the birth rooms and associate it the effects of the music therapy assisted childbirth.   It just so happens that colors also affect our mood, memory and help with identity branding.  So browse the variety of colors and styles offered by SoundFreaq speakers and see what fits your brand and the mood you wish to create in your birth place.

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So whether you’re a music therapist, a doula or a couple preparing for birth, you can add music to your birth bag or tool kit with a small portable bluetooth speaker like the Soundfreaq Soundkick and a mobile device that streams music. Please consider that you may need some additional support in executing or implementing the most effective application of music in the birth environment.  Certainly, you, your partner or your clients will be able to help assess some good musical choices.  Ideally your preference is key to music being supportive and relaxing for you or doula clients.  But with the collaborative guidance of a well trained and experienced music therapist, your ability to apply music effectively and your confidence in using music for birth will greatly be enhanced.  Stay tuned for several more posts in response to Serenade Design’s Music Therapy Blogger Challenge and more in an upcoming series on creative resources for childbirth.  Kate

Learn more about Kate Taylor, MA, MT-BC Birth Doula at www.birthmusic.net

Or contact Kate at mymusictherapist@gmail.com

Music and a doula in the operating room can calm your c-section birth experience.

Music in the operating room and a doula by your side can make your c-section calmer, more memorable and family centered.  Although brief, this article mentions the importance of music in the operating room for creating a calm, relaxed and patient centered environment.  As a music therapist, I’ve witnessed the power of music during transformative moments like this. Imagine:  you are a first time mom, about to go into the OR for a c section.  You are anxious about surgery, what to expect as a parent.  You do not know what to expect.  However, you know that your partner is by your side.  You know that your doula is your family advocate.  You hear some music begin to play as you are wheeled into the operating room.  The music is familiar.  You know this music will support your emotions and physiology.  You have practiced relaxing to this playlist before.  You know what song is next.  You and your music therapist designed this playlist and used it to prepare for birth.  Music therapy was used to prepare for this exact moment when you become “mother.”    You breathe deep and the cello plays andante.    A new life enters the world.  His cries echo with the female voices chanting.  A drum beat mimics his beating heart.   

This moment, the music, the baby, the parents:  all bonded together.  I’ll be so bold to hope that through an expansion of family centered c-sections or gentle c-sections like the ones mentioned in the Fox News link here, that perhaps a new level of mindfulness may come to those staff involved in surgical births also.  A new level of awareness of environmental music therapy perhaps.  I believe in the power of music at the moment of birth, the prenatal experience that promotes bonding through creativity and using music therapy to process fears, address anxieties and embrace the transformative power of birth. 

For more information about music therapy for childbirth, creative arts birthing or doula services visit:    http://www.creativechildbirthconcepts.com