Welcome to The Chosen Nest- Birth & Family Support PODCAST!
I am so thrilled to be sharing with you what brought me to launch this, as a way to support those navigating their way through pregnancy, birth, postpartum, breastfeeding and parenting. Growing The Chosen Nest has been such a fulfilling adventure for me and offering this as an addition came all too naturally.
I want to start with thanking you for landing here on this perch with me and for listening along. My goal is for this to be a thread that connects my community, but also one that encourages others, who are not local to Washington, to explore theirs as well. There are so many supportive resources out there. (I mean…I did say community probably 5 times in the first 2 minutes of this first episode. HA!) Finding those very resources can be the tricky part! My hope is that this space will bring ease to that.
As mentioned in this episode, I did my Childbirth Educator training with Kelli Barr-Lyles of Circle of Life Holistic Care. She’s pretty darn amazing! I also mentioned Three Trees Yoga, which is where I am doing my 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training. And let me tell you…these three trees are pillars of strength. I highly recommend their studio AND their program.
Also, I want to share with you my email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to share a story about your pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding journey? Do you offer a service that supports the wellness of families in this special chapter? Please reach out!
And as promised…here is the link to be the first to know when my heartfelt project I revealed in this episode will launch. Before the end of the year for sure, but more details will follow as we inch closer in completion with each empowering detail. And please know that I am not about the spammy spam spam. Email addresses are kept private, never sold and never mistreated. I can promise you that! Haven’t listened to the episode yet to know what I’m talking about? Click the link above or head on over to your favorite podcast platform to find out. It’s worth the listen and I am so ready to get this out there! Online Childbirth Education is releasing SOON!
Below is a version of the episode with photos and links as well, for those who prefer a different format or a more visual way to take in the sharing of information. Also, take a peek at this downloadable PDF if that suits you best. Enjoy!
This is the first official episode of The Chosen Nest Podcast! This is meant to be a space to support a community that I live in and also to cast a wide net to other communities to encourage families to come together and to seek out resources in their community and with those they know and love to just provide support.
No matter where you are in your journey… Already a parent, a parent to older children, struggling to become a parent, a parent who’s lost a child, a friend who just knows that parenting is not something that they want to do with their lives. There is space here for all. ALL. And I truly mean that.
I want to share today what this means to me and what brought me here to do this, to even entertain the thought of this. I’ll start with my background. I am on the day that this airs actually, I will be 36 years old. That’s sort of why I chose September 1st. That’s my birthday and I feel like it’s the beautiful opportunity to birth something that’s important, which is this podcast for me and the services that I provide in our community.
While part of that has already been launched for a bit, this podcast part is new. So…about me, I’m a Registered Nurse. I went to school here in Seattle and then in Bremerton. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to serve families and care and nurture. That’s just sort of my calling and not even a self said calling. It’s also what others have said to me for a long time too. And so, I just felt that strongly and I set out to start doing that. So really, I climbed that ladder super slowly.
I started out as a Nurse’s Assistant and then a Medical Assistant and worked as a Medical Assistant to pay my way through nursing school. And that gave me a beautiful perspective on different roles in the healthcare community and really, as a nurse once I reached that goal, made me appreciate all of those I worked with that were in different titles. We all are there, I believe, for the same purpose. To help others in healing and health.
That’s where I started, Registered Nursing. I was so blessed, straight out of the gates to be picked up a nurse residency program. I went to Olympic college in Bremerton for my nursing school. Then from there, moved to Nashville, Tennessee where I went through a nurse residency program at Vanderbilt, at the children’s hospital. That was, still, I look back and feel like it’s a dream. I learned so much there and it makes me choke up a bit even just, to think back to that time now.
I went through the pediatric nurse residency and I was placed from there into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or NICU for short. And I not only worked with some of the most amazing nurses and physicians and aids and janitorial staff and….everyone, everyone I came into contact with there was just incredible. I solidified lifelong friendships, which, it’s just beautiful. A beautiful thing to look back on now.
And then to be part of that moment for families when things feel so chaotic and hard and stressful and devastating in some aspects. To just bring the beauty to that and to celebrate those small and big moments, all of it in between with them. That was a gift. To be able to be the person to place this little two pound baby in the arms of a mama for the first time, oh, still chokes me up. To be able to put a baby to breast for the first time for a mom or help her bottle feed her child and including dads and partners and all of that. That was just amazing. Or watching these sweet little family units walk out the door.
That is what initially sparked my interest to know there’s more beyond the bedside. I’ve written that a few times. I’ve said it a few times. To know, that sort of planted the seed, way back then of …there’s more beyond the bedside, right? These families go home and then what? Then what?
And it really started the wheels turning for me when I became pregnant with our first born. Rowen. Love her to pieces, that little wild flower of mine, um, of ours I should say. She gave me everything that I had dreamed of for a long time and never even knew I wanted in some ways. My pregnancy with her was incredibly healing for me. Just to know, here I am, I get to be a mama. I wanted this my entire life!
And it showed me from a mother’s perspective, things that families ask about. Things that families think about. Things that families want in different ways. So, I knew the kind of birth that I wanted and hoped for with her and built some goals around that and had a very supportive husband helping me reach all of that and an incredible birth team. And we’ll go into that. I’ll happily share both of my birth stories.
But that again showed me…there’s more beyond the bedside. And knowing as a mom, the things that I didn’t anticipate struggling with, the things that I never saw coming, or said all along: I’ll never go through that. I know too much about that, to experience that.
That sort of brings me to our second born, Ethan. Uh, he is a live wire! Oh. And so fun and full of life at this age. But, my birth experience with him was completely different than my birth experience with Rowen. And it made me want even MORE to empower families in their decision making, both as a bedside nurse and then outside of a hospital setting.
I returned to the workforce shortly after his first birthday and looking back on that, I wonder to myself, why? Why did I do that? Why didn’t I just take this time with my babies and enjoy that a little bit more? But I also was not in a good place if I’m going to be honest about it.
I wrote, my one and only blog post on my website, about this public confession of… I experienced postpartum depression. Wow, to bring all of this full circle from where sit now. I denied it for the longest time and those closest to me reached out and said, “Hey, what’s going on? Something’s not right. ” And I just kept putting on this brave face of, “No, I’m fine. I’m…I’M FINE!. Stop telling me that something’s wrong with me. I am okay.
And that was sort of where my mind had to shift. There was nothing wrong with me, right? We don’t need to be fixed. And that’s really the opposite of what society tells us: “This is a problem. This is something that’s not right.” But you know what? We’re all entitled to our struggles. And that can look and feel so different for each and every person.
A little bit of sort of what got me there, my children. I had two under two.
Sweet Rowen was not even 22 months old when Ethan came into our world. And my husband is in the Army. We are a military family. We moved from Tennessee, being pregnant with Rowen. Unexpectedly moved down to Alabama right before she was born.
And I struggled a bit after she was born, but you know, found my way.
And then, I got pregnant shortly after her first birthday. That was just beautiful. And I remember being in this beautiful place with it…up until about the time when Ethan turned two months old.
And again, I’m going to cry. It’s …God, it’s hard not to when you share these really detailed, intimate moments of your struggles. But I promised myself in all of this to be real and to share the joys and the struggles. So here we are. Let’s dive into that.
When Ethan was just two weeks old, my husband got an assessment for special operations unit.
Then that didn’t work out, and I’m so thankful now because it sort of changed the path that our family went on. But, from that moment, I felt all alone. Right? Here I am at home with two babies, no family, because you know, our family is based in Washington state and we are in Alabama. And I had made some friends but, really this…this sort of loneliness, this sleep deprivation that is so, so real.
And then this… Just this feeling of being alone. And goodness, I don’t want this to seem hurtful to my husband when he listens to this because I know he will. He’s so supportive. He was doing ALL that he needed to do to provide our family. But what I needed more than money, more than things. I needed support. Right?
I needed to not be the one waking up every single night, all night long with two babies and then trudging through the days as if I had slept all night and been okay. Looking back, I didn’t want to ask for help. I didn’t want to tell him,, “Hey! You NEED to help me. I need more help!” Because my concern was him too.
He’s a pilot and he was instructing brand new pilots, so that takes all of your wits, right? You have to have ALL of your senses there soundly to do that. I didn’t want to compromise that, so I just suffered in silence and that, looking back, spun me out of control. So, I put on a brave face every day and I marched forward and I was unraveling on the inside. And then eventually unraveled on the outside.
That was a big lesson.
To back up a little bit, we were just blessed to get these amazing orders to Hawaii from Alabama. How incredible is that? What a cool experience that was.
But we moved to Hawaii when Ethan was six months old? We landed wheels down in Hawaii, on October 31st. So that was really cool. Sort of a fun way to open this next chapter in our life.
We moved into our home a few days before Thanksgiving and then had friends visit for Christmas and then a few weeks after that, Tony was gone. He deployed. He…he left me and left our kids.
I know it’s not what he wanted to do. It’s not what any of these men and women want to do who are serving our country. To leave their families. And I think he had a sense that I was struggling, but I definitely was NOT honest with him or anyone around me with what I was going through. So I fell apart.
I made some incredible friends. Goodness. Courtney, if you’re listening to this, you were my first friend in Hawaii and we met so randomly. But this friend of mine just always reached out, always encouraged me to get out of the house and do all that. And, and that helped so much.
Then through her I met sweet Savannah and oh goodness… She saved me. SAVED me! Came and watched my babies so that I could just sleep or so that I could just get out, go sit in the sand and feel the sun on my face and just have a minute for ME. But I think even the two of them didn’t recognize what I was going through because I was just trying to be SO good at hiding it.
I’m really lucky that my world’s pre-Mom, to now being a mom of two, were met with some people that I did know in Hawaii. Mandy, you were there. I just remember you having this honest conversation with me that I’m sure on your end it was hard to have. “Hey, Friendo. What’s going on? My spidey senses, that’s what you say a lot. Um, are telling me something’s up.”
Then my sweet friend Sylvia, she also was just like “Hey, what’s up? Something doesn’t seem quite on.” And I’m lucky that I had these people who knew me well pre mother hood. And that they just listened. But I wish I would have opened up.
It’s not that the space didn’t feel safe. It’s just more that I couldn’t even admit to what I was going through.
It wasn’t until a year ago, truly. At that point, my children were then four and a half and two and a half-ish. Last summer, we came home to Washington for two months, the kids and I. My husband was off doing some Army training, big surprise, it kinda owned him, especially a lot of the time that we were in Hawaii. I knew coming home that I wanted to take this training to be a childbirth educator.
At the time in Hawaii, I was working as a Postpartum and Nursery Nurse. This beautiful hospital, Castle, I worked per diem there just taking shifts when they worked for my family and when the unit needed it. And that was just…Oh my goodness.
I didn’t know that I would love postpartum. I just thought, nursery…that’s what I was hired to there. They have a smaller nursery because they’re a smaller hospital but such a beautiful space. And, when I interviewed for that job, I was asked, “Will you cross train to Postpartum? ” And I was like, “Yeah, sure!” And on the inside I was cringing. Adults? I don’t do adults. I take care of the babies. What? This doesn’t seem like it’s in my wheelhouse. I was so trained to baby and yes, incorporating families in that care, but… I do babies.
What a gift that was truly. That …THAT ignited this fire that I did not know was starting to burn. And there it was. And through that, for months, I was the one educating these families on “This is what postpartum depression looks like. These are the things to watch for.” Yet I was living it and I still could not admit it to myself.
It takes the right time, the right place, the right thing. The stars align. I don’t know what it is. I feel like I was put where I was finally in a place to hear the words that I needed to hear. To own what my experience was, what it had been and what it was going to look like.
I signed up for this Childbirth Educator training and I was so excited to go to it, here in Kitsap County. Kelly Barr- Lyles, I hope I’m saying your last name right Kelly, please forgive me. She trains Childbirth Educators and she also provides childbirth education. She is a counselor as well. Circle of Life Holistic Care is her business and she’s incredible. She specializes in postpartum mood disorders. My word, she offers so much. So I’ll put her a link to her website and I hope to follow this up with an interview with her.
But it was in that training that it hit me SO HARD. This is what I was dealing with. Wow. I don’t know if it was just…was it her words? Was it those around me? Was it just…I don’t know. I can’t put a definitive moment on when that became so clear to me. But I can’t tell you. I sat in her class, knowing all these things as a nurse, as a mom…and I cried.
I was back there just sobbing, sobbing. All of these things just made sense. Made sense! And I thought saying that even now I’d cry, but, it doesn’t make me sad. Looking back on that, it makes me feel proud of what I was finally able to own. It made me feel motivated to make these changes in my life. It made me feel inspired to help other families.
So we came back to Hawaii after that trip and I knew, my husband knew. We’re transitioning out of the military soon. Let’s see where this takes me! So I set out to sort of build behind the scenes, this little small business of mine so that when we did transplant ourselves, I could sort of trickle it out and then hopefully by the time our transition happened, I’d be working for myself. That was the ultimate goal at that point.
It’s changed and evolved and I’m so thankful, from that moment to where I sit now. And I am. That makes me so excited to see where it’s going to go moving forward.
I say all of this in sort of a rambling Jaybird way. My husband, back when we were dating 10 years ago almost, he started calling me Jaybird because I can trail off on things when I get really passionate or excited. So thank you for hanging in with me, despite the Jaybird.
I give you that back story to say…I struggled too. And so many friends, once I finally was able to say this publicly, friends, family members said, “I had no idea.” And so think about that. Think about how many people around you are struggling with things that you have no idea about. That’s where I’m passionate to make a change in that.
We focus a lot on the birthday, right? The day of bringing this human from the womb to the earth side. And that is sacred and so special. I don’t say any of this to debate that in any way. Those are days in my own life that I will never forget. Those details are just etched in my mind so strongly.
But then you have this little peanut that you go home with. They’re on the grid, they have a social security number. It is entirely your responsibility to keep them alive. And while we can be so great at that, what happens to us as the parent? As the partner? What happens to us in that process? While there are so many beautiful, beautiful moments, looking back on that, I just celebrate. There are so many times when we’re just sort of left to figure this out on her own.
That’s one place where I feel like we fail our families here in the U.S. is…we just send these families home, we send them home and then just say, “see you in six weeks.” That’s starting to change a little bit. Things are changing a little and becoming a little bit more researched, becoming a little bit more. People are taking their health into their own hands and that is awesome.
I currently don’t work as a nurse at a hospital or a birth center or a bedside. I take my nursing knowledge and borrow from that and celebrate that and carry that with me. I provide Childbirth Education. During my time as a Postpartum Nurse, I became super passionate about breastfeeding. And, obviously, after my experience with my own children. I am aiming to take the IBCLC exam eventually. I am not giving myself a firm date on that. I’ve done the training, I’ve collected hours, I’m just letting it organically unfold. I’m passionate about helping families feed their babies no matter what that looks like for them.
And then I am super, super on fire to change what postpartum support looks like because I’ve been at the bedside, I’ve been in the home and families need more. Families need more support in that area. I’m hoping to cast light onto that. I’m hoping to really open that up for discussion and for all of these awesome opportunities to change that in our society, in our community. To still bring importance to the things that are important, but to know that that looks different for every family. That looks different for every birth.
Our needs…sometimes we don’t know what they are until we’re in the thick of it. Until we’re in the trenches and it feels like it’s coming down on us. Or it feels like it’s great and there are times where it’ll be a beautiful mix of both.
I don’t say all of this to scare anyone who was pregnant, feeling like they’re going to get into this deep, dark, creepy place. That was my reality. And I want you to know that if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. You may feel alone. But that’s sort of why I opened this space up is to share resources, to share stories so that people have this sense of connection. I want to be a facilitator for change in that.
Also, I’m going through yoga teacher training, which has been amazing. I truly couldn’t ask for a better timing on that, a better experience in that. Three Trees Yoga is where I’ve been going. I’m going to have those ladies on here too. That’s my goal. It’s in my little list, so I’m coming for ya. And so I sort of impart some knowledge based on yoga practice because that’s what saved me.
In my journey, that’s what stopped me from spinning out of control. Two things were the biggest helpers: sleep, and I mean solid sleep, rest and replenishment that you need. And yoga. Those are the two things that I would say saved me most in my postpartum experience.
Yoga gave me a way to connect to my mind and to my body when I felt like I belonged in neither.
It gave me tools to use, it gave me breathing exercises, it gave me all of these things. It’s not about sitting on a mat and being perfectly posed and being stretchy and bendy and flexible. It’s about quieting the turnings of the mind. Truly, Yoga Philosophy. That is the definition. Ceasing the internal turnings of the mind. Once I was able to do that, I was able to pause and process and heal.
I want to bring that to our community too. And to all of you, anyone who’s listening, if yoga is not your thing, that’s okay. But there may be some things that I talk about or share that you don’t think of as yoga because everyone has a different interpretation of what that is.
In a sort of nutshell, that’s me. Janelle Marion, owner of The Chosen Nest Birth and Family Support. I offer in-person childbirth education classes on week, nights and weekends. I offer in person breastfeeding education classes. And then I take it to the home! So if you’ve just had a baby, I come to you.
I meet you where you are in the moment, knowing that that moment can change. And my goal in postpartum support is to not have another Mama, another partner, feel like they don’t belong in the story of their life. I want them to know that it’s okay to struggle. It’s okay, it’s okay to struggle, but it’s not okay if it owns you. There’s a way out of that darkness.
I’ll talk a little bit about what postpartum depression looked like for me, but I wanted to start this off as sort of an intro. I’ve already booked several guests that I am really excited for you guys to hear and meet and see and just know more about. Because these people, in our communities, are making impacts. It’s so cool to be able to sit back and watch it happen, but to FEEL it, to experience it, to hear other family’s stories about how their lives have been changed through these beautiful birth workers and those that support families in our community.
I can’t wait for you to hear more about that. That’s really why I did this. This is not a place for me to come sit on a soapbox and say, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah. This is how you live your life. This is how you do your birth. This is about you and what you want. So with that, if there’s something that you want to know more about, send me an email: email@example.com. Send me an email. I will personally give you a call so we can talk about things that you want to know more about.
Or if you have a story to share, your birth story or postpartum experience, a loss, a parenting…we’re a military family too. There’s a lot, a lot behind the scenes that happens with that people don’t know about. Come on, reach out to me. Come on the mic and just share what your passion is.
If you are a birth worker or if you are someone in the community that feels like you can have an impact for families, share that. I want this to be a space for community and to foster that and to grow that. So thank you.
Thank you for taking the time today.
I did promise that I would release the next BIG THING. If you’re ready, I’m ready to tell you about that. I’ll take the last five minutes to just kind of sum up what’s to come.
I’m going ONLINE with my Childbirth Education offerings! That might seem like, WHAT? I like the in person stuff! And I’m still going to offer that too. But let me tell you. The most feedback I’ve gotten from families is how challenging it can be in so many aspects.
Childbirth education is all about helping families make informed decisions for what’s best for them and their baby. And this looks different for every single family, every single birth, no two are alike. Having all of the information that’s not biased, that’s just transparent information. Being able to process that over time and to know the resources around you so that you can choose the best setting. Choose the best provider, choose the best support to make that experience positive for you.
It’s beautiful to see this change happening in communities too, where, if someone wants an epidural in a hospital, that’s an option. If someone wants nothing at all in their home, that’s an option. If someone has a scheduled cesarean delivery because that’s what’s best, that’s an option. There are so many things.
I think this change is happening because people are saying, I want something different. I want something more. I want to be able to be the decision maker in my care and not just be told. It’s pretty cool to watch that grow and happen.
The online version for me in childbirth education is about accessibility, right? So that’s why I’m going to be rolling that out. I don’t have a launch date yet because there are still a few final things that are so important for me to add that take time. Right? It takes time to grow.
I can tell you it will be before the end of the year and if you want to be the first to know when that’s going happen or if you’re interested in taking an online class, I’ll have the link in the show notes as well.
Accessibility. The biggest feedback that I’ve gotten when people inquire about classes: “Oh man, those are on Tuesday nights. I can’t do Tuesday night. I can this week, but not that week. But, then I can the following week, but then not until Saturday on that week.” The needs of families for scheduling, that’s hard. That’s hard for people to make things.
I try to offer a few different options in person. Private, in your home, whenever it works for you. A weeknight option and then a weekend option. But even with having all of those, I’m still getting the feedback of, “Gosh, it’s hard for me and my partner to make it to that location at that time.”
With online, you do this in the comfort of your own home! It’s the same stuff that I present in the in person class. Sure you don’t get the group atmosphere. So that still holds value to some people and if so, seek out a group class. There are so many in our community and I know that if you look you’ll find them in your own.
You get this in the comfort of your own home. I’m teaching you the same thing that I would in person, but if you’ve got one hour with your spouse at the end of the day you can choose your modules…choose what works for you in that sense. If there’s something you didn’t quite understand and you want to go back to it, you can watch it a hundred times.
Military families are always on my heart of course, because we are one. I know for us we took classes that were 12 weeks long and they were from seven to nine at night. We had to drive 45 minutes to get there. My husband was exhausted after working all day. I was exhausted after working all day. We missed two, at least two of them, one for vacation. And one because there was a snow day. Even then, we made it happen when we could, but there were still hiccups that came.
Knowing there are families that are deployed, right? Maybe Mom is at home and Dad is off in Afghanistan and they still want to experience that together and have that knowledge together. You can watch in both places and talk about it over Skype.
I feel like it lends so much more opportunity for families to be able to connect in that way. So that’s my goal, to make it more accessible for families and then just provide a different platform. It just, to me, it just made sense. It just made sense. So that’s where we’re going. Stay tuned for more on that. I am really excited for all of those details and I will share them soon. Again, did not give myself a hard and fast date just because I don’t want to fail you. I don’t want to fail myself.
That’s one thing I’ve taken away from mothering and this experience of mine. Sometimes it’s okay to just say, this is what’s happening and not carve it in stone.
So, thank you. Thank you for tuning in today, for listening to my exciting sneak peek and for my brief experience that I shared with you about postpartum and about who I am. I hope that you will continue to listen.
Subscribe if you want. That would be awesome. If you want to hear more I’m always available. Personally, reach out to me. I’m happy to answer questions and I hope that you’re excited for our guests to come on, there are some pretty amazing ones lined up. I know that there will be more, so stay tuned. Thank you!