The Birth Deck: Q&A with Sara Lyon
Tell us about you.
I’m just a chick who got really obsessed with supporting women through life’s wild transitions and made a career out of it. I actually became interested in this stuff while studying Sociology at the University of Michigan (GO BLUE!) and researching menopause. I see the arc of a woman’s life as being ruled by her hormones and how society views her hormones.
How and when did you get involved with birth education and pre/postnatal care?
I moved to Australia after college to study massage therapy. I was lucky to have a couple early mentors who were pre/postnatal massage specialists. Quickly, my massage clients started inviting me to their births for pain management help which then turned into teaching birth education to massage clients and then working with them through labor as well. I’ve been working in this field since 2004, my entire career.
What's the Birth Deck?
The Birth Deck is a deck of 50 cards illustrating simple and effective ways to comfort a woman in labor, no matter where she’s birthing or what her journey is.
Brilliant! How did this idea come to light?
It’s my reaction to years of watching people fumble through labor, forgetting what they’ve learned in their prenatal classes, never getting around to reading that birth book on the nightstand and coming to the other side of birth wondering what happened and feeling defeated by the process but grateful for their child. I made the first Birth Deck cards on index cards in 2008 as part of my birth education courses and it took me 10 years to produce the gorgeous product that finally exists in the world!
I mean, it really is beautiful to look at and the tips seem easy enough for a partner or doula to manage. Is this product only for women planning natural or vaginal deliveries?
Absolutely not. The deck contains techniques that can help any woman through labor, from guided relaxation scripts to calming breath work. These types of techniques can be used whether you’re having a vaginal birth or a belly birth. Women who are planning to use pain medication must remember that there are likely to be hours of unmedicated labor before medication as most OB’s won’t administer any before 4-5 centimeters dilation. The Birth Deck offers techniques for every point in labor, no matter what your birth looks like.
Our mamas are typically carrying a lot, physically and emotionally, can these ideas help to relieve stress or improve maternal health postpartum?
The added pressures of a CMV diagnosis can be profoundly overwhelming in an already intense phase of life. Burn-out is a real risk that most of your families will experience intermittently and will constantly need to look out for. The Birth Deck is rich with a variety of evidence-based stress reduction and pain management techniques. These can be used at any time in life and include hypnosis scripts to calm the mind, affirmations to remind you that you CAN do this, you ARE strong enough, and a plethora of supportive suggestions like massage techniques that feel good at any stage.
YES! Where can we purchase?
You can learn more about The Birth Deck and pre-order for a discount through our Kickstarter campaign
and order for immediate shipment starting late September at our website
. We’re shipping our Kickstarter decks in September!
We’re seriously smitten! Tell us more about you.
It’s crucial for all of us to take care of ourselves and demand that those around us respect that need. When I’m feeling depleted, I look at where I’m falling short in my self-care. When did I exercise? When did I get a drink with girlfriends? When did I sit quietly, not packing lunches, and read or watch TV? When did I have sex? It’s so important to keep track of myself because my mind is tracking so many other things: my kids, my companies, my Amazon orders, it’s so much and it’s easy to lose myself.
You said it, self-care is critical. How do you juggle being a mom, birth educator, doula, massage therapist, business owner, entrepreneur?
I rely heavily on the people who work for me and I support them in being self-sufficient. I do not micromanage people because it’s not my nature and I just don’t have the time. It’s been important for me to let my different roles dominate at different times, for instance, my son is in the 1st percentile with Failure to Thrive written all over his medical records. Many of your families can relate to my need to scale back everything else as much as I could for the crucial medical testing phase. The time and emotional overhead were all consuming I eventually sent a text out to everyone I work with and let them know that I was only available for the most crucial of issues. Not only was my heart aching and my adrenaline on overdrive, but my identity was being massively threatened: what if I can’t work again because my son needs my constant attention? How will we make that financially work when I’m no longer a big part of our family income? How will I relate to my community if I’m not Sara the Birth Chick? And I finally just surrendered to it. It’s going to be what it’s going to be, and no amount of anxiety is going to change that course. So, I wore the MOM hat and put the rest to the side for a time. I then picked up the BOSS hat once I’d adjusted to this new normal of extra care taking. Over time my threshold for stress has gotten higher and higher and it’s just not as hard to take more things on. That sounds a little dysfunctional but hey, it works for me.
Besides taking a moment to sit quietly, when you can of course, what do you do to unwind? Self-care is the best care after all.
I am a classic and unabashed extrovert. In my intentions, I meditate and hang with my kids to unwind. In reality, I mindlessly scroll social media. I walk instead of taking the subway. And I spend time with people who know me inside and out. I am so grateful for those who raise me up and I work tirelessly to do the same for them.
What's on your playlist right now?
I have a pretty special relationship with the song Ithaca by Beatenberg at the moment with Like A Match by Louis Cole & Mission Hill Morning by Daniel T coming up close behind.
Any final words of wisdom?
It’s OK to feel contradictory emotions simultaneously. Life is dualistic, it is dark and light at once, it is pain and beauty in the same instant. Having gratitude and anger in the same breath is normal
and honoring that reality is extraordinary
. When we encounter great challenges and allow ourselves to feel everything without judgement or resistance, we can thrive in the aftermath.
Category: Community, "Parent Perspective"