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Meet Sparrow Harrington, CMT, CEIM of Sparrow’s Nest- Prenatal Massage & Birth Support in Eagle Rock

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sparrow Harrington, CMT, CEIM.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Sparrow. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
At 21, having just finished massage school, I walked into the library and picked up a copy of “Misconceptions” by Naomi Wolf. Reading about America’s highly medicalized maternity practices- overuse of interventions in labor, high rate of C-sections, and lack of postpartum support disturbed me greatly. I wasn’t a mother myself, but my Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology gave me a strong comparison and reference for what normalized birth looked like across different cultures. In many cultures, birth is a rite of passage, looked upon with respect and awe. It’s a time to celebrate femininity, and the ability to carry forward a new generation.

Pregnancy and birth in my mind is a sign of health, and in America, we often treat it as an illness. It was heartbreaking to me to realize that American women had so many obstacles to overcome in birth. While we are a nation of wealth and opportunity in so many ways, our birthing culture still limits women’s choices about how we birth our babies. Hospital protocols favor practices that reduce liability and increase profits over practices that put mother’s and babies’ needs first. Let me be clear, I’m exceptionally grateful that hospitals exist and that medical care is available to mothers and babies who need it. I know things do not always go as planned, but the overuse interventions in healthy pregnancies are dangerous and have long-term physical and emotional repercussions for women. I knew I wanted to be involved in bettering this system, and normalizing what I knew to be a healthy and special time in life. I thought it meant I was going to be a midwife and tried with all my might to pursue it- only to come full circle back to the bodywork that got me started on this journey to begin with.

Becoming a midwife was something that I deeply wanted, but which also scared the crap out of me. I wanted to take my time getting there. I trained in prenatal massage and began working at a birthing center in Venice as a staff massage therapist. I got lots of practice working on pregnant women, and also lots of insight into the day to day lives of the midwives too. I eventually trained as a doula and began attending births. The births were all different, some were with the midwives at the birthing center, some were home births. I attended hospital births too; some were natural births and others were Cesareans.

I’m also a dancer. I have specialized in Brazilian rhythms (Samba and traditional Afro-Brazilian dance) for many years. I have danced with most of the LA-based Brazilian companies at one point or another over the years. I was performing a lot while I was working at the birthing center and attending births. I took a break from the birth world for a bit to travel to Brazil which had been a dream 10 years in the making. I danced, studied Portuguese, and took advantage of a time in life when I didn’t yet have too many responsibilities to keep me from pursuing this passion.

Once I returned, I was more committed than ever to becoming a midwife. I enrolled in National Midwifery Institute and got an apprenticeship as a student midwife at another birthing center near downtown LA. I simultaneously worked as a massage therapist focusing on prenatal and postpartum care. My apprenticeship was the closest I had yet come to really “feeling” like a midwife. I sat in on the prenatal meetings, I input notes and lab work, and eventually began attending more births with the midwives. Two of the midwives whom I worked closely with were mothers of young children. Overtime I began to see the toll that being on-call 24/7 was taking on their families and it forced me to realize that I couldn’t imagine myself balancing this work with having the family which I knew I eventually wanted.

The acknowledgment of no longer wanting to be a midwife was heavy for me, but also liberating. It allowed me to look differently at the work I had been doing all along. I had helped so many women enjoy their pregnancies through massage, prepare for their labors, and help them recover after the delivery. I felt good about my contribution to women’s journey’s to motherhood. I decided to commit myself fully to maternity-focused bodywork and to become the best I could be. I started Sparrow’s Nest- Prenatal Massage & Birth Support in January 2013, and have grown into a wonderful and fulfilling niche. I now have my own studio in Eagle Rock dedicated to the needs of new and expecting mothers. I have also expanded my training to include Mercier Therapy which is a form of deep pelvic visceral manipulation to promote fertility. It’s natural and safe and in a 4-year study, has shown an 83% success rate of pregnancy within 1 year of completing the 6-session program. It’s so fulfilling to help women become pregnant, and to continue supporting them with massage throughout their journey to motherhood.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road has neither been smooth nor linear. However, some of the hardest parts have yielded the clarity I needed to move forward more effectively. Letting go of the midwifery vision was difficult, but opened up a whole new niche that is both sustainable and rewarding.

At some point I realized that my vision for helping new mothers was going to be bigger than just me. I have had to turn myself into a business owner and manager rather than just a practitioner. It has been financially difficult. Even though I’ve had steady and loyal clients, I’ve had to keep re-investing to get to this new platform, and I’ve done it all on my own. It’s been a lot of long weeks, little to no social life, and a level of discipline I didn’t know I possessed. I’ve also had to train myself to think differently about my business and my clients’ needs. I have done Marie Forleo’s School, and it has helped me tremendously to face the realities of being a modern entrepreneur.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Sparrow’s Nest- Prenatal Massage & Birth Support – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Sparrow’s Nest is dedicated to serving new and expecting mothers through tailored therapeutic massage, Mercier Therapy and acupuncture. We specialize in prenatal, postpartum and fertility support and have helped women with pelvic pain, C-section scar rehabilitation, labor-prep and labor-induction massage, and natural conception support with Mercier Therapy.

Here’s a bit about us & why we’re different:

Have you ever done something you never thought you could? Have you ever surprised yourself by your own inner strength?

Pregnancy and birth is a rite of passage, no matter what your birth looks like. Whether it involves surgery, or bedrest, whether you birth at home or in the hospital, whether you love being pregnant or not. You’re a life giver. You’re amazing! We want to help make you feel that way.

Our motto is “Nurturing You as You Nurture New Life” and that’s what we’re dedicated to doing, because it’s what every woman embarking on this journey deserves. Anthropologists have learned that societies with the highest levels of nurturing touch have the lowest levels of violence.

At Sparrow’s Nest, we happen to believe that a better world starts at birth. How we treat new and expecting mothers now will affect how they mother the next generation. Honestly, we want to live in a compassionate, peaceful world, and we believe this work directly influences that goal.

We’re here to tell you, that you can do hard things. Not everyone enjoys being pregnant, and it has nothing to do with how wonderful of a mother you will be once your baby is born. Sometimes you need support.

Often it’s the physical discomforts- the backaches, the restless legs, and the rib cage pain that’s the hardest. If it’s not the pain, it can be the anxiety of facing the unknown- of motherhood, of birth, of a new relationship with your body, or a changing dynamic with your partner.

We’re here to help you navigate these changes and feel peaceful in your body along the way. We’re here to help alleviate the pain that your doctor may be telling you “is just part of the process”. It doesn’t have to be. Other practices who say they offer prenatal massage, are often worried about liability issues, generally stemming from a lack of education or experience. They may give you the sense that they’re afraid to touch you, or that you’re fragile. At Sparrow’s Nest, we’re not afraid to address your pain because we’re confident in our training- in fact it’s the highest-level training in North America. We want you to feel precious, heard, tended to, but never fragile.

We also pride ourselves at helping to create a safe space for you to find a peaceful internal map. A place that can be a respite from the anxieties of this special, but sometimes stressful time in life. A place in which, overtime, you will begin to know well and find your way back to again and again.

We have the training and experience to work safely and effectively to address your needs. Nearly 80% of our clients are pregnant or newly postpartum. This is not simply a service we offer halfway down a long list of amenities; this is our passion. This is what we do, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.

Here’s a bit about Mercier Therapy:

We knew it was time to add another level of care when we had pregnant clients joke that they could name their baby Tesla because that’s the equivalent investment it took for them to become pregnant through IVF….and in the next breath explain that the process was so invasive that they wouldn’t wish it on their enemy. We wanted to be of more support across the whole spectrum of reproduction- from conception, to pregnancy, to birth, and beyond.

Offering fertility support was a natural evolution for us at Sparrow’s Nest as we tapped into our client’s greatest needs. Originally, we focused passionately, but exclusively on prenatal care. That is, we would first meet our clients after they were already pregnant. Over time, we learned that many of our clients struggled to conceive, and many did so at great cost through assisted reproductive technology. We decided we wanted to offer a gentle and effective means of conception support through Mercier Therapy in order to be of greater service to our community of new families.

We offer Mercier Therapy because you are whole, and don’t need to be compartmentalized or cut off from your reproductive organs- reduced to your follicle count, or your partner’s sperm mobility. You need support on this journey, as well as competent, skilled care. We offer this because it’s natural, holistic, and safe.

Mercier Therapy is a deep pelvic visceral manipulation of the uterus and ovaries to support conception. In a 4-year study, it was shown to be 83% effective for promoting conception within one year of treatment. Mercier Therapy may be utilized as a stand-alone therapy, or as a primer for the body to prepare for IUI or IVF treatments.

Our Sparrow’s Nest team consists of three other wonderful women I need to mention: Cindy Lusnia, CMT is our other deeply skilled and experienced Massage Therapist who offers prenatal, postpartum as well therapeutic massage. Dr. Mechelle Greenspan is our fabulous Acupuncturist and Doctor of Oriental Medicine who specializes in women’s reproductive health. Meghan Krasnoff is our incredible Office Manager and a Postpartum Doula.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love the diversity in LA! I love how many people are here pursuing their dreams, working for themselves, or leaving their extended family and comfort zone behind to do something creative and inspired here!

What I like least about LA revolves around how hard it is to be a parent in this city. I don’t think we do a good enough job supporting new parents. I’d love to see lower C-section rates in LA hospitals, more paid maternity-leave for mother’s and father’s, more support for breast-feeding in public, and all-around a less judgmental atmosphere around parenting…I mean, it’s the hardest job there is, and supporting new families makes a more peaceful, better city for all of us!

Pricing:

  • The Singleton- Single massage session (therapeutic, prenatal, postnatal, or induction) $135 for 60 minutes/ $180 for 90 minutes (all pricing includes tip)
  • The Metamorphisis- Our Birth Preparation Package-Includes five weekly 90 minute in-office massages for weeks 36-40 $800 ($100 savings). If you go past 40 weeks, receive 20% discount on induction massage.
  • The Over-Flowing Cup- Our Postpartum Package -Includes two 60 minute house-call massages and two 60 minute in-office massages for support during the first 4 months postpartum $560 ($90 savings)

Contact Info:

  • Address: 4125 Verdugo Rd
    Los Angeles, CA 90065
  • Website: www.sparrowmassage.com
  • Phone: 626-590-9206
  • Email: sparrow@sparrowmassage.com



Image Credit:
Carolina Santoro

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