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Shelia McGrath, AAHCC

Photo of Sheila McGrath My first birth was a Knock-Em-Out, Drag-Em-Out method of managed labor. This was during the days that neither husband nor family were allowed to enter the hospital room with the birthing mother. Many unnecessary routine procedures were done. The laboring moms around me were screaming and completely out of control. After that experience, I was left with a fear of childbirth. Although it was too late to educate myself for my first birth experience, I realized that when we know better we do better.

When I first heard of the Bradley Method®, I was preparing for a homebirth with my youngest child. Dr. Bradley had been encouraging support by partners during pregnancy and childbirth since 1944. Why hadn't someone shared Dr. Bradley's ideas on birthing with me with my first child?

His moms were using the term, Giving Birth with Joy. Wow! This got me to thinking. Why were his moms embracing birth? Why was I afraid of it? I thought that there had to be a reason and I was going to find out what it was.

I heard more of Dr. Bradley's journey of educating colleagues and new parents-to-be. I thought it tragic that there were not more parents aware of the routine medical interventions and the effects that they have on the mother and baby. Many routine medical procedures are not a medical necessity.

I decided to become a responsible parent and become educated regarding my choices in birth. I found myself amazed at all of the information I was finding available. I learned of the favorable statistics when unnecessary interventions were alleviated. The fact that this was resulting in healthier outcomes for moms and babies was so logical that it was almost comical.

I became impressed with the fact that (unbeknown to most) the first trained doulas in the United States were actually husbands trained by Dr. Bradley. He started out teaching unwed mothers that said, "I couldn't have done it without you." Later his method evolved to teaching husbands to assist their wives in labor. I realized there are women in all walks of life that are in need of support from a partner/doula. One that is fully trained to assist them in finding their voice and empowerment during labor and birth.

The more I learned, the more I became excited about being an educated consumer and making informed decisions with my birth team. As I shared my excitement with my Bradley teacher, she asked, "Shelia, why don't you become a Bradley teacher?"

A light bulb lit up and I thought, why not? I immediately became affiliated with The American Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth® and became a certified childbirth educator and professional labor assistant specializing in the Bradley Method®.

It has been rewarding assisting couples in this important transition in life. But also rewarding, is being able to watch students be inspired to become better parents, childbirth educators, doulas and midwifes themselves.

I have watched my three sons and daughter grow to adulthood. I now enjoy four beautiful grandchildren; along with many babies that come into this world through the students that I teach.

I would like to share with you the knowledge that I have gathered over the years. This includes nutrition, exercise, relaxation and avoidance of things harmful during pregnancy and birth. Also, how to have clear communication with birth professionals, family and friends.

Make informed decisions and be proactive in having a safe, natural birth while avoiding unnecessary medical interventions. In ten years, no one will remember your birth but You! Not your childbirth educator, doula, doctor or midwife. Make the choices that empower You! The way you choose to give birth will affect your body, mind, emotions and spirit for the rest of your life. Remember, that I am only a phone call away!

 

For more information on The Bradley Method®, for an international listing of instructors, or to contact the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth® directly, please contact: The Bradley Method®, Box 5224, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413-5224 - (800) 4-A-BIRTH or (818) 788-6662 - www.bradleybirth.com