Improving Childbirth Experiences and Maternal Health and Wellness

daring member of the month Jun 01, 2023

Each month, we select one of our Impact Tribe members to be our “Daring Member of the Month.” And today, I'm excited to introduce you to Holistic Birth and Postpartum Doula, Julie Sanders!

Julie brings such a wealth of knowledge and experience to our community, and I am constantly amazed by the depth and meaning she brings to supporting women through their motherhood journeys. 

Today, Julie and I will be discussing:

  • Why body-balance over body-strength allows for a more productive and efficient birth experience.
  • Why the first 40 days after birth sets the stage for the next 40 years.
  • A missing link in our modern mothering culture directly impacting maternal wellness.

Meet Julie Sanders

Supporting the innate journey through motherhood, Julie Sanders is a holistic birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, movement and meditation teacher, sound healing facilitator, rites-of-passage celebrant, and the founder of Awakening Mother.

Julie is a mother of two. Her conception and birth journey included:

  • Reproductive assistance and empowered hospital birth, including a doula, with her first child.
  • A natural conception with the support of holistic practitioners, a midwife and doula for a home, water birth with her second.

Her personal experience into and through motherhood inspired her to provide a mind, body, spirit approach to supporting families interested in a mindful and conscious path to pregnancy, birth, and beyond.

She is a DONA International™ certified labor and birth doula, Ayurvedic Mamas™ postpartum care specialist, and a Hypnobabies™ hypno-doula. A childbirth educator with the International Childbirth Education Association™, certified and active Body Ready Method™ Professional, Yoga Alliance™ registered and certified prenatal yoga teacher and Aquarian Teacher of Yoga and Meditation® certified through the Kundalini Research Institute™.

Q: How did you get started as a holistic doula?

Julie had trouble getting and staying pregnant before her first child, but knew she wanted to be a mother more than anything. Once she knew she was going to deliver, she assembled a holistic health team, and mainly attributes a smooth birthing experience to her doula. She knew with her second child that she didn’t want to go through the medical assistance she had with her first, and began working with holistic practitioners who would help her conceive naturally, and have a home birth experience. 

She felt so strongly about how transformative this experience was for her, and immediately knew that she wanted to give back to other women in this way.

Q: Who is your ideal client?

Julie specializes in working with families who want to bring something special into their experience.

She goes beyond the work of a traditional doula, and helps clients prepare their mind, body, and spirit for bringing a baby into the world. She realizes that the birth is the big event, but the most important thing is being prepared for life that comes after giving birth, and she is passionate about helping families who want to prepare for the birth, as well as the rest of their lives as parents. 

Q: Can you share about the different tools you bring to the table to help support expecting moms through the birth journey?

From yoga to meditation, nutrition, and more, Julie has always brought a wealth of knowledge to the work she does with her clients. Since beginning, she’s dug even deeper into the physiology of birth to help women bring more balance to their body so that there is improved range of motion, and the baby can sit in the most optimal position for birth. On top of everything else we covered above, she now also helps women experience shorter labor and less delays during the labor process. 

Q: Why is body balance more important than body strength?

Strength, in the traditional sense, can make muscles very tight. However when we are having a baby, we need muscles (particularly the pelvic floor) to be loose and limber. 

We live in a culture that doesn’t use our bodies the way we used to. Instead, we mostly sit or strengthen – there is typically little to no focus on balancing the body and muscles. Julie helps her clients take the time of preparing for birth to soften around particularly tight and strong areas, watches how they move in their life to find places that need to be loosened, and find how we can help our babies move more smoothly through our soft tissues during pregnancy and birth. 

Q: What are some of the ways you help people achieve greater body balance?

After assessing her clients, Julie offers a multitude of tools to help improve body balance.

She works with upper body mobility, increases flexibility and lung capacity, and opens the hips and pelvis through yoga. Beyond that, she helps women work on whatever they specifically need to do to balance their bodies.  

Q: Why do the first 40 days after birth set the stage for the next 40 years?

Postpartum is all about healing and rejuvenation. What we give our newborns during this time, is actually also what mothers need – warmth, nourishment, touch.  When we have a baby, whether by cesarean or naturally, we are physically and spiritually "open." During that time, it’s important to replenish and rejuvenate our vitality.

So often, women rush “back” into life and work because their hormones from birth are helping to energize them. But, when you don’t take the time needed to rejuvenate and reinvigorate, that time does catch up to you in a powerful way. 

There are times in the reproductive journey that are sacred – including this time. 

It is so easy to see Julie’s passion as she talks about the reproductive journey, and the way she supports clients throughout their journey is so holistic and deep that it sticks with them throughout the rest of their lives. Julie's work is what helps women bridge the gap between pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and the rest of their lives as parents. 

Q: What is the missing link in our culture that impacts maternal wellness?

The country we live in places such a strong value on productivity and “doing…” constantly. Through several generations now of mothers getting out of the house and also placing such a strong value on productivity, there is something missing. 

Many other cultures provide a tribe or village for new mothers, that allows them to have the support they need during the pregnancy and postpartum period. When we come out on the other side of birth, we need a community to catch us and help us grow through the next phase of our life. 

The missing link she’s found is the integration from everything that’s happened during pregnancy to how we embody that postpartum. Women and parents need community during this time. We need to find the gems of the experience, and be able to share them with others so we can learn more about the mother we are becoming and process the emotions and changes that come along with pregnancy and birth. This helps us realize the transformation we have made as a person, and is something that truly cannot be done right in isolation. 

Q: What does it look like to work with you along the birth journey?

Julie recognizes that everyone who hires her has different goals. Whether they’re looking for a safe, supportive experience, a new experience, a replicated experience of a prior birth, or something else, she is only able to carve a path forward once she knows the parent’s unique goals. 

Julie is passionate about fully educating her clients on all potential options and choices they will have to come across during their birthing experience, so she can help them make informed decisions on their birth map at any point through the journey. 

She also uses a powerful self-hypnosis technique so you can be fully aware and present to what’s going on during your birthing experience, but you feel a bubble of peace all around you as you give birth. 

Continuing to support mothers postpartum, Julie helps her clients continue their practices of yoga and ayurveda, using food as medicine, and nourishing both mom and baby. 

Q: What does Daring mean to you?

Julie sees daring as coming to a point in your life where you feel a change, and know you’re never going back but aren’t sure of the way forward… taking a step forward into the dark unknown and just trusting and going. That is daring for Julie. 

Q: What are you most excited for right now in your business?

At the moment, Julie is most excited about working more towards helping support the mother's journey during postpartum. She is working with hundreds of women across the globe to bring a reexamination of “mother culture” to light, and building an 8-week program that does a deep dive into what’s missing and how we can integrate that into our lives as new moms. 

She is also offering online sessions for anyone who is non-local to Boulder and is curious about what working together can look like. 

Q: How can someone get in touch with you?

If you want to learn more about Julie’s work and or inquire about working with her on your birth journey, visit her website here.

Get access to Julie's generous gifts:

You can use the coupon code Daring Gift at checkout to receive a complimentary 1:1 Body Ready Birth Prep Assessment or a seat in Julie's upcoming 8-week series: MotherCircle: Seeding a New MotherCulture.

1:1 Body Ready Birth Prep Assessment ($125 value) => SCHEDULE

MotherCircle: Seeding a New MotherCulture ($144 value) => RESERVE YOUR SEAT HERE

  • Beginning: Friday, July 7th @ 9am - in person, in Boulder 

If you want to join Julie and other amazing members in the Impact Tribe, we would love to welcome you! When you join the Impact Tribe, you get access to a library of brand-building courses, time-saving resources, an uplifting community of women entrepreneurs and so much more! Learn more and join us today at this link.


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