It doesn’t take much to understand and especially whole-heartedly feel what kind of person Stevie of Embodied Alchemy is – truly genuine, uplifting and positive. She has this calm and warm presence radiating off of her which is exactly what birthing families need during their time of growth and transformation. It is an absolute joy working along side of her in the birth space or the yoga mat. I had the honor of speaking with her on all things birth doula, yoga and placenta encapsulation so I invite you to read along, ask questions in the comments below and especially reach out to her with all your birthy needs!!!!
1) Can you share with people who is behind Embodied Alchemy and what you offer? What is your mission?
A: I am an ICEA Certified Birth Doula, trained toLabor and Hypno Doula, Certified Birth Assistant (Mercy in Action), Placenta Encapsulation Specialist, and an e-RYT yoga instructor.
I was called to birth work after leading thousands of hours of movement alchemy through the lens of yoga. Observing practitioners explore embodiment, embrace their power and potential, inspired me to support birthing people in much the same way as they embark on one of their most profound life experiences.
I attended my first birth in 2015 and have continuously been holding space for families. My passion is for the out-of-hospital experience as I believe it creates the opportunity for normalizing physiological birth. I worked for three years at a local birth center alongside some of our area’s most sought after midwives.
There is room for compassion and respect in every birth and there are a few things in my life I have known with absolute certainty – All of which have been callings to serve. My hope is to encourage clients to become active participants in their birth, and to support clients so they may cultivate a sense of confidence and power which can be carried forward into their parenting and daily lives.
My offerings include: vinyasa yoga practices — both in the local community and privately, as well as prenatal; birth doula support with a specialization in the Hypnobabies perspective, and placenta encapsulation. I also offer workshops — both community and private — to support writing your birth intention and/or condensed childbirth preparation. Inviting me to co-create your Blessingway and facilitate the day-of experience is another way to invite me into your birthing process.
Embodied Alchemy’s mission can be exemplified through the quote: “I came from Love and I am Love and I will return to Love. Love casts out fear.” I truly believe that this is the essence of who we are, and that by infusing Love into our every thought and action, we can be of greater service to ourselves and the community at large.
2) What made you want to become a birth doula? And what is the best part about supporting birthing people during their pregnancy, birth and postpartum?
A: I know it might sound cliche, but the decision to embark on the path to become a doula was a call from God on my heart. I had no previous birth experience, but I had been witnessing the transformative power of people stepping into their embodiment through the physical practice of yoga. What brings us more into our bodies than birth?
The best part of supporting families through their journey from pregnancy to postpartum is the relationships that form. My approach to this work is grounded in the building of a relationship with the intention that becomes the birthing family’s safe place. When we finally arrive at birth day, I hope each family feels safe, valued, heard, loved, and unhindered.
3) Why do you think having a doula as part of your birth team is so important?
A: I believe the decision to include a doula as a member of a birthing person’s care team stems back to a community supported mentality. When the person giving birth was surrounded by experienced members of their close community. In our more modern culture, we can re-create this through the intentional selection of our care providers and support people. A doula is experienced in the many variations of birth, and can assist families in navigating their options and choices. The doula is the objective witness, the space holder to support a family’s birth intention. My favorite definition of “dula” was learned during a toLabor training, and that is “walking stick”. They are a supportive guide through the birthing experience, and a loving reminder that the power belongs to the birthing person.
4) How has COVID affected your business? Are you still supporting birthing people in person?
A: COVID has affected every aspect of life including how families are giving birth, and the choices they make. For my business, this has meant more conversations using technology such as FaceTime or Zoom. I do my best to maintain that “face-to-face” interaction because interpersonal communication is SO vital, and it’s how we build strong relationships. Because most of my experience lies in the out-of-hospital realm, I have still had the fortunate advantage of supporting families in person. What has been an interesting side effect of birthing during COVID is that more families, experiencing healthy pregnancies, are choosing home birth. Some of which may have never considered it before. This created wonderful opportunities for conversation and education around physiological birth.
5) To you, what are the biggest benefits of having your placenta encapsulated?
A: The benefits to placenta encapsulation are largely experiential. However, my training included extensive literature of the history and science of placentophagy. Interestingly, nearly every mammal consumes their afterbirth, and it was found that survival from predators was not the foremost reason. Research has found important minerals are retained in the placenta as well as the birthing person’s own hormones. Some benefits to consumption may include: less postpartum bleeding, milk supply support, regulation of hormones, increased energy, etc. I have processed hundreds of placentas, and never heard a negative experience. Some clients lovingly refer to their capsules has “happy pills”!
6) What options are available to process your placenta? Are they all equally as beneficial or do you recommend specific processing options depending on the client’s desired results?
A: There are a couple ways a placenta can be processed. My training was inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine which includes steaming the placenta before dehydration. There’s an energetic component to steaming from a TCM perspective, but it also an extra step to kill off any potential bacteria. This method serves all clients well, so it’s my default. It is especially beneficial for those who tend to experience heightened states, such as anxiety, over another method.
Another way we can process is sometimes referred to as the “raw” method, which is somewhat misleading. It removes the step of steaming, and the placenta is dehydrated from raw. This method is indicated more for the client who has a history of depression or low energy. It can often be too stimulating for a client who already leans toward anxiety.
Some clients, instead, choose to have their placenta frozen in cubes to be used in smoothies. I also often create tinctures first long term use.
7) When did you start doing yoga and why did you choose to become a yoga teacher?
A: My mom will tell you the story that she practiced yoga while pregnant with me, and also stood on her head until she was too big to balance! (This isn’t advised, by the way ) So you could say I’ve been a yoga practitioner since my conception, however, I didn’t begin a dedicated personal practice until I was about 22. When I found the style of physical practice that resonated with me, I knew almost immediately that I wanted to pursue teacher training. It was another moment in my life where I felt an overwhelming “call” which I couldn’t ignore. I’m not sure I can pinpoint one logical reason, but I was inspired by my own inner shift, and hoped to share this with others.
I took on my first training in 2010, and dove into teaching full-time.
8) What do you find to be the biggest benefits of yoga during pregnancy and postpartum?
A: Prenatal yoga can be especially beneficial to a birthing person because it is sacred time carved out to connect to their own embodiment, but also to baby, if they choose. Physically, the practitioner’s body is challenged in a way that draw a parallel to labor. We share tools that can be used during their birthing time such as varying positions and massage techniques. In yoga and birth, breath is essential, so we highlight this relationship and how it supports a more comfortable birthing time. Vocalization is used during prenatal yoga to give a tangible experience of how our diaphragms are related. Another important element to a prenatal community practice is exactly that…community…of others who are sharing similar experiences.
9) When do you recommend women start prenatal yoga? And are you currently teaching in person or online?
A: Clients can begin prenatal yoga at any time! Not having a regular practice does not mean one can’t start. Even a few minutes per day or a few contemplative moments can be beneficial. I offer vinyasa and prenatal practices and I invite you to check my website Embodied Alchemy or my social media accounts for most up to date schedules. I’m also available for private in-person sessions.
10) What 3 words would you use to describe to someone your brand’s philosophy?
A: The three words I would use to describe my brand’s philosophy are: heart-centered, compassionate, over-standing
11) Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
A: A fun fact about me is that my great uncle was the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz
12) Is there anything you would like to share with my readers?
A: Something I would like to offer your readers (and myself!) is that we all have the power within us to work with challenge, discomfort, self-inquiry. Those we seek to guide us merely offer a safe space to do so, and provide a mirror for inner reflection. Gentle reminders of who we truly are and from where we came. These people can be our walking sticks, but we are the legs.
13) What is the best way to get in touch with you or book a class?
A: The best way to reach out to me is via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through www.facebook.com/embodiedalchemy1 as well as Embodied Alchemy on Instagram.