Zahra Kassam, an early childhood education entrepreneur, delivered her two children with unmedicated hospital births using midwives and the hypnobirthing method. Having experienced both postpartum bliss and postpartum depression, she contrasts her two births, her miscarriage, and discusses the importance of mothers caring for themselves.
Zahra Kassam Bio
Zahra Kassam is Founder and CEO of Monti Kids: the only subscription service for children ages 0-3 that provides an authentic Montessori education, proven in schools for over 100 years. Zahra holds a BA in Psychology from Harvard and a Master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is an internationally certified Montessori teacher at the infant, toddler, and preschool levels and a mother to two young boys.
Through Monti Kids, Zahra is filling the education void from birth to preschool, the most critical years of development when 85% of the brain is formed. Zahra has been invited to the White House Early Education Summit, named a Global Education Influencer, named a ‘World Changing Woman’ by Conscious Company Media, and was nominated for the Dalai Lama Unsung Heroes of Compassion Awards for her work with children. Zahra has appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank and recently gave a TEDx talk on education for babies. Follow Zahra on Instagram @zahraikassam.
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Megan became pregnant with her first child unexpectedly after 4 years with an IUD. Fortunately, the pregnancy was healthy and viable and continued uneventfully until her son decided to enter the world earlier than she anticipated (37 weeks and 3 days). After being in labor almost a full day without realizing it, Megan made it to the hospital at 10 cm and delivered a healthy baby via waterbirth almost 3 hours later.
Megan Freeland Bio
Megan is a public health pharmacist by trade and a healthcare copywriter by profession. She has a husband, son, and is awaiting the arrival of her daughter.
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Hypnobirthing and Partner Support for Hospital Birth
A doctor told Chelsea there were no trophies for women who have an unmedicated birth; but, Chelsea felt passionate about having a serene, med-free experience in the hospital. When she had to be induced at 38 weeks with gestational hypertension, her preparation and self advocacy paid off for a successful hypnobirth experience.
Chelsea Lane Bio
Chelsea lives in Kansas City with her partner of 7 years, Stephen, their goldendoodle, and their sweet baby boy. Chelsea is a family advocate for a local school district, and she also supports children with developmental delays in their homes. Over the last several years, Chelsea has become passionate about mindfulness and self-regulation. She hopes to inspire and encourage other women to embrace the power of their own minds and bodies and share their unique, positive stories about the beauty of giving birth. You can connect with her at Chelsealane23@gmail.com.
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Morgan’s first baby was born during her 3rd year of medical school. She and her husband (then-fiance) planned a home birth with local midwives and took Hypnobirthing classes at the birth education center in San Diego. Contractions started the evening of her son’s due date and he was born two days later, at home, after an exhausting 36-hr back labor with a 9lb 3 oz posterior baby. Morgan’s postpartum was marked by multiple layers of breastfeeding complications that lead to recurrent mastitis and the development of postpartum anxiety that stuck around for the first 10 months of her son’s life. This was a Dark Night of the Soul learning experience for her, and it has shaped her life and practice with women in her practice.
Fast Intense Birth and Postpartum Bliss
Morgan’s second baby was born three years and two days later – they had the same due date! The birth of her daughter was a wildly different experience. She had more than 24 hours of light early labor that then quickly turned into a 1.5hr active labor that totally shocked her in its intensity and speed. She felt like dancing right after birth, even though her daughter was exactly the same weight as her son, and had a nuchal hand like him! Her postpartum was characterized by pure baby bliss and she was equipped with the skills and knowledge to navigate the breastfeeding struggles that inevitably came from having another tongue tied baby.
Morgan MacDermott Bio
Dr. Morgan MacDermott is a rising leader in women’s reproductive health dedicated to transforming the struggles of the modern mother. As a licensed Naturopathic Doctor and mother of two young children, she blends medical expertise and gathered communal wisdom to help women in-person and online to navigate wellness throughout this revered metamorphosis. Although she felt very prepared for motherhood the first go-around, she felt gut punched by the universe with her postpartum issues of recurrent mastitis and postpartum anxiety. These experiences helped her immensely – not only in how she would go on to create an entirely different postpartum for her second child, but also with the women she works with as patients in her private practice. She currently lives in Encinitas, California with her husband and their 3 year old son and 4 month old daughter, as well as a good friend who has shown them the power of living communally. Morgan believes that the best way to advance the health of future generations is by revolutionizing the health and wellbeing of our current mothers, and she is a powerful voice for natural medicine in the fields of preconception, fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum. Connect with Morgan on IG: morganmacdermott or at milkmedicine.com
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Three Empowering & Peaceful Births with Melissa Emler
Melissa’s children were born in Iowa under the care of midwives but in a hospital setting. In Iowa all midwives who are legally practicing are Certified Nurse Midwives and many of them are providing care within a hospital setting. The hospital that Melissa gave birth at was set up more like a birth center than the typical hospital image that you may have in your head. It had a large tub as well as other comfort measures that aided her with finding more natural methods of coping with labor than typical hospital pain medications. Melissa also practiced Hypnobirthing which really made a big difference with her births and kept her from even considering asking for an epidural.
Melissa Emler Bio
is a mom to three kids, Cooper, Addilyn and Conner and lives in Wisconsin where she works in education. She connects schools with the best and most useful tools available to them in the 21st century! Melissa also has a podcast called On the Vender Floor where she connects educators and entrepreneurs in conversations that positively impact learning.
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Megacystis Diagnosis & Homebirth with Hypnobirthing
After suffering from an autoimmune condition most of her life, Caroline approached pregnancy with trepidation, initially unsure she would be able to successfully conceive. After becoming pregnant in Fall 2016, her initial elation gave way to concern when a 12 week scan revealed her son was suffering from a condition called megacystis. When not resolved in utero, megacystis proves fatal. Careful monitoring continued until 24 weeks when she was finally given the “all clear” to enjoy a healthy pregnancy. Meeting with a doula around the same time gave Caroline and her husband, Brett, the confidence to pursue a homebirth; and, despite insurance difficulties, they secured the services of an incredible homebirth midwife.
At 38 weeks, Caroline’s waters broke and after an intense but pain free night (thanks hypnobirthing!) her son was born after a posterior labor in the bedroom of their home. When her placenta tore after delivery, Caroline was transferred to the local hospital for a D&C where her impeccable care continued.
Caroline Snider Bio
Caroline moved to Los Angeles from her native England back in early 2008 to further her career in advertising. There she met her husband Brett who directs TV commercials and together they’ve pursued many adventures, most notably the 18 months they spent living in a Winnebago traveling the widths and breadths of the United States. Caroline now lives in Upstate NY with Brett, their son Casper, dog Knuckles and Cat Artemis Pizza where she is a writer, professional photographer, mother and homemaker. Connect with her on Instagram.
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