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Entries in salon (41)


Salon Series: Cultivating Birth Community Spiritual & Emotional Wisdom

Join Gena McCarthy for this month's Salon Series. The evening will include a presentation, discussion, practices and tools to cultivate your own and your community's spiritual and emotional confidence, strength and skill set for supporting women in the rites of passage of birth, abortions and miscarriages including healing trauma.

Cultivating Birth Community Spiritual Emotional Wisdom


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Date: Tuesday, November 11
Time: 7:00 - 9:00PM
Location: 5648 Oak Grove Ave., Oakland, CA 94618.
Very close to Rockridge BART!

As always, light food and beverages will be served.

Cost: Free ($5-$15 suggested donation for BADP, no one will be turned away for lack of funds). 
Accessibility: The space is wheelchair accessible (but the restroom does not have grab bars). Babes in arms are welcome. Please email salon_fund [at] bayareadoulaproject [dot] org or send us a note on facebook if you have any questions about accessibility.

RSVP on Facebook

Speaker Bio: Gena McCarthy

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Gena McCarthy RN, MFT is a perinatal psychotherapist, a certified EMDR (PTSD treatment), provider and a community organizer trained in Shamanic, Buddhist and Cherokee Peacekeeper teachings and cross-cultural ways of healing.

She specializes in supporting Birth Professionals, women and couple’s spiritual and emotional growth, empowerment and enjoyment on the journey of birth and parenthood, including healing any birth trauma.

Gena has been privileged to study and practice with a diverse range of communities and teachers in the fields of perinatal psychology, healing and spirituality.

She is a certified therapist in the Feeding Your Demons Practice developed by Lama Tsultrim Allione. 

Over the last 30 years Gena has cultivated a non-judgmental nourishing and effective process to reclaim and heal birth stories for mothers, birth professionals and anyone who wants to heal their own birth story of coming into this world.  This process brings participants greater ease in their lives, relationships, work and creativity. 

Gena is an educator, a CE provider, a consultant and a community organizer for Perinatal Professionals throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. 

She co-founded the Contra Costa Perinatal Depression to Wellness Network and the Mt. Diablo Family Resource Network and was a co-developer of the Contra Costa Health Services Integrative Health Program.

Currently she offers Birth Professionals the following ongoing services:
  • Prevent/Heal Trauma – Reclaim Miracles Birth Workshops
  • Birth Professional Renewal and Healing Continuing Education Circle Series
  • Birth Professional Certification Program to offer: Healing Birth & Mother Renewal Workshops

April Salon Series: Tricks of the Trade from an Old Midwife

For this month’s Salon Series we are excited to invite you to an evening with Peggy Vincent, author of Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife. Peggy plans on covering topics such as labor support techniques, labor assessment tips and labor progress assessment. She will also speak on her hope for future doulas including skills such as fetal heart monitoring, blood pressure monitoring, cervical exams and emergency birth skills. You can read more about her work as a Bay Area midwife in her bio below.

When: Tuesday, April 29th from 7PM to 9PM
Location: 5648 Oak Grove Ave. Oakland, CA 94618 
*** (A short walk from the Rockridge BART station!)

Cost: Free
$5-$15 suggested donation for BADP, no one will be turned away for lack of funds
Accessibility: The space is wheelchair accessible (but the restroom does not have grab bars). Babes in arms are welcome. Please email or send us a note on facebook if you have any questions about accessibility.

RSVP here on Facebook!

Speaker Bio:
Peggy has worked with birthing families since her junior year at Duke in 1962, when she fell in love with obstetrics. After graduation, she married, moved to California, and worked as an OB nurse practitioner for the LA Health Department. She then relocated to Berkeley, where she established the Alternative Birth Center at Alta Bates in 1978. In 1980, she went to midwifery school at UCSF and soon became the first Bay Area midwife to be granted hospital privileges. and from then on her practice was divided between home births and hospital births.

She later took a position as a staff midwife at Kaiser Permanente in Walnut Creek, where she worked until she retired about 15 years ago. Her memoir, Baby Catcher: Memoirs of a Modern Midwife, was published in 2002. She lives at her home in Oakland with her husband, Roger, and 2 cats. Check out the event's Facebook page to read more about Peggy's history and to RSVP.

March Salon Series: Dancing for Birth Workshop

Join us for an interactive workshop led by Dancing for Birth instructor Jyesha Wren. This event is open to all and will be especially relevant for expectant parents; those who are considering conceiving as well as those who work with people through labor.
“By encouraging a woman to dance during her birth we empower her to actively participate and rejoice in her labor, to embrace her labor’s unique rhythm and unfolding, to love her voluptuous pregnant body, and to trust in her baby’s and her own inner knowledge of how to birth. The ebullience she experiences will spill over to infuse her parenting and her life with joy." - Stephanie Larsen, Founder of Dancing For BirthTM

When: March 10th 7-9pm
Where: In the Dance Studio at 9 Langton St., San Francisco, CA
Cost: FREE! (We will pass a hat and ask for donations to BADP)
Accessibility: The space is not wheelchair accessible (very sorry!). Babes in arms are welcome. Please email salon_fund@bayareadoulaproject [dot] org or send us a note on facebook if you have any questions about accessibility

Dancing For Birth™ prenatal/postpartum classes teach a “language of movement” specially designed for women in any stage of pregnancy or who are planning to conceive and for postpartum women wearing their babies in soft slings or wraps. The movements are inspired by ancient dance forms like Belly dance (created by/for birthing women) and African dance, and combine dance and fitness with rare essential childbirth preparation skills such as optimal maternal and fetal positioning. 

Stephanie Larson DFB, CD(DONA), CBE, BFA, founded Dancing For Birth™ in 2000, when she realized that her lifelong dance experience which had helped her give birth naturally was a benefit to her birth doula and childbirth education clients as well. “The first step to a satisfying birth,” says Larson, “is to listen to your baby via your body—and move accordingly. For many women this means laboring and birthing actively, in a forward-leaning vertical position, out of bed.” By moving instinctively, using gravity and positioning to their advantage, women can temporarily enlarge the dimensions of their pelvis for the baby's passage, help their babies rotate and descend, help reduce unnecessary interventions and enjoy natural pain relief. 

Dancing For Birth™ workshops came to the attention of the widely respected organizations DONA International and Lamaze International, which invited Larson to give presentations to childbirth professionals from around the world at their international conferences. In 2007, Larson began holding Dancing For Birth ™ Instructor Training workshops. DFB instructors come from varied backgrounds, such as birth and postpartum doulas, midwives, nurses, and childbirth educators; dance, yoga and fitness teachers; massage therapists; moms and birth enthusiasts. 

Presenter Bio:
Jyesha Wren is currently a Nurse Midwifery student at the University of California, San Francisco, and a long time dancer with a passion for empowering women to have positive birthing experiences. Her dance background includes a variety of Afro-Latin styles, primarily the energetic and joyful Brazilian Samba. In 2011 she completed Stephanie Larsen's Dancing for Birth instructor training program.



Notes from the Salon: The Power of Nutrition During Pregnancy

By: Vanessa Norton, BADP Volunteer


"The most significant prenatal care a woman can get is the care she gives herself."

-Ashley Spivak

On February 18, about 25 people settled into couches, chairs and floor-spaces in the brightly painted living room of BADP volunteer Christine Litas. It was the night of our Salon, and Ash Spivak, a certified food educator and nutrient-dense recipe developer visiting from New York, shared her wisdom, science-based knowledge, and passion for nutrition. I know I am not the only person who left this 2-hour Salon equipped with new tools to support my Mama-clients and apply to my own eating habits.

Ash began the evening with a stress-reducing exercise, where each participate was asked to close their eyes and feel where our bodies touched a surface, to take deep breaths, then to bring awareness to our senses: touch, taste, sound, and smell. Not only was this a relaxing erxercise, but it led into the fact that we experience a lot of stress, and stress effects digestion, among other areas of our health. When we experience stress, our liver creates glucose (sugar) so we have the energy to escape dangerous situations. Because we experience so much stress in our culture, Americans typically have bodies overloaded with sugar that we don't burn off, because the nature of the stress is no longer running from wild animals, but experiencing traffic or job stress. So, de-stressing every day is key for healthy Mamas and for everyone. Even for a few minutes.

But rather than feel overwhelmed by any of this, I felt empowered because Ash shared very accessible tools to help combate negative influences in our health. 

Rather than measuring foods or following a plan, Ash introduced an interesting and more creative approach: think about what you eat in terms of color. For example, processed foods like potato chips (even organic ones) are gray, kale would be green; raw, it's bright green. We each drew a picture (with crayons) of what we'd eaten that day, not actually physical representations of the foods, but color representations. Some people drew landscapes, other looked like Rothko-esque blocks. Pictures with a variety of bright colors are the ones we're most attracted to, the ones that represent the healthiest foods.

Another point I loved was Ash's focus on creating nutrient-dense meals. “It's not about eliminating pizza, but throw some arugula on it,” Ash said. “If you're having a burger, add an avocado. Avocado supplies Omega 3 fatty acids, arugula is loaded with antioxidants.”

In the same vein, if you have use sugar, choose one that also benefits you. For example, honey contains minerals that white sugar does not. Better yet, blackstrap molasses contains iron, magnesium, and Vitamin B6.

In terms of pregnancy or fertility-specific eating, Ash posited that if a person is considering getting pregnant, they want to create a nutrient reservoir, since many people don't know they're pregnant for quite a while. 

As doulas know, in pregnancy a person's protein requirements double. So, it's optimal to eat protein with every meal. But there are complete and incomplete proteins. Incomplete proteins need to be combined with other incomplete proteins, such as brown rice and beans and/or nuts. News to me: Spirulina, buckwheat, and quinoa are complete proteins, equal to animal meat.

For morning sickness, try keep something in the stomach at all times. “Keep an orange next to the bed,” Ash suggested. “Don't eat meals, but graze all day.”

Ash closed the evening by distributing two different varieties of chocolate as well as roasted almonds. We were instructed to slowly chew each piece and think about the flavor, the way one would taste wine. What an amazing evening!

Check out Ashley Spivak's work at and


February Salon Series: The Power of Nutrition During Pregnancy: How Diet Can Ease Pregnancy Woes & Lead to Fewer Birth Complications

Join Ashley Spivak of Re-Color The Palate for an evening of tasty snacks, interactive nutrition education, massage and meditation! Whether you work with women during pregnancy, are thinking of conceiving sometime down the road, or are already pregnant, it is never too early or too late to learn how the diet can be a tool to ease common pregnancy ailments (including infertility!). We will also discuss the role of diet in preventing birth complications and how stress influences digestion. Please visit to learn more.

When: Tuesday, February 18th from 7PM to 9PM

Location: 5648 Oak Grove Ave. Oakland, CA 94618
*** (A short walk from the Rockridge BART station!)

Cost: Free
$5-$15 suggested donation for BADP, no one will be turned away for lack of funds

Accessibility: The space is wheelchair accessible (but the restroom does not have grab bars). Babes in arms are welcome. Please email salon_fund [at] bayareadoulaproject [dot] org or send us a note on facebook if you have any questions about accessibility.


Speaker Bio:
Ashley Spivak is a certified nutritional consultant and nutrient-dense recipe developer with a specialty in prepping for pregnancy and prenatal nutrition. She curates the nutritional landscape by highlighting the importance of educated product picks at the grocery store, stress management, and by incorporating ideas from a variety of dietary theories and current research to help people kick bad habits and make more informed and sustainable choices. She is a graduate with Honors from Washington University in St. Louis, and has studied with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, the Childbirth Education Association of Metropolitan New York, the Herbal Bear School and the Natural Gourmet Institute.