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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Circle of life: Preparing moms-to-be through sharing of birthing stories |

By Sharon Sullivan
Free Press Staff Writer

Go & Do
What: BirthSmart Story Circle
When: Saturday, Jan. 9, 9-11 a.m.
Where: Koinonia Church, 730 25 Road
Cost: Free — tickets can be obtained at
Info: 242-5094 or

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — BirthSmart is a nonprofit which formed in spring 2008 with the goal of helping woman experience positive and empowering childbirth experiences.
Being knowledgeable about childbirth and the resources that are available leads to a satisfying birth experience, said BirthSmart founder Leah Pabst.
Pabst, 37, is the mother of three children, ages 7, 3, and 20 months. Her first child was born in the hospital, while the others were born at home, attended by a certified homebirth midwife.
On Saturday the group is hosting a Story Circle for women to come learn about birth, and/or share birthing stories with one another.
“For first-time mothers, it gives them a chance to learn about others' birth experiences and make plans for their own birth,” Pabst said. “That's really important.”
Many parents-to-be “think a lot about the nursery and not so much about how they're going to give birth,” she said.
For women who've had traumatic birth experiences, it's an opportunity for healing and camaraderie, Pabst said.
Those with wonderful experiences celebrate it in the telling.
Several birthing professionals will be on hand to talk about their services, including Maran Parry, a certified hypnobirthing instructor who will talk about ways to shorten labor and increase comfort.
Lactation consultants from St. Mary's Hospital will be there to discuss infant feeding, and Toni Reed, a therapist from Renewed Connections, will be present “to support anyone dealing with trauma,” Pabst said.
A number of community doulas will be at Story Circle to answer questions regarding professional labor support.
There will also be free five-minute pregnancy massages offered during the event.
Pabst started BirthSmart after attending a play called “Birth” in Fort Collins two years ago. The play chronicles the birth journeys of eight different women.
“It changed my life,” Pabst said. “When I came out (of the theater) I realized it was the women who had prepared for birth that have empowered births — even the one who had a C-section.”
Pabst said she hopes to bring the play to Grand Junction in September.
A film festival is planned for the spring in conjunction with Mesa County Public Libraries. One of the films, “The Business of Being Born” — “questions our concept of birth as a medical process,” Pabst said. Another, “Orgasmic Birth” is about a wonderful birth experience, she said.
While the Story Circle event is free, it will be limited to 24 participants. People are asked to visit to register so organizers will know how many people to expect.
Story Circle will be held at Koinonia Church, 730 25 Road.
“Koinonia generously donated their church for our event,” Pabst said.
Sponsors include Mesa Midwives, and photographer Catherine Mayer. Mayer specializes in pregnancy and newborn photography.
Free childcare is available for children ages 2 to 11. Parents requesting childcare are asked to make that reservation when registering for their free tickets.
Reach Sharon Sullivan at

Circle of life: Preparing moms-to-be through sharing of birthing stories |

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