Hi there! I’m Jennetta Billhimer, the founding director of Association for Wise Childbearing. I live in Twin Falls, Idaho. I was raised in the northern high desert country of Nevada and attended a rural, three-room elementary school.
Later, while attending Brigham Young University I married my college sweetheart and gave birth to my first son in 1993.
As I prepared for the birth, I knew I wanted to give birth naturally. We took the typical classes. I read the usual kinds of books, all about what to expect, not a lot about the fact that women could and ought to be able to expect more. My first birth was an induction, restriction to bed, no food by mouth, AROM, Failure to progress, cesarean section.
After my son was born, I finished my degree in Education and set forth to be a mother. To be a mother was something I had always realized the importance of, despite the loud voices around me endeavoring to dissuade women from choosing motherhood as career. I realized the strength that the family unit can have upon society and wanted to make a difference in my own way in my own small corner or this world.
When pregnant with my second son, I read a lot more, particularly the writings of Nancy Wainer a bold woman who was making a big difference in the world for birthing women. Nevertheless, there was still much I didn’t understand about what VBAC (Vaginal Birth after Cesarean) mothers are up against politically after the first cesarean.
Several months after a second unnecessary cesarean, I took my doula training with Dona International and I found myself on a path to make a difference for other birthing families. I have felt called and guided along that path through the years. I became familiar with and even got to know many of the women and men who were already out there working to make things better for birthing families.
I learned many things that are not commonly understood, about how it is possible to give birth safely, comfortably, joyfully, and with a woman’s own power as many women have for ages.
Yet as much as I wanted to keep babies and women and fathers from going through unnecessarily difficult birth experiences, as a doula I was still witnessing many atrocities. A good many of the procedures used at these births were not even a part of other births I attended where the caregiver consistently used a gentler model of perinatal care. Doulas have an interesting vantage point that many other birth professionals never have. Certified nurse midwives, doctors, and nurses, particularly those who serve in the hospital, are restricted from attending any other types of births. What they see every day is all that they know. It was heartbreaking to watch the suffering that followed various procedures used only for the sake of ease, the safety, and the protection of the caregiver or birth place. It was just not acceptable to me.
I soon begin developing and teaching Association for Wise Childbearing childbirth classes and our certification program was started. Our group also began a community outreach group and held childbirth and parenting workshops in the Cache Valley, Logan, Utah area for many years. We also wrote a successful blog back in the early days of blogs.
In 1999 I gave birth by VBAC to my third child, a daughter! Three more daughters were born later, each labor being pain-free, water births, and VBACs. By now, with a lot of experience assisting many other families at their own births, I was well into the my journey to help others in their quests for better birthing experiences.
The Association for Wise Childbearing was founded to educate about evidenced-based practices. As for safety, the United States and other first world countries fall far behind others in the industrialized world! That is crazy! The introduction of Twilight Sleep, early in the past century, left a residue which continues on, passed down generation after generation.
As you can read about in my Amazon Bestselling book Wise Childbearing, What You’ll Want to Know as You Make Your Birth Choices we still have quite a ways to go as a culture. I am happy to say, though, that the good news is that there are women who are giving birth powerfully and comfortably today! They are those who are given the opportunity to make choices that are right for themselves and their babies.
Today, the Association for Wise Childbearing offers unique training and certification for childbirth educators. We have joined together to make a real difference in the birthing world.
The fact is, that change can happen much more quickly than ever before. We can make great strides in today’s world by working together.
Will you join us? Would you like to be a part of our group of passionate individuals as we work together? Would you like birthing conditions to be drastically improved for your own daughters? If so, we want you. You can be a part of this exciting journey!