Homebirth Info Evenings with Awakenings Birth Services

Juli Tilsner and Deborah Simone, of Awakenings Birth Services, are two of the midwives that I am always excited about attending a birth with.  They deeply honor and safeguard the normalcy of undisturbed birth.  It’s a great evening to check out, even if you just want to know more about normal birth!


Awaken Chiropractic


The new 2012 series of

“Homebirth Info Evenings”

with the Midwives of



Bring your questions & concerns about
Homebirth, Waterbirth, VBAC.

Explore the differences between
obstetric myth & research reality.

2nd Wednesday of Every Month
beginning March 14th
7 – 8:30pm
3515 Grand Ave, Oakland


Leap Into A Juicier, More Joyous You!

The question of how a woman might be best served to integrate, heal and transform her body, soul and sexual self has been bubbling away for years on my inner ‘pot’.  I am more than pleased to announce my new sessions for women’s well-being, Healing the Yoni Healing the Heart, as an answer to this question.

Each woman has the capacity to connect to the sacred feminine wisdom of her body.  Weaving guided meditation, conversation, intention-setting, women’s archetypes, and gentle, listening cranio-sacral touch, sessions facilitate each woman’s ability to listen to her body wisdom, to explore the somatic experience of her sensual and sexual self, and to receive nourishing, nurturing touch that increases pelvic and overall health.    (read more about sessions)

A vital, juicy woman is powerful, happy and engaged with her world.  A whole community of such women is an unstoppable powerhouse of positive change and transformation!  And trying something new is always easier when you have a buddy.  I see how women leave these sessions just full of juiciness and vitality, and I want as many women as possible to experience this! (testimonial below)

So in honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, when you and a girlfriend sign up together for your individual Healing the Yoni, Healing the Heart sessions, you will receive both sessions for the single price of $160.  This offer is available for a limited time, and brings great value with a savings of 40% over scheduling by yourself.

This special also offers you the chance to support women and children in the war-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo, because I will be donating $20 out of every sign-up to these two amazing non-profits:

Heal Africa:  Medical, Educational & Economic Support for Congolese Women
Georges Malaika Foundation:  Empowering African Girls through Education

Schedule now, spread the word and stay tuned to see how much good we can spread by taking care of ourselves and our sisters, near and far!


“My Healing the Yoni Healing the Heart session with Ursula was a unique and sensual gift.  As soon as she described the work she was developing around the divine feminine I felt a warm feeling in my heart and knew that it was something I wanted to experience, and from the moment I stepped into the practice room I felt my senses awaken.  I really appreciated the time Ursula gave to the guided breath work to help me sense into my own body and bring me into mindful presence.  The table work was surprisingly deep and inimate even with all my clothes on.  I left feeling deeply heard and reconnected with my core.  I am looking forward to my next session already.”              ~ Ella

Literary Mama Book Review: Birth Matters & Home/Birth

Originally posted on Literary Mama, February 28, 2012:


Nonfiction, Literary Nonfiction

Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta
by Ina May Gaskin
Seven Stories Press, 2011

Home/Birth: a poemic
Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker
1913 Press, 2010

Reviewed by Ursula Ferreira
When I was eighteen I read Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery, and like many self-professed birth junkies before and after me, I was hooked. Seventeen years later, I’m both a doula and a mother. I still read books about birth, and am always interested in the kind of books that capture women’s attention. Two recently published books speak to many mothers and stir the proverbial pot in different ways. Ina May Gaskin’s Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta is rally-cry to improve the abysmal maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the United States. Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker’s Home/Birth is a fierce affirmation of homebirth.

Ina May Gaskin, a midwife, published the now seminal Spiritual Midwifery in 1977. The book chronicles the establishment and growth of a free-standing birth center in Summertown, Tennessee. Thirty-five years later Gaskin brings her considerable influence to the subject of maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the United States. As a technologically-advanced country, one might assume that US mortality rates – indicators of the quality of pre- and postnatal care – would rank among the world’s best. In fact, we rank behind forty other nations in maternal mortality, and behind thirty others in neonatal. Gaskin’s manifesto successfully educates the reader as to why this is so: lack of necessary experience for both doctors and nurses; hospital policies dictated by insurance policy rather than evidence-based practices; non-existent and inconsistent documentation of maternal mortality from state to state. Her writing is compelling because it is both compassionate and frank: “I have lost count of how many newly graduated nurses have told me in recent months that they had never been in a room with a laboring woman before they were hired as a hospital maternity nurse.”

Yet Gaskin does not demonize doctors or nurses. In fact, she calls for coalition-building, for doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas and ordinary citizens to commit to the safety and health of our mothers and babies. Many maternal and neonatal deaths are preventable, she says, especially in a country so rich in resources, if we bring together our collective wisdom toward a common goal.

While Gaskin calls for coalition-building, Home/Birth, affirms a birthing woman’s individual knowing, and the right to birth where she feels safest and most empowered. Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker are friends, established poets, and mothers with a variety of birthing experience. Home/Birth is a call and response that weaves together threads of conversation: birth stories (their own and others); legalities and politics; bumper stickers and slogans; humor; sadness; anger; and joy. The spiraling and fragmented quality of their polemic reminds me of holding an adult conversation with small children nearby. The poopy diaper, the toddlers squabbling over a toy, the need for snacks now trump whatever is being said. But once the little ones have been tended to, you pick up the thread of conversation once again or allow it to be lost.

Greenberg and Zucker do not shy away from difficult topics. In speaking honestly about homebirth, they acknowledge that it is also necessary to speak of death. At thirty-one weeks Greenberg’s second child died in utero: “I felt devastated, but also at peace with our baby being gone. But letting go of a homebirth, putting myself at the mercy of a hospital birth and having to say goodbye to my baby in that environment, to try to feel connected to myself and my dead child in that environment, felt like the start down a long, bad road I wasn’t sure I could find my way back from.” She chose to wait until labor started at home, with her midwife. Both Greenberg and Zucker speak of a radical commitment to the fullness of their experience in a manner that honors wholeness and the sanctity not only of their bodies, but the bodies of their children as well.

I read these books under many hats: mother of a homebirthed daughter, doula to women in diverse birthing situations, bodyworker, somatic sex educator, and feminist. In each of these realms, I’ve witnessed a powerful shift over the past few decades, a shift toward “health” defined as emotional, reproductive, sexual, environmental and spiritual. Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta and Home/Birth present these shifts in terms of birth practices. Through poetry, prose and polemic, the authors call for a reclamation of personal choice and collective voice in the most intimate human realm: conceiving, carrying and birthing a child.

Books I love & recommend

Books!  They are such gifts, such a wonderful delivery of information to any ordinary person who can read.  Here are some of my favorities in the world of birth, healing, sexuality, relationship, well-being and creativity.  Feel free to email me with your favorites @ anahata.bhakti [@] gmail.com.  Thanks!  Ursula

Our Bodies, Our Selves, Boston Women’s Health Book Collective

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering, Sarah J. Buckley

Healing Love Through the Tao: Cultivating Female Sexual Energy and The Multi-Orgasmic Woman/Couple/Man, Mantak Chia (Multi-Orgasmic books with Rachel and Douglas Abrams)

Orgasmic Birth:  Your Guide to  a Safe, Satisfying and Pleasurable Birth Experience,   Elizabeth Davis & Debra Pascali-Bonaro, June 2010 (contains excerpts from my essay,   Into the Valley:  Tantric Orgasm and Childbirth)

Women’s Sexual Passages and The Women’s Wheel of Life, Elizabeth Davis (2nd book with Carol Leonard)

Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and Birth Matters: a midwife’s manifesta, Ina May Gaskin

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, Henci Goer and Rhonda Wheeler

Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful (Kundalini yoga & pregnancy), Gurmukh

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries Spiritual Poetry by Women, ed. Jane Hirshfield

The Nursing Mother’s Companion, Revised Edition,  Kathleen Huggins

Free Play, Stephen Nachmanovitch

The Continuum Concept,  Jean Liedloff

Sleeping with Your Baby:  A Parent’s Guide to Co-Sleeping, James McKenna

The Heart of Listening, Hugh Milne

Care of the Soul and Soul Mates, Thomas Moore

Cunt: A Declaration of Independence, Inga Muscio

Magical Child, Joseph Chilton Pierce

The Natural Pregnancy Book and Naturally Healthy Babies and Children, Aviva Jill Romm

The Birth Partner:  A Complete Guide for Dads, Doulas and All Other Birth Companions,   Penny Simkin

Tantric Orgasm for Women, Diana Richardson

Tao: The Watercourse Way, Alan Watts

Wise Woman Herbal Series:  The Childbearing Year;  Healing Wise; Breast Cancer? Breast Health! The Wise Woman Way;  New Menopausal Years:  The Wise Woman Way,  Susun Weed

And don’t forget to support your local bookstores!