In our ongoing Meet the Mentor series, you’ll get a chance to meet some of our amazing Birthing From Within Childbirth Educators and Doulas. You’ll learn a little bit about their Birthing From Within work – and, just for fun, get a glimpse into their personal lives and opinions! We are happy to be starting with our three new Co-Owners, so you can get to know them just a little better. So, with no further ado, let’s meet…
Erika, who lives and works in Boulder, Colorado, brings an immense depth of experience to her role as a Co-Owner and Manager of Birthing From Within. She entered the birth world almost 20 years ago as a birth doula, and has been with Birthing From Within for about 16 years, during which time she has attended at least 12 BFW trainings, first as a student, and then as an Advisor (the previous incarnation of the Facilitator role). She served as an Advisor for 10 years, mentoring others through their BFW training and certification journeys. In addition to her work at the helm of the BFW relaunch, she maintains a lively childbirth education and birth story listening practice, Dive into Birth. Erika’s personal warmth and her attention to the real needs of the people with whom she works have endeared her greatly to all those who know her within BFW; she provides a wonderful example of the kind of wise, engaged mentoring to which we all might aspire.
What do you love to do outside of your birth work?
Outside of my BFW world, I love spending time with my family, especially at our cabin in the woods, alongside a lake in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. We are off the grid there, so no news, no cellphones, no computers — just family and nature. I am very active politically, especially in the areas of social justice and immigrant rights. I practice meditation, read a lot, and I savor moments with my friends.
What are your favorites for watching, reading, listening…?
Lately, we’ve been binge watching This is Us, Veep, Fleabag, Big Little Lies (guilty pleasure). We also just watched When the See Us, which is required viewing, in my opinion. In terms of books, I’m really into Jesmyn Ward right now. Her writing is rich, deep, and profound. And as for music…truthfully, I’ve been an Indigo Girls fan forever, and that will never change. I will go to the grave with them being my favorite. And Brandi Carlisle, she’s my other favorite. I also listen to a lot of mantra, which I love. And we are a Grateful Dead family.
What food do you love?
I am always in search of the best gluten-free pizza. And green chili.
What’s your favorite pair of shoes/item of clothing?
I love boots and Birkenstocks.
What’s on your altar for classes/consultations?
My dad once gave me a terra cotta candle holder in the shape of eight women linking arms. It’s one of my favorite things, because 1) My dad saw me, knew me; 2) It represents my love and reverence for the women in my life, and my connection to them; and 3) It’s a beautiful symbol for pregnant people, reminding them of their circles that hold them. I usually bring it out when we do Birth Bundles as a closing ritual on the last night of class.
What personal goals/big projects are you currently working towards?
I’ve been working extensively on the new Mentoring From Within online course for the past year! I’m really excited about it, and proud of it. I think it does it’s job of bridging the “old” Birthing From Within model, processes, and pathways with a new, modern lens and making it accessible to a wider audience. Our goal is to bring Birthing From Within to the masses, and thus, doing our part to change the conversation about birth in our culture. It is my honor to work on manifesting that goal.
What’s special about your CBE/doula/etc services?
I think what’s special about what I offer is the longevity of my work in conjunction with my dedication to growth. I feel that my knowledge and wisdom expands and deepens with every class I teach, every parent I work with, every mentee I advise, and every training I attend, both within BFW and outside of it. I am truly committed to seeing and supporting the opportunity for people to DIVE IN — hence my business name, Dive into Birth.
What drew you to BFW, and what keeps you there?
Probably what drew most of us here: the mindful approach, the depth of learning and self-inquiry, the people, Pam and her brilliant teachings and ideas, the non-outcome-focused way of looking at birth, seeing birth as a rite of passage, the ritual and ceremony, the continual opportunities for growth and transformation. And all of that is why I stay.