Calm Birth is founded on an amazing community of caring, kind, motivated, super-heroic teachers. This month, we want to shine our spotlight on Melissa Gutierrez Nelson, a doula and yoga instructor based in Minneapolis. Melissa was recently featured on the toRaise Questions Doula Podcast for her work with Everyday Miracles, a nonprofit that provides holistic prenatal services for women in her community.
We are so proud of and thankful to Melissa for her dedication and compassion. Read on to lean more about her!
How did you find Calm Birth? Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I'm a birth nerd who is always reading and researching about birth, so I can't remember how I first discovered Calm Birth. :) I do know that when I discovered it, I immediately wanted to learn more. As a mother, meditation has been a true saving grace and sustaining practice in my life. As a a prenatal yoga teacher, I have used meditation as part of my yoga classes regularly. My students have told me over and over again, how helpful these practices have been through pregnancy, birth -- and beyond into parenthood. I appreciated how the Calm Birth practices were rooted in MBSR, which is backed by solid research - and the way it integrates foundations of traditional meditation practices. I knew I wanted to learn and share these with the families I work with.
What do you do outside of Calm Birth?
Birth permeates every part of my professional world. I'm a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher specializing in prenatal yoga (mplsyogamama.com) and am also a Certified Doula (Childbirth International). I work as the Doula and Education Coordinator at Everyday Miracles (everyday-miracles.org), a non-profit that serves low-income families through the pregnancy year and beyond. I am a mother of three busy teenagers (17, 15 and 13) and have been married to my husband for twenty one years.
What’s been your most rewarding moment as a teacher so far?
Each and every time a student tells me how their practice made a significant positive difference in their birth and pregnancy, and every single time I witness new life come into the world is rewarding. I'm so fortunate that these moments are not limited to a single event - but the work I am honored to do over and over again.
What do you hope to accomplish as a teacher and birth professional?
As a mother of three, I am fully aware of how the pressures of perfection and the "right" way to do things - especially in pregnancy, birth and parenting - is so pervasive in our culture. I want to create and hold a safe space for every family I encounter - without judgement. When I lead students in a yoga practice, I'm encouraging them to cultivate a connection between body, mind and breath; to find balance between strength and flexibility, effort and acceptance, strive and surrender. Ultimately, my hope is that they take these lessons off their mat, that they will help guide them as they navigate pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Through my work at Everyday Miracles, I strive to help create more equitable pregnancy and birth experiences and outcomes across all socioeconomic lines, cultures and ethnicities. We know that there are huge, deep disparities here, and so much work to be done. But we also know that calmer, more supported pregnancies set the foundation for healthier, happier families. And that healthy and supported mothers and families help build stronger communities. The adage that "peace on earth begins with birth" guides the work I do. I am honored to be part of many circles of passionate, dedicated birth professionals who help ensure peaceful births, with the hope of a more peaceful and equitable world.