We Are Reading: Embracing The Miracle

We are happy to bring you this powerful article by Barbara Harper. She shares about her journey as a midwife and her experiences with waterbirth. To learn more go to http://www.waterbirth.org

Embracing the Miracle
by Barbara Harper

The most important work anyone can do is to support and nurture a pregnant woman towards a conscious, gentle and empowering birth experience! Midwives and doctors, doulas and childbirth educators hold the future in their hands, as well as in their hearts and minds, each and every day. Everyone connected with birth influences the treads of our society while participating in the most creative, powerful and mystical of all human experiences.
Birth is our “source” experience in the body. When we were born we were conscious participants in our own birth. We learned and made decisions in utero and the birth affects our subsequent mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The perinatal experience, especially the immediate time after birth, is the origin of our emotional (stress) response to every situation we encounter. The decisions we make at birth are the foundation or source for the beliefs we live by each and every day.
My personal journey working with pregnancy and birth started over thirty years ago when I worked as a labor and delivery nurse in hospitals. My epiphany began when I met and was deeply influenced by two people. The first was Dr. Tom Verney, a psychiatrist from Toronto, Canada, who came to teach a workshop in Santa Barbara, after writing “The Secret Life of the Unborn Child.” His full day workshop convinced me that babies remember everything about their birth experience, then repress those implicit memories and the material surfaces when the stress of life experiences triggers a response. The other person was a birth activist, healer, designer and educator, Binnie Dansby. Binnie helped me prepare for the birth of my second child, 25 years ago. We prepared for a gentle waterbirth and in doing so I learned about fear and how it affected women in labor.
Fear of birth is reinforced by the conditioning we receive in all forms of communication from our parents, our teachers, the images on television and movies. Fear always creates conflict. Love and fear are both right brain responses and cannot co-exist. One must leave for the other to be present. Fear often translates into anger, resentment, critical judgment or criticism. Fear stops the flow of life energy, stops the flow of Love… stops action. .. stops birth! When we feel safe and protected we see a different result.
“A thought planted in the mind and nourished by the breath, takes root in the heart of every cell in the body,” Binnie informed me. There is so much research today on the biology of the mind. Before sounding too new age about this information, know that the Judaic and Christian sacred literature is also full of example after example of intention, thought and consciousness – connecting with God and allowing spirit to move through and do the work. And there is so much information on how to break strongholds (negative thoughts and patterns of action) and reform that way of thinking.
Healing begins the very moment a life-enhancing thought (an affirmation) is chosen to replace a life-diminishing thought, no matter how you may be feeling or experiencing energy moving or not moving in the body. We may not always be able to choose how we feel, yet in every moment, we have the power to choose what to think and speak.
This lesson is most clearly illustrated with women in labor. When contractions begin to intensify and the woman begins to shout, “No,” her body tenses and everything slows down. By asking her to say, “Yes”, even through the energy surge, encouraging her to look into the eyes of her partner, doula, midwife…to open her throat and moan and sing and allowing herself to be supported, in a short time, perhaps even with the next contraction, she will experience a visible transformation. The same woman, same body, same energy will open and in a few ‘energy surges’ she will be saying, “Thank You’ to her body and opening and letting go. Personal power is the ability to choose. All of our choices make a difference.
My first waterbirth was a transformative experience on every level – from saying, “yes,” to my body, my baby and the energy; to birthing in water and experiencing an orgasm as he was born. I realized that we can, through intention, always and in all ways, create a safe, supportive and nurturing environment in which we can listen to the voice of God – to the divine. No one unveils their inner most being fully to anyone, especially themselves, until they know that it is safe and that there is someone who completely accepts them exactly as they are. Once you experience this completely and have integrated that experience into your life you can provide a loving atmosphere for others. That is when we become “be-las” instead of “do-las.”
My life turned upside down that night and the weeks following. I gave my first waterbirth class in my living room just a few weeks later. I tried to impress upon the midwives who came that by creating a scared space for birth we can honor the whole, complete, forgiving, powerful, creative consciousness within ourselves and for those around us and especially for those coming into this world. It is never too late to express and except our original design – God’s perfect design for our lives – that which we came into life to fulfill. My plan was to teach midwives, doctors and parents about the miracle of waterbirth and to expect that we could affect an immediate change in how we welcome babies into the world. It may have been a pretty grandiose plan to think that we could change entire healthcare systems in entire countries, but it is now working.
By developing acceptance, compassion, and patience and gentleness in our care for ourselves, we can take conscious evolutionary steps together, open and learn together, acknowledge new possibilities for growth, and change our minds together. We can break generational patterns and change here and now.
Ask yourself, “How would you approach birth if you were convinced that the baby is making decisions? “ I have asked this question of doctors and midwives in over 40 countries around the world. In mainland China, no one actually believed that a baby could possibly know, sense and hear what was being said during a birth. I continue to share startling revelations about prenatal and perinatal consciousness everywhere I am asked to teach waterbirth. My next stop is Vietnam, where I will ask the same questions and teach about the miracle of waterbirth, as well as the amazing truth about God’s original design for our lives.
Water magnifies our thoughts and intensifies the birth experience. Do I think that everyone should birth in water? No, absolutely not. But water is an amazing miraculous tool for support and consciousness.

To learn more go to http://www.waterbirth.org

Barbara Harper is a former OB nurse, a midwife, Doula, childbirth educator and the author of Gentle Birth Choices, book and DVD and Birth Into Being, DVD. She is the founder and director of Waterbirth International, an organization dedicated to making waterbirth an available option for all women. She is also the mother of three grown children and one grandson. She lives and works from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.


We Are Reading: Checklist for Safe Co-Sleeping

Elizabeth Pantley, author of The No-Cry Nap Solution, wrote this wonderful guest article about safe co-sleeping for Dr. Laura Markhams blog. The list is straightforward and a quick read. We highly recommend it!

Check it out at: http://www.ahaparenting.com/ages-stages/newborns/safe-cosleeping

We Are Reading: 6 Common Problems Couples Have With Sex

Michael Karson, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Denver, wrote an interesting article including “a list of sexual pitfalls many couples are susceptible to”.

We especially enjoyed that Dr. Karson addressed the issue of how being parents can impact sex in # 2 in the list.

Read the whole article here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/feeling-our-way/201410/6-common-problems-couples-have-sex

And…stay tuned on the Psychology Today blog because Dr. Karson will be address what couples can do about this problems.

We Are Reading: Mothering with mental illness

This article from the Washington Post is an honest and well written portrayal of one woman’s experience as a mother who suffers from anxiety and depression. Anne shares about her journey as a woman, partner, and mother.

I’d thought that I could keep my illness separate from him, but in retrospect I can see how ridiculous that hope was.

How could I hide these things from him – the constant metallic taste of fear in my mouth, the tearful meltdowns over any little thing that might trip up my routine, the relentless self-loathing that sometimes paralyzes me for days – things that have so profoundly shaped who I am?

I’ve spent most of my life hiding my depression and anxiety, but being a parent makes this so much harder.

The Catalyst Center specializes in the prevention and treatment of postpartum depression as well as treatment for mood disorders. For more information about this specialty area go to http://www.catalystcenterllc.com/services/individual-therapy/pregnancy-postpartum-support/

To read the full article click here:


Anne Thériault is a Toronto-based writer and cat enthusiast who blogs about feminism, mental health, and parenting. You can follow her on twitter at @anne_theriault or her blog at The Belle Jar.

We Are Reading: Happy Babywearing

Eleanor Gray from House of Doulas wrote this great piece about how she came across babywearing and the impact it had on her day to day life as a parent.

When I had my first baby I was the first of my friends with children.  I had to seek out a group of like-minded parents in order to get any perspective on my experiences with birth, breastfeeding, and caring for an infant.  That took a while as we had moved to a new city across the country when I was 5-months pregnant.  In the meantime I read a lot, which is always my go-to when I don’t know what I’m doing.
Luckily, I received The Baby Book, by Dr. Sears as a gift.  In it, they discussed babywearing.  I had never even thought about it before then, but it seemed to make sense.  You can keep your baby close and have both hands free for other things.

Read the full article and find out more about House of Doula and the great work that they do at:


We Are Reading: Childbirth: Questions to ask your Doctor or Midwife

It is important to make an informed decision about where to deliver your baby. This article shares a list of ten great questions to ask potential settings in order to gain all the information you need. Dr. Laura Markham from Aha Parenting recommends first learning about each location and then most importantly choose the location that is best for you.

First, learn as much as you can about all your choices. There are many different ways of caring for a mother and her baby during labor and birth.

Birthing care that is healthier for mothers and babies is called “mother-friendly.” Some birth places or settings are more mother-friendly than others

Read the full list at:



Holding on: My Journey with Antidepressants.

For some people, yoga and other forms of self care are helpful when struggling with depression. For others, herbs, acupuncture, or homeopathy may help. Others benefit the most from antidepressants. At the catalyst center, we work with people to get them into the type of treatment that works best for them. That referral, along with high quality therapy, has proven to be very helpful when treating depression and anxiety.

Check out this account of author Jennifer Pastiloff’s experience treating her depression:


Meet The Therapists: Dr. Erin Jacklin

Erin Jacklin, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Jacklin’s Specialties:

Approach to Healing:

Collaborative Treatment

Dr. Jacklin’s approach focuses on working collaboratively with her clients to enrich their lives by deepening their self-understanding and transforming their interpersonal relationships.  Her clients often describe her as warm, compassionate, and genuine. She deeply believes that a significant part of what is healing about psychotherapy is the real relationship between a client and a therapist. Having someone “in your corner” who deeply understands you and genuinely wants what is best for you can be incredibly powerful. She feels honored that she gets to walk with her clients along their paths to growth and healing.

 Dr. Jacklin’s Training

Dr. Jacklin holds a PsyD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology, and she is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the state of Colorado. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Kaiser Permanente Colorado where she conducted psychotherapy and psychological assessment with individuals, couples, families, and children.

 About Dr. Jacklin

Dr. Jacklin’s family originally moved to Denver from California for her to pursue her doctorate. After falling in love with Colorado they decided to make Denver their permanent home. She feels blessed to be here in Denver and enjoys the ability to be active outdoors and explore what Colorado has to offer year-round.

We Are Reading: How To Talk To Your Children About Gender Identity


How To Talk To Your Children About Gender Identity

Marlo Mack from Mutha magazine wrote a great article about how to talk to children about gender identity. The article feels lighthearted but addresses a very important topic. We enjoyed that the author talked about how many of us likely think we have covered our bases when it comes to talking about gender and gender identity with our kids. The author also shared a personal story about her daughter.

When my son was three years old, he informed me – in no uncertain terms – that she was my daughter.  Something had gone wrong in my “tummy,” she said, which had made her come out as a boy instead of the girl she was supposed to be.  She begged me to put her back in my tummy to fix this terrible mistake.

Check out the recommendations the author makes about talking to kids.

 How to Talk to Your Kids About Gender Identity

Most people have either a penis or a vagina.  Some people have both, but that’s pretty rare.

Most people with penises feel like boys.

Most people with vaginas feel like girls.

Some people feel like boys but they really like “girl stuff.”

Some people feel like girls but they really like “boy stuff.”

Some people with penises feel like girls.  They are girls with penises. (My child falls squarely into this category.)

Some people with vaginas feel like boys.  They are boys with vaginas.

Some people are sort of “in between” and don’t feel like a boy or a girl.

All these people are normal.  All these people need to be loved and treated well, and we should respect what they tell us they are.

The “parts” that are covered up by our underpants are private.  It’s no one’s business to ask about them or talk about them.  (That goes for the parents, too!) If someone tells you she is a girl, she’s a girl. If he tells you he’s a boy, he’s a boy.  If they say they’re both, they’re both!

To read the full article go to:




Meet the Therapists: Dr. Courtney Klein

Courtney Klein, Psy.D., LCP

 Approach to Healing:

Lasting Positive Change

Dr. Klein specializes in working collaboratively with people who are seeking to improve their relationships and their lives. She excels at treating more than just the immediate symptoms, addressing the whole person and treating the underlying causes of distress. By using this comprehensive approach she is able to help her clients achieve lasting change rather than just a quick, temporary fix.

Dr. Klein’s clients frequently tell her that she helped them to feel comfortable expressing themselves openly right from the start. This feeling of comfort and connection is an incredibly important building block for achieving lasting change. In her psychotherapy work, she uses humor and compassion to connect with her clients, and often finds that her sessions are filled with moments of laughter that help to balance the hard work they are doing on the issues at hand. She honors each of her client’s experiences, and takes pride in her work walking with them in their journey towards lasting positive change.

Sometimes you need a private place to be yourself where you can freely discuss your life with someone who can offer an outside perspective and help you to make the changes you are seeking. Dr. Klein excels at providing such a place for her clients: somewhere they can feel completely safe and supported in their process of growth.

Dr. Klein’s Training

Dr. Klein graduated from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology with a doctorate in clinical psychology. She is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and has worked in various mental health settings including private practice, The Children’s Hospital, and community mental health in the seven years living and working here in Denver. She is especially drawn to seeing clients in private practice where she is best able to provide the care and energy needed to help them reach their goals.

About Dr. Klein

Dr. Klein grew up in various towns across the Midwest and fell in love with Denver, Colorado when she moved out here for graduate school. After completing her doctorate she found she could not leave such a great place, and instead decided to make Denver her home. She is still exploring all the outdoor activities Colorado has to offer. She has found that she loves hiking, running, backyard gatherings, and trying restaurants in the city.

 Ready to book your free consultation with Dr. Courtney Klein? Call us at 720-675-7123 or email CatalystCenterLLC@gmail.com