26. Leveraging Our Strengths – with Amber Purcell

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor are joined by Amber Purcell, a postpartum maternity travel nurse, newborn care specialist to talk about leveraging our strengths and how to build a solid team. Bringing a baby into this world is hard work, and learning to take care of a new human is even harder! This episode focuses on identifying everyone’s needs, talking out what your goals are as a family and as parents, and then figuring out ways to meet those goals (no guilt allowed!).

“For me, the magical moment is watching the parents find success!” – Amber Purcell

“What do you want to see happen? What are your goals and objectives?” – Amber Purcell

“What are your primal needs? You need to eat, you need to sleep, and you need to go to the bathroom.” – Amber Purcell

“We get those basic needs covered, and then we expand out from there.” – Amber Purcell

“Leveraging strengths – leaning into what you’re good at – can be so vital in that postpartum period.” – Elle Kennedy

“My advice to prepare is to ask yourself some really tough questions. You need to get really real about how you’ve gone through moments of transition of your life before.” – Amber Purcell

“Educate yourself as much as you can on what it is to take care of a baby.” – Amber Purcell

“For those first few weeks, get really basic about what your expectations are – what your needs are. And then, go from there. Give yourself a lot of space. Allow yourself to not know what is going on, and to know that that is ok.” – Amber Purcell

“We had to take a moment and not criticize ourselves while we’re making these decisions. Just go with the flow. And cheat! Cheat as much as you can! Like, honestly! This is like the hardest thing you are probably going to do is bring a person into the world and then sustain their life outside of your body, possibly with your body, or a whole dishwasher full of dishes! So, like, give yourself some space. Give yourself ANY shortcut you can. Give yourself ANY credit you can.” – Amber Purcell

“I can tell you – no plan or piece of advice I give for a family from one to the next – is the same.” – Amber Purcell

“You are never a failure! You are in uncharted territory with a foreigner who doesn’t speak the language!” – Amber Purcell

“Learn soothing techniques. And the first part of learning that is asking yourself: How do I soothe myself? How do I cope? How do I deal?” – Amber Purcell

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Amber Purcell

Don’t Fear Parents, the Baby Nurse is here! Amber has enjoyed assisting parents since the early two thousands. Flit and Flying into homes to relieve the weary or wound up new parents, recently initiated by labor and birth during the tender post-birth time period. You name it, Amber has seen it! If you can dream it, Amber can help you do it or at least take foundational steps towards making your parenting desires a reality. She is here to help families, every member in them. Nowadays she is waiting for international travel to be reinstated because there are babies abroad that she would love to care for. She specializes as a Post Partum Maternity Travel Nurse.

You can find her on Instagram @amberlovesbabies and on her website amberlovesbabies.com or you can email her at amberlovesbabies@gmail.com

Resources related to today’s episode:

Here are some other episodes where we discuss similar topics, like self-care, meeting needs, and developing a postpartum plan.

Ep. 11: Comfort Care and Self-Care – with Jill Magoffin

Ep. 9: Postpartum Plan – with the Tourmaline Collective

Ep. 2: Gratitude and Mindset – with Mindy Werth

Who are Elle and Taylor?

Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.

Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

25. Placenta Encapsulation – with Val Rosas

On today’s episode, Elle is joined by Val Rosas, a placenta encapsulation specialist to talk all about this amazing and mysterious organ. They talk about the benefits of placenta encapsulation, what the process of placenta encapsulation looks like, different ways to consume the placenta (placenta encapsulation – raw method of traditional Chinese method, placenta smoothies – immediately postpartum, pre-packaged, or cubed, tinctures, and cooked), and how to grow a healthy placenta.

What are the benefits of placenta encapsulation? The three main benefits, and the ones that are reported the most in order:

1. Energy. (Especially the raw method)

2. Mood/hormone stabilization.

3. Lactation. (Can be a little hit or miss)

“After birth, the attention really shifts from mom to baby. And mom needs just as much care as baby, if not even a little bit more because she’s the one who has to care for the baby. So if her well-being is not kept in mind, then how can she be sound enough to care for her baby?” – Val Rosas

“Just like pregnancy and just like birth, postpartum is different for everyone.” – Val Rosas

“The roles have shift, and it’s now his turn to come in and to do all the things that she cannot do. Just like she was doing all the things that he could not do during the pregnancy.” – Val Rosas

“We all deserve the BEST care! We deserve more than the bare minimum!” – Elle Kennedy

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Val Rosas

Val was born in Chicago, Il but raised in Orlando, Fl. In the fall of 2004 she moved to Los Angeles, CA, this had always been a dream of hers to live on the west coast. In her late teens she discovered a love and passion for photography and when moving to Los Angeles, CA she began studying photography at Santa Monica College. She invested 10 years of her life to this career in hopes of becoming a Rock ‘n Roll Photographer. At the beginning of 2010, shortly after meeting the love of her life Henry, they found out they were pregnant and life started change. Her love and passion for photography became a shadow of her future goals. On October 2010, the birth of her baby lead Valerie to become the Placenta Encapsulation Specialist she is today.

Val’s motivation, inspiration, and passion for placenta encapsulation stems from the importance of mental health, she believes in the placenta power and is passionate in helping women in their postpartum recovery and assisting them in their transition into motherhood. Along with aiding women post baby, she is also driven to educate women in general about placenta encapsulation through event speaking.

You can find her on Instagram @feelgoodfamily and on her website thefeelgoodexperience.com

Who are Elle and Taylor?

Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.

Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

24. The Importance of Birth Photography – with Jana Smolenski

On today’s episode, Elle is joined by Jana Smolenski, a birth photographer and doula to talk all about birth photography. They talk about what birth photography is (and what it isn’t), the benefits of having photos taken during labor, the different styles of birth photography, and how to balance being a doula and birth photographer simultaneously (doulatog).

“Looking back, those are such precious photos of us meeting her and bonding with her for the first time!” – Elle Kennedy

“If I had more pictures, maybe I would have processed the birth a little bit better. I would have just remembered more.” – Jana Smolenski

“There’s so much love and power and… it’s just amazing!” – Elle Kennedy

“It’s not about the crowning shots… It’s about really capturing the experience.” – Jana Smolenski

“What I love about it is you are capturing a story.” – Elle Kennedy

“I love jumping in and not knowing what’s going to happen, and going with the flow.” – Elle Kennedy

“You capture the emotion more than the perfection of the moment.” – Jana Smolenski

“A lot of people love telling their birth stories… and with images to go along with that story, it’s just a whole different dimension that gets put on top of that.” – Jana Smolenski

“By sharing those birth pictures and videos, we get to normalize birth.” – Jana Smolenski

“Birth is just so powerful, beautiful, and normal.” – Jana Smolenski

“That’s how every single one of us came into the world!” – Elle Kennedy

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Jana Smolenski

Jana (pronouns she/her) is a birth doula and photographer focusing on birth and motherhood photography. She lives in Claremont, CA, with her husband, 3 kids 5 and under, 2 dogs, and 2 chickens. Born and raised in Germany, she brings many stereotypically German values to her work ethic, such as straightforwardness, sincerity, efficiency, and a lack of humor. She also doesn’t like beer, sausages, or sauerkraut, so there’s that. Her vision for birth work is a world where birth is seen as a natural and beautiful event and birthing people claim their power.

You can find her on Instagram @birthinstincts and Facebook at Birth Instincts Doula and on her website birthinstincts.com

Resources related to today’s episode:

Elle’s Birth Story

Who are Elle and Taylor?

Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.

Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

22. Flamenco Dancing During Pregnancy and Coco’s Birth Story – with Dr. Coco Cabrel

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor are joined by Dr. Coco Cabrel, a Flamenco choreographer and professor, with an MD from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine to talk about the births of her children, and how flamenco dance affected her during pregnancy and postpartum. She shares the tools she learned through flamenco that assisted her during the births of her 3rd and 4th children, and how each of her births differed from each other. She talks about empowerment, the power of rhythm during labor, how to dig deep emotionally and physically, and how giving birth makes you into a god/goddess!

“It was always magic, and there was something about just watching this brand new being just come out into the world that REALLY got me!” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“It’s all about digging deep inside yourself. It’s all about oppression and then finding the place inside yourself to figure out the way out – figure out the way out of oppression, and come out of it beautiful. Right? Come out of it better – better than ever!” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“It teaches you in a physical way how to emotionally dig deep when you need it.” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“Even if you are an experienced mom, each birth is very different from the others.” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“It’s so helpful to have a tool like rhythm to pull out of your toolbox in those moments.” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“That’s actually one of the most common coping mechanisms seen across all cultures when birthing, is clinging to a rhythm of some kind.” – Elle Kennedy

“Finding a rhythm – whether that’s swaying back and forth in some kind of rhythm, or talking to yourself or muttering to yourself under your breath in some kind of rhythm-ized speech pattern, to tapping your hand. It can be external as well – someone brushing your hair, or stroking your arm or your back – it doesn’t have to be internalized.” – Elle Kennedy

“It’s also why yoga, meditation, things like that are recommended so frequently to practice before labor is to get you into the mindset of being present in the moment and not worrying, like you said, about ‘oh my god, I have to count another number, and another number.’ It gets you to stop worrying about how many numbers you’ve already counted and how many more numbers are gunna come, and just be in that present moment of ‘I’m here. I’m here right for this second. I’m getting through this right this second.’ And the next thing you know, ‘It’s another second, and I’m still here and I’m still doing it. I’m still here and I’m still going it.’ It’s constantly being in that present second.” – Elle Kennedy

“It develops that skill of being able to, in the moment, check in with different parts of your body, which is very very useful during pregnancy and during that birth process.” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“It’s that ability to isolate – pay attention to the isolated parts of your body, and be curious, and ask yourself ‘What is this body part doing? How is this body part feeling?’ Like you said, is it anchored? When you’re having a contraction, is the contraction actually painful? No, it’s just my muscles are tightening, and I don’t have control of it, and that’s scary, and that’s where that pain is coming from. But once you can recognize the physical sensation of ‘This is just my abdomen, my uterus contracting. It’s just a muscle tightening,’ Maybe it’s less painful now, and I can move through it, because I’ve recognized – I’ve isolated that body part, identified what that sensation is ‘It’s a tightening sensation.’ But there’s no judgment associated with that physical sensation, and if we can move past that, that can give us coping mechanisms.” – Elle Kennedy

“Our bodies do not make babies that are too big to be birthed! There are other ways! It’s just that so many of our hospital births and our medical-trained care-givers don’t understand physiological birth and they aren’t willing to break from their routines. They aren’t willing to let birthing people try other positions or try moving around or just give them enough time.” – Elle Kennedy

“I also wish that we would see more experiences that are beautiful, that are empowering, that show the woman mastering herself, right?” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

“You’re literally allowing a being that is not out here yet to pass through – pass through that physical, and perhaps that metaphysical tunnel to come out here and to exist here on this earth! Isn’t that part of the definition of being a god or being a goddess?!” – Dr. Coco Cabrel

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Dr. Coco Cabrel

Coco Cabrel is a Flamenco choreographer and professor, with an MD from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Impeccably-trained in ballet from childhood, she found Flamenco while nursing her second child, when she wanted to return to dance but knew her postpartum, breastfeeding body needed a beginner dance class. Flamenco gave her the physical strength to heal a herniated disc without surgery, and the emotional empowerment to rise stronger from a divorce.

In a Chicago dance company, Coco met her now-husband, Jan Shane, a native of Poland who was steered into Flamenco when his college ballet professor found him “too wild.” When Coco and Jan were partnered for the first time, sparks flew in the rehearsal studio, and they were cast most famously as Othello and Desdemona in the US premiere of “Otelo,” the Flamenco ballet of the great Madrid maestro, Ciro.

Coco was pregnant with their first son while teaching both Flamenco dance and Anatomy & Physiology at the University of New Mexico in Taos. She and Jan, a set builder for film and TV, wanted a more natural birth than they had in their previous marriages. The Taos Midwifery Center gave them a Russian video on water birth, and they were hooked. Coco taught her Flamenco classes and performed full 3-hour shows throughout her pregnancy and post-partum. Jan was by her side the whole time.

The water birth was so easy that Coco thought, “I could do this again.” And she did. A water home birth at age 43. With Jan and their 22-month-old in the pool, in their living room, with her.

You can find her on Instagram @theflamefit and Facebook at Fit & On Fire with Flamenco-Flare and on her website www.theflamefit.com

Resources related to today’s episode:

Waterbirth Resources

Who are Elle and Taylor?

Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.

Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

21. Functional Medicine for Infertility – with Sarah Clark

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor are joined by Sarah Clark, a life, health, and fertility coach that specializes in helping people get pregnant through functional lab testing and support in diet and lifestyle changes. She shares her own journey through premature ovarian failure, IVF, and how she came to realize that her diet and lifestyle were the root cause of her fertility issues and how she now helps couples to get pregnant naturally.

Sarah talks about all of the testing, dietary, and lifestyle changes she helps her couples go through on their journey to natural pregnancy (and how these can support the couple, even if they ultimately end up using IVF or a surrogate). They discuss everything from the decline in nutritional density of food over the last 50 years to the decline in sperm counts, what supplements most people should be on when trying to conceive, and even how spirituality and religion can help people get pregnant.

“I didn’t take any time to grieve. I did not get a second opinion, and I went straight to the IVF clinic.” – Sarah Clark

“We start both couples off by doing an elimination diet. And really, that’s the gold standard to figure out if you have a food sensitivity.” – Sarah Clark

“100% of the people [who come to me] DO have a food sensitivity.” – Sarah Clark

“The whole idea of this is to reduce inflammation in the body, and if your body is sensitive to a food that you’re putting in, you know, eating every day, it can cause inflammation in your body. If your body is under attack, it wants to survive, not procreate.” – Sarah Clark

“We’re doing the food, the hormone, the stool, and the hair [testing], and then we’re looking at your health history as well. So all this tells a story.” – Sarah Clark

“Our whole thing is to look for healing opportunities.” – Sarah Clark

“I think we underestimate how many people have dietary sensitivities.” – Elle Kennedy

“Getting both of you in the best shape – there’s no negative side effects to working on your health. It sets you up for healthy pregnancy, healthy baby, and healthy future generations.” – Sarah Clark

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Sarah Clark

When Sarah Clark was 28 years old, she received a diagnosis of premature ovarian failure. She accepted the diagnosis and had both her children through in vitro fertilization. Years later she realized the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance. 

She is a certified life coach with accreditation from the International Coaches Federation and a health coach with training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  

She is the author of Fabulously Fertile – Supercharge Your Fertility Naturally, Fabulously Fertile Cookbook and Fertility Preparation Program. Her fertility coaching program, which includes functional lab testing, supports couples to make diet and lifestyle changes that dramatically improve the chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby!  

On her Get Pregnant Naturally Podcast she shares that with functional medicine and natural fertility solutions we can eventually reverse infertility.  Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play.

Resources related to today’s episode:

Sarah’s 3-Day Fertility Diet Challenge

Nutrient Loss in Food from 1950 to 1999

Sperm Count Decline

What Does “Normal” Mean re: Sperm

Infertility (CDC)

Dr. Zach Bush

Who are Elle and Taylor?

Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.

Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

19. Speech Language Pathology – with Caitlin Francis

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor sit down with Caitlin Francis, a speech language pathologist to talk about speech, language, and communication development in babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, what you should be looking out for, when to think about intervention, and how to get assistance.

“So when we think about the word ‘talking,’ kids usually start their first true words between 10 and 14 months of age.” – Caitlin Francis

“We start counting ‘true words’ as the kid looks toward you, says a word that’s an approximation of what the adult word would be, and says it purposefully more than one time.” – Caitlin Francis

“Even at birth, babies start showing communication intentions and we have milestones that we look at, starting at day one with baby development.” – Caitlin Francis

“There are about 16 gestures that kids really should be using by the time they’re 16 months of age.” – Caitlin Francis

“We do know that babies are listening to their mother’s voices, and so their cries kind of imitate the cadence of whatever the mom’s speech is.” – Caitlin Francis

“A milestone is when about 90% of kids acquire a skill at a certain age. But the average would be when 50% of kids acquire that skill.” – Caitlin Francis.

“The sooner that we start working with children, the better that prognosis is, usually, for those those children if there is a delay.” – Caitlin Francis

“Looking at those checklists, those milestone things that are kind of being spread a lot more prolifically at different pediatrician offices or different daycare centers is a really great way to start. But when in doubt, trust your intuition. If you think that your child might be delayed, please please please reach out to a speech language pathologist.” – Caitlin Francis

“I really want to emphasize that parents reach out to SLPs (Speech Language Pathologists) and not their pediatrician. I love pediatricians! They are amazing! But honestly, they don’t really get that much training when it comes to cognitive and communication development.” – Caitlin Francis

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Caitlin Francis, M.S. CCC-SLP

Caitlin Francis, M.S. CCC-SLP is a licensed speech-language pathologist from Southern California. She is a school-based therapist who conducts assessments and provides intervention for students in K-8th grade. Her passion is with supporting neurodiverse and autistic students. Caitlin is a recipient of the ASHA Early Career Professional Certificate.

You can connect with her through the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook Group.

Resources related to today’s episode:

16 by 16 months

CDC Guidelines for Monthly Development

Who are Elle and Taylor?

Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.

Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

18. A Dad’s Perspective – with Dr. Jay Warren

On today’s episode, Elle sits down with Dr. Jay Warren, a prenatal and pediatric chiropractor in San Diego. He is the host of two popular podcasts, “Healthy Births, Happy Babies,” and “The Dadhood Journey.” He is also an ICPA instructor, and has created online courses to help pregnant women learn prenatal bonding techniques, as well as a New Dads Class that helps men with the transition to fatherhood. Jay comes on the show to talk about how (specifically) men experience their partner going through labor and birth, the male archetypes of Protector and Provider and how these can be translated into the birthing room in a productive manner, and what postpartum depression looks like in men and how to find and look for help and support in your community and friend groups.

“Regardless of where you’re gunna be birthing, I think that experience can be so powerful, and so beautiful, and such a happy, healthy launch into parenthood and as a family together.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“You just don’t know what you don’t know.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“What I really got out of it was just how important the birth team around us was, not just for mom, but for me as well.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“I think it’s so important for dads to learn what natural birth looks like!” – Dr. Jay Warren

“A lot of dads have a hard time in birth because they’re seeing – we’re seeing our partner in pain, suffering, having difficulty, and those kind of things, and we want to fix it!” – Dr. Jay Warren.

“It’s coming from the Protector that’s wanting to protect her from the birthing pain… Instead, let’s use the Protector to protect the space of the birth.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“We all have that protective nature inside of us that we can tap into when we need it… You have to know when it’s needed and when it’s not, and how to channel that constructively.” – Elle Kennedy

“We can have these kind of conversations before the birth and say like ‘These are amazing things that you can do that are incredible supports that’s going to be doing something and supportive of your partner.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“It sounds passive, because you have this pent up energy of like ‘I need to slay the dragon!’” – Elle Kennedy

“Most men think like ‘Well, this is like, a woman’s experience. Like, what am I doing there?’” – Dr. Jay Warren

“We belong at the birth. It’s just very new and we don’t have generational references – like, we’re not hearing from our dads what they did. So we can – that information and knowledge and wisdom can be passed down. And it’s brand new culturally, so there isn’t a lot of conversation amongst peers around ‘This is what birth is like and what you can do.’ There’s a big shift going on, and it’s brand new.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“I really want dads to understand that this is powerfully bonding for you and your child.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“If dads can be fully immersed in the oxytocin experience of the birth and, like, bathed in that as well as mom and baby, then the triad of mom, dad, and baby is gunna launch into parenthood in a totally different way than if dad thinks he’s gotta kind of, like, jump in later on down the line.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“The expectations placed on dads now is very different than a generation ago.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“I think absolutely a doula is important, because they’re taking such a different kind of supportive role that helps everyone involved, but it’s not replacing dad, nor is a dad replacing a doula.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“The dad, the partner, the birthing person – this is their first, second, maybe third or fourth time going through this. But your doula is experienced. They know what normal physiological birth looks like. This is their job. This is what they do day in, day out. This is what they have studied, and done research on, and taken classes and trainings and webinars, and all of the things to offer this specific kind of support.” – Elle Kennedy

“I am still learning. I am still hearing new information. Every person – every single person – we have on the show, whether it is a birth professional or whether it is somebody just coming on to share their birth story – I am learning from them, and I’m absorbing their stories and their information and I bring that into that space. I bring that knowledge of ‘This is what physiological birth can look like. This is what physiological birth is.’” – Elle Kennedy

“A lot of birthing people don’t realize they won’t admit you to a hospital or birthing center until you are x amount along… On average, it’s 5-6 centimeters… but your doula can still come to your home and help you while you’re birthing there because I think a lot of people don’t realize it’s still gunna take time to get to that five, six centimeter mark.” – Elle Kennedy

“I’ve seen women go into birth with a specific birth plan: ‘This is how it’s gunna be. I took the birth class. I know how it’s all gunna work.’ And when it doesn’t go that way, on the other side there’s a lot of disillusionment, there can be anger, all kinds of emotion around it because it didn’t go ‘to plan.’ Which, you know, as a birthing professional, like, we know that rarely ever happens.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“This wasn’t what I planned, but this is what it is.” – Elle Kennedy

“‘This is the story that’s being written.’ And we have to learn: what are the mechanisms that we personally need to cope with the story that’s being written? Because we don’t have all of the control. A lot of it is out of our hands.” – Elle Kennedy

“When you’re in the middle of this story, I mean, there was an ending of it, but the perspective hasn’t yet come to that experience to understand the story.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“I don’t wish that experience on myself every again, or anyone else, but this is what I can gain from it. But when you’re in the middle of it, like, you’re not at that time yet.” – Dr. Jay Warren

“Postpartum depression exists in males as well.” – Dr. Jay Warren

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Dr. Jay Warren

Dr. Jay Warren is a prenatal and pediatric chiropractor in San Diego where he works with new families everyday. Dr. Jay is the host of two popular podcasts “Healthy Births, Happy Babies” and “The Dadhood Journey”, as well as an instructor for the ICPA (International Chiropractic Pediatric Association). He has created online courses helping pregnant women learn prenatal bonding techniques and a New Dads Class that helps men with the transition into fatherhood. He is also the proud father to his son, Niko, who inspires him to strive to be a better person and better dad everyday.

You can find him on Instagram @doctorjaywarren and Facebook at Dr. Jay Warren and on his website drjaywarren.com

Resources related to today’s episode:

Chiropractic for Pregnancy – with Dr. Taylor Garcia

Elle’s Birth Story

Amanda’s Birth Story

Dr. Jay’s New Dad Class

9 Myths About Becoming a Dad

Who are Elle and Taylor?

Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.

Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

17. Celebration of Birth – with Yaya Atabey Samudra

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor sit down with Yaya Atabey Samudra, an Afro-Indigenous Queer + Trans Herbalist, Activist, Full-Spectrum Birthworker, Artist and Initiated Womb Healer based in Los Angeles, CA. They discuss the sacredness of birth, how to initiate ceremony and celebration back into the birth space, the four feminine archetypes period-having people go through, and how to move through our lives following our energy levels during the different phases of our moon cycles to tap into the Divine within us.

“This is a ceremony! You welcoming a new being into this world. This is also a ceremony for you as parents and birthing persons to go through a rites of passage.” – Yaya Atabey Samudra

“If you are a menstruating person, you naturally go through what we refer to as the four feminine archetypes through your menstrual cycle each month. So it starts with the maiden, it goes into the enchantress, the mother, and then the crone.” – Yaya Atabey Samudra

“Traditionally speaking, the crone was looked at as the wise woman. That was the person you went to because she had all of the knowledge… they were honored and respected by the society.” – Elle Kennedy

“How do we respect the phases we go through?” – Taylor Garcia

“Gut knowledge is really womb knowledge.” – Yaya Atabey Samudra

“When you are pregnant, you are descending. So think about a spiral – and the womb is also symbolized by a spiral, or a mandala – you are starting from the outer edge and you are walking your way all the way in. And once you get to the middle, that’s essentially when you are going through labor. And then after labor, in the postpartum phase, you are walking out. And this walk, it continues until you are in the crone stage, which is the very end of the mandala.” – Yaya Atabey Samudra

“”We are descending into the underworld of ourselves.” – Yaya Atabey Samudra

“You need to go through that – this underworld – on your own.” – Yaya Atabey Samudra

“Birth can be healing. It doesn’t have to be traumatic. It doesn’t have to be pain and suffering. It can be light and healing and joyful and courageous. It can be all of this beauty.” – Elle Kennedy

“Acknowledge the cycles of nature. We are aware of it to some extent, but we don’t recognize it as something that happens within us, and we don’t recognize that connection we have with nature.” – Yaya Atabey Samudra

“In birth, when you’re going through that rites of passage, it’s really important to remember that you are a wisdom keeper now.” – Yaya Atabey Samudra

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Yaya Atabey Samudra

Yaya Atabey Samudra is an Afro-Indigenous Queer + Trans Herbalist, Activist, Full-Spectrum Birthworker, Artist and Initiated Womb Healer based in Los Angeles, CA. Yaya comes from a long lineage of Afro-Carribean Womb Keepers, Midwives, Medicine Men & Women. Their Ancestors are at the forefront of their work, their artistry and their personal healing. Yaya’s dream is to open a space for herbal consultations, community gatherings centered around womb healing, medicine ceremonies and eco-farming. As an artist, Yaya has recently integrated their visual art with herbalism through the medium of tattooing. After a three year apprenticeship, their vision is to tattoo plant medicine, sacred geometry and other hieroglyphic symbols along the body for activation and alchemical transmutation.

You can find them on Instagram @TheWombMystic and on their website thewombmystic.com or by email thewombmystic@gmail.com

Resources mentioned on today’s episode:

Elle’s Birth Story

Who are Elle and Taylor?

Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.

Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

15. Acupuncture During Pregnancy – with Dr. Devin Geser

On today’s episode, Elle and Taylor sit down with Dr. Devin Geser, a board certified and licensed acupuncture pediatrician practicing in Los Angeles, California. She specializes in pediatric integrative functional medicine. Devin also teaches yoga and meditation along with volunteering for Acupuncturists Without Borders providing free interventional community crisis care. They discuss acupuncture and how it can help with a myriad of different pregnancy-related symptoms (like morning sickness, breech babies, aches and pains, labor induction, etc) as well as the spiritual nature of pregnancy. They talk about ancestry and how genetics are linked across time and how those links affect our health and the health of our children.

“Acupuncture as medicine has been around for a little over 4,000 years.” – Dr. Devin

“Utilizing acupuncture in pregnancy helps ensure a healthy pregnancy, an easy pregnancy, as well as safe and efficient deliveries.” – Dr. Devin

“Children who grow up loved do better.” – Dr. Devin

“Being brought up in love is such a key component to a healthy baby.” – Taylor

“Our generation is becoming very very aware of the generational trauma that we’ve inherited and trying to undo some of that so that the burden is lessened on our children.” – Elle

“I believe that how you come forth can mean something, but also how you live your life can mean as much.” – Dr. Devin

“We’re not human doings, we’re human beings.” – Dr. Devin

“Your genetics are the gun, basically. But HOW you live your life – those are the bullets. So what you do to load that weapon is what ultimately makes the difference.” – Dr. Devin

“Are you going to be a bullet, or are you gunna be a confetti cannon?” – Elle

“Birth is birth, no matter what it looks like.” – Elle

“Your needs and wants are valid, period. Your needs and wants are valid.” – Elle

“As a provider, I’m doing everything I can to make that easy, efficient, natural, drug-free labor an OPTION.” – Dr. Devin

“My goal with every mom, with every parent, is to give them as many tools as possible.” – Dr. Devin

“That’s the goal with life! To learn new things!” – Dr. Devin

“The more support we can provide, you know, in this village, the better outcomes we see in maternal-fetal medicine.” – Dr. Devin

“You have to give your body time to recover, and profoundly, deeply rest, and be nourished and nurtured as a new mother.” – Dr. Devin

“This is the first time in human history that we haven’t been living in this village setting.” – Dr. Devin

“I believe that we are made to evolve, and our minds are what evolve.” – Dr. Devin

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest: Dr. Devin Geser

Devin Geser, L.Ac. Dipl. O.M. is a board certified and licensed acupuncture pediatrician practicing in Los Angeles, California. Devin was educated at UCLA and AJU, she attended medical school at Dong Guk University. She specializes in pediatric integrative functional medicine. Devin also teaches yoga and meditation along with volunteering for Acupuncturists Without Borders providing free interventional community crisis care. Devin is an associate at West Hollywood’s Vie Healing and also sees concierge patients for housecalls.

You can find her on Instagram @acupuncture.alchemy, on her website www.lakehollywoodacu.com or at 424-248-7436.

Resources related to today’s episode:

Acupressure Resources

Who are Elle and Taylor?

Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.

Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC

14. Parenting LGBTQ+ Kids – with Ellie Dote

On today’s episode, Elle sits down with Ellie Dote, a transgender, lesbian woman who has a deep and beautiful relationship with Christ. They discuss being LGBTQ+ while raising LGBTQ+ kids, the experiences we’ve had that have shaped how we parent our LGBTQ+ kids, and the things that we think society and individuals need to think about and find solutions for to make our communities safer and more accepting for people across every spectrum.

“What you are on the outside is not necessarily what you are on the inside.” – Elle

“I liked that book! There was a kid like me in it! They were a boy AND a girl! Just like me!” – Teddy

“Just seeing Teddy lean into that freedom has just been so good!” – Elle

“I’m 30 and I’m STILL learning to say ‘This is who I am!’” – Elle

“I didn’t even realize that the transgender community was a possibility or a thing until I was 40.” – Ellie Dote

“I knew that there was something different from a very early age, but I didn’t necessarily know what.” – Ellie Dote

“There’s a lot of criticism – ‘why do we have all these labels?’ And honestly, if you didn’t have those labels, it would be really hard for people to say ‘Me too!’” – Elle

“In reality, do we need them? Mmm, maybe not. But we do need them for our society to give words to an experience.” – Ellie Dote

“I think of it as the way you see a true rainbow. It’s not broken up into separate colors that are completely distinct from each other. They bleed into each other and they overlap and there are some shades that you aren’t quite sure – ‘Is it really blue or is it really purple? It’s just kind of both.’” – Elle

“You have to see the spectrum in the media, because for some people, that’s their only experience. So, not only do we have to see LGBTQ people and people of all colors represented in media – we need to see those people in all kinds of positions, in all kinds of variations of relationships and coming out stories and discovering yourself stories, because, like you said, not everybody’s story is the same.” – Elle

“How can I make my kid’s journey better than my journey was?” – Elle

“The big thing that I’ve discovered is really just being willing to listen. To listen to our experiences, and to find common ground. The biggest thing that we have in common is that we’re all human, we’re all taking up space on this earth, and we’re all living in this community.” – Ellie Dote

“And that is the most important thing – is to listen to each other’s stories and see the tapestry that is woven together for our society and our community, and appreciate that.” – Ellie Dote

“How do I wish the people around me had responded when I had disclosed to them? And that’s what I’m trying to bring to Teddy.” – Elle

“If your child doesn’t come to you for answers, doesn’t feel comfortable asking you these questions, and you haven’t created a space for them to have these conversations, then they are going to find the answers somewhere else. And the places where they get the answers could be disastrous, could be risky, and could be… could put their own life in danger.” – Ellie Dote

“I think that it is VITALLY important as parents that we provide that space to listen to our kids and to allow them to ask questions, and to not be afraid to have these tough conversations. Because the consequences of not being able to are too big of a price to pay.” – Ellie Dote

“It’s not enough to just say “Oh, my kids know I’m accepting, my kids know I’m x, y, and z. It is still hard for your kid. It is something that we have to be proactive with because there is such a stigma. There is such a fear around these conversations.” – Ellie Dote

“We need to normalize being more human in front of our kids and letting them see more of the range of emotions other than happy, authoritatrian, and angry.” – Elle

“We have built a society where it’s not ok to show weakness, and that is something that needs to change.” – Ellie Dote

 

We do offer a Content Warning for today’s episode, as we do briefly discuss the topics of suicide and risky behavior.

Listen to the episode here.

Join the Birth Re-Imagined Family Facebook group to engage with other open-minded parents, connect with birth professionals in the Southern California area, and stay up to date on our newest episodes as they drop every week!

Today’s guest:

Darryl Dote was born and raised in Southern California, where he found an early place in music ministry within the Catholic Church.  What he didn’t know at the time was that he was using his identity as “church musician” as a way to hide from the real battle over her identity.  When adolescence began to set in, he quickly learned that his role in music ministry wasn’t as authentic as he needed it to be – and so he left the Catholic Church in search of something deeper – and found it in Evangelical Christianity, where he went to Bible College and pursued a career in full time ministry.  After getting married and starting a family, Darryl continued on this path – until he couldn’t hide it anymore.

In 2016, after receiving the devastating news that he was HIV positive, Darryl was left to face the questions surrounding his identity head-on – and shortly after that, it was discovered that Darryl wasn’t the 40 year old cisgender heterosexual male that he had grown up as – he was really Ellie, a young woman that had been fighting to be seen for her entire life.

In early 2017, Ellie began taking her first steps, and 2019 found her divorced, living back in Southern California, and a single mom to her youngest child.  Her journey and experience in ministry has allowed her to have conversations with various church leaders about the LGBTQ+ community and inclusion.  She is currently working (slowly) on a memoir, and regularly shares her thoughts on the intersection of her trans identity, the LGBTQ+ community, and her faith as a Christian on her blog, elliedote.com.

You can find her on Facebook and on her website elliedote.com and Ellie can be found on myspace.

Resources related to today’s episode:

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-8255.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Red by Michael Hall

Resources regarding Faith and LGBTQ

Orange County LGBTQ Center

Who are Elle and Taylor?

Elle Kennedy is a maternity, birth, and family photographer and doula based in Orange County, California. She’s a mother of two, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an advocate for consent and respect for personal preferences during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. She homeschools, is polyamorous, loves tea and scones, and loves using her free time to create and bake.

Dr. Taylor Garcia is a Webster Certified Chiropractor located in the Orange County, California area, with a family practice that focuses on pregnant persons and babies. She is currently going through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association’s certification program and plans to have that completes by 2021. While not a mama yet, she is the consummate “mom friend,” and hopes to adopt with her partners in about 5 years. She is part of the LGBTQ+ community and polyamorous. She believes in focusing on health and wellness from before birth, and using that as a firm foundation for health and wellness throughout life. She believes in the importance of connection and consent in all aspects of life. She is a dancer, a writer, a bookworm, and a fan of music and musicals.

Contact Elle:

Instagram: @elle.kennedy.photography

Website: ellekennedyphotography.com

Facebook: Elle Kennedy Photography

Contact Taylor:

Website: birthandbeyondchiro.com

Email: taylorjgarcia@att.net

Facebook: Dr. Taylor Garcia, DC