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Meet Ellie Lindenmayer of Joyful Birthing in North Shore

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ellie Lindenmayer.

Ellie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started Joyful Birthing soon after the birth of my second child in 2014. For as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to the power of birth. My grandfather was a prominent OBGYN in Philadelphia and for much of my childhood, I wanted to be a doctor, just like him, intimately involved in the miracle of birth.

Daunted by demands of medical school, I chose a career as an educator instead and taught high-school English for almost a decade. When I became pregnant with my first child, I knew I wanted a natural birth; I wanted to experience the full extent of what I believed my body was designed to do, for better or worse (there was almost a morbid curiosity for me around childbirth, like “women have been doing this for eons; how bad can it really be?”).

After my two birthing experiences, both of which were very different– one was a hospital birth the other was a home-birth– I chose to leave my career as an English teacher to stay home with my two very small children. While I loved being a mother, I needed something more, so I decided to pursue my passion for birthing and get trained by the HypnoBirthing Institute to teach HypnoBirthing classes, a wonderful approach to childbirth that emphasizes the mind-body connection, the importance of trust over fear, and the value of relaxation in birthing.

HypnoBirthing enabled me to have two beautiful births which were not defined by pain but rather trust, confidence, and empowerment. I wanted to shout from the rooftop to all of those women out there, including many of my friends and family, who were terrified of childbirth: “You don’t have to be afraid! There is a better way! Your body is perfectly designed for this!!”. Teaching HypnoBirthing classes gave me a place to share this wisdom and inspire other women.

After a few months of teaching the classes, I decided to pursue my certification to become a birth doula with DONA International and began supporting couples at the actual birth. To be so intimately involved in such a sacred, vulnerable time in a couple’s life, to witness a woman’s transformation as she becomes a mother, and to help welcome a new life into the world has been one of the greatest honors of my life.

I have since attended over 50 births and have expanded Joyful Birthing to include breastfeeding support, nutritional counseling, and Beyond Birth postpartum support groups. The more I do this work, the more need I find there is for support and education during the exciting yet also a very demanding time of becoming a parent.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Unfortunately with birth sometimes things go wrong and there is not always a happy ending. I learned this the hard way in July 2015 after having the amazing privilege of delivering my dear friend’s baby in the back of her car (he came very quickly!). He was born with a severe heart condition, that went undetected during pregnancy and after only four short days of life, he passed away.

To go from one of the happiest moments of my life to one of the most tragic was a lot to process and taught me about the fragility of life, loss, and the lesson that while birth is usually a joyous event it can sometimes be tragic. My friend’s strength, perseverance and overall life perspective after the loss of her baby boy was an inspiration to me; she was instrumental in encouraging me to continue to my work and has undoubtedly made me a better doula, fully appreciating the miracle of each and every birth.

This past April I had the great joy of supporting her as she and her husband welcomed a healthy baby girl into the world.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Joyful Birthing – what should we know?
Joyful Birthing is now a one-stop-shop for all things pregnancy, baby, and new parenthood. We offer HypnoBirthing childbirth education, birth doula support, breastfeeding education and support, nutritional counseling, and Beyond Birth postpartum support groups.

With a focus on natural birth and holistic health, we are passionate about empowering women and their partners to make informed decisions about their birthing, to approach birth with a sense of trust and joy, and to ultimately have a safe, joyful birthing experience and a successful transition into the new demands of parenthood.

I am so proud of the expansion of Joyful Birthing beyond childbirth education and birth doula support, as the impetus for growth has been driven by client need and demand. With the extensive support offerings, couples can join Joyful Birthing early in their pregnancy, receiving a wide range of education and support that extends well beyond the first few weeks of their baby’s life.

The Joyful Birthing team– all of whom are mothers– recognizes both the joys and hardships of the transition to becoming a parent; our hope is to make the hardships a little easier so that the joys can be even greater.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Cynthia Overgard, the founder of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut and Life After Birth, was my HypnoBirthing teacher when I was pregnant with my first child; she sparked my passion for natural birth and has been an instrumental source of guidance and inspiration. She gave me the model of her business to follow and is constantly striving to find new ways to support her clients, an attribute that I have adopted with Joyful Birthing.

With her mentorship and example, I was able to have the confidence to step away from my career as an educator to follow my passion for birth. I am immensely grateful to Cynthia, not only for empowering me to have the birthing experiences I desired but also for paving the path for me to found and grow Joyful Birthing into a thriving business.

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