Today we’d like to introduce you to Elizabeth Bachner.
Elizabeth, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Becoming a midwife was the farthest thing from my mind while growing up in Connecticut. In fact, it was the farthest thing from my mind while at Tufts University, when I had the corporate job in San Francisco, when I was living in Europe, while I was traveling through Africa… honestly, it was nowhere in my consciousness. I thought having a baby at home was nuts and that the place to have a baby was in a hospital. That was until I received “The Calling”.
In May 2003 I was establishing my newly formed Acupuncture practice when I started to get dream after dream that I was catching babies as they emerged from their mom. Each time, as the baby landed in my hands, I would look up and say, “I don’t know what to do”. I was told by a seasoned doula that I had received ‘The Calling’ and it was my destiny to become a midwife and one day own a birthing center.
My only knowledge about childbirth was what I had been taught by society and the media: childbirth is hard, women are not strong and babies are safest when born in a hospital. I didn’t even know that out of hospital birthing was an option.
As I settled into my training I learned there was a difference between “low-risk” and “high-risk” childbirth. As I attended births I witnessed the power of a woman’s body and the strength she has within. As I furthered my education I became influenced by the pre and perinatal psychology movement which emphasize connection and adult communication skills as the modern way to parent. I slowing became educated and worked diligently to graduating with a California Medical Board license (the same ones that OBs have).
A few years after establishing a thriving homebirth practice, GraceFull’s Birthing Center became a reality. As Los Angeles’ First Accredited Birthing Center we have protocols that we adhere to that help keep families safe outside of the hospital because we differentiate between ‘low risk’ and ‘high risk’ childbirth. We are unique in the birthing world because not only do we want you to have a gentle birth; but we also want you to learn how to be empowered parents.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest struggle I faced personally is the biggest challenge I see professionally: to undo what we have been taught by society – that hospital births are safer and women’s bodies don’t work. While these statements might feel true for some people, if you look at the worldwide data and studies available about childbirth and start to educate yourself about not only anatomy but also physiology, you will see they are actually untrue.
Birth needs to be differentiated into “low-risk” and “high-risk” childbirth. When a mother has been diagnosed as “high risk”, then her choices are limited and birthing at a hospital may be the best option as they have surgical rooms across the hall and neo-natal intensive care units in the building. But, if a mother is considered low risk, then she has many more choices available to her, including a home birth, water birth or hospital birth.
Next, we need proper education of both doctors and civilians about how the female body is made to birth a baby anatomically, how the hormones in the body need to be supported to do their job and that women need support to be able to navigate labor that may be considered painful but still doable.
There are two big hurdles that we continue to struggle with. The first is the ignorance around low-risk childbirth that our current medical system perpetuates. Most doctors and hospitals do not differentiate between low risk and high risk which means any mother that comes into their care is considered high risk, and hence the birth gets managed, which can create problems. The second is as an assumption that we are “anti-hospital”. We at GraceFull practice safely because we have great relationships with our hospitals and practice safe transports should the birth go from low risk to high risk.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the GraceFull Birthing story. Tell us more about the business.
Our company is unique in its field as we are a community place that does not judge family choices about where or how they want to birth. GraceFull is a bridge uniting all the choices under one umbrella of being the most connected and present parents you can be.
As midwives, we support families to birth both at home and our center. We pride ourselves in going slow, never rushing the process of childbirth and allowing for time to integrate this momentous event after the baby is born. We are medically board licensed, so we do not need to work with the supervision of an OB and choose to work collaboratively with community doctors and perinatologist. Our birth rooms were designed to be environmentally respectful, including the use of hospital-grade non-toxic cleaner and chemical free drinking water for your babies to be born into. Our rooms were designed from the ground up to support the mother-child relationship transitioning from inside the world to outside and into the womb. There are no windows in the room and that is on purpose, as we want to create a birthing “cave” for you to go into to support the physiology of the hormones and your body’s innate design to birth a baby. We not only want to help you birth your baby, but support you in birthing yourselves as parents.
As a community center, we offer Classes (Childbirth Education, Breastfeeding, and Infant Care), Groups (Fathering Support, Mommy and Me) and Services (Chiropractic Care, Acupuncture, Massage) to anyone not matter where they choose to birth: home, hospital or our center.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is something I have always had. And when I receive “The Calling” to become a midwife I started on a spiritual journey and began to understand that my bath has always been guided by something bigger than me.
I believe that everything that comes forward and shows up is another lesson for me to use as a way to heal the places within myself that are hurt and disconnect from myself and my higher power. GraceFull is not just a “job”, but my spiritual calling, so every day is a grace-filled day that contains both the highs and the lows that are inherent in life.
- Address: 2815 West Sunset Blvd. #105
Los Angeles, CA 90026
- Website: www.gracefull.com
- Phone: (323) 486-7134
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: GraceFullBirth
- Facebook: GraceFull
- Twitter: GraceFull Birth
- Yelp: GraceFull Birthing
The Sepia print: Ana Verwall All other: Orit Harpaz